Tree Bacon
Facebook Screenshot: The Wooded Beardsman

Tree Bacon: A Survival Food for the Savvy Woodsman

If you've never tried tree bacon before, here's how to harvest it, cook it, and eat it.

Ever heard of tree bacon?

Right off the bat, we see the word bacon and are drawn in, but this isn't your daddy's pork belly. This is the harvest of a particular tree's cambium layer, which if you didn't already know, is entirely edible.

In this video, the Wooded Beardsman uses his old-school (but recently made) Viking axe to shred the outside layer of a nearby pine tree. Then he shows how easy it is to gain access to the inner layer under the tree bark.

It's just that for a moment, you may think that he's joking.

Actually it's completely legit. This video that will show you how to get at the inner bark, cook it, and then leave you wanting some tree bacon... or maybe not.

The Daily Garden says, "Cambium is a thin layer of living tissue, found between the xylem and phloem of vascular plants, that manufactures the new cells used in secondary growth." Getting to this layer of the tree is easy enough, but it doesn't look very appetizing.

You can eat the cambium layer raw, but it's not very good that way. The next step was to fry it in, of all things, bear fat. That way you can make crispy chips out of it. It still didn't look very good, but in a survival situation that hardiness could definitely make the difference.

Is tapping the so-called Bacon Tree really worth it?

Finding and eating the stuff between the inner tree bark and the hardwood was common among Native American cultures, but our modern palettes have become a little more sophisticated than theirs. Historically, Europeans were known to grind cambium into flour.

The thing is, any time we see something frying in a cast iron skillet, we want to try it, and this is no different. It's just that, as he said, "It looks more like a piece of burnt wood than a chip" but that "if you were in a famine you could eat it." This ain't exactly beef jerky, if you know what I mean. 

The bottom line is that it's "edible, but not incredible." We'll take your word for it, and count it on our list of survival foods.

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