Do You Know The Wild Berry Edibility Test?
Eating the wrong wild edible or wild berry can make a bad situation much worse. You should always do your research to know the edible wild plants and berries in your area. But if you find yourself in a live or die situation where you must have food there are some “general guidelines” for choosing wild berries that will “lower” your chances of eating a poisonous berry. Realize the information below is “general characteristics” and there are exceptions to all of these rules, so the best bet is to know what you are eating before you eat it. Below are the guidelines that I used to teach USAF aircrew members at the USAF SERE school more than a decade ago. Again these are guidelines to help you rule out poisonous berries.
1. Stay away from white, yellow and green wild berries. 90% of Wild Berries that are white, yellow or green are poisonous.
2. Red berries might be OK, but test first unless you know the berry. Only 50% of red wild berries are safe to eat.
3. Black, Blue and Aggregated Berries (i.e Raspberries, Mulberries, Thimbleberries, Black Berries) are 90% edible. Chances are that these berries are safe to eat. But there are several black and blue berries and a few aggregated berries that are poisonous so this isn’t 100%.
Wild Berry Edibility Test
If you are unsure of what kind of berry it is, then you should do a quick test to see if it has poisonous characteristics. First, take some of the smashed pulp from a berry and rub it on to the underside of your forearm. Wait about 5 mins and see if it causes any irritation. Second, If there is no irritation on your forearm, rub some of the berry pulp and juice on your lips. Wait five mins and see if that causes any irritation. Third, if there is no irritation, stinging, numbing, or burning on your lips, then put a small amount of the berry in your mouth and chew it and move it around in your mouth, but don’t swallow it. If no burning, itching, stinging, or numbing occurs after five minutes then proceed to step four. Fourth, eat a small amount of berries (1 or 2), wait 20 mins, if this causes no irritation, nausea, burning or itching in your throat, you should be safe to eat it. But don’t gorge yourself. Foods found in the wild are more filling than you might imagine, take it slow until you are sure how your system will handle them and remember don’t eat unless you have water to drink!
Here is a quick video laying this out one more time.
Click here to watch this video on YouTube if you don’t have Flash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJfIn9MfPEY
You may be surprised to know how many poisonous plants are in your area. Go to www.enature.com to check and see what plants grow in your zip code that are poisonous.
What plants are you familiar with that are edible?
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