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Universal Edibility Test

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Sentry18

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I need someone to peruse this and tell me if it has credibility. This is not my area of expertise.


https://prepperswill.com/the-universal-edibility-test/

  1. The Universal Edibility Test – The 9 Critical and Lifesaving Steps
    January 8, 2020 by Bob Rodgers
    It is unfortunate but true that there may be times when you bug out or in for that matter, and you have nothing left to eat. You always see a lot of plants around, but how do you know if you can eat them? Well, first of all, you may find it very beneficial to know your local area, and what plants can and cannot be eaten. If you are in an area that you do not know, however, that’s where the universal edibility test comes in.


    Of course, the last thing that you want to do is eat anything that you find. If you are in a survival situation, you will be in a lousy position already. However, why make that worse by eating something that is going to make you sick? Knowing how to find plants that you can eat could very easily save your life one day.



    Disclaimer

    First of all, I would like to point out that this test is NOT for use in everyday situations. If you have the option to go to a store and buy food, or go home and have a meal, take it. Also, take the time to research plants that you can safely eat in your local area and any other area that you may find yourself in if the situation requires it.


    This test is not definitive, and you may still have reactions to foods that you find pass all of the requirements. Therefore, this test is only to be used in an emergency situation when you have no other choice.

    One other point to note, we do not recommend this test for fungi, moss, or anything other than green plants.

    Learn what you can about where you live, if you find yourself in an area where you know nothing, proceed with this test, with caution.

    The Universal Edibility Test
    Getting in a situation where you need to be eating plants that you find in the wild is something that you want to hope you never get into. However, things happen, situations change, and disasters occur. It is at that time that you may find yourself hunting for food and scavenging as much as you can.

    You see an abundance of plants around you, and think, I am so hungry, I would be so much better if I ate those. Unless you are fortunate, or you will become very ill. You may want to study the plants that are in your area anyway, but if you ever have to leave that area, that knowledge may well be useless. Therefore, your best option is to learn the universal edibility test, or better still, print it and keep it in your bug out bag. Either way, you want to follow these steps:

    Ensure There Is An Abundance Of The Plant
    There are a lot of steps that you need to complete, and they can take some time. Therefore, you will want to ensure that there is enough of the plant to make the time worth the reward. If you go through the process of the universal edibility test and there are only a few plants available to you, you will have to hunt for more, or hope that you stumble across them.

    Sperate The Plant
    After you have found the plant that you want to test, you will also want to separate it from any other plants too. Try to wear gloves for this, but if you can’t, then touch the plant first to ensure they don’t sting you. If you can find a solitary plant, that will be better. The reason for that is because, if you have a plant that is good to eat, touching a plant that you cannot eat, the plant may fail the test because of the connection between the two.

    Also, you need to separate the plant parts from each other:
    • Flowers
    • Buds
    • Seeds
    • Stems
    • Leaves
    • Roots
    Not all plants are the same. Some parts of a plant may be edible, while other parts of the same plants may be dangerous. Also, you may need to cook some of the plants that you find to make them edible. For example, tomatoes and potatoes are both, of course, edible. However, the foliage of those plants is poisonous. Although that is a simple example, I have used it because it is quite a powerful one.

    Ensure that you test each of the parts of the plant separately, and start with the most abundant element. If there are only a few flowers, but a lot of stems or leaves, try them first.

    Smell Each Part
    If there are any parts of the plant that smell unpleasant, disregard those straight away.

    Touch the Plant
    After you have separated it, you need to touch the different parts onto sensitive parts of your body that will not affect your ability to be relatively comfortable. The inner elbows and wrists are the best place for this.

    Of course, you have four of these areas, and you can use each of them if you remember which part of the plant you test where. Using a notepad to write them down is a good idea, but if you do not have one, write in the specific areas. So, if you test the flower on your wrist, write flower.

    Place the plant in the area, and allow good contact for about 15 minutes, unless irritation occurs before that. If there are signs of irritation, remove the plant, and disregard that part completely. Some of the signs that you are looking for are:
    • Numbness
    • Itchy
    • Burning
    • Rash
    Again, if you see any of those symptoms, get rid of that part of the plant.


    The Universal Edibility Test – Preparing To Eat
    Preparing the plant to eat is very simple. Boil it. Unfortunately, there are no other ways in which you should plan to eat plants you don’t know anything about. Boiling will remove all of the germs and toxic elements from the plant. That is even required in some other, more commonly known foods such as kidney beans. You need to boil kidney beans for at least ten minutes to make them edible from raw.



    Two points to note that I rarely see on any other explanations of the universal edibility test are:
    • Boil each part separately. – You may cross-contaminate good parts of the plant with bad.
    • Rinse them after you boil them. – You may leave toxic elements on the plant that is still in the water.
    Touch The Plant On Your Lips
    Next, place a small amount of the plant part on your lips. Hold it there for a few minutes and wait to see if you have any reactions, as described above. Again, if you do, discard that part. This part is a little more challenging to do with multiple parts of the plant. However, you could try to do separate sections on your top lip and bottom. Remember to keep them apart after, though.

    If there is no reaction in about 15 minutes, move onto the next step.

    Taste The Plant
    Take a small bite of the plant part and chew it slowly. Keep chewing until it is mush, and allow it to sit in your mouth for around 10 minutes. If there are any reactions such as the ones listed above, or if it tastes very bitter or soapy, spit it out and discard that part too.

    Eat The Test Piece
    Only eat a small amount of the plant. A lot of literature that you will see will advise you to swallow the part of the plant you have had in your mouth for a while. That is an excellent recommendation for initial tests. However, we think that it would be inconclusive to leave it here.

    Therefore, swallow that part and wait to see if there are any adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If there are no symptoms within a few hours, you can move onto the extra step that we include.

    Eat More
    The final step that we like to include in the universal edibility test is eating another small piece without chewing it for an extended period (around 1/4 cup). The reason for that is because you are unlikely to eat every piece in that way. Also, your saliva has enzymes that will break down some of the toxins, etc. If you eat it quicker, they will not have the time to break them down before they get to your gut, where a reaction may occur.

    Doing this step may add time to the test, but in our opinion, it is worth testing.

    Conclusion
    Please read the disclaimer at the beginning of this article. However, if you ever find yourself in a situation where starvation is a real possibility, then, and only then, you should complete this test. There are no two ways about it; the universal edibility test could save your life one day. But it could also make your day a lot worse if you do not follow it with caution.

    Please feel free to print this guide and keep it in your bug out bag for if you ever need it.
 

SheepDog

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Before you eat but after you taste put a small piece of the plant between your lip and gums. It is not good if it burns, numbs, or is bitter. Spit it out and rinse your mouth out with water.
 

Patchouli

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Touching a plant to your lips to see if you may have a reaction...that makes me nervous. Touch it on your skin next to your mouth might be safer since you could have a reaction that would include breathing problems. I would wait a good 20-30 minutes personally. I'm not a nurse or anything but unless I can really safely identify a plant or consider other factors, no bueno.
Also, I would draw what the parts of any plants looked like before discarding them, if able.

You can't assume the plant still has flowers or has formed seeds yet.
Berries are tricky.
@Peanut can you remember the key for berry colors and safe to eat? It seemed to me any white berry isn't safe, but that's all I can remember.
 

Peanut

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I don't have time today to research this "test". After a quick read I say this test is a recipe for disaster. Off hand I can think of 2 local plants with cute berries that would kill you within 4 hours after a taste. Color has nothing to do with a berry being safe to eat.
 

Spikedriver

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Isn't there a protocol for this? It seems to me I read something once about an almost fool proof method for determining the safety of a plant, but it had multiple steps and took several days. Therefore, it was not useful in an emergency situation...
 

Patchouli

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This is very similar if not exact to what your link reads, @Sentry18 Nevertheless, here it is:

How to Test if Any Plant is Edible - The Universal Edibility Test | TruePrepper
There may come a point where you need to test the edibility of a plant for survival purposes. You do not want to just start eating anything green that you come across, but you may also not have time to learn all of the local flora. The universal edibility test is here to help, and guide you through a process to determine which plants, or even just parts of plants are safe to eat. While it may seem tedious and slow, doing each of these steps is important to stay safe while trying new plants. The main idea of the test is to expose yourself to the plant in a controlled manner and to see if any symptoms develop between exposure. This wilderness survival skill can come in handy not just in the wild, but in backyards as well given an emergency.

Step 1: Make sure there is plenty of the plant
You do not want to go through all of these steps if you can not apply it to an abundance of plants. The Universal Edibility Test is a thorough and lengthy process, and you do not want to waste time doing it if you do not have plenty of the plant you are testing.

Step 2: Separate the parts of the plants
Pull the flowers, buds, leaves, stems, seeds, and roots apart and into separate piles. It is important to try each part of the plant separately, since some components could be toxic but others are edible. Rhubarb is one example where the stalks are edible but the leaves are toxic. Also check the plant to make sure it is in good shape, not rotting, and doesn’t have any insects in this step.

Step 3: Pick one part of the plant
Picking a part of the plant that is most plentiful will give you the best return on your time investment.

Step 4: Smell the plant
If the plant has an unpleasant odor, do not eat that part of the plant. Strong or acidic smells should raise suspicion. Any scent that smells like almonds is best to avoid, since that is an indicator of a toxic compound.

Step 5: Touch the plant
Touch a piece of the plant to your wrist for 15 minutes. If you experience an itching, burning, or numbness, do not eat that part of the plant. Wait eight hours until going to the next step to check for the development of rashes or any other reaction. Do not eat during this time.

Step 6: Put the plant on your lips
You can cook the pieces of the plant for this step, and prepare it like you would eat it. Cooking plants is preferred because some plants are toxic raw, but not when cooked. Once prepared, then touch the plant to your lips to test for itching, burning, or numbness. If you experience any of those in the next 3 minutes, do not eat that part of the plant.

Step 7: Put the plant on your tongue
Pop a small portion of the plant in your mouth and place it on your tongue for 15 minutes.

Step 8: Chew the plant
Chew the plant and then hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes without swallowing. If it tastes soapy or bitter, spit it out and do not eat that part of the plant.

Step 9: Swallow the plant
Swallow the plant. Wait eight hours for any adverse reactions, and if there are none, then prepare at least ¼ cup of that plant part and eat it. If you have no reaction after another 8 hours then that part of the plant is edible. You will want to repeat this entire process for all of the parts of the plant, since the entire plant could be edible, or just select parts.

The Final Word
If you would prefer not to go through the steps and wait these periods to determine if a plant is edible, it may be a good idea to pick up an edible plant guide. It is important to note that these steps do not work for mushrooms or other types of fungus. If you want to determine what types of fungus are edible, a mushroom guide is what you need. The universal edibility test can also sometimes lead you to believe edible plants are inedible. For instance, stinging nettles are edible when cooked, but cause a skin reaction. Another example is how acorns and water lily are both very bitter unless boiled, so the edibility test would falsely rule them out. Learning your local plants using a guide may be the easier route, but knowing the procedure to test a plant’s edibility is always good knowledge to have. Keep learning and stay safe.
 

Peanut

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I went to the website and read the article there. The first thing I noticed is that whoever wrote it did not sign it.

They list 4 writers for their site. There is no indication whether one of those writers or someone else wrote the article.

One person named "Joey" left a reply concerning this article... an excerpt - These steps are similar to those found in the SAS Survival Guide.

I dug out my newest copy of the SAS Survival Handbook, copyright 2004. Beginning on page 113 is "Testing New Plants"...

This article appears to be a rewrite of what appears in the SAS handbook. There are minor changes and times are added to some of the steps. Still, just a rewrite of the same basic info.

My op...The preliminary search for the right plant to test could take and hour or so. The test requires 8 hours and 48 minutes to complete...

I would suggest spending the 10 hours throwing rocks at birds or squirrels. The odds of not ending up dead and actually getting edible food are far greater than preforming this test!

I still think this test is a recipe for a disaster... imho 😉
 
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Grumpy521

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Touching a plant to your lips to see if you may have a reaction...that makes me nervous. Touch it on your skin next to your mouth might be safer since you could have a reaction that would include breathing problems. I would wait a good 20-30 minutes personally. I'm not a nurse or anything but unless I can really safely identify a plant or consider other factors, no bueno.
Also, I would draw what the parts of any plants looked like before discarding them, if able.

You can't assume the plant still has flowers or has formed seeds yet.
Berries are tricky.
@Peanut can you remember the key for berry colors and safe to eat? It seemed to me any white berry isn't safe, but that's all I can remember.
Touching to your wrist first is better than the nondescript (touch suggestion) in the piece. I personally can't imagine having to use any of these methods. It's best to just know what you CAN eat in a given AO. Chances are, you're eventually going to find food before your actually starve. If you're stuck in the boonies you've either had a terrible accident or you're on the run. In both cases, "survival food" is more of a psychological boost than anything else. Not much of a psychological boost to have racking body cramps and explosive diarrhea.
 
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