One of the newest features to be added to Minecraft is the hunger bar. Since the final 1.8 update, players go hungry over time if they don't replenish themselves. Hunger is also determined by the level of activity, meaning the more you run about or kill monsters, the hungrier your character becomes.
How do you satisfy the craving? When an animal like a chicken is killed, it drops food that can be eaten. Players can also craft bread and cake for food, as well as farm wheat, melons and hopefully soon—pumpkins. As of the 1.9 pre-release and the upcoming final release, players will have the additional option of breeding animals in captivity for food.
In this guide, we'll be going over food sources, their pros and cons, and how to optimize your output of them.
Let's first go over the types of Minecraft food and a little bit about them.
- Meat from cows, pigs, chickens, and fish. These are all pretty straight forward; you kill the mob and pick up its meat. However, if you cook meat in a furnace, the amount added to the hunger bar is increased. Be sure to never eat chicken raw, as it will poison you in-game.
- Non-meat food items include watermelons, bread, cake, cookies, wheat, sugar, milk, brown and red mushrooms, stew, and pumpkins (as of the 1.9 release). As of now, melons are the only non-meat food that can be eaten without preparation; the others have to be crafted.
Food farms can be anything from a pig pen to a melon patch, and they make the task of keeping your character alive a much simpler one. Let's look at the various kinds of farms and the best way in which to manage them.
- Mushroom Farms
By far the easiest and most potent food source are mushrooms. If you've ever stubbled into a cave or the swamp biome, then you've found yourself tripping over red and brown mushrooms. That's not even to speak of the mushroom biome itself in which mushrooms grow on cows. The bottom line in mushroom superiority is that they are easy to grow and when made into stew, replace four hunger bars. To farm mushrooms, simply place them down and left-click them with bonemeal which you can obtain from zombie bones. When you add bonemeal to placed mushrooms, they grow instantly into massive mushrooms, which when broken apart drop mushrooms of their like.
To make stew, all you need is a wooden bowl and a brown and red mushroom.
I can't speak enough about mushroom farming. It really is the best food source.
- Wheat Farms
Wheat farms are on the opposite spectrum of complexity than mushrooms, but can create much more powerful foods. Wheat seeds are obtained by breaking apart tall grass. To plant wheat, you will need to till the ground with a hoe and lay down seeds. In order for your wheat (or any crop) to grow, you will need to keep water near it. Wheat grows in three stages, the final in which you can pick up bundles of wheat and more seeds.
Once you can create and maintain a wheat farm, it's really rather great. From wheat you can create bread, cookies, and the most powerful food source of all—cake.
- Sugar Cane Farms
If the Minecraft world were reality, sugar cane would by far become the world's most beloved resource because it makes both sugar and books. Sugar cane farming is almost exactly the same as wheat farming except that it must be planted on sand. The principle of water trough placement applies.
Sugar from sugarcane helps make cake and is later used in potion making, though overall it is a much less necessary crop.
- Melon Farms
Melons are about as straight forward as wheat, except that you can only really eat them as they are. In the 1.9 update, there is an enchanted form of melon called glistering melon, although it has no greater food value than melon. You will find melon seeds first in abandoned mines. To further obtain melon seeds, place one melon slice in your crafting table.
- Pumpkin Farms
Making pumpkins eatable is supposed to be added in 1.9, but is not implemented as of yet.
You do not have to place long troughs of water to grow and keep farmland hydrated in Minecraft, though it certainly does the trick. There are some more efficient methods of water use you may wish to implement.
Water blocks will hydrate up to four farmland blocks away, both horizontally and diagonally. This makes for some interesting permaculture in-game. For instance, you can grow four plots of farm ground, each on a different level, if you place a trapped water block in its center as shown below.
This saves both time and water and looks really cool when you have different crops growing.
Here is an example of an efficient farm with two crops growing next to each other using the same principle as above.
Keep in mind animal husbandry will not be implemented until 1.9 is released. If you currently have the 1.9.4 pre-release, you can play with it there.
To tame, breed, and harvest wild animals into domesticated food sources, use the following process:
- In order to attract animal mobs you will need wheat. Approaching any mob with wheat in hand will attract it and cause it to follow you. If you wish to hold animals in one place, but sure to create a pen for them, get them to follow you into it, and lock them in tight!
- Naturally you cannot mate two animals of different species, at least not yet. Notch, are you listening? In order to get two (let's say cows) to mate, right-click two or more of them with wheat. This will send them into something called "love mode" and and soon enough (and after some bumping around) out of thing air will appear a baby animal.
- Now slaughter those puppies and reap the bounty!
There are two other forms of food that are much different than every other kind. One is rotten flesh which is dropped from zombie mobs. However, rotten flesh poisons the player, but it can also be used in potions.
The holy grail of all foods is the golden apple. Golden apples restore five hunger bars, which is one less than cake. But they are hard to find, as they only spawn in dungeon or abandoned mine chests.
As Minecraft nears completion, we hope to see more use of farming and animal husbandry implemented over time, as it is both interesting and fun to play with and is perhaps one of the most satisfying pastimes in Minecraft. Stay tuned to this guide for updates as content is added!
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