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Surviving in the wild: How to make wild berry fruit leather for a healthy snack while hiking or camping

Wilderness expert Zach Gault actually dehydrates fruit using the power of the sun and so can you.

Wilderness expert Zach Gault actually dehydrates fruit using the power of the sun and so can you.

When embarking on a camping trip or a multi-day hike, there are certain foods you'll always want to bring with you from home, but there are also opportunities to take advantage of what the land has to give and create your own snacks along the way. In this wilderness skills video, Zach demonstrates how to make dehydrated fruit leather from foraged wild berries*, using the sun and other elements found in nature. It's just like a Fruit Roll-Up, but all-natural and ideal for those seeking sustenance in a wilderness environment. Check out the video below to see how it's done, and scroll down for full instructions.

(*NOTE: When harvesting and foraging for wild edibles and leaves it is crucial to make sure you have a complete understanding of what you are putting into your body. If you cannot identify the plant or species 100% positively, do not consume it.)

Surviving in the wild: How to make wild berry fruit leather for a healthy snack while hiking or camping

4 years ago
Duration 4:15
Wilderness expert Zach Gault actually dehydrates fruit using the power of the sun and so can you.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Foraging container
  • Wild blackberries*, or a similar fruit
  • Wild Peppermint* (optional)
  • 1 fist-sized rock, to use as a pestle
  • 1 arm-length-sized base rock, to use as a mortar
  • Heat source (this will likely be the sun)
  • Stick or T-Bar clamp, to use as a rolling pin
  • Cotton bandana

Here's how to do it:

1. Source out an abundant patch of wild blackberries* or another edible wild fruit* and proceed to collect enough to fill your foraging container or vessel to the top rim. Use caution when foraging as blackberry shrubs have sharp thorns.

2. The next resource you are going to collect is wild peppermint* or a mint substitute*. You'll be able to identify peppermint by its strong aroma, square stem and sawtooth leaves. Collect accordingly to the amount of fruit you are going to process. This step is not crucial as it only aids in digestion and adds flavour – it can be skipped if not desired or due to allergies.

3. Locate and gather 1 fist-sized rock and 1 arm-length-sized rock that will act in a mortar and pestle fashion to help process your wild edibles. If necessary, use wet sand to help clean and scrub the rocks before using.

4. Locate and gather an appropriate amount of flat rocks that will act as drying boards. Wood can also be split and act as a substitute in place of the rocks if resources are limited.

5. Source out a location close to a running water source or a wash area, as the following process can be messy.

6. With all of the resources collected, start by fully spreading out the cotton bandana over the largest base rock and begin to place small amounts of the foraged blackberries in the centre, being careful not to lose any of the fruit yield.

7. After adding a small amount of blackberries onto the bandana, grab all four corners of the bandana and begin to process and mush the fruit inside the bandana – straining the juice and moisture in the process. Repeat until you have sufficiently added the entire yield of fruit into the bandana and begun to process it. Then, place the remaining pulp, seeds and juice carefully onto the base rock.

8. Using the fist sized rock you collected earlier, begin to work in and process the fruit, pulverizing the pulp and seeds and leaving you with a fine puree.

9. With all of the fruit now in a fine pulp puree, add in wild peppermint and, using the fist-sized rock, work it into the fruit puree mix. If not using peppermint, skip this step.

10. Place the processed fruit back into the bandana and give a final ring out for any moisture or juice.

11. Using the flat rocks collected earlier, begin to make palm sized patties out of the fruit puree and carefully place them onto the rocks in a desirable location that sees ample amounts of sunlight.

12. Using a stick or the T-Bar clamp from your foraging container, roll out any inconsistencies in the fruit puree, spreading it out in the process and allowing it to dehydrate faster.

13. Using the radiant heat from the sun, the fruit puree cakes will begin to dry and dehydrate over the course of a few days with enough sunlight and heat, leaving you with a snack that is well-preserved and will last much longer on the trail compared to freshly picked fruit. Be sure to monitor the fruit leather every so often and cover it with the bandana, if leaving unattended.

14. Once completely dehydrated, the preserved fruits will look similar to billtong or beef jerky, and will be ready for snacking on the go!

Zachary Gault, Owner and Instructor at Primitive Living is a Wilderness Skills Instructor who specializes in the art & skills of Bushcraft, Self-Reliance and Sustainable Wilderness-Living. He passes on his knowledge of nature and the outdoors with formal teaching of these tribal skills, as he feels there is a strong connection to the earth when you strip away modern comforts and learn to create them yourself from nature. Zach's exploits of his treks in different remote environments can be viewed through his social media page.

This video was filmed and edited by Trustin Timber Productions. Follow them on Instagram and YouTube for more.