You’ve probably seen them lining a hedgerow near you, so you’ll know the blackberries are back in force. These tasty little morsels are perfect for popping in your mouth on the walk home from work, but they can be used for more than just a snack if times get tough…
Here are seven ways they can be of use in the wilderness, but just make sure you pick the ones between 1.5 and 2.5 feet off the ground, or as dog leg cocking height as it is also known (a top tip from Gun Tech Dan!).
Found yourself in a tight spot without food or water? You shouldn’t eat when you have nothing to drink, but if you can forage some blackberries, squeeze them in a cloth and drink the juice.
Acting like nature’s Powerade (other brands are available!), it provides you with hydration, vitamins, minerals and sugars to keep you ticking over. You can also turn it into wine, when you’re not in such a perilous situation…
If you have laid out a snare or trap to catch a game animal for your dinner, you could take out your survival knife, slice up some blackberry stalks and use them as either a wall or prickly carpet to direct their movement towards the trap.
Similarly, you can use the thorn-covered blackberry stalks to alert you when anyone or anything is nearby. Tie up the branches and use them to block off an area. When something hits the thorns in the dark, your attention will be drawn to it, whatever it may be…
Hand drill fire
Need to make yourself a camp fire but have nothing to start it with? De-thorning a blackberry stalk can give you a hand drill spindle. It isn’t the best one you can get, but it is by no means the worse, and could be the difference between being warm and staying cold.
Blackberry leaves are a common ingredient in herbal tea, and for good reason. Steep around a teaspoon of dried leaf in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes and you’ve got yourself a drink that will warm the belly and boost your morale.
Upset stomach remedy
Had a drink from a dodgy looking water source? The tea can also be repeatedly drunk to stave off an upset stomach. Use around two teaspoons of dried leaf per cup of hot water and drink half a cup every hour, continuing until the ailment improves.
If the leaf tea isn’t doing the job, get a decent amount of blackberry root and add it to a cup of hot water, drinking half a cup per hour. This is a slightly more potent mix, and should do the job!
A bit fiddly, but in an emergency blackberry stalks with the thorns still attached can be turned into emergency fish gorges. The berries themselves can also be used as bait if you have any fishing kit with you, which may just land you a tasty dinner!
So next time you are out and about and spot the humble blackberry, it could come in handy if you are in a tight spot!