Survival Food - Berries and Fruits

Survival Food - Berries and Fruits

There are a few native bushes or trees that are commonly found in the Pacific Northwest that produce edible fruit. These bushes/trees include the Black Elderberry and the Serviceberry. The Black Elderberry fruit can be used in jellies and wines and even syrups. The Serviceberry is very similar to the common blueberry. There are also native shrubs, such as the Huckleberry and the Salmonberry, that produce berries that are harvested to make everything from Jelly to wine.  They taste most excellent when added to french toast, milkshakes, or just eaten right off the bush. Ripe Salmonberry colors range from orange to red and along with Blackberries, Raspberries, Dewberries, Strawberries, and Blueberries also grow wild in Oregon.  All of these berries are great survival food.  If you are lucky enough to catch them in season, they can easily fill your fat belly however beware that these berries also make up a very large part of the Black Bears diet.

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About Huckleberries: One serving of wild huckleberries has more antioxidant power than any other fruit or vegetable.  This can help a person to fight against aging, some cancers, and other health diseases.  Huckleberries help the pancreas digest sugars and starches. They are also high in iron which helps build blood.  Huckleberries are helpful in relieving sores, eczema, and skin disorders.  They can lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease, muscular degeneration, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and peptic ulcers.

They are a great source of vitamin B and help to speed up the metabolism rate.  They keep skin and muscle tone healthy.  They improve immune system function, promote cell growth, and helps to prevent pancreatic cancer.  Since they are high in vitamin C, huckleberries can help to protect the body against immune deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, prenatal health problems, and eye diseases.  They can also prevent premature skin wrinkling.


Blackberries have incredible health benefits

About Compound Berries:  Blackberries, Raspberries, Thimbleberries, Salmonberries, and Dewberries are all edible and considered to be compound berries and can be found in the Pacific Northwest.  A compound berry is really an aggregate fruit which is a cluster of small fruits.  An aggregate fruit is where one flower contains several separate ovaries that merge during development.  It has been said that all compound berries are safe to eat however you should always research any berry that you are unsure of before consuming it.

Blackberries have incredible health benefits. They are high in Vitamin C, K, and A.  They are high in fiber and contain high levels of antioxidants.  A 2009 study showed that rats that consumed blackberries had improved cognitive and motor skills.
Toxic Berries in the Pacific Northwest.  When foraging for wild berries, you should always treat berries that you can't positively identify as poisonous.  This can save your life or at the very least, prevent you from making a bad situation worse.  There are steps that you can take to test unidentifiable berries however the process when done correctly takes a while and is usually not a very good use of your time.  We suggest that you move on to other opportunities rather than spending time trying to identify a berry that may be unedible anyway.

Nightshade Berries (Belladona, Deadly Nightshade, Death Cherries):

The Nightshade plant as well as the berries are highly toxic and should never be consumed.  They are toxic not only to humans but to animals and livestock as well.  The berries are around .25 inches (0.6cm) and change from a pale to pink or red into a dark purple or deep black as they ripen.  They contain alkaloids and may contain a narcotic that depresses the central nervous system.  They can numb your sense of pain and cause nasty hallucinations, convulsions, and ultimately death.  The plant often grows one to three feet tall.  They come from the tomato/potato family and therefore may smell similar.  The flowers form out into a star-shaped leaf pattern that turns into berries whiled maintaining the star-shaped leaves that can be used to identify.

Snowberry (Waxberry, Ghostberry, Mountain Snowberry, Wolf Berry):

The Snowberry is a berry that we run into frequently while hiking the mountains of Eastern Oregon.  The berries are mildly toxic but should be avoided especially in a survival situation.  They are easy to identify because of their white color. They contain saponins which can affect digestion and the breaking down of toxins.  Many animals eat these berries however again they should not be consumed by humans.  Depending on the variety, the plant ranges from ground cover to shrubs that can grow from three to nine feet tall.

In a nutshell, if you find yourself in a survival situation, you must be very careful when eating plants, berries, and mushrooms.  If you are unable to positively identify any of these then you should treat them like poison. It is always better to be safe than sorry!  Take the time to learn the plants and berries that are common to the area that you will be hiking or backpacking in before you go.  

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