Summer is here, and so are the blackberries!
These dark berries are like sweet little gems from the wild. They are a delicious and nutritious source of food that we can forage almost anywhere, since they are found around the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s more to these berries than just a snack. Here are ten ways these plants can help you survive when times get tough.
1. Leaf tea
Blackberry leaves are a common herbal tea ingredient (particularly for the Celestial Seasonings company). Steep one teaspoon of dried leaf in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes, sweeten (if you have sweetener) and enjoy. This can boost morale, warm the belly and hide the flavor of an “off” water source.
2. Diarrhea remedy
The leaf tea can also be drunk repeatedly to help diminish the symptoms of diarrhea. Steep two teaspoons of dried leaf per cup of hot water. Start with half a cup every hour, and continue until the ailment improves. And if the leaf tea isn’t getting the job done, steep one ounce of fresh blackberry root in a cup of hot water and drink half of a cup per hour.
3. Flower petals
The fragrant white petals can be added to salads and other dishes. They don’t contain many calories, but they can make those bitter wild greens taste much better.
4. Perimeter alarm
Carefully tie up the thorn-covered strands of blackberry stalk to block the trails at night. This can give you a perimeter alarm around your camp. When any two-legged and tender-skinned predators hit the thorns in the dark, they’ll have a hard time staying silent.
5. Trap guidance
Need to funnel a game animal into your snare noose or foothold? A wall or carpet of prickly blackberry stalks can direct their movement and guide them into the trap.
6. Pemmican ingredient
Dried berries are an ancient and traditional ingredient in Native American pemmican recipes. These “meatballs” are typically a blend of powdered jerky, dried berries and rendered fat. Rolled into balls and eaten as trail food, pemmican provides a massive amount of calories (thanks to the fat), and it supplies protein and carbohydrates, too.
7. Hand drill spindle
Need to make a friction fire? While de-thorned blackberry stalks aren’t the best hand drill spindle, they’re not the worst either. If it’s the best you can find, give it a try.
No food or water? You shouldn’t eat when you have nothing to drink, but you can squeeze blackberries in a cloth and drink the juice. This provides hydration, sugars, vitamins and minerals. It’s like nature’s Gatorade! You can even turn it into wine.
Small slivers of blackberry stalk with the thorns still attached can be turned into emergency fish gorges, a hook style that works then the fish swallows a sharp object that sticks in their throat. Land them gently with a dip net, as it’s easy for fish to shake these “hooks” out.
10. Eat them
Eaten by the handful or bucketful, blackberries are good food and good for you.
Leave us a comment to share different ideas about the survival uses for blackberries.