Foraging in the Wild
One of the biggest problems when bugging out in the wilderness is finding food. You’ll either have to hunt for it or forage for it. While meat is straightforward, plants and vegetables are quite another challenge.
With meat, if you clean it well and remove the intestines carefully, you’ll not contaminate the meat. It’s important to remember to check the state of the animal’s innards to ascertain if it is sick or diseased. If you can do both well, you’ll be safe.
With plants and fruits, there’ll often be times when you’re unsure if the plants are edible. This is especially true if you can’t recognize the plants. Usually, it’s the experienced survivalists who can tell apart the different plants just by looking at the leaves. Most people aren’t that experienced.
One point to bear in mind – avoid eating mushrooms from the wild. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, mushrooms are best avoided. They are highly poisonous and there’s usually no cure.
Common signs of poisoning are nausea, heart palpitations, fainting, breathing problems, seizures, etc. If these symptoms occur, you’ll need to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Drink lost of warm water and consume charcoal tablets as a temporary measure to combat the poisoning.
In this article, you’ll be shown an edibility test to follow before you consume any vegetation or fruits from the wild. It may take a while before you can be sure if the food is safe to eat… but you must be very cautious. Take your time with this test.
Study the plant/fruit. If it is brightly colored, it’s best to avoid eating it. If you see birds eating a fruit, that does NOT necessarily mean that you can eat it. Many animals are resistant to foods that humans are not. The appearance of the plant is the first sign if it’s worth trying out.
Do the sniff test. Does it smell bad? A strong odor is always a sign to avoid eating it. If it smells of almonds, you MUST avoid it. It’s a sign that the plant contains hydrocyanic acid… and that’s not good for you… at all.
Test for contact poisoning. Take the part of the plant that you wish to eat and crush it (not cut) … you want the juices to come out of the plant. Rub a small dose of the juice on your inner wrist or inner elbow.
The skin in these areas is sensitive. Wait a few hours and see if there is any swelling or allergic reaction. If there is, thank your lucky stars that you did the test and didn’t blindly eat the plant.
If there’s no reaction, rub the plant’s juice on the insides of your lips. Wait and see if there’s any swelling or tingling sensations. If there is, gargle with water and spit out. Wash your lips well.
If the lips seem fine, chew the plant well for a minute or two till the juices come out and then spit out the pulp. Do NOT drink water or swallow your saliva. Allow the juices to interact with your mouth and monitor for swelling, tingling or other adverse reactions. If there are any, gargle with lots of water and spit out as much of the juice as you can.
If everything is good so far and there are no reactions, eat a small quantity of the plant and wait for about 6 to 7 hours for the plant to get digested. Avoid drinking water.
Wait and see if there are any adverse reactions. If there are, swallow some charcoal tablets. If you have bad stomach pains, you’ll need to get professional medical help.
If there’s no discomfort, you’re good to go and can eat more of the plant. Exercise caution and increase your consumption gradually.
Follow this edibility test will all new foods that you’re unsure of. Try and boil all plants before eating them unless it’s a fruit. Boiling usually kills most germs and parasites.
Do note that while some parts of the plant may be edible, other parts may not be. Do the test for every bit that you wish to eat. Always err on the side of caution.