Running out of food is the number one fear that many people experience when they think about a disaster situation. And with good reason. Next to air and water, food is the next item that a person cannot live without.
So, if you are caught without food when the SHTF, what will you do?
You follow a few simple tips.
First of all, realize that the average adults eats between 1,500 and 3.000 calories per day, depending on the size of the person, gender, and how physically active they are. Using this knowledge, you can begin to gauge how much food that you need to acquire for both you and anyone else with you.
Additionally, while protein is a great source of calories, not everyone is willing to hunt nor does everyone have the skills necessary to be a successful hunter.
So, this leaves foraging and growing your own food (which, hopefully, you have already begun to get good at and do). If you don’t have food set aside or growing and ready for harvest when the worst happens, then you need ot think about how to forage for food safely. Suggestions for how to know if some foraged food is safe should begin with the advice to have a guidebook of edible plants for the area that you live in and the area that you will bug out to (if that is a different area of the country).
Barring that option, our friends at survivalist.com have these steps to suggest for testing food (note: edibility tests are not an iron-clad guarantee that food is safe. They can help, but they are not foolproof.). They write:
- Disassemble plant into its various parts; leaves, roots, stems, etc.
- Conduct a smell test first, attempt to determine if any part of the plant has an unpleasant aroma.
- Select one part of the plant to test first.
- Place selected portion of plant on the inside of your wrist, in the crevice of your elbow, or at the bend of your knee. Leave in place for a bare minimum of 15 minutes. Observe the location for signs of reaction.
- Wait a period of 8 hours without consuming any other edibles, before attempting the tasting portion of the test. You may drink water.
- Take the selected portion of plant and place on the outer surface of one or both lips. Leave in place for at least 3 minutes to determine if there is any negative reaction, such as burning or itching.
- Upon verification of no negative reaction transfer the selected portion of plant to the top of your tongue. Leave in this location for at least 15 minutes, again observing any negative reaction.
- Upon verification of no negative reaction, thoroughly chew a piece into a pasty like substance and hold in the mouth for at least 15 minutes. Do not swallow during this 15 minute waiting period, you are still observing any negative reactions.
- If after the 15 minute waiting period there has been no adverse or otherwise negative reaction, then you may swallow that initial piece. This does not conclude the test however.
- Once you’ve swallowed the initial piece of plant matter you need to wait for a period of at least 8 hours, during which time you may consume water, but no other food or plant matter.
- In the event that you feel ill during the 8 hour waiting period, it is highly recommended you consume as much water as possible and induce vomiting. You may even consume small quantities of charcoal to assist with neutralizing and removing the toxins present.
- On the other hand, if there are no ill side effects, or otherwise adverse conditions to be concerned with, then you may proceed by consuming up to, but no more than, ½ a cup of the same exact plant, prepared the same exact way.
- Wait an additional 8 hours after consuming this ½ cup of plant matter. If you do not experience any ill side effects, or otherwise have conditions of concern, then the plant may be considered safe to consume, provided it remains prepared the same way.
Now, please note that the above steps do not apply to fungus such as mushrooms, so be careful and be alert. You want to have mastered this skill, if at all possible, before your life depends on you using it.
What suggestions do you have for testing the edibility of plants? Tell us below.