Berries, a survival “FOOD,” are you kidding me?
Not at all, you see our society, nowadays so civilized, has evolved greatly in the last 150 years. It is common now to think of berries almost like a confection, like candy. We put 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a cup berries for jam, jelly or syrup. I suppose it is candy these days. Pretty good stuff though still, I mean even nutritious.
In the wilds of Canada I have eaten, Saskatoons, Chokecherry or wild cherry, Blueberry, elsewhere I have eaten, Oregon Grape, Wild Grape, Wild Strawberries, Wild Raspberries, Blackberries, Elderberry, Serviceberry (same as Saskatoons outside Canada), Gooseberry, Huckleberry, Currents, and more, well you get it. There is a huge variety of berries available. Some come on only in the fall, others in late spring.
So now what about that claim that berries are food?
Prior to the modern era, berries were often used as a major part of meals. Native Indians gathered berries and dried them for storage. Berries were added to grain flours used for porrage, they were added to stews or mixed with meat and dried as pemmican. The thing about berries, and fruits is that when they are in season, they may be available in mass quantities. They are easily dried for storage. The natives used them as food, should we? Why not?
There are many varieties of berries as noted above, so nutritional values vary between them, but it is safe to list some general nutrients. Most of the berries have some quantity of Vitamin C, some have Vitamin K, and B. Many are high in Iron, Potassium, Calcium. Many of the darker berries are high in various Anti-Oxidants. They are a good source of carbs, and generally some protein, and many trace minerals. For the most part they are pleasant to eat, and when added to a coarse wilderness meal, can really brighten ones spirits.
When berries are in season, be sure to harvest some, eat them now or preserve them for later.
Until next time: Simplifying Survival – Perry Peacock