Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. I thought that it would be fun to start an open forum of survival topics and outdoor skills that others can refer to for information and instruction. I will post a survival topic or skill and give some information on it. I will also be posting excerpts from my survival manual that I have been writing. Feel free to comment on it, or ask about a topic that I have not yet covered. Even professionals can learn a new way to do something. In this way we can all help each other. If you have a specific experience that you would like to share please feel free to do so at your own risk of others' comments. If you disagree with someone please be civil and respectful. One last thing, please keep it "G" rated i.e., no foul language or inappropriate subjects. If you break the rules I will pull your post. So let's keep it clean and have some fun!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Edible Plant Test

Ok, so here is the edible plant test. It is found in the US Army Survival manual FM 21-76 5 June 1992 in chapters 9 and 10. These chapters are a "must read" and commit to memory for anyone that is going to be actively involved in the outdoors. So, I will post them here.

As for the plant test itself, it takes a very long time to complete.  But, in a true survival situation, do not skip any of the steps. This could be a life or death matter if the plant is falsely identified.

As a rule of thumb, I always apply at least a portion of this test to every plant that I eat when I am in the backcountry, even if I am certain of its identification. You can never be too careful.

I use a combination of steps 9-13 from the manual:   Place a small part of the plant on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes. If there is no reaction, take a pinch and thoroughly chew and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do Not Swallow!

If I am "certain" of the plant identification, then I will chew a small piece and see if there are any reactions. If there are not then I will swallow it. If there are, and I have misidentified it, then I will spit it out and wash out my mouth with water and then dilute it with more water.

Most plants in very small amounts are not deadly but very discomforting. However, there are a few plants out there that are very deadly, so be careful! Remember that there is no room for mistakes with mushrooms so I avoid them altogether when I am in the backcountry. Besides, the amount of calories that you expend gathering them is greater than the amount that you can get from eating them. This makes them a negative food source.

Edible Plant Test from US Army Survival Manual:

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 8 hours before starting the test.

5. During the 8 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 3 minutes there is no reaction on you 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 8 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 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.

Good luck out there! Stay safe!

This is not a Wild Carrot!! This is, in fact, the early stages of Poison Hemlock about the second week after the plant comes to the surface. This is when it is very hard to identify and is when it is usually mistaken for Wild Carrot.

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