Fruit Trees for Preparedness

I have a subscription to World Affairs Brief and often see great insights not only to the dangers in our world posed by those in high government positions who do not have our welfare in mind but also good preparedness tips. I’d like to share a portion of the most recent brief and I would encourage any of you who are peace loving and who recognize the damage being done by our governments to look up the World Affairs Brief and subscribe.

“PREPAREDNESS TIP: FRUIT TREES by Andrew Skousen

Fruit trees are an integral part of a self-sufficient homestead. Once established they will produce year over year with only a minor effort on your part. The hardest part is getting them established in a good location early enough that they will be producing when we need them.

Early spring is the best time to plant or transplant trees, so winter editions of seed and flower catalogs are full of fruit tree options. Don’t get so distracted by the pictures of luscious fruit that you ignore your climate zone. There’s a reason Georgia is famous for peaches and Washington for apples. Some fruit trees can be grown outside their ideal climate if they are sited carefully. Apples and pears need an area that gets cold (and preferably some frost) so consider a low-lying area where cold settles. Conversely, plant peaches and apricots on a south-facing slope or south side of a stone wall for reflected heat. Thanks to various hybrids there are varieties of fruit for USDA zones 4 and above (outside of citrus, of course). To see the most popular varieties for your area just check out the selection at your local garden nursery.

Many fruit trees (especially apples, pears and sweet cherries) need another tree of the same fruit but different variety around them to properly pollinate, so check with your nursery before you buy only one tree for each fruit. Your nursery should have a chart like this to help.

How many trees should you plant? Fruit trees are one of the easiest ways to grow a healthier form of sugar, but like any sugar you can have too much of it—especially when the whole tree ripens in the space of a few weeks. Fortunately, fruit’s sugar and acidity are natural preservatives and make almost all fruit ideal for canning in mason jars using just steam canning rather than the time and energy intensive pressure canning. For my part, I’d rather err on the side of too many fruit trees. There are many uses for extra fruit, but it takes years to grow another tree if you find yourself short in hard times. Fruit is one of the easiest things to sell or give away to neighbors and you can always turn surplus into pies, juice, jams or dried treats for more profitable sale and barter. Fruit is also one of the first harvests of the year, producing cherries and apricots when the tomatoes, peppers and corn are still growing.

Whenever you have too much of something on your homestead ask yourself “what will eat this?” Whether that be grass, weeds, bugs or fruit. Chickens and horses enjoy fruit and benefit from it in small quantities, but pigs can live almost entirely off of it for several months and get nice and fat while doing so.

You can store apples and pears fresh for a few months in a root cellar if you grow the right varieties. In general crispy and sour stores better than sweet and soft-skinned. Mike and Nancy Bubel in their book Root Cellaring recommend Baldwin, Winesap, Jonagold and Jonathan apples (among others) and Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou pears. Pick pears when mature but still green (hint of yellow) for best preservation. Bring them out of cold storage a few days before eating to ripen.

Space the trees in your orchard far enough apart or staggered so each tree gets full sun during the summer. Watch that other tall trees in the landscape don’t grow up and shade smaller fruit trees. Some people grow trees in rows of different heights to maximize the southern sunlight: a row of dwarf trees in front, semi-dwarf in the middle and full-grown trees in back.

There’s nothing better than ripe, fresh fruit off your own trees, so plant now and get the process started. ”

For more great preparedness information and accurate reporting of what is actually happening in our world see http://worldaffairsbrief.com/

Make Flu Fighting Elderberry Syrup With Just Two Ingredients

How are you doing this flu season? My family has been well so far but then we have a little secret. Not all of them are as strict with it as I am but I try to make sure we all have a dose of Elderberry syrup every day. My son does not like the syrup so he takes dried crushed berries in a capsule. For the rest of us it’s the sweet taste of elderberry syrup that gets us through.

I posted about this earlier this year on my FB page but decided to put it on the blog as well. I really feel that this has kept us healthy this year and I also believe that if you keep a good stream of healthy coming into your body you will be able to enjoy good health and heal faster if you do get sick. I recommend creating your own but if you want you can buy Sambucol as well.

This simple recipe requires only
Honey -1 cup (raw if possible)
Elderberries -1 cup
Water -2 cups
Cinnamon if desired -tsp or just cook with a sick in it.
Ginger (preferably fresh)-2 Tbs if fresh. Less if not. (I left this out)

I like to cook and I”m enjoying learning more about herbs and wild remedies but I have to say I do not always follow a recipe or use exact amounts. When I did this most recently I made a much bigger batch that gave me 4 pints of syrup. Enough to give some away and still have a supply for the rest of the season for us.

Making the syrup:
Put berries, water and spices in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until approximately half the water is gone and then strain the berries out.
I like to mask them up once they start cooking.
Let cool and then add the honey.
Mix, poor into bottles and refrigerate.
Take 1 tsp to 1 Tsp a day. Double if you get sick.
Even children can take it and they may like it.
In my opinion this is far better than a flu shot. It’s effective against all stains of the flu and not just a few known stains.
I sometimes add some other ingredients like other berries I have harvested but the bulk is always elderberry. You can buy it online or buy the berries dried online if you have not harvested some yourself.

Photoshopping Animals

So I showed my kids some photoshopped animal pictures and they decided they wanted to help me create some. So we photoshopped (Gimp actually) our own fun animals and they had a good time. Here is what we ended up with:

bram

Miger

Miger

Then they said, put a face on a blueberry and things really got crazy!

Behold the FaceBerry! (not edible)

face-berry

Silver Group Buy Option

I have purchased silver now and then to hold as an investment and have even used it here and there to pay for different services. I have set up an account with regency mint to buy at wholesale prices. It’s not as low as I’d like but it’s better than any retail options available out there. With silver prices plummeting lately I thought it would be a good idea to get the word out a bit more about the option.

Check the spot price for Silver: http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html




If any of you are interested in picking up some silver we can organize a group buy to get some for everyone. I generally buy in lots of 20 ounces and have a couple people who buy with me in similar lots but I’m willing to pass on savings to others who want less. My price is $2.15 over spot price.

I generally just buy the gold panner since that is not mimicking the real currency. I can get circulated or government issued coins as well as rounds but the premium is higher. A government  minted American Eagle for example is $4.15 over spot. Let me know if  you are interested.

Here are what the silver rounds look like:

Silver-Bullion-1-oz-Morgan-IRA-Approved Silver-Bullion-1-oz-Walking-Liberty-IRA-Approved Silver-Bullion-1-oz-Buffalo-Indian-IRA-Approved Silver-Bullion-1-oz-Divisible

How Did Christopher Candless Die?

I’ve had several people talk to me about Christopher Candless after they have either read the book or watched the movie Into The Wild. People will often say something about how careful you have to be to not be poisoned by wild edibles. I think I feel a bit like Sam Thayer on this topic. There are some pretty severe problems with the book and movie and one should keep in mind that the truth is very seldom told in movies. The same can be said for fictional novels and Into The Wild is just that. It is not a report of the facts. It is fiction based on one persons theory.

Recently a friend sent me a link to an article written on this topic once again trying to prove the theory that Chris was poisoned and that is how he died. I feel it is important to take all factors into account when looking at this and any similar issues. The main thing I want to get across is that you can safely eat a lot of things from the wild if you just educate yourself and you should not be fearful of learning these things. There are a lot of good resources out there to help teach the topic and when you combine all the options for a proper education (books, resources and field experience) you can safely enjoy much from the wild.

Here are my thoughts:

I’d say there are several factors that killed Chris.

  • He was very small to begin with (Small stature, no reserves)
  • He went to one of the most barren places on earth (Foolishness)
  • He lacked the proper skills and knowledge to eat properly (He’d never been to this location and had mainly just book learning)
  • He had a limited diet (His choice of location limited his caloric intake)
  • Already weak and on a limited diet he ate mainly one thing that has potential in large quantities to make a weak person sick (The poisoning suggested will only effect a person near death already)

The recent article tried to tie his death to a poisoning that was seen in death camps during the Holocaust. The problem with this idea is that while he was sick enough already because of his foolish choices his account does not follow what was documented for Lathyrism. I sent my thoughts to Samuel Thayer and asked for his take and he replied with the following which I received permission to post:

I need to post a thorough reply to this. But your assessment is pretty accurate, in my opinion.
Lathyrism only affects people who are starving, so this info doesn’t change that assessment. The presence of the protein that causes lathyrism is not strong evidence at all–I eat three differeent wild plants known to contain that protein, and several more are domesticated and regularly eaten by hundreds of millions of people.
There are also some serious reasons to doubt the symptoms pointing to lathyrism: Chris was walking around 5 weeks after the supposed paralysis event, yet the paralysis from lathyrism is permanent and irreversible. Second, the time elapsed between consumption and onset of symptoms was not sufficient for the disease to develop, according to everything I can find about lathyrism.
Lathyrism is not a new idea. All people who teach about wild edibles should be aware of the disease and its basic requirements. That Krakauer didn’t think of this somewhat irrelevant idea right away indicates his ignorance.
-Sam

Mullein Asthma Health Benefits

Mullein is a very common plant in Utah and the western States. It is not a plant that I would classify as an edible but it does have some beneficial uses. I have read a lot about it being valuable for breathing problems including asthma. My beautiful little girl suffers from breathing issues often and we are thinking it may be asthma. I have been researching more about herbal and natural remedies for asthma and two that I have found that I can make myself is Lobelia and Mullein. Lobelia is a hard one for us to get to grow at our house but if I just want to make a tincture I don’t have to keep it growing do I? I can just cut it and save for later.

mullein for asthma

There are many herbal remedies and helpful plants for breathing problems.




Mullein is something I can find easily close to home and in fact I found a picture I took with my precious daughter right next to this helpful plant. Little did I know at the time that it may be the very thing that can help her get a good night’s sleep. I’ll be trying this out carefully to see how I can help her. I don’t think I need to worry about complications honestly because I can hardly get her to take infusions or anything remotely resembling medicine.

This is one plant that is worth further research. there are many more like it and I encourage you to research what you are learning about. Do you have any other tips for mullein or other plants that are not necessarily edible but useful? Please post below.

Books About Wild Edibles

I have read a lot of books to learn what I know about Wild Edibles. One thing I will say is while the books are valuable and will teach you a lot there is nothing like being in the field. You will only really learn the plants and become comfortable with them when you get out in the field so do as much hiking and research as you can but finding a good book resource is also extremely helpful. This post is to give a little bit of insight on the books I have found most helpful.

Anything by Samuel Thayer is excellent. He has a site and a couple books.  Sam goes into great detail about his experience which started in his childhood. His insights are extremely helpful because he lives it. He is not just regurgitating material he has read like so many authors. I try to emulate this in what I do. I want to experience it and then share the details with you. I really like his writing style as well.

I also have found John Kallas very insightful. I have his book on Kindle. Like Sam, he also gives great detail and he lives it. He is not just repeating things but is giving great insights from experience.I have many other books but nothing that is as complete or detailed like these guys.

I do have one of Petersons field guides for basic ID but it is only for basic beginning information. If you can find resources on wildflowers that is a good idea as many are edible or the roots are edible. If you get something that will ID the plants for you then you can research each you find to determine if they are edible or not.

I do have a page on my site for books but I have yet to do a complete review on each that I have used in my research. Perhaps one of these days there will be more about those I have found. One tip I would give is avoid any books that use the word complete in the title. There is no such thing.

Are elderberries toxic?

Every once in a while I get questions from people trying to learn about edibles. This is one such post.  I hope some find it helpful.

Question:

I saw your post about elderberries

I do not live anywhere near enough to attend your courses (so if you would oblige me), how can I be sure elderberry is edible when so many other sites say they are poisonous?

My Answer:



The other sites are just spouting one myth after another. My research goes beyond that. I have eaten them. Lots of them and I have eaten them raw with no ill effect whatsoever. The only story I can find about toxicity of elderberry is a story that has not been corroborated about 6 people down in the Southwest USA that cold pressed a large amount of elderberries. They made juice from these raw elderberries and then drank all the juice. One person drank 6 cups of this raw pressed juice and was hospitalized. Sounds scary when all you hear is that somebody who drank elderberry juice was hospitalized but that’s like saying my son almost died from eating a peanut therefore peanuts are poisonous.

What is missing?
Who were these people?
Was alcohol involved?
Were the berries ripe or some green or not so ripe?

If you cold press a large amount of apples and make raw applejuice (or any other fruit for that matter) and your body is not used to such a diet you will get indigestion. You will feel very sick and you may go to the hospital. Does that mean that the fruit or juice was the only factor and is therefore toxic or poisonous?

You also need to recognize the difference between the words toxic and poisonous. Some people think they share the same definition. Not so.

Finally, get your advice from credible sources. As I said before, many of these people who pass on the myth are doing just that. They read somewhere that it is toxic and so they pass that on with no research. My research includes books from Samuel Thayer who actually forages a lot as I do. He eats this stuff and has done many tests on them as well and he is a much better guide than others who have not spent their time eating from the wild.

I had a recent experience with a person from out of state who wrote a cookbook about eating from the wild. This person contacted me to help put together some gift packages for people she is doing a presentation for and I was impressed that this person has a cookbook created for the kind of stuff I teach people about. What I found out as we began to work together on this project is that this person has no first hand knowledge about the topic. I don’t know where the recipes came from but they obviously were not from first hand knowledge. Unfortunately people do that all the time in today’s world and that is why we have the continuation of such myths.

One last thought on Elderberries comes from my family history. I was reading in some stories about my ancestors and found a story where they mention harvesting elderberries and currants and service berries. Everything I have been recently learning about was mentioned casually in their story because back then it was a way of life. This was pre-1900 in Tooele Utah. This is another story that makes me feel safe with these berries. Keep in mind of course that they often dried them or made preserves with them. I don’t think I would just make it into juice and then drink it all in once sitting.

Bottom line is I eat these things to test after I have verified all I can about identification and edibility. If you choose to take my first hand knowledge and try something yourself I hope you enjoy the experience and I hope you do it wisely. I only teach edibles and encourage eating a wild plant when I am certain about it’s edibility but of course your actions are your own and you must do all your own research to verify. Start little by little and enjoy foraging. Don’t be afraid of it.

Wild Edible Plants of The Utah Desert Tour

I’ll be doing a class this Saturday in Eagle Mountain. We will see and taste blue mustard which is excellent at this time of year. We will also identify and discuss several other edibles. Come and bring your friends.

Cost will be $10 per person, $20 per family. (Two paying can bring a couple of friends or family)
What we will see:
Blue mustard
Yellow dock
Sego lily when young
Prickly pear and possibly barrel cactus
This is a fun time to see many edibles in the desert. Things are starting to grow well and we have had good moisture lately. This is sure to be an educational tour.
We will meet near Hidden Hollow elementary school in eagle mountain but will likely drive aroung the ridge from there.
Plan on one to two hours, bring water and anything for notes.
If you know anyone else interested please pass this along.
Hope to see you there!

Preparing for Wild Edible Tours for 2014

I’m getting excited about starting some tours this year. I thought I’d start putting some notes out about the process. I want everybody following me to know that I do plan on several tours this year. I will be out foraging and learning myself quite a bit as well but many of those trips will be spur of the moment. I will also have many planned trips for those interested in learning. This post is to explain some details about what to expect with those classes.

Each planned outdoor class will run for several hours and may even take up half a day. There is a lot to show and a lot to learn while we are out there and I hope that those who come will be serious and have a desire to learn. You may not want to bring young children but if you do be sure to have some food and water for them (as for yourself) and something to keep them entertained. these forages are not always fun for kids and we will be talking about specifics of identifying plants. It’s a lot of learning stuff. 🙂

We will likely learn to identify several different plants while we are out and then spend time as a group individually discussing those plants and searching for them to be sure we can tell the differences and identify plants correctly.

I do not know how to identify all of the hundreds of thousands of plants that exist in Utah but I hope to be able to learn continually about many of those that are useful and to share that knowledge. I’d like to leave a list here of some items that are helpful when coming on these tours and classes.

  1. Water to drink
  2. Snacks to keep you and kids happy
  3. Wild edibles books
  4. Notepad or electronic device to take notes
  5. Camera
  6. Spray bottle to clean foraged foods
  7. Small shovel or pick
  8. White plastic bags or small buckets for collection

Stay in touch for upcoming events and classes and email me if you have any questions or information to share. Mike@WildeUtahEdibles.com.