Prepping – Ahead of the Curve in a world of Dependence

Farm Garden At The Homestead

After being asked many times over the years why I prep, it’s time I highlight my rationale and mentality for implementing prepping into my lifestyle. Prepping is not about being scared for the world to end, but it’s about avoiding being scared. Continue reading

Identifying the Uncommon Evil and Prepping – Debt and Credit Card Companies

Debt Free Zone

At first sight, it’s a strange connection between debt and prepping. Some would say crazy, few say logical. A big theme in preparedness is being self-sustainable with no dependencies or strings attached. Clipping those ties now will go a long way to helping you hit the ground running when SHTF. One of the anchors holding down many Americans today is that of credit card debt. According to Nerd Wallet Finance, the average amount of debt among US households is over $15,000. To most, debt is simply a part of life. If you can afford the payments month-to-month, people rationalize that the purchase is a good one. This is far from the truth and you are playing into the enemies’ hands. These enemies include blood-sucking credit card companies and debt as a singular entity itself. It’s time to fight back.

When SHTF, it’ll be every man or woman for themselves. Sure we will still have our family, we’ll form co-ops and partnerships with others, and other associates, but our own good decisions will be our primary tool for making it from one day to the next. The time to prepare for that and to put those good decisions into practice is now. Not tomorrow or ‘I’ll get to it eventually,’ now! This means cutting the frivolous amenities you wouldn’t be privy to when SHTF. Boil your life down to necessities – food, water, and shelter.

This means no Netflix or online magazine subscriptions. This means no spending money eating out or on bar nights. Cook at home, spend time with family and friends outdoors talking or playing cards, and enjoy nature as it was meant to be enjoyed. Detach from the digital world and reconnect with the past. “Entertainment” to past generations included telling stories by a campfire or taking walks while venting about a problem. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be preparing yourself for the future, however bleak it may turn out.

Pinching PenniesOnce you put this idea to practice, chart how much money is saved by skimming all these expenses off the top. Put this money straight towards credit card debt. Paying that debt to $0.00 is the only financial goal you should be focusing on no matter how long it takes you to get there. Credit card companies are the enslavers of our society and as long as you are under them, you are a slave no less than the slaves from the southern United States during the 1800s. Break the handcuffs that shackle your being. The sooner you do, the sooner you can tread down the road of (more traditional) prepping more focused and at ease i.e. procuring excess cans of food, establishing an alternative shelter system, etc.).

When it comes to actually paying off the debt, rule to live by should be to knock out all high interest debt first. For example, let’s say you have a couple thousand dollars in credit card debt with 11% interest rate and student loan debt at 6% interest. Use the extra cash you saved from cutting and put that towards paying off the credit card debt first. Continue to make minimum payments on your student loan, but do your best to knock out one debt account at a time. If you’re looking to plan out how long it’ll take to pay off your debt, here is a simple debt calculator to help you out. Put all efforts towards paying down your debt. It is your number 1 goal from now until you reach $0.00. There are other options available to you, a couple potentials may be adding an additional revenue stream (taking a second job) or consolidating your debt.

Consider credit card companies and personal loans as the primary enemies of our time. Their tactics are to hold you under their thumb so they can continue to collect interest off your debt each month. Interest is money they are making off you, taking from your paycheck each month, robbing from you and your family. Remove this parasite from your life and family’s back! Take back the financial freedom you deserve. Debt is synonymous with slavery. Become free once more.

Debt ReliefDoing all this in a capitalist system is no easy task. You will experience an insatiable urge to make purchases and spend your hard-earned money on the goods you see on television or billboard advertisements. No one said lifting this urge will be easy, it will take time. Once you practice this new lifestyle long enough, your actions will become habit. When living off necessities and putting more money towards debt becomes second nature, you’ll be on the path to a truly happy lifestyle. We don’t need much to survive and be happy, it is time to experience that and prepare ourselves as if we don’t have any other option.

Article written by Gale Newell.

Gale Newell is continually working on being a self-sufficient human being. She finds herself spending her summer days outdoors, whether that raising her own food in her organic garden or playing cards with friends and family. She is very much into grilling meals on her old-school charcoal grill and has since lifted her addiction to multiple television series. She feels freer than ever and is truly happy. She is prepared for the future and ready for whatever happens next.

About Aquaponics

Aquaponics Cycle

Are you wondering “what is Aquaponics?” The most simple definition is that it is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. The third participants are the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants.Man with bad back In combining both systems aquaponics capitalizes on the benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of each. Continue reading

Water Filtration vs. Purification

Water Filteration

In these modern times, we do not often give much thought to the water around us. It is a simple convenience to turn on the tap or place a glass in the refrigerator door and serve ourselves a glass of refreshing water. But that modern convenience may not be an option for those of us trying to live on our own sustainability. We may not have access to water directly from a tap or a cold refrigerator. Instead, we choose to rely on the water from the world around us to nourish and sustain our bodies. However, even water gathered and stored from the rain may not be safe for us to drink. Knowing the difference between a water purification system and a water filtration system can have a significant impact on your own health and ability to safely live off the grid. Continue reading

One Second After

One Second After

I want to tell you about a book that was introduced to me by my commander in Baghdad Iraq in 2011. It is titled “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. After reading this book, you will realize how unprepared you actually are and you will find a renewed motivation to prep. Continue reading

Colds vs. Flus Respiratory Infections

Sneezing

Even with today’s modern medical technology, most of us can’t avoid the occasional respiratory infection. Without strict adherence to sanitary protocol, it would be very easy in a collapse situation for your entire community to come down with colds, sinusitis, influenza or even pneumonia. Common colds may be caused by any of 200 different viruses, but the most likely culprit is a type of Rhinovirus (no, you can’t catch it from Rhinos). Influenza comes from viruses in the Influenza A, B, and C categories. Continue reading

How to Protect Your Solar Gear from EMP (Part 2)

solar_pannel-

Our country’s way of life and most people aren’t prepared to survive when an EMP will cripple the entire U.S. power grid and kill electric equipment in the entire country. Protecting your solar gear makes the big step ahead to your survival.

You might choose to start with an easy, inexpensive project right now such as constructing a DIY Faraday cage for your solar panels, or tuck a few mission-critical solar gadgets inside a couple of layers of Faraday bags to go in your rucksack. We already explained how to do it, in the first part of this article.

Next in increasing order of cost, complexity and difficulty, are solar panel installations on homes or retreats which are not connected to the grid. For this type of application we will shield the solar panels themselves, all associated wiring, inverter hardware, the battery bank and as little space as a couple of rooms or as much as the entire building.

How It Works

Shielding large spaces is most easily and least expensively accomplished in the design and building phases of the home and its solar power system as opposed to retrofitting an existing home and installing solar panels on it.

By creating a larger envelope of shielding, with the same shielding properties as a Faraday cage, all of the electronic devices in the shielded portion of the building will be protected. Shielding large spaces eliminates redundant purchases and the hassle of storing spare electronics in a Faraday cage for possible future use. Also, you don’t ned to shield dozens of devices individually nor install surge protection and shielded wiring between them.

To shield against the maximum theoretical EMP field strength (50 thousand volts per meter) of known NHEMP detonations, we must shield our solar panels to 74dB over a frequency range below 64Mhz.

But shielding them to 80dB will give us a margin of error since our shielding will likely become somewhat compromised over time and by the wear and tear of life and the elements.

Shielding Solar Panels for an Off-Grid Retreat

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To shield our grid-independent retreat, the entire outer skin of the structure must be shielded to our target 80dB.

The entire roof, the exterior of all of the walls and the floor must all be shielded.

This will obviously be much easier to accomplish during the design and construction phases and can be accomplished by choosing conductive construction materials and methods which provide the needed shielding and lack of impedance, such as:

  • Conductive metal roofing materials
  • Conductive paint
  • Conductive metal doors, door frames and conductive gaskets
  • Conductive matting laid over the foundation or skin applied to the bottom of the sub-floor
  • Conductive bonds, joints, brackets, gaskets and seals must be used to joint different materials
  • Conductive window frames must be used
  • Conductive window film or 2 layers of 20 opening per inch wire screening covering windows but still allowing light to pass through them and an unobstructed view will still providing the requisite level of shielding,
  • 2 layers of conductive 20 opening per inch wire screening covering the solar panels will allow light transmission to the panels while still providing the requisite shielding. 2 layers will protect against construction mistakes and wear.

The outside skin of all walls must be shielded or the wiring within the walls will conduct the EMP into the electrical system. If less than the entire structure is shielded, the shielded rooms must be wired independently of the rest of the house or the use of costly fast-clamping surge protection equipment will be necessary to isolate the shielded rooms.

The building should be properly grounded because of its large area.

Install micro-inverters underneath the shielded skin that envelops each solar panel instead of a single, and large inverter cabinet that rests on a cement pad next to the structure. You will increase redundancy and avoid shielding the inverter cabinets, and installing surge suppression and shielded wiring.

Shielding Solar Panels for a Grid-Connected Location

The most difficult and expensive solar installation is the protection of is a grid-connected home or building.

The same principles apply to this project as applied to the simpler projects but since the home and its solar energy system is connected to the power grid, this one requires additional protective measures.

This installation will be more vulnerable to the power charges induced by E3 because it is grid connected. For that reason, in addition to the measures taken in the previous projects, keep take good care of the following:

  • The home’s connection to the power grid should have a mechanical, manual bypass circuit allowing the home to be physically disconnected from the grid.
  • The home’s connection to the power grid must be fitted with the fast-clamping surge suppression previously mentioned.
  • In order to deal with the power company, the home will need an electric meter. If a smart meter with a data connection is installed, the data connection would also need to be surge protected.
  • Being more along the lines of a remote cabin, the last model was assumed to be pretty self-contained. Grid-connected homes typically have more connections penetrating the shielded envelope in addition to power such as copper phone lines, cable TV, satellite TV, radio antennas, etc.. An external cellular antenna will be necessary. A cell signal repeater located inside the shielded home will also be needed since virtually no signals of any kind will penetrate the home’s shielding.
  • Non-conductive water and sewer pipes should be used where they penetrate the shielding envelope. EMP trapping baffles could be constructed where non-conductive pipe penetrations occur to reduce the amount of EMP entering through these points.
  • Fiber optic cabling can be substituted for copper data and voice cable runs since fiber optic cable is non-conductive and will not conduct surges caused by E3 EMP inside the shielding envelope.
  • Shielded foyers, mud rooms or rotating doors should be installed at entrances and exits. Passing through 2 shielded doors to enter the building, but allowing only 1 door to open at any given time will maintain the envelope. It would be a shame to go to all the cost and trouble of this level of protection just to have an EMP occur when the door is open and compromise the contents of the structure.

This last type of installation will raise the cost of a new home by about 30% including the cost of adding a solar installation with a battery bank and backup generator. But the added cost would be recouped over time through savings on future electrical bills and it is hard to put a price tag on piece of mind and the ability to maintain your standard of living after an EMP.

Of course, costs would increase for a retrofit in proportion to the complexity of the build and the amount of material needed.

With a little knowledge, insight and preparation, you can protect your solar panels from the effects of EMP. Whatever your income and the level of complexity of your solar installation, there is a solution.

Take this knowledge to prepare yourself or your family now so that you and yours are less vulnerable in the event of an EMP.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia

How to Protect Your Solar Gear from EMP (Part 1)

BIG Solar EMP

Imagine not having any electricity for days, weeks, months or even years… no lights, no communication channels, no water, no refrigeration, no navigation systems, no gas pumping, no food transportation, no waste pumping or garbage collecting. This is the potentially cataclysmic threat that EMP poses, and the reason to plan your survival.

Understanding the probability of an EMP of sufficient field strength, during your lifetime, is sufficient to warrant action on your part to protect your devices and solar panels from it.

Which One Is Worse for My Panels?

There are differences in effect and magnitude between nuclear high-altitude EMP (NHEMP, or EMP caused by a nuclear weapon detonated high above the earth), geomagnetically induced EMP (GIEMP or EMP caused by solar weather), and nuclear low-altitude EMP (NLEMP or EMP from a nuclear weapon detonated near the ground). You have to know them in order to protect properly against their different effects.

NHEMP occurs when a nuclear weapon is detonated in the upper stratosphere or higher. Gamma rays interact with the earth’s magnetic field causing it to re-radiate a powerful EMP and scatter high energy electrons, creating a thousand times the EMP that the same weapon would cause in a lower-altitude burst.

NHEMP is not a single EMP pulse, but rather, it a pulse consisting of three separate components: E1, E2 and E3.

  • E1 is an extremely fast and brief pulse that induces very high voltages in electronics within roughly line of sight of the detonation. It affects all electronics that have sufficient conductive area, whether they are connected to the grid or not. It happens so fast (1-2 nanoseconds) that surge protection used in the power grid can’t clamp fast enough to stop it and will be disabled by it. Although surge protection with fast enough clamping times exists, it is not typically used since it’s more expensive and more commonly occurring surges are much slower than E1.
  • E2 behaves very much like lighting. Much of its effect on the grid would be protected against by lightening protection, if the lightening protection circuits were not already burnt out by E1 when E2 arrives. Like E1, E2 can also effect electronics whether they are plugged into the grid or not.
  • Unlike the previous two components, E3 induces extremely high voltages in long conductors that run parallel to the earth’s magnetic field such as power lines, phone lines, railroad tracks and metal pipelines. E3 travels through the grid, blowing fuses, destroying transformers, knocking out substations, power plants and burning out any sensitive electronics connected to the grid. Unlike the other two components, E3 only affects grid-connected electronics.

GIEMP is caused by the sun. Solar activity spews solar radiation which sometimes hits the earth and causes the earth’s magnetic field to re-radiate powerful E3 EMP toward the earth’s surface.

The affected area can be as small as a few hundred mile radius, or can be so large that it can affect the entire planet. Although the GIEMP can affect a greater area, it can’t perturb any electronics that are not connected to the grid.

NLEMP is similar to NHEMP, but it lacks the thousand-fold amplification caused by its higher-altitude sister. That’s because the nuclear weapon detonates too low to cause the earth’s magnetic field to re-radiate EMP.

How can we shield solar panels against all three components and all against all three threats? Just protect them against NHEMP, since it packs all three components and is the most powerful type of EMP.

Use Faraday Cages for Your Solar Gear…

One of the key factors in protecting our solar gear is whether it is installed and in use or is in storage and will used after an EMP. Since stored panels aren’t plugged into the grid, we don’t have to worry about E3, and we can simply use a Faraday cage to shield against E1 & E2.

Keep in mind these important principles about Faraday cages, if you start building one by yourself:

  • Current should be able to travel unimpeded through the conductive outer skin of the Faraday cage. If you use an ammo can, for example, remove the paint where the lid touches the body of the box and remove the rubber gasket since they would impede the free flow of current through the can. If you want a tight seal, replace rubber gaskets with conductive gaskets.
  • Use sufficient shielding. The cage must provide at least 74dB of shielding. We should round up to 80dB to allow for wear and tear that will occur to Faraday cage over time. 1 mil of aluminum foil provides 96dB of shielding. If you use aluminum foil for the conductive skin, be sure that there is plenty of foil on foil overlap and that the pieces seal tightly to each other.
  • The cage needs a tight seal without any gaps or holes. Because of the large frequency range we must protect against a hole as small as a ¼ inch could compromise the integrity of the Faraday cage for our purpose.
  • A ground wire is not necessary to protect the contents of the cage. A Faraday cage can protect solar panels even if the cage is suspended in a vacuum. But because large currents could be induced into conductors, it is a good idea to ground large cages to prevent electrical shock when you touch the cage to open it. The larger the cage, the more important the ground is to prevent anyone from being shocked. For a cage protecting an entire building, for instance, a proper ground is strongly recommended.
  • Make sure that the inside of the Faraday cage is lined with non-conductive material. Prevent contact between the conductive skin of the Faraday cage and its contents. Create some distance between the solar panels and the cage’s conductive outer skin so that electricity can’t arc from the skin to your panels. Current will take the path of least resistance, so arcing large gaps will not be an issue unless the flow of the current through the cage’s conductive skin is impeded like in the example of the ammo can where paint along the lid to can contact surfaces and the rubber gasket should be removed.

Since most DIY Faraday cages are either too bulky, too heavy or too delicate to travel with you in your rucksack or backpack, another solution is needed to protect portable solar arrays, portable solar chargers and other portable solar gear in your pack.

portable-soalr-chargers

For example, I carry a USB solar recharging device in my bug-out bag. It has 2 small solar panels that charge a battery so that the device can recharge cellphones, MP3 players, GPS’s and other electronics. When I configure my pack as an “I’m Never Coming Home” or INCH bag (or whenever I want additional solar power), I add my packable, folding solar array. To protect portable solar equipment carried in my backpack, I use lightweight bags marketed as Faraday bags to shield them.

… or a Faraday Bag

While the bags are generally a little more expensive than a DIY Faraday cage, they have a few advantages over a cage:

  • Lighter weight
  • Less bulk
  • Waterproof
  • More durable

When choosing Faraday bags, be sure to select thick, puncture-resistant bags. Make sure to find out the strength of the shielding in the bags before you make a purchase.

I haven’t been able to find a single bag that provides 80dB of shielding! Most bags are designed to protect sensitive semiconductor products from electrostatic discharge or to hide your passport and credit information from would be identity thieves so the most shielding currently offered in a bag is a little over 40dB.

Since an NHEMP could produce almost double the field strength that 40dB of shielding will protect, take the added precaution of sealing your solar panels inside two layers of bags which each provide at least 40dB of shielding.

Some shielding is definitely better than no shielding, but there is no reason to run the risk. You may not be far enough away from “sky zero” for the field strength of the EMP to weaken enough that your panels will be safe.

Lastly, make sure that the bags that you choose have a non-conductive inner layer just like needs to be installed in a Faraday cage to prevent electricity from arcing from the conductive layer(s) of the bag into the solar gear that you are trying to protect.

In Conclusion

EMP caused by nuclear weapons has three different types of effects that need to protected against.

EMP caused by the sun will not affect devices that aren’t connected to the grid.

Solar panel & electronics stored in inexpensive shielding solutions such as Faraday cages and Faraday bags are only protected from E1 & E2 while they are inside their shielded storage containers!

And you know the principles involved in building an effective Faraday cage, what to look for in Faraday bags and that one layer of most of the bags on the market today is insufficient to protect against EMP.

Now you now know the basics of protecting your stored and portable solar gear against EMP in ways that almost anyone can afford!

Watch for a followup to this article tomorrow to learn the principles involved in protecting grid-connected solar installations like you may have mounted to your rooftop or near your home.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Make A Rain Barrel Easy and Quick

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This a simple and quick way to make a rain barrel. This will help cut back on your water usage for watering your garden and flowers. Also, this will be a good implementation to your water storage for drinking and cooking, but you will want to filter that water before you drink or cook with it. Continue reading

Wild Edibles Taste Test

Wild Edible Berries

How to Test Wild Edibles in 3 Steps

When SHTF, even the most prepared of us may find themselves separated from their prepped stores, and out on their own. All of our planning can go south quickly, and we may find ourselves fleeing danger with little more than the clothes on our back. It can happen to anyone. Depending on what you’ve managed to escape with, triaging your needs (once safe) must be the first priority. Food is on top 3 priorities, and for that reason looking for edible plants in the woods is one skill to learn for survival.

Rule of Three’s
When triaging needs, remember the “rule of three’s.” 3 hours without protection from the cold, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food. Most camping/wilderness deaths are caused by hypothermia: in a cold environment without the proper shelter or clothing to keep you warm, hypothermia can cause death in as little as 3 hours.

Remember, temperatures usually drop at night, often significantly. Just because it was warm during the day doesn’t mean that it will stay that way out of doors at night. If you feel it getting cooler as the sun begins to set, or you know cold is coming, find some warm clothes, a blanket, and make yourself some form of shelter to retain your body heat.

Once that’s covered, next comes water. You can survive without water for up to 3 days. But your demand for water increases when you perspire, and during times of high stress. Water will be a high priority if you don’t have enough.

The body can survive for up to 3 weeks without food (not true for diabetics).

And although 3 weeks might sound like you have plenty of time to get by, and that you might not need to worry immediately, think again.

If you’re used to eating regularly, like most of us are, it won’t take long before that hunger will impact your judgment.

24-48 hours without food, and you can expect to feel lightheaded, fatigued, and possibly even dizzy. It’s not fun. So while your need for food might be the least immediate of the three, it is definitely a priority.

Warnings to Keep in Mind when Looking for Edible Plants

Many plants are poisonous, and eating a toxic plant can cause reactions within the body ranging from relatively mild, like vomiting, to the more severe — organ failure, coma, and eventually death. One of the safest methods to determine if a plant is safe to eat is to use the “Universal Edibility Test” developed by the U.S. Army.

But before we get into how to test a plant, there are a few general tips to consider first.

Don’t even consider testing a plant that there isn’t a lot of. You’re taking a risk by testing and eating it, and you want to make sure you’re not going through all this trouble (and potentially death) unless you can make several meals from it. If it’s just one small outcropping, make a mental note of its location, and move on. Try to find a more abundant resource.

Never eat mushrooms or fungi. Period. I know some mushrooms are really tasty. But unless you REALLY know what you’re doing, eating the wrong mushroom will cause you permanent, sometimes fatal, injury. And it’s not possible to test mushrooms or fungi with the Universal Edibility Test because a toxic mushroom will affect your nervous system. These effects won’t show up for days, and by the time they do, there’s no treatment. Just avoid all mushrooms.

Don’t eat plants grown in polluted areas. Avoid roadside plants because car exhaust and other chemicals like antifreeze are more abundant at the roadside and could have contaminated the plants growing there.

Same goes for plants growing near a polluted water source. Do not eat anything that’s growing in brackish, murky, stagnant, or smelly water or soil. When a plant grows in or near contaminated water, the plant itself becomes contaminated.

Basically, if it’s growing someplace where you wouldn’t want to step, or in something you wouldn’t want to get on your face because of its smell, avoid it!

Say NO to anything that’s rot, mold, soft. Anything that’s rotting, moldy, or overly soft (like before rotting) is a definite avoid. Yes, blue cheese is mold, but mold in general is not your friend. Most biological weapons programs start with mold. If it’s moldy or mildewed, stay away!

Some other general “avoid this” type of indicators are:

  • milky or discolored sap
  • beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
  • bitter or soapy taste
  • spines, fine hairs, or thorns

If you come across a plant that smells a little bit like almonds, it could contain cyanide. Avoid.

If the leaves are shiny, and/or grouped in three’s, it’s likely poison ivy, and you’ll want to steer clear. Some folks will say certain colored berries are OK to try. But unless you’re sure you’re eating a blackberry, raspberry, or blueberry, I’d give these a pass.

Boiling can help remove some bitterness, but isn’t very effective at removing toxins if the plant is poisonous. Don’t think boiling a toxic plant will make it edible. It won’t. And before you risk your health by testing an unknown plant, if there’s meat available, stick to eating meat.

Wild Edible Plants 1

The Universal Edibility Test
You’ve found an abundant plant, away from the road and other sources of contamination, and you want to test it. The following is from The U.S. Army Survival Manual FM21-76. It’s important to note that while this test comes from the U.S. Army, there are experts who don’t believe this test is effective, because some plants can cause serious adverse reactions simply from skin contact.

And even this Army manual emphasizes the importance of knowing and being able to identify the edible plants in your area, and having a field manual to help do so, so as to not need to perform this test. But when SHTF, this is probably better than starving.

Use with caution, and use common sense. You’ll need to fast for 8 hours before testing a plant. Remember to pick something abundant, so you’re not potentially wasting your time (and risking your life) for a light snack.

Some parts of a plant can be poisonous, while others aren’t. For example, a plant can have poisonous leaves, but the roots and stalks might be fine. So take the plant apart into its main components.

1. Skin Contact Test: Crush up the part of the plant you want to eat — only the one part, like the leaves OR the stalk, for example — and rub it on the inside of your wrist or elbow for 15 minutes. Once that’s done, watch the area for the next 8 hours (during which time you can only drink water – no food). If there’s any reaction like redness, bumps, burning, pain, itching, etc, you don’t want it inside your stomach.

If after 8 hours your skin is still fine, then it’s on to step 2. Hold the plant to your closed lips for 3 minutes. If you feel any tingling, burning, itchiness, really any unusual reaction, toss this part of the plant and start over with another part.

If there’s no lip reaction, place the plant on your tongue for 15 minutes. Again you’re looking for any weird sensations. Any tingling, burning, itching, etc. spit it out, rinse out your mouth, and move on to another part of the plant. Just because it tastes bad, or bitter, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for you. You’re looking for a reaction to know if it’s safe to continue or not. When in doubt, spit it out. And move on.

2. The Chew Test: Now you can chew up this plant part in your mouth — but don’t swallow. Hold the chewed up plant in your mouth for 15 minutes, looking for any of the earlier mentioned reactions.

If you react badly to it, spit it out, rinse your mouth out with water, and press on. If 15 minutes pass and you’re still good, swallow what’s in your mouth. If you feel nausea, or any ill effects, you need to make yourself vomit and then drink plenty of water. After you’ve swallowed, wait 8 hours to test it properly. You can have water during these next 8 hours, but no other food.

3. The Bigger Bite: If the plant passes the test over the next 8 hours, and you’ve had no ill effects, try eating about 1/4 cup of the plant part. Wait another 8 hours, drinking only water. Eat no other food. This is the final stage of the test. If you’ve made it to the end of the 8 hours and your fine, then the plant part (only the part you tested) is safe to eat.

You’ll need to repeat the full test with every other part of the plant, if you want to eat it.

Wild Edible Plants 2

Other Things to Expect
Most wild edible plants will taste less bitter when they’re young. The more mature the leaf, the more bitter it will generally taste. Boiling offers some relief from the bitterness. But some plants you might want to boil multiple times.

Many edible plants are rich with anti-oxidants, and have been a staple of many native diets for centuries.

Being able to identify the plants in your area before there is the need, is the best preparation for finding edible plants.

Disclaimer: This is not meant as a field guide, and before you eat (or test) an unknown plant, do your best to follow the general guidelines from the Army Survival Manual detailed above, use common sense, and be careful.

Written by Joe Touchstone for Survivopedia.com