Is It Safe to Eat? The Military’s Universal Edibility Test Unveiled!

When it comes to survival and self-reliance, one of the most important skills to have is the ability to identify edible plants in the wild. In a crisis situation, knowing which plants are safe to eat can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the Universal Edibility Test.

What is the Universal Edibility Test?

The Universal Edibility Test is a step-by-step process that the military recommends to determine the edibility of unknown plants. By following this test, you can minimize the risk of consuming poisonous plants and increase your chances of survival in the wild.

The Steps of the Universal Edibility Test

Step 1: Separate and Smell

Begin by separating the plant into its various parts: leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and any fruits or berries. Take a moment to observe and smell each part individually. Some plants have distinct smells that can help you determine their edibility.

Step 2: Touch and Taste

Before consuming any part of the plant, it’s important to perform a taste test. Touch a small portion of the plant to your lips, then wait for a few minutes. If there is no immediate irritation, proceed to place a small piece on your tongue. Hold it there for 15 minutes and observe for any signs of discomfort or burning sensations.

Step 3: Chew and Hold

If there were no adverse effects during the taste test, proceed to chew a small portion of the plant thoroughly. Do not swallow. Instead, hold the chewed plant material in your mouth for 15 minutes, again observing for any negative reactions.

Step 4: Swallow and Wait

If there were no discomfort or burning sensations during the previous steps, swallow the small amount of chewed plant material. Now, you must wait for at least 8 hours. During this time, do not consume any other food or drink, as it may interfere with the test.

Step 5: Observe and Monitor

Throughout the next 8 hours, carefully monitor your body for any signs of illness or discomfort. Pay attention to your digestion, as well as any changes in your energy levels or skin appearance. If you experience any negative symptoms, induce vomiting immediately.

Important Considerations

While the Universal Edibility Test can be a helpful tool, it’s essential to remember that it is not foolproof. There is always a risk associated with consuming unknown plants, even after conducting this test. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety by thoroughly educating yourself about the local flora and fauna.

Additionally, practicing the Universal Edibility Test in controlled environments and under supervision is highly recommended. This will help familiarize you with the process and give you confidence in your abilities before you find yourself in a survival situation.


Being able to identify edible plants is a vital skill for anyone interested in homesteading, survival, and self-reliance. The Universal Edibility Test provides a structured method for determining the edibility of unknown plants. Remember, this test should only be used as a last resort when there are no other food sources available. Develop your knowledge and skills in plant identification to ensure your preparedness in any situation.

Universal Edibility Test

Written by Keith Jacobs

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