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Mud and Bamboo: 3 Natural Cooking Tools That Bear Grylls Uses in the Wild

During his years of adventuring in the wild, survivalist Bear Grylls has figured out many clever ways of cooking, using materials from nature. Best of all, these methods save on carrying or washing pots and pans.

Here are some favorites that Bear has written about:

Mud baking

Baking something like a fish in mud is a traditional way of cooking and you don’t need a grill pan or pot.

Bear likes to gut a fish and then lay it onto some non-poisonous green leaves. Folding the leaves over the fish, so that it is totally covered, he binds this all up with twine, like a packet.

Next, pack mud all around the packet. You can use clay or mud that has the texture of clay, rather than wet mud. Check that there are no holes.

Dig a hole in the embers of your fire, bury the whole packet in hot coals and leave it to cook – a medium size fish takes around 20-30 minutes to cook. Be extremely careful when removing it as the mud can stay very hot.

Bamboo pot

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Image by Christophe Lehenaff

Large bamboo stalks, which can grow up to 20cm in diameter, can make great cooking vessels.

Bamboos have evenly spaced notches along them – which form solid cross-sections inside. If you take a large piece of bamboo and make a cut just outside two adjacent notches, you will end up with a tube that is closed at both ends. 

Put this on its side, and cut a long hole in the top of the middle section. You now have an excellent cooking pot which is closed at both ends, useful for boiling and simmering. 

Prop each end of your ‘pot’ up with logs or onto a frame made with smaller bamboo, and place it over the fire.

Bamboo steamer

Take a large piece of green bamboo and make a few holes into the two walls that divide the bamboo log into three compartments. Put food in one end and water in the other, and tilt the bamboo over the fire, with the water at the end nearest the fire. 

As the water heats, the steam rises and goes through the middle section to steam-cook the food at the other end.

Read more of Bear’s cooking tips for his favorite campfire breakfasts, including how he likes to cook his entire breakfast in a paper bag.

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