Mental Floss

Tree Bark Eating for Beginners

Mangesh & Jason
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As the economy sputters, everyone's looking for new ways to save on food. That's why, we asked David Clark to collect a whole bunch of no-budget meal ideas for the new issue. Here are his tips for chowing down on tree bark.

A Nice Slice of Tree Bark

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How to Prepare It

For the choicest strips of bark, be sure to go for the nutritious, tender inner layer known as the cambium. (Eating the outer bark would be no more pleasant than chomping into your bookshelf.) If some resin or gum oozes out as you pry off the main course, be sure to lap it up for quick energy. Here are a few fun ways to serve tree bark:

  • Raw. Shred finely and chew thoroughly.
  • Slice it into strips and boil it to make a rustic pasta. Top with sap, dandelion greens, or insect parts (see entry #2). Alternatively, you can add the noodles to a stew.
  • Dry and grind into flour. The ground bark is pretty versatile and can be mixed with water into a breakfast gruel, baked into bread, added to soup for extra body, or even guzzled straight like a Pixy Stick.
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(PS: The frying pan photo above comes from this great page on bark eating.)

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