The Universal Edibility Test

The Universal Edibility Test

During a zombocalypse when food is scarce it may become necessary to try eating plants the fruit that you don’t recognise. Of course not all plants and fruits are edible. The Universal Edibility Test helps you figure out what you can add to your ZPAW diet.

How to decide what to test.

  1. Before testing for edibility, ensure there are enough plants to make testing worth your time and effort. Each part of a plant (roots, leaves, stems, bark, etc.) requires more than 24 hours to test. DO NOT waste time testing a plant that is not abundant.
  2. Test only 1 part of 1 plant at a time.
  3. Remember that eating large portions of plant food on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramps. Two good examples are green apples and wild onions. Even after testing food and finding it safe, eat in moderation.

Avoid plants with the following characteristics:

Note: Using these guidelines in selecting plants for food may eliminate some edible plants; however, these guidelines will help prevent choosing potentially toxic plants.

  1. Milky sap (dandelion has milky sap but is safe to eat and easily recognizable).
  2. Spines, fine hairs, and thorns (skin irritants/contact dermatitis). Prickly pear and thistles are exceptions. Bracken fern fiddleheads also violate this guideline.
  3. Mushrooms and fungus.
  4. Umbrella shaped flowers (hemlock is eliminated).
  5. Bulbs (only onions smell like onions).
  6. Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs.
  7. Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods.
  8. Old or wilted leaves.
  9. Plants with shiny leaves.
  10. White and yellow berries. (Aggregate berries such as black and dewberries are always edible, test all others before eating)
  11. Almond scent in woody parts and leaves.

Just because it's not tasty doesn't mean it's inedible

Test procedures.

CAUTION: Test all parts of the plant for edibility. Some plants have both edible and inedible parts. NEVER ASSUME a part that proved edible when cooked is edible raw, test the part raw before eating. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.

  1. Test only 1 part of a plant at a time.
  2. Separate the plant into its basic components (stems, roots, buds, and flowers).
  3. Smell the food for strong acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.
  4. DO NOT eat 8 hours before the test and drink only purified water.
  5. During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant on the inside of your elbow or wrist. The sap or juice should contact the skin. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.
  6. During testing, take NOTHING by mouth EXCEPT purified water and the plant you are testing.
  7. Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
  8. Before placing the prepared plant in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for
    burning or itching.
  9. If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant on your tongue and hold it for 15 minutes.
  10. If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes (DO NOT SWALLOW). If any ill effects occur, rinse out your mouth with water.
  11. If nothing abnormal occurs, swallow the food and wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting
    and drink a water and charcoal mixture.
  12. If no ill effects occur, eat ¼ cup of the same plant prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.


  • Ripe tropical fruits should be peeled and eaten raw. Softness, rather than color, is the best indicator of ripeness. Cook unripe fruits and discard seeds and skin.
  • Cook underground portions when possible to reduce bacterial contamination and ease digestion of their generally high starch content.
  • During evasion, you may not be able to cook. Concentrate your efforts on leafy green plants, ripe fruits, and above ground ripe vegetables not requiring significant preparation.

Click the source button below to get the public domain pdf of SURVIVAL, EVASION AND RECOVERY where this information came from. No pictures of cats or babies though.

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Comments (1)


  1. Dear admin, thnx for sharing this blog post. I observed it wonderful. Most effective regards, Victoria…

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