Outdoor Survival - Food
If you run out of food what do you do? You have three options: meat, fish and edible plants. Please note that I do not advocate going around practicing your trapping skills on innocent wild animals, unless it is a real emergency. Hopefully in the UK it would be an extreme rarity, so just remember to pack your sandwiches instead!
Now onto the nitty gritty:
No animal has poisonous meat but some offal might be, so it's safer to gut anything that you catch. Scavengers have the least tasty meat.
Rabbits, Hares and Grey Squirrels (apparently females are better tasting than males):
How to skin a small animal (not for the squeamish) -
- Kill with a sharp blow on the back of the neck.
- Slit the skin open from the chest, over the belly and down between the hind legs to the tail. Avoid damaging the entrails, as these should be discarded whole.
- Cut off the feet at the joints.
- Slit the skin from the back of each hind leg up to the tail and then remove the tail.
- Ease the skin off the hind legs and pull over the rump, then hold the legs firmly and peel the skin away to the neck.
- Remove the head and pull the skin off the front legs.
To cook -
Dry the meat and tenderise it by hammering it to break up the fibres. Chop into joints and stew for 2-3 hours.
All birds are edible, but scavengers, similar to animal scavengers don't taste as good. Seagulls taste very fishy.
Fish and Shellfish
The best times to catch a fish are at dawn, dusk and after rain. At night you can use a torch to shine on the water; the fish rise up to the light and can be caught with a net or a spear. To make a spear, use a thin hardwood branch and carve it to a point at one end, then harden it off in a fire.
Cleaning a fish (the entrails should be removed as soon as possible) -
- Cut a long slit in the under belly and run your finger inside to push out the innards.
- Wash the fish inside and out.
- Hold the tail and scrape the scales towards the head with the back of a knife or if you happen to have one, a fish scaler.
To cook -
Roasting: Spear a stick through the mouth to the tail and roast over the fire for about 30 minutes.
Boiling: This is a better method because non of the nutrients drip away. Use just enough water to cover the fish and turn it occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes per pound. Don't let it boil or it will destroy the delicate flavour of the fish.
Find them in rock pools at low tide. They are often hiding under seaweed or pebbles.
To cook -
- Drop in boiling water and cover with a lid.
- Boil for a minute then simmer for approximately 20 minutes depending on their size. The shell will turn a brownish red when cooked.
- To open the body, put your thumbs under the flap then push it upwards and lift away.
- Push down on the mouth, both the mouth and the stomach should fall off; discard this.
- Remove the feathery parts at the sides.
- To reach the claw meat, cut the ligaments.