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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cattail Stalk Survival Food Source

The Cattail has many survival uses. It can help start fires, make mats and baskets, make arrow shafts, insulation from the cold, stuffing for flotation devices, and as a food source.

The pollen, when in season, makes a good food source. The female flower pod, when green, can be eaten like corn.

But, the Cattail rhizomes/stalks are fairly high in starch content; this is usually listed at about 30% to 46%. The core can be ground into flour. 

One acre of cattails would yield about 6,475 pounds of flour (Harrington 1972). This flour would probably contain about 80% carbohydrates and around 6% to 8% protein.

The starchy rhizomes are nutritious with a protein content comparable to that of maize or rice.

The leaf bases can be eaten raw or cooked, especially in late spring when they are young and tender. In early summer the sheath can be removed from the developing green flower spike, which can then be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob. 

In mid-summer when the male flowers are mature, the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener.

It is not advisable to eat specimens deriving from polluted water as it is used as a bioremediator, it absorbs pollutants. Do not eat them if they taste very bitter or spicy.  (Source: wikipedia)

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Desert Hollygrape

The Desert Holly-grape (Mahonia spp.)

The Desert Hollygrape is also known as Oregon Grape, Fremont's Barberry and Algerita. This shrub is mainly found throughtout upper Sonoran, Desert Grasslands, Chaparral-Scrub and Juniper-Oak regions.

The leaves are tooth-shaped with spikes on the ends. The leaves have a bluish tint and the inner bark is a distinctive yellow. The berries can come in different colors; purple, red, yellowish-orange and sand color.

The berries can be eaten raw, dried for later, made into wine, jams or jellies. The berries have a sweetish tart refreshing taste and is rich in vitamin C. To make a refreshing beverage, boil one to two handfuls of the berries in water.

The roots of this shrub has medicinal value as well. The root has antimicrobial properties due to containing an alkaloid called berberine. A tincture can be made of 1:5 ratio with 50% alcohol. Approximately 10 drops of this solution taken before eating will assist the digestive system.

To aid in the functions of the galbladder and liver, 15-30 drops of this tincture can be taken. Use the bark from the lower part of the plant to make a good antimicrobial skin wash. Just crush the bark and let seep in cool water.

A tea can be made from the bark, as well, to make help with blood sugar problems. Wait a couple of weeks before taking more dosages of this plant.

The Berbarine alkaloid has been shown to kill giardia. This makes for a good water purification treatment when in a survival emergency.

The yellow inner bark was used by the natives and pioneers to make a yellow dye for dying bucking skin hides. Do not over look the variety of plant life that may be around you that can be used for food and medicine.

This is why I always say Stay Prepared, Stay Alive. Learn the different plants that are in your area, as well as the area you are traveling to. You may need this information and knowledge in a survival situation.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fire Starting With Cattail

The dried cattail seed head makes a great fire starter. It catches a spark very easily and burns quick. The fluffy seeds are also good for insulation when it is cold out. To use the dried fluff you need to build your fire pit with your smaller kindling and fine debris. Collect dried grass to build a birds nest shaped container and place the dried cattail fluff inside. 

If you have a flint and steel set or ferrous rod, the cattail will take a spark very quickly. If you are using the bow and drill method, the hot coal ember will catch the dried fluff very quickly.

If you run across the cattail during your survival trek, make sure to collect a few seed heads to take with you. Be sure to keep the fluff as dry as possible.

And also remember that the other parts of the cattail is a food source.

Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!