May 16, 2015

To Eat or Not to Eat, that is the Question.


Many of us are learning to forage. I personally think it is a very important skill for several reasons. First if you a on the go you will be able to id food along the road side. Second many weeds grow faster than veg gardens so they will be important to add to your food stock list.

But as we move I learn more about them I also see that there are many plants that have look a likes. And many plants that you would think you could but in a salad or soup...but they are poisonous. 

Although some plants that have these characteristics are edible many are not.(example is stinging has fine hair and prickers but you can eat it)

Milky or discolored sap
Bitter or soapy taste
Three-leaved growth pattern
Almond like smell  in the woody part and or on the leaves
Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
Spines, fine hairs, or thorns
Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods  


The best way to be sure if it is safe to eat is the Universal Edibility Test! This does take some time but the pain and discomfort or even death that you can avoid it worth taking this time. 

THE UNIVERSAL EDIBILITY TEST: Click Here for a PDF you can print
1 - Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.

2 - Separate the plant into its basic components — leaves, stems, roots, buds and flowers.

3 - Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.

4 - Do not eat for eight hours before starting the test.

5 - During the eight hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.

6 - During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.

7 - Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.

8 - Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.

9 - If after three minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.

10 - If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do not swallow.

11 - If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes, swallow the food.

12 - Wait eight hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.

13 - If no ill effects occur, eat 0.25 cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another eight hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.

CAUTION: Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.

I got this info from Discovery  

 Songs for this post is Maximum Consumption-The Kinks

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