How to Know If a Plant Is Safe to Eat

No matter how hard you work to make sure you’re prepared for a disaster, it’s impossible to predict everything and it’s possible that you could find yourself parted from your food stores. When this happens, knowing how to find edible wild food can be a real life saver. Literally!

Technically, your body can go three weeks without any food, but don’t assume that you don’t have to worry about eating. Lack of food will quickly take a toll on you and you’ll feel light headed and lethargic after going a few days without eating. The sooner you locate food, the better.

While the wilderness has lots of plants that can provide you with the needed nourishment, there are also plenty of foods that will do you more harm than good. The way your body reacts to eating a plant that’s toxic to humans depends on the plant, how much you consume, and your own personal resistance. A severe reaction to a toxic plant can include:

  • Death
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Lapsing into a coma
  • Severe vomiting

Testing Wild Plants for Human Consumption

You need to be hungry before you can effectively test whether or not the plant you’re hoping is edible. The Army suggests fasting for a minimum of 8 hours before you test the plant. The reason for this is so that you’ll know that however your body reacts, it’s to that specific plant and not something else.

While you fast, you can start the testing process. Crush up the plant you’re testing and rub it on a patch of your skin. Don’t wash this area for the next 8 hours. If you experience a reaction, consider the plant toxic and move onto another. When the hardy skin on your arm doesn’t react. Rub another crushed portion of the plant against your lips which are a great deal more sensitive. You need to hold the crushed plant material to your lips for a solid three minutes. If you don’t experience any burning, itching, or swelling, you can place the crushed plant matter on your tongue for 15 minutes. If you don’t react, it’s time to move onto the chew test.

The chew test portion of the plant testing is exactly what it sounds like. You chew the plant but don’t swallow any of it. After chewing the plant, hold the chewed matter in your mouth for a full 15 minutes. If you don’t experience any ill effects, you can swallow what you have in your mouth.

After you have swallowed the chewed portion of the plant, you are going to have to fast for another 8 hour period. It takes this long for the plant to pass through your digestive system so you can determine whether or not you’re going to react badly to it. You are free to drink as much water as you like during this fasting period which will take some of the edge off your hunger.

If you still feel good after 8 hours, you’re free to eat a small (1/4th of a cup) portion of the plant. Now wait another 8 hours. If you don’t experience any ill effects Tutuapp APK, you can consider the plant safe to consume!

Additional Precautions

If there isn’t an abundance of a particular plant, you shouldn’t even think about testing it. The scarcity of the plant means it can be used as a viable food source and therefore isn’t worth any risk you expose yourself to during the testing process.

The Army developed what they call “Universal Edibility Test” which you can use to help you determine what you should and shouldn’t eat in a survival situation.

Before you put anything in your mouth, you want to examine it carefully for signs of rot or mold. If you see either of these things, discard the plant and look for something else.

The Army suggests thoroughly smelling anything you pick before consuming it. The scent you’re looking for is almonds. The almond like smell indicates the plant contains cyanided and needs to be left alone.

Taste the plant without actually swallowing it. One of the best indicators that you’re about to eat something toxic is a bitter taste.

Pay careful attention to the leaves. Are they shiny? Are they bunched in groups of three? The odds are good that you’re looking at poison ivy. Don’t touch it and don’t taste it. This is a plant that should always be left alone.

Unless you have spent an extensive period of time studying mushrooms and fungi and are 100% confident about what you can and can’t eat, you should avoid these. The risk of eating a toxic variety is too high to justify testing them.

If there are any signs of chemical pollution in the area, don’t test any of the plants in the area and refrain from eating any of the edible plants you recognize until you have reached an area that doesn’t have any signs of pollution.

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About Ms. Prepper

I’m Laura P, aka, Passion Prepper, aka, MsPrepper! I’ve been homesteading nearly all my life and prepping for the last 6 years. I strongly believe our great country of America was built on self-sufficient families like mine and yours. Politics bores me, learning new stuff, getting outside and living life thrills me.

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