Wild Plants: How to Tell Which Plants Are Edible and Safe to Eat

How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Safe to Eat

Survival Food: Learn the Universal Edibility Test Now!

Wild plants are everywhere. That’s a good thing because in SHTF situations they help to provide both shelter and food sources for survival. But out of all the thousands of plants, flowers, berries and roots, how can you tell which ones are safe to eat and which ones may be not so safe or even deadly to consume?

In our quest for a good answer we came across the following article by Jacob Hunter from Primal Survivor that provided some great guidelines to follow and precautions to take for determining the safety of a wild plant.

How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Safe to EatI’ve got survival food packed in my Bug Out Bag, but I also know that it is going to run out quickly. That is why one of the most important survival skills to know (whether for camping or the zombie apocalypse) is being able to tell if a plant is edible.

In the ideal world, we’d all get copies of edible plant field guides, and learn every single plant in them. But this just ain’t gonna happen. Even if my memory was good enough to remember all of the edible plants, putting this knowledge to use in survival situations is a lot harder. Lots of edible plants resemble poisonous ones (especially the case with mushrooms), so going on visual ID just isn’t going to cut it. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t memorize edible plants – but you should also learn the Universal Edibility Test too.

The Universal Edibility Test

The Universal Edibility Test is a series of steps you take to determine whether a plant is poisonous or safe to eat. The idea of the steps is to gradually expose your body to the plant and see if any reaction occurs. This way, if the plant is poisonous, you won’t get it in a high dose and any negative effects will be minimal.

Note: In a survival situation, you’d probably be better off eating bugs for survival instead of plants. Most insects are edible and highly nutritious. Never eat wild mushrooms that you can’t identify with 100% confidence. The risk is too high. You could end up with diarrhea (which would dehydrate you, amongst other problems), hallucinating, or dead. Don’t risk it!

Step 1

For the Universal Edibility Test to work, you must first fast for 8 hours. This means you have eaten nothing and drank nothing but purified water. But, if you are in a situation where you have to eat unknown plants, then this will probably be the case.

How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Safe to EatStep 2

Cut the plant up into its parts:

  • Leaves
  • Stems/stalks
  • Roots
  • Flowers
  • Seeds

The reason for doing this is because some parts of a plant may be edible whereas others are not or are even poisonous. For example, rhubarb stalks are edible whereas the leaves are toxic. You have to test each plant part individually for the Edibility Test to work.

Step 3

Rub a plant part onto your skin to see if there is a reaction. Make sure that you are crushing the stalks and roots so the juices get onto your skin. If no reaction occurs within 8 hours, then you can continue with the next step (yes, the Universal Edibility Test takes a while).

Note that the Universal Edibility Test isn’t foolproof. For example, stinging nettles will cause a reaction when they touch your skin – but they are also one of the most well-known wild edible plants and highly nutritious. You’ve just got to cook the nettles first.

Step 4

How to Tell if a Wild Plant is Safe to EatIf possible, cook a small portion of the plant parts. You can also test them raw, but it is generally better to cook the plants. Some plants are poisonous when raw but safe to eat when cooked. Also, it is generally better to eat plants cooked because they can be hard on your digestive system if eaten raw (especially the case with roots and tubers).

Step 5

Put a small portion of the cooked or raw plant against your lips. Hold it there for at least 3 minutes. If the plant causes any sort of reaction (such as swelling or a tingly feeling), then do not continue with it.

Click the “Next” Button Below for the Final Steps (6-10) on How to Tell Which Wild Plants Are Edible and Safe to Eat

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