Nature isn’t always on everyone’s doorstep to offer up a bounty of food, but for those who have the opportunity to take a trip to the countryside, camp out in the wild, or bed down near a beach, there is natural food all around. Nature offers a free supply of fresh food, which is much healthier than going to a fast food outlet or buying some packaged food to cook over your campfire. Make an adventure of foraging for food in the forests, rooting around under rocks, and mulling over the toxicity of wild mushrooms.
Many of nature’s food offerings can provide many essential vitamins and nutrients, including iron and calcium. Often items you can find to eat in countryside areas are high in protein. The perfect place to camp would be near the sea so that fish may be available. Small fish are easily lured towards the shore with bread crumbs thrown into the water and can be fried over the camp fire.
Sea urchins lurk under rocks or cling onto the side, and are delicious eaten raw with lemon juice. In some areas they are considered quite a luxury food. It is of course recommended to wear gloves whilst collecting them. Small fish and sea urchins are both good sources of protein which are easily collected, and it’s worth looking for small shell fish too such as prawns.
Depending on the laws of the area you are in, and the season, you can shoot small birds to eat. Rabbits and grey squirrels make for tasty meals if they are wild in the area. Snails are best collected at dawn and dusk but are very versatile, but you do need quite a lot to fill a stew. For an appetizer you won’t need to collect as many.
Plant protein sources to look out for are dandelions and nettles. Dandelions may be eaten either raw or cooked, whilst nettles definitely improve upon being cooked. Mushrooms contain a small amount of protein but are fun to collect and try to identify. If mushrooms have started to molder then don’t collect them to eat, and avoid any which are already worm infested. Other mushrooms which you aren’t sure about can be collected, and usually the local chemist will be able to advise you if they are edible or toxic. If you don’t know, then just don’t risk eating them.
The most obvious natural food to collect, which is protein packed, are insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, ants, moths, worms, grubs and maggots. They can all be cooked or eaten raw. You may not realize that any standard diet which contains processed food means you already eat insects, but the ones which you can collect in the countryside will be much fresher than the rather off putting specimens found in canned food from the supermarket.
A camping trip to the countryside could be just what you need to appreciate the fresh food available in nature. You’ll be guaranteed a lovely time collecting it whilst breathing in fresh country air.