Teva Tip 9 - Edible Plants and How to Know What Not to Eat
The outdoor "supermarket" is open and it has lots of good edible plants to offer.
At this time of the year in the northeast, we have mulberries, blueberries, wildflowers, cattail and a few dozen other plants to add to salads, stir fry, bake and to make into delicious teas. One of the plants I eagerly await to bloom in late June and early July is the daylily. This plant grows about three feet tall with a beautiful orange flower. Its leaves are long, thin and pointed. The flowers are delicious to eat right off the plant, added to salads, bread, soups or stews. I have been told that each flower has as much vitamin C as the average orange. The petals of the flower have a slightly peppery taste while the part of the flower that connects to the stem is as sweet as honey.
How can you tell if a plant is edible or not? Is there a way to test a plant to know whether or not it is poisonous? The answer is NO.
There is no test. The only way for you to know which plants to eat which to stay away from is to learn them. There are people who will tell you that you can test a plant by rubbing it on your lip. If nothing happens, they will tell you to take a small bite and wait half a day to see if you get sick. If not, they will tell you to eat a larger piece of the plant the next day. However, pretend that you have picked a branch of poison ivy with its ripe white berries. You rub one of the berries on your lips and wait to see if anything happens. Nothing does (because it usually takes 24-48 hours for people to react). Next you take a bite of the berry. Well, already you have some serous problems. Not only will you break out with the poison ivy rash on your lips but also there is a good chance that your throat will swell and you could die from suffocation.
Other plants to keep an eye out for are the various mints that grow through so much of the country. It is absolutely impossible to confuse a mint plant
with any other type of plant.
Mint plants have square-shaped stems and a stubby blue flower. If you have any question, simply pick a leaf, crush it and see if it smells like mint. Use as you would any store-bought mint or chew on a leaf.