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11/07/2018 / By Zoey Sky
Foraging is a useful skill to have because it can help you identify wild edibles. It’s even more valuable when SHTF because it can help you stay alive if you lose your survival gear and food supplies. (h/t to BioPrepper.com.)
Once things have settled down after a disaster, assess your needs. Your first priority is to locate food, and knowing how to find edible plants can help solve this problem.
Keep these general tips in mind when foraging for edible plants:
Other general signs to avoid in plants include:
Many plants are poisonous, and eating a toxic plant can cause reactions that range from relatively mild, like vomiting, to severe ones like a coma, organ failure, or even death. A reliable method that you can use to determine if a plant is safe to eat is the “Universal Edibility Test” (UET), which was developed by the U.S. Army.
The tips below are from the U.S. Army Survival Manual FM21-76. Take note that some experts don’t believe that this test is effective since some plants may cause serious adverse reactions from skin contact.
Always carry a field manual when foraging and use the UET as a last resort. Fast for eight hours before testing a plant, and choose something abundant, so you don’t waste your time and risk your life for something that won’t even keep you full.
Not all parts of a plant can be poisonous. To illustrate, a plant with poisonous leaves may have edible roots and stalks. Take the plant apart into its main components for the UET.
Skin contact test
The bigger bite
When testing plants, remember that a plant can taste bad or bitter even if it’s edible. If you’re starving in the wild, you can’t afford to be fussy. Younger wild edibles won’t be as bitter and the more mature the leaf, the more bitter it will generally taste. You can boil plants to reduce the bitterness, but some plants might need to be boiled several times.
Remember the “Rule of threes:”
You also need to prioritize your immediate safety. Stay calm so you can act quickly and escape from a burning home or sinking vessel.
This article is no substitute for a field guide. Before eating or testing an unknown plant, use your common sense and follow the general guidelines from the UET discussed above when searching for wild edibles.
You can learn more about how wild edibles and foraging at FoodSupply.news.
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