Believe it or not, the trees that surround us can serve as a source of food in the form of theirs bark. You may not have thought of this as a snack, but some tree varieties offer bark as a survival food.
1. Willow Bark
Willow trees have bark that can act as a cure for the ailments that aspirin is commonly used to treat. These include headaches, muscle aches, inflammation and menstruation. Furthermore, cortical bark is cited as an aid in symptoms, prevention and recovery from viral infections, such as influenza or colds.
Willow trees usually grow near water and occur in clumps. There are many arrows that are difficult to tell apart from each other, but they can all be consumed safely for medical purposes.
Crying arrows are usually quite recognizable, but non-crying arrows are more challenging. These trees usually have leaves that are long and lanceolate with a distinct ridge that runs across the middle. Some willow trees have oval leaves. The veins of the leaves reach each leaf from the central ridge. Most arrow species have veins that alternate or compensate on the leaves.
If you want to consume willow bark, the best time to harvest it is in late winter and early spring. At other times of the year it is also possible to do so, but is less fruitful by an effort. Willow bark is best consumed by adding it to tea. However, do not let the bark boil and steep for no longer than 20 minutes. Many people quote that the taste of willow bark is bitter. If you think this is the case, compensating for the bitterness may be to mix it with ground ivy.
2. Pine Bark
A commonly consumed tree bark in North America is pine. The inner bark and pine nuts produced by this tree can be eaten. For the record, chopped pine needles can be trampled in hot water to create pine needles, which are rich in vitamin C (but it can be harmful for pregnant women to eat).
Once you have identified a pine tree and are ready to harvest the bark, start by shaving off the gray, outer bark. The greenish middle layer of pine bark must also be shaved off to prepare it for consumption. The inner layer presents itself as a white or cream-colored layer. The bark feels soft while the tree – just below the bark – is hard and smooth. Peel the white or cream colored inner bark.
Then prepare the bark for consumption. You can choose to fry the bark strips for a few moments on each side in a pan with oil. Do this until the bark is crispy, and it should look like a snack like beef in the shaft. You can alternatively mix pine bark in other foods. For example, you can create flour with the bark. Dry the bark in the sun to do so. It should take about a day to do this. Either use two stones to grind the dried bark into flour – which will resemble oatmeal – or use a blender or food processor to get the job done. Store the flour in a cool, dark place until used.
3. Cottonwood Bark
Like willow bark, cotton bark has medicinal properties. It is especially good for consumption to relieve muscle pain. Cotton wood contains an abundance of antioxidants and is good in tea form to ease coughs and colds. For external use, cotton bark can be made into an ointment that treats wounds in the same way as Neosporin. Cotton wood has a long shelf life because it acts as a preservative, so everything edible you make of it will surely last a long time. Keep in mind that due to the presence of salicin, individuals with kidney problems or aspirin allergies should avoid eating cotton bark.
Tree trees usually live in wet areas and are common surrounding rivers. Their branches are usually thick and long and when fully grown, these trees stand between 75 and 100 feet tall. These trees have triangular or teardrop-shaped leaves with flat stems and serrated edges. During the warm weather periods, these trees grow cotton-like, fluffy white seeds that are hidden from the branches. Cotton trees have thin, light gray bark with vertical lines.
To prepare the bark for consumption, you want to strip it to get to the sticky little buds that live in the bark. Infuse these buds in oil and use it to relieve the pain of toothache or to ward off infections and parasites.
These are just some of the edible tree bark that can be used for nutrition and medicinal purposes.