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How to prepare a salad in the woods

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

Pat Conroy

Being in the great Outdoors for activities like camping, hiking, huntingand so on surely requires a previous proper organization.

Itinerary, gear, clothing, food and water provisions should be carefully considered and planned in a smart and wise way. Not only in order to avoid mishaps, but also to live some quality time outdoor in total comfort and tranquility.

Food and water provisions occupy a special place if our desire is to spend more than one regular weekend outside.
Our meals should be calculated in terms of energies provided and quantities.

Meals could be a nice way to go to keep everything under control. Personally speaking, they are my food of choice, especially in those areas where campfires aren’t allowed.
Quite all over the Alps, in fact, you simply can’t start fires, besides some very few designated areas.

mint
mint

But what if you are dying for eating something fresh, like a good, nutritious salad?
Whent temperatures are getting severe, a fresh bowl happens to be a delicious option to assume mineral salts, refresh and depurate your organisms.

And meals-ready-to-eat can’t provide you that.
In this article we will learn how and where picking up some ingredients to make a salad while in the Great Outdoors.

We don’t necessarily have with us a cooler bag or making our way to the next Supermarket to create and to enjoy one!
All you need to do is to identify the correct plants, wash them carefully and season them with what you have in your food bag.

Healthy eating

“Healthy does NOT mean starving yourself EVER. Healthy means eating the right food in the right amount”.

Karen Salmansohn

It goes without saying that any activity led in the wilderness requires you more energy. The more it is physical demanding, the more it will consume your muscles, fibres, and fat.

For this reason is highly recommendable to assume more calories, because they will consist of the bricks for your energies.
Besides proteins and fats – which acquire a more significant meaning when the weather conditions start to be extremely poor – your body needs also mineral salts.

It’s all about maintaing a balanced and healthy eating. You can see it as part of your attempt to preserve your body for the future to come – you never know which kinds of depriving situations you may need to face.

Starting to eat in an adequate manner when Offgrid has either short either long terms benefits. To maintain an ideal weight, to be more athletic, to enhance your performance and your level of alertness, just to name a few.

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”. This famous adagio should always be stuck in your mind.
Abundance of food doesn’t mean to exploit all our stockpiles!

honey clover
honey clover

By varying your diet also when you are in the great outdoors by:

  • consuming more fruit and vegetables
  • consuming more fibers
  • alternating the protein you assume
  • increase the presence of rice, cereals and rye in your food cycle

It can surely sound a bit tricky, but it is not impossible at all.
Far from carrying with you tons of bags divided by c what they actually contain you can simply start to approach Plant ID. In this way you can:

  • save space in your equipment
  • carry less weight
  • dismiss any concern on how to maintain fresh fruit and vegetables
  • constantly refresh your Plant ID skills
  • be more familiar with the environment you are in.

Remember than a more active organism is a synonim of a proactive mindset. Fruit & veggie are surely playing a massive part of it in our everyday life.
So why don’t we let them do the very same in our time in the Great Outdoors?

Why salads

“[…] My salad days, When I was green in judgement, cold in blood […]”

William Shakespeare

Different types of salad mean different vitamins like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin A. Plus, they contain a lot of nutrients, which are good for your body, your skin, your mind and your heart rate too.

Salads are literally year-round, and so are those uncommon types which grow in the mountains.

Bear in mind that the more red & dark green leafy they are, the more they are higher in mineral salats, iron, antioxidants, Vitamin B6.

By saying so, by knowing the specifics of each one, you will be able to provide your body what it really needs to. In sunny days as well as in bad weather conditions, as you can actually boil the leaves and turn your salad into some delicious and nutritional soups.

Let get more into a list of some unsual ingredients for your salad in the Great Outdoors!

Unsual ingredients for salad

“Come from a plant, eat it; was made in a plant, don’t”

Michael Pollan

Malva domestica, Malva vulgaris, Malva rotundifolia, Malva sylvestris, Malva mauritiana, Malva ambigua, Malva alcea

Mauves are all part of MALVACEAE Family. Their new leaves are edible either raw either boiled.
You can find them in grasslands, up to 5900 feet of altitude.

Melitotus albus (or Melitotus alba)

Known as sweet clover, melilot, and kumoniga (from the Cumans), is part of the FABACEAE Family.
You can easily spot it at the sides of dirt roads, especially in wet areas. It is present up to 5000 feet high.
The sprouts can be eaten raw, dried, boiled and even roasted. You can employ his dried leaves to season roastbeef, bbq and stew.
It is also very good in infusions and teas.

Melitotus officinalis, Melitotus arvensis, Melitotus petitpierreana

They are the wild version of Melitotus albus. In this case you need to harvest only the yet blossomed spurs. In has been used for centuries all over the Alps to prepare tasty kinds of cheese.

Mentha longifolia, Mentha sylvestris, Mentha suaveolens, Mentha rotundifolia, Mentha aquatica

As mint, they are all part of the LAMIACEAE Family and due to the digestive functions are an exceptional benefit in your salad, especially if you suffer from stipsi. You can find them in grasslands and ditches.

Achillea nana

Yarrows (Family: ASTERACEAE) can be picked up from 5000 to 600 feet of altitude, as they mostly live in high mountaineer praires.

Young sprouts are what you need to gather if you would like to bring some anisee-like taste. But you can actually taste them also with diced fruit!

yarrow
yarrow

Succisa pratensis, Scabiosa succisa, Succisa praemorsa

Part of the DISPACACEAE Family, it is mainly known as devil’s-bit (devil’s-bit scabious). The english name of the family is honeysuckle.
It is a very common plant which lives in fairly humid grassland, up to 800 feet of altitude. You can create salads or soups with the most rouded leaves. They have several properties: digestive, depurative, expectorant and emmenagogic.

How to season a salad in the woods

“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”

Bethenny Frankel

A lot of people find extremely tough – and even unacceptable or digusting! – to eat a salad without any seasoning.

For this reason I would like to suggest several fruit you can actually process and turn into a powder which can fit your salad while providing you a good support of energies.

Beside the already mentioned melitot, you can also use:

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • acorns from beeches
  • hazelnuts

All you need to do is to gather several of them and make them dry in an open, clean, well ventilated place.
Avoid to keep them inside your tent, under your tarp or somewhere in a hidden, shady and humid spot in the woods.
Squirrels may steal your nuts!

Look for a open praire, and lay them on a rock checking your nuts periodically.
Once totally dried up, shred them patiently using the bottom of your knife or of your axe, your hands or a clean rock.

What you need to get out of them is a powder.
Once done, you can add it to your bowl of salad, maybe adding some raspberries, blueberries or any other kind of fruit.

Your salad will be not only cool, but also revitalizing, energies and happiness bringer.

Conclusions

“[…] For years, researchers have noted a link between eating lots of fruits and vegetables and lower risks of many diseases, particularly cancer. A recent stud suggests that people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of developing cancers of the head and neck — even those who smoke and drink heavily. Foods found to be particularly protective include beans and peas, string beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, and strawberries […]” (National Cancer Institute)

Salads suit your daily life as well as your outdoor time. Even in an emergency situation they could be able to provide what are you really looking for.

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