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The Universal Edibility Test Discussion
#31
[quote name='Mick Chesbro' post='315321' date='Jan 2 2009, 10:07 PM']Hi Christopher,



Well... you are certainly far more knowledgeable about edible plants and such than I, but the above is the doctrine taught to our soldiers and aviators in SERE (military survival school).



The core doctrine was reviewed in 2001/2002 and the Army survival manual was republished at that time. It still contains the universal edibility test.



The cadre at SERE take great care to teach their students how to come home alive. If it doesn't work, why would it continue to be taught, and why would we not see reports of its failure through CALL (Center for Army Lessons Learned) or like departments in the other services?



Cheers,

Mick[/quote]



solar stil.



next question.



vec
#32
[quote name='vector001' post='315324' date='Jan 2 2009, 10:27 PM']solar stil.



next question.



vec[/quote]





Yes... it too works, when done properly.



>> [url="http://www.survival.com/html/untitled132.html"]http://www.survival.com/html/untitled132.html[/url] <<



But, you make a good point.



It takes a bit of effort and practice to get it right, and even then the amount of water produced can be pretty small.
==================================

Quaeras De Dubiis Legem Bene Discere Si Vis

(Inquire into them to know what things are true)



* * * * *



Scientia Est Potentia
#33
Solar still...Yeah it's a PITA to dig out. Useless if you're on the move. But I was told that there was one good use for it, so I went out and tried it on a solo trip. Works pretty well. About a cup and a half cup of water every 4 hours with this method, and I didn't saturate the sand as much as I could have.



You're in a very arid area. You find yourself next to an oasis of water or a small spring and decide to stay put for a few days now that you have water. You need to purify it, but there's no fuel to burn. If you've got the materials then a still becomes a viable option. Saturate the inside walls of the still after digging. Saturate the sand around the edges of the still. The still will purify the water for you, and the overly-saturated sand will make more water than regular dry sand.



You could even have a small trench dug into the side of the still to allow water to flow toward the bottom of the still. Or, put a second container for unpurified water in the bottom with a trench you can use to fill it up after each round. Just make sure you have a way to seal it up tight so the sill works better.



The reason a still usually doesn't work is because there isn't much moisture in the sand. It's a lot like putting a transpiration bag on a bunch of dead grass. Very little water to pull out. Put the bag on lots of green branches, and you've got lots of water. Same with the still. The wetter the sand, the more water you pull out. An oasis will give you lots of water to re-prime the sand after each round of water gathering.



A still also takes longer because there's more airspace inside, so you need more moisture to reach the condensation point. There's also more surface area on the plastic, so more condensation is needed to produce large quantities of water.



My opinion of the still: it's got a unique use that could come in really handy. Other than that, waste of time.
You may not be able to outrun Death, but you can sure make the Bastard work for it.

-Opening line on an episode of Andromeda



If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

-Unknown



Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

-Red Green
#34
[quote name='Aitrus' post='315353' date='Jan 3 2009, 12:56 AM']Solar still...Yeah it's a PITA to dig out. Useless if you're on the move. But I was told that there was one good use for it, so I went out and tried it on a solo trip. Works pretty well. About a cup and a half cup of water every 4 hours with this method, and I didn't saturate the sand as much as I could have.



....



My opinion of the still: it's got a unique use that could come in really handy. Other than that, waste of time.[/quote]





thank you.



but i know how to make an effective solar stil.



it just adds unnecessary training time to the bloated program in my opinion.



little else.





i was just answering the question.



vec
#35
[quote name='vector001' post='315597' date='Jan 3 2009, 04:31 PM']thank you.



but i know how to make an effective solar stil.



it just adds unnecessary training time to the bloated program in my opinion.



little else.





i was just answering the question.



vec[/quote]



Got it. My bad. No more late night typing for me.
You may not be able to outrun Death, but you can sure make the Bastard work for it.

-Opening line on an episode of Andromeda



If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

-Unknown



Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

-Red Green
#36
You all know how I feel about the solar still <img src='http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Wink' />



Christopher is correct (as always). However it is often easier to learn the dangerous plants than the edible ones. There are a variety of ways to identify Hemlock vs fennel and FWIW, it isn't an attractive plant to eat. Death Camus is another plant that falls in the dangerous category but it's range is limited as is Hemlock. While Hemlock occurs in South America in a few areas, it is not common. OTH some of the frogs will kill you if they sit on your hand.



Someone mentioned bugs as a food source but I humbly submit that anything in the cantharides family might be a bit overwhelming as would an entire family of caterpillar found in South America.



[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantharides"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantharides[/url]



The world is filled with surprises and the idea of the UET is to reduce those surprises to a manageable level. Few of us have the intellectual rigor to study the plants of every area we might be exploring. There needs to be something we can use to reduce chance should we be forced to partake of a wild natural food.



I believe the test is intended to be used as a test for attractive plants. i.e. fruits and tubers that promise nutrition. A few weeds won't do much in the long term but a potato or a fruit could make a huge difference. There are fruits that can kill but the dosage is far past the "likely to consume" levels. The flavors tend to the unappetizing as well. Even the onion is a poisonous plant but it is that flavor of poison that makes it attractive. The alkaloid that flavors it is present in wild and cultivated onions and can kill in sufficient dosages. It can kill a cat and does kill cattle.


Then there are people who have eaten fugu and lived (like me)...




Ron
Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.



Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.



I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...



My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.



Understand?
#37
A few problems as I see them.



UET , when someone with little or no experience reads these passages it seems easy to do.

In real life if you were in a survival , for real , and needed to eat, by following some of the rules it could take up to a few days waiting or the results.

If you got sick from eating this plant you lose. The hours required to wait might be used, to your advantage, going forward looking for other "foods" to eat or even plants.

As Christopher has always taught, learn the families. It is not that hard. Just the mustard family alone will give you about 400 plants tha you can eat.



Hemlock in So Ca is all over the place and very year someone dies from confusing it. It is in papers all the time.

I know Christopher keeps a file on as many of those he finds.

On the wild food classes Christopher shows the class all the plants that Mick points out and the exceptions , and there are a lot of them.



Like Ron and few others here I have been to a few jungles, and traveled extensively.

However most on this forum will never be in a jungle.

The survival we talk about here is not based on military survival, which is based on the condition you will be saved by the military.

Our survival is what we can learn and put together to save our own butts and get out if we get into trouble.

That is what almost all of the WoodsMasters DVDs teach you

That means dealing with what is most likely to be found by us on this continent.

Although the methods an be applied anywhere.



Plants should be looked on as a "supplement" to other foods. They offer no calories. Except the fruits and seeds.

If fruits and seeds are found it is based on the time of year. With those you could be lucky.



What Im seeing here is some "theory" about why we should or should not do something.

All of the theory is based on some experience, reading, practice, teaching, common sense, and more theory.

For me I will stay with not using the UET.

The more I have learned about plants, the more Im convinced to not use the UET.

Hell some people get sick with edible plants anyway, no matter what. Their system is not used to processing, digesting the fiber etc.

I do go along with what Ron said about fruits,tubers, but thats as far as I would go. Maybe.





I will not count on a solar still. However that might depend on where I am.

I have asked students and hikers fo many years now, how many have a clear sheet of plastic with them that would be large enough for a still?

About 2 out of a 100. I have been in places in the desert where you cannot even dig anyway.

From the time I was in the Corps until now I have seen I have lost count of stills.

Some done right, some half assed, some laughable.

I seen them done half ases and they worked just as well a the ones done right under optimum conditions.

That is always the key. Location, location , location. The right materials.



Your milage may vary



Dude.....check yer6
I have been where the hand of man has never set foot



Dont pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.
#38
While I totally understand and agree with most of what Dude said (and thanks for the plug!) I have to disagree with one part. The UET is a tool. One of many. I carry in my tool kit a fencing tool. It works as a hammer, a pliers, a wire cutter, a nail puller and a few other things. It does none of these things well but it works. I keep it because it is available and it will work if needed and the other tools are not available.



The UET is such a tool and it exists in my kit not because of theory but because I have used it and it worked. It has worked for many others and is consistently taught in the worlds survival schools as one of the ways we can extend our lives in an emergency. Keep in mind the simple fact that the UET did not arrive out of the blue... suddenly appearing on the stage. It has been there in various forms since the beginning of time. It is a historically proven tool that has served countless generations in many places for years beyond measure.



I will not discard it because someone decided that it is no longer useful or claims that it can kill. Perhaps, perhaps not. I can tell you this, for over 20 years I taught people how to use this tool and I took the time to have them sample dangerous plants so they could taste the common alkloids.... tongue only and NOT including hemlock whose lookalikes are easy to spot and just as easily avoided.



I know that after many thousands of students that no matter what I say or do unless their plant knowledge is kept up to date they will forget but one thing they will NOT forget is the test.



Dude can discard it as can Christopher and Tapcode but I will put my experience and historical knowledge up as a testimony that historically and practically, there is no alternative.



I don't keep articles nor do I think that is particularly instructive except as a historical record of failures, and apparently not of the UET. We do not see the articles of success as that is not newsworthy or remarkable in any way. Like any product, the only reviews we generally see are the bad ones. I'm an historian and an anthropologist not a theorist.



Ron
Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.



Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.



I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...



My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.



Understand?
#39
Putting my popcorn down to type this now ~ love this thread! <img src='http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />



In my humble opinion, I would think the UET would actually come into play more so in a primitive living scenario, not so much survival, as food is obviously a low priority in the early going of a situation. That being said, the UET would be as Ron states an excellent tool ~ that being the tool of someone with the where-with-all to transition from survival to primitive living. There is obviously the exception; ex. Chris McCandless, but then too, he would still not have made it without 'real' fat and protein at that latitude.



To put in a nut shell what Dude said, plants are what "real food" eats. Don't get me wrong, I believe plants are the foundation of survival and primitivie living. You need to have that relationship for shelter, fire, tools, and again, know what the real food eats. I am a tentatively optimistic believer in the UET and I have some knowledge of edible/medicinal plants of the southeast U.S. My plant I.D. skills are actually pretty good having honed them in dendrology and weed science as I have a degree in Forest Resources and Conservation.



Regarding the solar still ~ made one in a damp river bed in the Sonoran Desert with the help of Cody Lundin (who is anal about doing it perfect) and I won't be making one again anytime soon.
Flint Knapping - so easy a caveman can do it!
#40
We agree to disagree... But it is only by a little bit. <img src='http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />



The history of plant ediblity. Of course it has a history, a long one, for sure.

In the dim history how many died or was violently sick while learning what to eat and what not to eat for the rest of us?

From their findings , handed down through time, we know a whole bunch about what to eat, and what not to eat or how to prepare something so it is edible.

That is how we know , dont eat that plant. Eat this one. <img src='http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />



We do not have to start over using the UET because we have gathered a library of info to learn from. We do not have to learn from mistakes.

The mistakes have already been made for us.

We have tons of info.



In real dire circumstances one might resort to UET.

A tool doesnt mean it has to be used all the time. Learning when to use a tool is important as well.

Critical judgement might be impaired under real life stress.

Survival training, and owning the skills, is a tool that we all strive to bring into play.

Just as many survival skills teachers do not teach UET. A fast check will show it is contraversal.



Lots of folks have tasted and made a meal out of some plants and had no problems. Of course.

But that is no different than driving your car a million miles and not getting killed, this time.



In reality for most people they will never be in a stuation where they "have" to test any plant.



What I failed to get across is the fact that everyone can and will do what their own experience etc dictates. Thats fine.

And that is as it should be.



You are what you eat. <img src='http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Rolleyes' />



Dude...yer6Lads...
I have been where the hand of man has never set foot



Dont pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.
#41
Dude is absolutely right... The UET is not a substitute for knowledge and should never be used as a means of learning about plants. It is a survival technique for people who have never read the library Dude spoke of or don't have the pages for the environment in which they find themselves. It is not for experimentation.



Over the years I read about explorers who tasted plants that looked promising. Tomato (1590's), potato (1536), corn (1590's) and other foods found their way into common use because someone tasted those foods, deemed them good and created an industry around them... they all come from the "New World" only about 400 years ago. The men who brought these foods back to Europe used the knowledge of the indigs and something akin to the UET.



I respect Dude and Christopher's choice to not include that skill in the material they teach. Considering the students they work with that is a wise choice. For a soldier who might find him or herself alone in a foreign land where contact with natives is not a good idea (think Vietnam) it is a very good skill to have. I am disappointed to hear that the Air Force no longer includes it but then....



Ron
Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.



Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.



I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...



My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.



Understand?
#42
Lots of good points here.



I can spot water hemlock instantly! It's very common here in WI. My goddaughter once asked me if "this" was Queen Anne's lace, as the flowers are similar...



If I were in unfamliar environs, the UET would make sense, though I would pursue animal protein first.
"Never eat at a place called Ma's. Never play cards with a man named Doc. Never sleep with anyone who's problems are worse than your own." Nelson Algren.
#43
one thing, that is more of an observation than a point (if even that) is that i have walked a bit around the base of the San Gabriels, where venerable-elder dude and brother nyerges go and teach a lot - and one of the things i noticed was how many "get ya in trouble PDQ" plants there were there...;



bro ron observed that a lot of foods that were originally feared in the new world, such as the tomatoe, proved to be safe to eat, and that is certainly so;



but another thing comes to my little rat brain food-processor - the reciprocal event to the tomatoe's success in the modern diet,



which woud be an example of a failure of this discussed system (which i probably have used well beyond what many would consider sensible, lackjing any other information); Jimson Weed.





about the same time every buddy in a pilgrim hat was sayin' "shit yeah! pass the fried green tomatoes, they ain't bad!" folks were also (theoretically) consuming Jimson Weed.



"Jimson" is the vernacular for "Jamestown" (as in "many souls lost Jamestown").





what does this have to do with brothers dude and christopher's plant walks, and their area of operation? - their area is remarkable in how much hemlock and jimson weed and probably all sorts of other potentially-dangerous foodstuffs that i missed while trying to keep up with brother dude....





why are potentially-deadly plant species so common there (really or just perceived to be by me, that is)...?



i think it is because of the absence of grazing animals.



cattle are not there.



no caribou.



or buff.





perhaps there is a relation there then, to consider when best to use this tool.



maybe a corollary event like the presence of grazers modifies the risk.



i suspect that may be so.



dunno.



vec
#44
The historical events in Jamestown were well recorded. "Jamestown weed" was not the result of an error in identification but rather an attempt of rumless town members to get the high the local Indians managed to achieve. The difference between a buzz and something much more dangerous is a matter of experience. The Indians had it, the settlers did not.



I have tasted Jimsen weed and it would fail the test... miserably.



I underwent an ayuasca ceremony in Peru. That is another plant that would never pass the test. The flavor of the alkaloids is so profound that no one in the right mind would ever want to eat it. It used as a flavoring in masato some times. It adds a real "kick" to the otherwise low alcohol drink. I learned that on a hunting trip with some tribals. Later I tried the ritual. Jimsen falls in the same category. If a little feels good a lot must be much better.



Ron
Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.



Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.



I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...



My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.



Understand?
#45
The value of the UET is still a matter of discussion. I will see to it that a fuller discussion, that is more balanced, is appended to this thread.



Ron
Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.



Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.



I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...



My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.



Understand?


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