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Universal Edibility Test

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  • Universal Edibility Test

    There are many plants throughout the world and tasting or swallowing even a small portion of some can cause severe discomfort, extreme internal disorders, or death. Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt as to the edibility of a plant, apply the universal edibility test described below before eating any part of it. Hopefully your preps are adequate enough to avoid ever having to take this test… ;)

    Universal Edibility Test

    Before testing a plant for edibility, make sure there are a sufficient number of plants to make testing worth your time and effort. You need more than 24 hours to apply the edibility test outlined below:
    (1) Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
    (2) Break the plant into its basic components, leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.
    (3) Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Keep in mind that smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible.
    (4) Do not eat for 8 hours before starting the test.
    (5) During the 8 hours you are abstaining from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist.
    Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for reaction.
    (6) During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part being tested.
    (7) Select a small portion and prepare it the way you plan to eat it, raw or prepared.
    (8) Before putting the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of the lip to test for burning or itching.
    (9) If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding 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 1/2 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.

    DO NOT eat unknown plants that have the below characteristics:

    (1) Have a milky sap or a sap that turns black when exposed to air.
    (2) Are mushroom like.
    (a) Resemble onion or garlic.
    (b) Resemble parsley, parsnip, or dill.
    (c) Have carrot-like leaves, roots, or tubers.