A survival fan with thousands of hours on survival games and still a desire to chop trees.
Food in Valheim
Food can be found all over the world in Valheim. Mushrooms can be picked off the ground, meat drops from many slain animals, you can plant and harvest crops from seeds, and you can even craft beehives from queen honeybees to gather honey from. Doing so is necessary to survive and progress effectively. Each food increases your health, stamina, and health regeneration. Higher tier foods grant more, so progressing in food will help you progress further in the game. Furthermore, there are three larger categories of food; health dominant, stamina dominant, and balanced. Below you can find charts of the different foods and their impact.
Food Types Depicted by Icon Color
Hunting or Taming for Meats
Meats are generally a health dominant food, so they can be quite useful for tanking in combat. You can run around and kill animals for meat, taking note to kill higher star animals as they drop more meat. But you can also tame, breed, and harvest animals for meat. A common way to do this is to find and tame a 2-star boar, wolf, or both. From there you can keep multiple in a pen where they will occasionally breed.
To harvest them, you'll have to craft a butcher's knife at the forge. Then you'll be able to kill your tamed animals and reap what can be a very easy but high volume amount of meat to keep your food stocks full.
One of the more calming and rewarding points of Valheim food preparation is farming. When you have reached bronze and core wood, you can craft a cultivator. This can then be used to turn land into farmable soil where you can plant seeds and grow crops. You can also plant some of the crops to turn them into seeds to sustain yourself.
Plants simply need good soil, enough space between them, and sun to grow. Without sun, they will wither and die. However, it's important to note that while you don't need to specifically water or otherwise care for them, certain plants only grow in specific areas.
- Carrots, turnips, and onions will grow in the Meadows, Black Forest, and Plains biomes.
- Flax and barley will only grow in the Plains biome.
While by themselves these foods are fairly low quality, they can be used to craft more advanced recipes to reach higher health and stamina. This makes farming one of the key ways to push into end game content. For example, bread is a very strong stamina dominant food, and it requires barley flour to make the dough which can then be cooked in a stone oven.
Harvesting Honey From Beehives
Occasionally you will find abandoned houses in the world of Valheim, but even less frequently you will find a beehive in these houses. If destroyed, it will drop a Queen bee. You can then use this Queen bee to craft yourself a beehive, place it around your base, and start farming honey. It's an incredibly simple way to get a renewable source of food that's great for just hanging around the base while doing various things like building, farming, or crafting. However, do take note that beehives cannot be too close to each other nor can they be covered. If you interact with a beehive that says the beers are unhappy, you'll need to move it.
While some food can be eaten directly when collected such as mushrooms or carrots, other foods need to be cooked or otherwise prepared. In fact, many of the basic foods that can be eaten immediately can eventually be used in soups or other recipes that provide even better stats.
- Place raw meat on a cooking station placed over a fire to cook it. You must manually press E and pop the meat off when it is done. Leaving it on too long will burn the meat and turn it into coal.
- A cauldron can be crafted to prepare more complex meals. It must be placed over a lit fire to function. It can also be leveled up by crafting upgrades and placing them nearby similar to workbenches.
- Some end game foods, specifically bread and lox meat pie, require the use of a stone oven. The raw materials are crafted in the cauldron and then placed into the oven to cook.
Unsurprisingly, cooking food is critical to reaching higher tier foods and progressing towards end game. The sooner you can get a cauldron, the better.
Food is obviously a cornerstone of the survival genre, and Valheim does little to deviate from that norm. I personally find the food cultivation a very satisfying component of the game as there are multiple layers to the systems allowing for significant growth and specialization over time. Building a fully functional farm is both entertaining and viable. It's not trivial work to get to high tier food, so bringing it out for the group to take on a new challenge is satisfying and rewarding.