container, a heated, flat stone may be used. Anything
Crabs, crayfish, shrimps, prawns, and other
that holds food or water may be used as a
crustaceans require cooking in order to kill
containerturtle shells, seashells, leaves, bamboo, or a
disease-producing organisms. They spoil rapidly,
section of bark.
however, and should be boiled alive immediately after
capture. Shellfish can be steamed, boiled, or baked in
DRYING.-- Plant food can be dried by wind, sun,
the shell. Shellfish make excellent stew with greens
air, fire, or combination of these four. The object
of drying food is to get rid of the water. Cutting
meat across the grain in 1/4-inch strips and
Grasshoppers, locusts, large grubs, termites, ants,
either drying it in the wind or smoke produces
and other insects are easy to catch and will provide
"jerky." Put the strips of meat on a wooden grate
nourishment in an emergency.
and dry them until the meat is brittle. Use willow,
alders, cottonwood, birch, and dwarf birch for
Methods of Cooking and Preserving Foods
firewood because woods that contain pitch, such as
pine and fir, make the meat unpalatable. Hang the
Other than making most foods more tasty and
meat high and build a slow smoldering fire under
digestible, cooking makes them safer to eat by
it. Perhaps a quicker method of smoking meat is the
destroying bacteria, toxins, and harmful plant and
animal products in the food. Your survival chances
1. Dig a hole in the ground about a yard deep and
increase as your knowledge of field survival skills
one-half yard wide.
increase, as you improve your ability to improvise, and
as you learn to apply the principles of cooking and
2. Make a small fire at the bottom of the hole.
preserving the foods you obtain in the field.
(After starting the fire, use green wood because it will
ROASTING OR BROILING.-- This is a quick way
to prepare wild plant foods and tender meats. Roast meat
3. Place an improvised wooden grate about three
by putting it on a stick and holding it near embers.
fourths of a yard up from the bottom.
Roasting hardens the outside of the meat and retains the
4. Use poles, boughs, leaves, or other available
material to cover the pit.
BAKING.-- Baking is cooking in an oven over
The methods of preserving fish and birds are
steady, moderate heat. The oven may be a pit under
much the same as for other meats. To prepare fish for
your fire, a closed vessel, leaf, or clay wrapping. To
smoking, cut off the heads, and remove the
bake in a pit, first fill it with hot coals. Drop the
backbones. Then spread the fish flat and skewer in that
covered vessel containing water and food in the pit.
position. Thin willow branches with bark removed
Place a layer of coals over it; then cover the vessel and
make good skewers. Fish also may be dried in the sun.
pit with a thin layer of dirt. Whenever possible, line
Hang them from branches or spread them on hot
your pit with stones so it holds more heat. Pit cooking
rocks. When the meat dries, splash it with seawater to
protects food from flies and other pests and reveals no
salt the outside. Do not keep seafood unless it is well
flame at night.
dried and salted. Plantains, bananas, breadfruit,
STEAMING.-- Steaming can be done without a
leaves, berries, and other wild fruits can be dried by
container and is suitable for foods that require little
air, sun, wind, or fire, either with or without smoke.
cooking, like shellfish. Place your food in a pit filled
Cut fruit into thin slices and place in the sun or before
with heated stones over which leaves are placed. Put
a fire. Mushrooms dry easily and may be kept
more leaves over your food. Then force a stick
indefinitely. If the mushrooms are dried, soak them in
through the leaves down to the food pocket. Pack a
water before you use them.
layer of dirt on top of the leaves and around the stick.
Remove the stick and pour water to the food through
the hole that remains. This is a slow but effective way
Harmful Plant and Animal Foods
There are relatively few poisonous plants and
PARCHING.-- Parching maybe a desirable method
animals. Learn to recognize and avoid them.
of preparing some foods, especially grains and nuts. To
parch food, place it in a metal container and heat slowly
In some places, such as the arctic and subarctic
until thoroughly scorched. In the absence of a suitable
regions, there are less than a dozen plants that are