Monthly Archives: August 2013

Chokecherries, a Great Edible When Ripe

Chokecherries are a great edible berry, or are they a cherry? As the name suggests they are a cherry and they do have a pit in the center like the larger cherries but they are small like a berry so you might think of them that way when you see them. Chokecherries will show a pretty red color when they are not yet ripe and turn to a deep black when they are ripe. Depending on what you intend to do with them they are good both when ripe and when red. If you want to make Chokecherry jelly you should use both ripe and unripe cherries because the cherries that are less ripe will offer some natural pectin and help with making the jelly.

Here are some images to help you identify this edible.

semi-ripe red chokecherries

semi-ripe chokecherries

Ripe black Chokcherries
Ripe black Chokcherries

Bag of ripe chokecherries

About 2 gallons of ripe chokecherries



Would You Like a Workshop in Your Area?

I have had emails and comments from people outside of my area interested in wild edible training. I would be willing to travel a bit to do a workshop or tour for you in your area if you can pull together a group of interested individuals who want to be educated on wild Edibles. The cost will vary based on what topics will be covered but I will do my best to make it affordable for any interested.

Would you like to have a tour or workshop on edibles in your area? Let me know where you are and how many are interested and we can put some workshops together. There is something in just about every climate so it is a good idea to know what is available in your area and what can be done with it.

Wild Utah Edibles Joined Facebook

I started a page on facebook for wild utah edibles to help get the word out. I’d like to be able to do more with the site and with this topic so please do share the content and I’ll make sure to keep things updated and exciting. I have more pictures and data than I have time to list right now. Spread the word and I’ll keep bringing the goods!

My Kids Enjoying Some Thimbleberries

My Kids Enjoying Some Thimbleberries

Donate to Help Compile More Wild Edibles Info

I have been working on creating Wild Utah Edibles for about 3 years now and it is my passion to learn about wild edibles and to share that information. It is a daunting task to do as one person however. I have spent several hours today trying to update my pages, add a blog post or two and write info and edit images to upload. I love the work and look forward to making WildUtahEdibles a real authority for edible plants and other survival details for Utah and the west.

I hope you are enjoying the information and I hope to continue to update the site for years to come. if you are able and so inclined I would ask for any donation you are willing to give to help me continue this work. Your donations will allow me to work more to provide this much needed information to those who seek it. It will also enable me to remove the ads from the site.

Thank you, Mike Wood

Wild Edibles, Survival Fishing Techniques

Survival fishing is a great way to add to your wild edibles when in the wilderness. Many of my viewers have an interest in wilderness survival or just basic survival and so I thought it would be good to show you one strategy I used to fish that can be useful when you may not have a fishing pole available. First let’s look at what is needed to catch a fish. There are many options of course but most will require some sort of bait. I used worms as I often do. The next thing we need then is a line, sinker and hook. I did not take the time on my trip this past week to devise my own weight but after my first success and then a fish taking the hook I did devise my own hook but have not had time to test it yet.

Here is my first catch:
Fish caught with dogbane cordage


  • Line, for line you can use anything that will make good cordage. I have used dried dogbane and it is very strong. that is what I used for my setup. I have also made cordage with milkweed and it does not seem as strong as dogbane but for most fish up to a pound I think it would work fine.
  • Hook, I used a regular size 6 hook for the 3 fish I caught up in the Uintas but I have also fashioned my own hook. This can be done in a number of ways with a stick and possibly some more thin cordage if needed.
  • Weight, I used a traditional sinker to get the line down where the fish were but I don’t think it would be all that hard to fashion something out of a small rock. In fact holding the line down with a rock and bending the willow a bit might help set the hook
  • Bait, I used a worm for my test. Worms are plentiful in nature and you can generally find one near water if you just turn over a log or a rock. I suppose you could use other baits as well. Really anything the fish are eating will work.

My Story

So I  decided to test my own cordage and see if I could catch a fish. I decided to head up to one of my favorite fishing and camping spots in the Uintas for the test and took my son to educate him in the process. He was thrilled to go fishing with his dad. I tested a couple new poles as well. I got two Dock Demon fishing poles that were small enough to pack easily in the car and just the right size for the kids and stream fishing. The line was too old apparently and they tangled easy so I ended up using them more than the kids but they were easy to pack in and worked well going through the willows and thickets while fishing.

I took my homemade dogbane cordage and added a hook on the thinnest end and then added a sinker just above the hook. I tied the other end (line was about 5 feet long) to a willow on the bank and then tossed in the worm. I then went down stream a bit and did some more fishing. I came back about 30 minutes or so later and looked across the stream to see my line moving! I could hardly believe it worked so well! I headed on over and pulled out the line to find a nice little brook trout on the end. The line worked flawlessly. I tried it two more times with the same results but when I came close on the last one he was a bigger fish and started thrashing around in the water near the willow and managed to break the line and take the hook with him. That’s when I made my own hook but I did not get enough time to test that one. I guess I need another trek into the wilderness.

Here is my dogbane line:



Emberlit Compact Stoves

I was contacted a while back by Mikhail Murkurieff from about my wild edibles training. He accompanied me on one of our wild edibles tours and showed the group some creative prepper tools including how to start a fire with tools available and how to make cordage from Dogbane that we found. It made the tour a lot of fun and I wanted to make a post about his compact hiking stove the Emberlit. This is a neat little stove that is easy to carry for hikers and campers and can use any kind of fuel. As I will be doing a post next week on high country fishing and edible plants and mushrooms (wow, that may be more than one post) I decided his stove would be a good fit here.

Emberlit Compact Stove

The stove allows you to have a raised surface for cooking and will use any available fuel from wood to charcoal or anything that may be available in your location. It is lightweight and easy to carry and would make a great addition to any prepper kit whether that be your bug out bag, a 72 hour kit or just a general survival/camping bag. It’s worth checking out if you are looking for a good option for a compact stove.

Thanks Mikhail for the insights and the great products!

Wild Edibles in Northern Utah-Bear Lake

I took a trip up to bear lake this past week and we found many different plants available on the trip including cattails which were plentiful near many parts of the lake. We took a trip up to Bloomington to see Bloomington lake and the flora in that area. There was a lot there to see and identify. It was here that I finally found False Hellebore and was later able to identified it. I have seen False Hellebore in the Uintas near my favorite campgrounds Christmas Meadows. Some call it Skunk Cabbage and it does have some similarities but it is not the same plant. Neither are good to eat unfortunately. Here is a picture for you to know what to stay away from. I’ll post more in a couple weeks from my Uinta trip.


While this particular plant is one to avoid, Bloomington Lake is a treasure to be found. It is a bit of a drive on a dirt road to get there but when we arrived we found many who felt the drive was worth it. The lake has a rope swing that is popular among locals and attracts a lot of people for this reason. There are fish in the lake and it’s worth a little time for that as well as swimming and snorkeling. It is a great vacation location.


I noticed a lot of Fireweed in the area, especially around Bloomington lake. Fireweed is listed as an edible plant by which is a great resource of really good information on wild edibles.


Other resources used this week to identify some of what I found: