grubby question

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looks like i'll be moving back into the countryside soon --- means i'm closer to the jungle again (yay!) but also no more internet time on my favourite forum for a while:aarghh::( so i'm using the opportunity to post a question i've been pondering about for some time...:

insects are part of the diet in many parts of the world and i've eaten green ants, bush coconuts and witchetties during my time in the country of all countries (Australia <3 )
whilst working on Japan's largest camping ground i split firewood for a total of about 25% of my work time there and some logs contained grubs similar to witchetties -- when i told my co-workers that they're a delicacy amongst the Aborigines they first didn't believe me but one thing lead to another and finally we cooked a load on the BBQ in front of the office with most of the staff and even some guests trying some (they tasted like peanuts), one of my co-workers strangely objected against my bowl of roasted snacks in the fridge, though:D

huhu beetle grubs were once popular with Maori in Nz, sago grubs are eaten in New Guinea and i know similar grubs can be found in south america so i'm sure i'll find something likewise around here, too

is there a way to tell what's edible and what not?!(unfortunately nobody around here to ask...)


thanks!
(to avoid misunderstandings: i'll be eating "normal" food, not trying to live of the land but given an opportunity i wouldn't mind trying;))
 
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Toddy

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Entomophagy is a world wide thing apparently, but really only a commonplace part of the diet in the parts where they grow big or in massive numbers, like locusts.
As far as I know the grubs are edible, but, and it's a big but, depending upon where they're living and what they're eating. Insects can easily absorb heavy metals, like arsenic, that are really not advisible in any quantity in our diet.....and if they're ground grubs, well that's a whole other set of issues.

Pretty sure I read a list not so long ago on what insects are edible, I'll see if I can find it again.

No idea how you'd tell them apart though; safe and unsafe.

Interesting topic. Not to my dietary tastes, but, it's good food, it's bushcraft :)
 

santaman2000

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I suspect more are edible that are not. Lie Toddy though I don’t know how to tell which is which apart from watching what the natives eat.

Do they have to be land bugs? I eat shrimp, crawfish, lobster, and crabs every chance I get.
 

Robson Valley

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I tried honey bees, ants and some other crunchy bug thing. OK but I wouldn't reach for them again.
OTOH, I'm quite fond of animals with no legs like clams, mussels and oysters.
Marine crustaceans are good. Just animals with 6 or 8 legs, no, no thank you.
Calamari are OK but octopus should be left alive.

Grasshopper/locust thorax is one big lump of muscle (to power legs and wings).
Curried and mashed on toast might be quite a repast.
 
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I suspect more are edible that are not. Lie Toddy though I don’t know how to tell which is which apart from watching what the natives eat.

Do they have to be land bugs? I eat shrimp, crawfish, lobster, and crabs every chance I get.
thanks for the replies and Toddy's link. arsen etc. shouldn't be a problem in the rainforest -- it's more likely to be found in seafood from the ocean... .chemical defence is widespread in the rainforest and a concern, though...

there's landcrabs here in the rainforest but finding a good-sized male (==the females carry the young ones with them so i'll leave them alone) can be challenging... .i caught a small eel and shrimps in bottle traps in the river further down but have (basically) given up on fishing in the river as "bag and size limit" are not part of the local vocabulary...(despite this fact i was twice lucky to see a neotropical otter)

i know insects aren't everyone's thing but i've eaten some rather strange things in Korea (== when invited by my hosts) and confess having consumed calories served by a red-haired clown in a place with golden arches....
 

Janne

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Insects - maybe in a survival scenario, but not otherwise...

Snails, reptiles are fine. Ant eggs.
Earthworms taste bitter and vile.
I am not sure I would eat any small reptiles outside Europe, as poisonous ones exist there.
Except the very tasty iguana.
Land crabs are nice, if you like fiddly food.
 
i haven't been hungry enough to try earthworms, yet and snails/slugs of any kind won't make it onto the menu as i can't stand the sight of them...:depressed::nailbiting::eek:

iguanas are that tasty that they've been hunted almost to extinction here (i've seen only one in 3years) but they have some smaller cousins (up to 2ft.) which i come across on occasion -- being fast enough to catch them is the challenge:smuggrin: poison dart frogs and cane toads would be easy to grab but are off the menu for obvious reasons:emoji_skull::emoji_skull:

unfortunately my knowledge of edible plants around here is limited -- some "remains" from abandoned small farms, palm hearts and Brazil nuts (a few trees a day trip into the jungle and they're only in season for a short time (which should be soon -- hopefully i can check it out...)) is all i know so far:frown::frown:
 

Toddy

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I think you might do well to find someone local, maybe someone a lot older who likes to teach, and ask them what they know of the flora and fauna, and the edibility thereof, of the area.

I live in Scotland, it's quite normal to go for a walk with someone like ourselves, who knows their area, when in a different part of the country, and see what is in season, how edible or useful it is, and how to cook or prep it.

I'm pretty sure that's a world wide thing really. You can't be the only staff where you work, and if you're not all foreigners, there's bound to be someone interested in traditional foods and the like, or maybe they know a Grandpa or Granny who'd be happy to talk about the foods they ate when things were really tight, like during the war.
Here we call those famine foods, like knowing we can eat inner tree bark if we roast it and grind it first, kind of thing.

How about folks like this fellow, too ?
He's not Japanese, but he's in Japan and he's interested in this kind of stuff too.
 

Janne

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All birds are fine to eat, but tricky to catch. I will not disclose a method we were taught though.

Tasted earthworms only because I use them to fish, wanted to see why the fish like them.

I would be very careful to eat unknown fruit, or plants. Google ‘ Manchineel’
It grows in profusion here. Looks tasty. But is lethal.
No, if I were you, I would take a few Corned beef tins for short trips, dried meat for longer.
 

Robson Valley

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Visit the local village market, if you can find one. Might see what enterprising locals are foraging to sell.
There's lots to nibble on along our forest edges in late summer. But tedious to collect any amount.
Here, I'd buy several varieties of Vaccinium blue berries and the exquisite little wild strawberries.
But, get into a good patch of Saskatoon (Amelanchier) bushes and you might go 2-3 kg per hour.

I'd be interested in drying leafy greens and such, to be used months later.
 

Janne

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We used to dry wild herbs in Sweden. Wild thyme, wild garlic, those acidic plants with three lobed leaves. Juniper berries.

Not sure how palatable other edibles are once dried.
We do not have the digestive system of ruminants.
 

Woody girl

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I've dried kale to make kale crisps in my dehydrator . It dries very well . I'm not sure how it would rehydrate . Didn't like the kale crisps though!
I often dry birch and other leaves such as blackberry and raspberry and nettles for teas.
 
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Bats seems to be nice to eat. Soup seems to be the preferred way.
Saw the bat soup recently in the media. The bat liked it too, he smiled so widely the teeth showed!
they don't get as big as the fruit bats down under but this guy has the right advice:biggrin::D:

m.youtube.com/watch?v=ttYdJRtmZJU

to my knowledge chaga is not found in the tropics but to my surprise there's 3tall pine trees down near the coast (which i currently pass almost daily when taking my little munchkin to the beach...


to dry anything here you need a dehydrator, otherwise the permanent high humidity turns everything into mold rather quick (for a while i was on a place where they used one to dry bananas but they needed to be stored in the freezer to keep them edible...)

one big problem i encounter in regards to learning more is the fact that my spanish isn't up to communication level:( (combined with the fact i'm somewhat contact shy) -- fortunately one neighbour at the new place has jungle knowledge, hopefully i can convince him to show me some new stuff (his house is the only one i've seen which is still thatched with palm leaves)
 
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I would be very careful to eat unknown fruit, or plants. Google ‘ Manchineel’
It grows in profusion here. Looks tasty. But is lethal.
No, if I were you, I would take a few Corned beef tins for short trips, dried meat for longer.
the pic isn't very good but it somehow looks familiar -- given it's geographical range i'm sure it grows here, too...(not related, but once i noticed a small jar of seeds on the counter of a hostel in Korea -- the lady owning it thought they were beads, brought back from her trip to thailand. i had to inform her they were "aboriginal abortion pills" (abrus
precatorius) --- definitely not good to keep out near two small children)

the "edibility test" often shown in survival books isn't always working so i'll go by "if in doubt-- leave it out"
i use to carry oats, rice etc. on my backpacking trips but foraging/ fishing (where possible) along the way made for tastier meals and helps to save weight and allows me to stay out longer, hence my interest in bushtucker...
 

Janne

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What is this ‘edibility test’, how is it done?

Manchineel is super dangerous. I discovered this when I started cutting ( saw) to free up a large burl. Got a hellish eczema.
Googled it and found out what it was.