Featured Image Caption: Survival of the Fittest
If given a list of things to eat, most outdoor magazines won’t rank tree bark highly on that list, if it even makes the list at all. It’s one of those things that you will rarely see included in the list of “edibles” in your usual outdoor magazines. But when your survival is on the line, you should be ready to take extreme measures. Being able to use what’s around you is one of the most important and being able to use tree bark as food should be among your outdoor survival skills.
Long before it became easier for people to plant and harvest crops and grains, our ancestors included tree bark as an emergency food or a supplement to their usual diet and was an integral part of their outdoor survival skills.
North American natives were known to eat tree bark and use it as a supplement. In fact, the name “Adirondack” means “tree eaters”. The Dakelh or Carrier people of Canada were also known to include tree bark as a part of their diet- a trivia which you won’t often see in your everyday outdoor survival magazine.
You can get as much as 400kcal per pound from flour made from pine bark. The bark from scots pine provides vitamin C and help prevent scurvy. Tree bark can also stabilize blood-sugar levels for long periods, making it a useful supplement for people undergoing extended physical activity, which is why the Carrier people consumed pine bark during long trips.
Nowadays, we have better harvests and added varieties of food for consumption, which made the practice of eating bark unthinkable. Many important outdoor survival skills like these have been forgotten and often confined in an outdoor survival guide, if they’re even included at all.
While it’s a final effort at sustaining yourself, tree bark can be good enough to eat during a worst-case scenario and provide you the energy needed to look for better food. If you update your outdoor magazine subscription and include American Survival Guide (one of the best survival magazines out there) in your rotation of reference materials, you’ll have access to more information about useful outdoor survival skills like this.
By JM Chua
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Member since May, 2018
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