The Universal Edibility Test

Discussion in 'Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Food' started by branchd77, Jan 20, 2016.

The Universal Edibility Test 5 5 1votes
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  1. branchd77

    branchd77 Administrator Staff Member Gold Supporter

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    You've been wandering a bushy forest for ages now, half-convinced that you've been wandering in circles this whole time. You're exhausted and hungry but have went through your last can of corn during the last rotation through this never-ending forest trail. You see green leaves and bright berries all around, tempting you with their delicious, sweet, juices. But you're apprehensive. Luckily you've read My Survival Forum and know of the Universal Edibility Test (UET) that is sure to get you out of this bind. We've compiled a vague over-view of the testing steps here.

    Step 1: Categorize the Individual Plant

    The first step of the UET consists of dividing the specific plant into separate components, including buds, roots, stems, flowers, leaves and roots. This division is important because many plants are composed of parts that are poisonous to humans, while other parts of them are completely safe. Be sure that your sample is free of insects and decomposition. A fresh sample will yield the best results.

    Step2: Perform a Contact Test

    A good rule of thumb is that if a substance provokes a reaction via skin contact, it will more than likely provoke a reaction if ingested. Rub one part of the plant onto your skin for at least fifteen minutes and then observe if, within eight hours, you see any reaction. To avoid any confusion, don't eat anything during the eight hours while you are testing the plant. If you observe any signs of reaction (such as redness or welts), then you know that this part of the plant would not be wise to ingest.

    Step 3: Increase Exposure by Cooking

    Once your potential food has passed the contact test, the next step is to increase your exposure to the plant in question. Generally, this would involve preparing the plant, as you would, had you not been testing it. If you had planned to eat it raw, it is fine to test it like this as well. Hold the plant part to your mouth/lips for at least three minutes. If you feel any type of reaction (such as a burning, tingling or redness), consider that plant piece a danger and repeat the test, from step two, with a different part of the plant.

    Step 4: Increase Exposure by Tasting

    If there was no reaction during the cooking (or raw) testing phase, carry on to the taste-test phase. Put the plant part on your tongue for fifteen minutes. If the plant tastes gross, that doesn't necessarily mean it's bad for you. You are testing for an adverse reaction like burning or tingling specifically. If this occurs, immediately discard the plant.

    Step 5: Increase Exposure by Chewing and Eating

    Once your plant portion has passed the fifteen-minute taste test, continue testing it in the same manner by thoroughly chewing it for fifteen minutes. If you manage to chew the plant for the full fifteen minutes without any adverse reactions, it is now time to swallow. Once you've actually ingested the plant avoid all other food for eight hours (water is okay, however). For caution's sake, if you feel sick to your stomach immediately induce vomiting.

    The UET is an extremely time-consuming test, but the minutes could mean the difference between a life or death situation.
    acheno84, John Snort, Tessa and 2 others like this.
  2. Lisa Davis

    Lisa Davis Active Member

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    The first part of the UET was taught to me by my grandmother when I was very young. We would forage for things, many dandelions, poke leaves, and mushrooms, but she taught me the 15-minute taste test portion and it has yet to fail me. I was also told by a friend that he was taught the UET during his Boy Scout survivalist training as well. I do agree that it is time-consuming, but so is death!
  3. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist

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    I guess this thread is very helpful when the time comes that we are hit by a great calamity. Although I cannot say that I would try to eat new foods that are strange to me, who knows what I'd do if I am famished. Like the story of a friend who was lost in the sea on a banca (small boat), he was forced to eat raw fish until he was rescued after 3 days.

    But maybe what I would do when there is no ordinary food is to scavenge in the greens - trees and shrubs. I have read one story about survivors of a plane crash that their first impulse was to search for wild berries because that is the most ubiquitous since birds can scatter the seeds of berries. Next are small trees like guavas which seeds are also scattered by birds. I would only try insects and animals as last resort to combat my hunger.
  4. meganisonfire

    meganisonfire New Member

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    I really like the UET steps in order to figure out what plant is edible or not. I would have never thought to rub the plant leaves against the skin to see if a rash develops. These steps are very important and key to ultimate survival. I will definitely keep these steps in mind in case I am stranded somewhere and need to eat something! I am curious to know where these steps came from. Is this something that you came up with yourself from personal experience? Do you have a book that has this information in it? If it is a book, I would like to purchase the book for myself.
  5. acheno84

    acheno84 Member

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    I actually just posted a thread asking for information about this and ta-da! Guess I should have dug a little deeper. This is very helpful and definitely worth printing out and keeping with my survival pack for reference. I would like to get a book and study it, but I tend to be forgetful (I'd be the one getting lost) and feel that if I became desperate I would forget what to do. This is really great information!
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