If your stuck with a short supply of food, a decent amount of time, and a surrounding of wild plant life, then The Universal Edibility Test will be useful. The test is used to determind whether or not a plant you are considering eating is actually edible. It’s a very simple test, the only down fall being it requires a fair amount of time and caution to complete. However if you are desperate enough, it will be worth it to avoid accidentally poisoning yourself with toxic plants. The Universal Edibility Test takes a while to complete, but it will be the best way to determine whether or not a plant is safe to eat.
Step 1: Fast for eight hours to insure the test results come from the plant being ingested and not some other unknown source. This should not be a problem to do. If you are in this state of desperation during your survival, you will likely be rationing your food very harshly and will be used to going long hours without. Just remember to stay hydrated. You do not want to mistake the effects of dehydration for possible negative effects of the plant.
Step 2: During your fast collect the plant you intend to test and separate it into all it’s parts. By this I mean separate the leaves, stems, flowers, etc.
Step 3: Take one part of the plant and place it against your lips. Wait fifteen minutes. If there is no reaction, stinging or burning for example, continue with the test.
Step 4: Place the same part of the plant you’ve just tested on your tongue. Wait another fifteen minutes. DO NOT chew or swallow the plant portion. If there is once again no reaction, you are safe to continue the test.
Step 5: A reaction during any part of the test means that part of the plant has failed and is not safe for consumption. Never try a next step if the previous one caused a reaction. No matter how light or small the reaction may be.
Step 6: Take the the part of the plant that has passed the previous steps and prepare it like you would if you were to eat any plant.
Step 7: Place a small amount in your mouth and chew. DO NOT swallow. Wait three minutes, if there is no reaction, continue.
Step 8: Swallow the portion of the plant you’ve chewed and wait eight hours. If you experience any reaction at any time, induce vomiting immediately. If there is no reaction, continue.
Step 9: Prepare a 1/4 cup of the tested plant portion and eat it. Once again wait eight hours, if a reaction occurs at any time induce vomiting right away. If no reaction occurs after eight hours, that part of the plant has passed the Universal Edibilty Test and is safe to eat.
Step 10: Test each part(stem, leaves, flowers) of the plant separately for edibility. Just because one part of the plant is safe does not mean all parts of the plant are edible. You must repeat this test on all the separate parts of the plant in order to insure the entire plant is safe to eat.
As I warned before, The Universal Edibility Test takes some time, but it is the best way to test the edibility of an unfamiliar plant. Use this test only if you have no other options. The best thing to do is, of course, become familiar with as much plant life as you possibly can to insure you always know what you can and can’t eat.