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Feeding in the wild – Testing a new source of food

Obviously, the ideal thing is to be able to carry freeze-dried food or survival rations for example. However, it is not always possible, for several potential reasons: too long in the wilderness, inability to bring along alot of items (weight, rough terrain), or even too precipitous departure. I therefore advise you to always have reserves allowing you and your family to eat for a few days.

Beyond this time, you will have to find something to feed yourself directly in nature. Areas where it is absolutely impossible to feed almost do not exist on our planet, much less in our regions. However, if this is always possible, it may require some knowledge and skills. We will try to review all of them on our site, but here is one of the most important: to comment on whether a plant (or anything else) is edible or not?

First, if your adventure is likely to last for a long time, you should know that a “balanced diet” is as important as everyday life, and even more so. Indeed, your body will be particularly exposed (fatigue, effort, risk of injuries, exposures to difficult conditions) and therefore needs to receive a little bit of everything (fat, proteins, vitamins , Minerals, etc.) Of course, the first objective is to feed oneself, but we must not completely lose sight of this. I would add that proteins are particularly necessary when you are injured.

Let us turn to the main subject of this article:

Testing a new source of food:

This is very complicated, tedious, and despite all the precautions you take, can prove dangerous. This is not the easiest way to feed yourself, but it can sometimes be a last resort. If you want to ingest a plant you do not know, you have to carry out meticulous tests successively.

In the first place, relying on animals is dangerous: some animals can eat foods that are poisons for humans (think of rats that after several generations eat dead rats and survive perfectly … I advise against it!)


  1. Inspect : make sure the plant is not rotten or contains no worms.
  2. Feel : cut a small piece of it and feel it: our nose has been developed by natural selection to be able to help us in this kind of judgment. The smell (or taste) of rotten fishing is generally a sign of a poison that is widespread, and must therefore be seen as a danger.
  3. Rub your skin with it : Wait a few minutes. If this gives rise to irritation, or strong embarrassment, give up.
  4. Put a small piece on your lips for 15 seconds. If there is any reaction, give up.
  5. Put a small piece on the corner of your mouth for 15 seconds. If there is any reaction, give up.
  6. Same with the tip of the tongue. If there is any reaction, give up.
  7. Chew a small piece of it , spit it out and wait a minute.
  8. Swallow a piece of reasonable size. This stage is the most annoying, since you will then have to wait 5 hours without eating anything else. After this time, if you do not experience any particular disorder, you may consider that there is a good chance that your plant will be edible.

Obviously, if there are several persons, only one person (quite resistant if possible) must do this test. If it turns bad (especially in the last part), drink plenty of hot water, and eat nothing else. You can also vomit by tickling the bottom of your throat for example.

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