Tag Archives: ground cherries

Fall P.E.M.U. recipes…


We had great weather for a great class this past Saturday. Some people are interested in foraging for survival purposes, some for medicinal, and some for culinary. At BigPig Outdoors we try to cater to all the crowds, so we forage and cook over the fire and also dine on stuff I bring from the house.

Among the many plants from the field, we harvested hackberries, groundnut beans and tubers, jerusalem artichokes, hog peanuts, muscadines, wild grapes, black walnuts, cattail, watercress, and hickory nuts. We soothed fire ant bites with plant medicine, made cordage in the cattail swamp, tasted ground cherries, played with pitch glue, and crushed an iPhone.

Hickory nut milk simmering on the fire…


From the kitchen we ate autumn olive fruit leather, papaw bread, persimmon bread, autumn olive juice, and beautyberry jelly. You may have missed the class, but you don’t have to miss the recipes..


Papaw (or persimmon) bread – adapted from https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ksu-pawpaw/cooking.html#CAKES

Pawpaw Bread d
1 c. melted butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pawpaw pulp
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3 c. pecan pieces plus 16 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease two 9x4x2-inch loaf pans. Beat together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add and beat in the pawpaw pulp and lemon juice. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and stir them into the batter. Stir in the pecans and scrape the batter into the loaf pans. Garnish each loaf with 8 pecan halves, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top corners of the loaf will burn, but that adds flavor and character.

Beautyberry jelly – https://bigpigblog.com/2013/10/02/beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-be-rry-holder/

1 ½ qts. of Beautyberries, washed and clean of green stems and leaves. Cover with 2 qts. water.Boil 20 minutes and strain to make infusion. Use 3 cups of the infusion, bring to boil, add 1 envelope Sure-Jell and 4 ½ cups sugar. Bring to second boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until foam forms. Skim off foam, pour into sterilized jars, cap.

Interested in learning more about the plants around us? Check here for upcoming class dates: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/poisonous–edible–medicinal—-useful-plants.html


Catch me if you can…


And they did… It was the final exercise, and I thought I was home free. During a simulated manhunt, myself and three other instructors set out from the vehicles on a 3500 acre property in the heart of Kentucky. A couple hours later, they had caught two of my gang. Rob Spieden, http://www.trackingschool.com,  and I were the last two. We had stuck together up until this point, but with the teams now focused on picking up where we had given them the slip, we planned on splitting up and I would slip back behind them and check the security on the command center.

I wished Rob good luck, and slipped through the the tall weeds to the edge of a clearing. I glassed the field edges looking for any security teams and felt at ease watching a flock of turkeys enter the woods where I was heading. Trying to stay out of the briars, I was five steps into cutting the corner of the field when I was challenged by five M4 wielding SWAT members in full predator mode.

Like any good prey, I ran like hell. I was sure that with my headstart and the downhill slope I was going to leave them in the dust, but little did I know that the SRT team had picked up my trail and I was sandwiched between them. My 300 hundred yard dash to freedom came to a end as I heard the footsteps crashing behind me. Give these meat-eaters an excuse to tackle you and they gladly will, so I did what any fugitive with half a brain would do and dove to the ground just in time to avoid getting crushed.

I had just spent the week helping Mike Hull,  owner/operator of VITALE LLC and an affiliate of the Scott-Donelan Tracking School, teach a Level II Tactical Tracking class to the Kentucky State Police SRT Team and the Frankfort PD SWAT team. Level II class picks up where the Level I leaves off, focusing on command and control, land navigation, rural surveillance, IED detection and coordinating multiple teams.

An outstanding class with a some of Kentucky’s finest. Check out Mike’s website to schedule training:  http://www.vitalellc.com/

On a side note, while on the run, I did eat some ground cherries, collect some dogbane for cordage, milkweed pods for seeding my area, a mulberry branch, horseweed stems, cedar bark (all for friction fire), some burdock seeds, and even spied some shaggy manes. All in a good day’s work of being a “fugitive”.



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