Whether you’re hiking, camping, or in a crisis it’s hugely important to be able to identify various types of plants.Not only does this skill help you avoid the poisonous ones – it also helps you know which ones are safe to consume.And this is crucial, considering you may need to depend on eating many types of plants in order to stay alive.
Using the information in this article you can start to know…
How To Answer: “Is This Plant Safe To Eat?”
Testing For Edibility
In a survival situation you may encounter many types of plants you aren’t familiar with. So before you put them in your mouth, the first step is to study the plant. Does it have a bad smell? Do you get a negative reaction by touching the plant? Is it thorny or have bristles that would be uncomfortable to eat? These observations can help you determine if the plant is safe to consume.
Next take the leaves of the plant and lightly rub them on your wrist. Generally if your skin does not experience a negative reaction within the first 15 minutes, the plant is safe for consumption. However, it’s important to remember that some skin reactions can show up later than 15 minutes (so give yourself an extra bit of time if you’re feeling cautious).
If after 15 minutes, there has been no reaction, try the same test using a different part of the plant (like the stem). This is important, since not all parts of a plant are necessarily edible (or non-poisonous).
Do The Taste Test
Once you’re confident the plant seems safe, it’s time to prepare it. Make sure to prepare it (cooking, sautéing, boiling, tearing and boiling for use in tea, etc.) in the way you wish to consume it. DO NOT just start putting raw plants in your mouth – this can be very dangerous.
Once you prepare the plant to your liking, rub it on the outside of your lip. If you do not experience a negative reaction in 15 minutes, that is a good sign.
Next place a small part of the plant onto your tongue and hold it there for a full minute. If there is still no negative reaction, chew the plant slowly – but do not swallow. Wait another 15 minutes to see how your mouth and body react to the plant. If after that point there is no negative reaction, you are free to consume it.
A Note To The Reader
This process may seem very tedious and time-consuming… and it very well can be. But it is far better to take the time and go slow than to hastily start consuming plants that will provide a very serious (or fatal) reaction. Although this process can seem to take forever, it is worth the time and effort.
It’s also important to remember that just because one part of the plant is edible, doesn’t mean all parts of it are. Repeat this procedure for each part of the plant you wish to eat. After all, this process can be crucial to your survival.
Identifying plants is hugely important for staving off hunger. Keep in mind you’ll want to do this process on a semi-full stomach so that your hunger does not cause you to rush through and eat something you’ll regret.