Wild Edibles: 5 Rules For Safely Selecting Wild Plants To Eat

UST-Wild Edibles-berriesWild plants are a great, free source of nutrition and energy while camping, hiking, or “surviving” in the wilderness. But eat the wrong plant and you could be sick as a dog or worse – die.  However, abide by these 5 Rules of Wild Edibles and you’ll eat like a King (or Queen) and live…

Rule #1:
NEVER eat anything that you are not 100% certain what it is, what parts are edible and when you can eat it.
Some plants have only certain parts that are edible.  Some parts of plants are only edible at certain stages of growth.
Many edible plants have poisonous look-a-likes, so be 100% sure before you eat something. If in doubt, leave it out.

Rule #2:
If you haven’t eaten it before a survival situation – don’t eat it.
Remember, you must be able to positively ID a plant – smelling, touching and tasting helps you remember correctly.
This also makes sure you don’t have a negative reaction when your life may be on the line.

Mints are easily identifiable by their square stems, heavily scented leaves and characteristic flowerheads.

Mints are easily identifiable by their square stems, heavily scented leaves and characteristic flowerheads.

Rule #3:
Focus on learning and using wild edibles that are:
*Most plentiful, common and readily available
*Safest to eat
*Easiest to identify

wild strawberries

Wild strawberries are easy to identify because they are just smaller replicas of the larger variety.

Rule #4:
Never eat plants that may have been treated or sprayed with chemicals –
an issue mostly in urban environments.

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Rule #5:
Get a good field guide for a reference (and carry it with you as you learn):
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants – Lee Allen Peterson
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate – John Kallas
Edible Wild Plants (Pocket Naturalist Guide)

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