How do you grow or catch dinner in the forest with none of the modern day conveniences that we’re used to? In this episode of Primitive Technology, shrimp are caught with freshly woven funnel baskets made with lawyer cane, sticks, and vine. He cooks them in boiling water heated with hot rocks from the fire:

Shrimp (and fish) traps are simple traps designed to catch aquatic life due to their shape. It consists of a simple basket with a funnel shaped entrance. Shrimp easily find their way into the trap as they are funneled in, but have difficulty finding the way out…

I humanely killed the shrimp using the splitting method which destroys the central nervous system (boiling alive is more painful). Then I put them back in the pot with water. I collected some yams that I planted years ago from wild stock and put them in too…

This method of catching shrimp is easy with the only skill needed being basketry. In practice, a long stretch of creek might have several traps collecting food each day without any effort on the part of the fisherman. Bait is not necessary to catch shrimp as they will be naturally be drawn to the fish trap out of curiosity. But scraps from previous shrimp may be used to bring in new ones (they are cannibalistic) or other fish like eels. The shrimp trap is easy to build and can be reused many times.

And here’s what it takes to grow a sweet potato and yam patch in 3-4 months:

The sweet potato is a remarkable plant. It’s a staple food of many traditional cultures. NASA has considered it a potential crop to be grown on spaceships for long term missions. In terms of energy production it’s only 3rd behind sugar cane and cassava. It produces the most food value (a combination of edible energy and nutrition) of any crop per unit space and time.

Watch more Primitive Technology and more weaving on this site. Plus: Sweet potato vs. yam: What’s the difference?

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