Monday, July 7, 2014
How To Test A Plant To Determine If It Is Edible
How To Test A Plant To Determine If It Is Edible:
I'm about to start a series on wild edibles and wanted to get this post out of the way so I don't have to quote how to test something to determine if it will cause an adverse reaction to you. As always eating something you don't know exactly what it is or you have never tried before you need to be extremely careful! If you are not in a survival situation then please just consult an expert before eating any wild edible, if you are in a survival situation then this method is for you!
Step 1) Avoid having to use this method with proper training by consulting local experts prior to a survival situation. As always Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance........ There is no substitute for training, especially when you are betting your life on something! Some things I generally avoid: Mushrooms (just too many that can kill me), plants near roadways, plants near polluted water, anything with mold on it, and generally extremely bright colored plants. Those are just somethings I avoid personally, as you experience more wild edibles and develop your own do's and dont's.
Step 2) Find a plant that is plentiful in your immediate area, if you are going to go through this torture test then you might as well do it for a plant that you can eat more than one time!
Step 3) Don't eat (you can eat items that you know don't give you a reaction but there is always the chance it will taint your results) or drink anything but purified water for eight hours before.
Step 4) Separate the plant into potentially editable parts (Leaves, Stem, Roots, Bark, etc.) as each part of the plant will need to be tested for edibility individually as parts of a plant can be poisonous while other parts of the same plant are editable. Each part of the plant may also have a specific season in which it is edible.
Step 5) Determine if the plant is poisonous to contact, crush up the plant to expose interior sap and rub it on your elbow, wrist or leg. Rub each part of the plant on a different portion of the body. Only continue if there is no reaction with that portion of the plant after a waiting period of up to 2 hours but no less than thirty minutes.
Step 6) Rub a small portion of the plant on your face near your mouth (ensure you get some of the interior sap on your face by crushing the plant before rubbing it), if no reaction in 30 minutes to an hour you can move to the next step
Step 7) Rub the material on your tongue ensuring that you get some of the interior sap onto your tongue by crushing the plant for 5 minutes or more. If no reaction in 30 minutes to an hour you can move onto the next step.
Step 8) Chew a small portion of the plant for a few minutes with out swallowing any of the material or juices for at least 15 minutes. If no reaction within 30 minutes to an hour you can move onto the next step.
Step 9) Eat a very small portion of the plant and wait five to eight hours and if no reaction to the plant for the next 6-8 hours you are clear to move onto the next step.
Step 10) If all of the prior steps have passed you can slowly up your portion of the wild editable by as much as 1/2 to 1 cup per 8 hour time period without an adverse reaction.
Now when you add up all of the time above you see that this process is extremely time consuming and will leave you quite hungry for awhile... thus why prior proper training prevents you from going hungry. As always consult a wild edible expert for your region and train in advance to have the skill set to fall back on if you need it in a survival situation where reference materials are not available.