organic vegetarian meals for the trail

Edibility Tips


Not Safe

  • White, green, and yellow berries. Nearly all are poisonous.
  • Never eat the berry (or the leaves) from a plant that has a milky sap.
  • 50% of red berries are poisonous, so unless you can positively identify it, it is not worth the risk to eat it.
  • Avoid any leaves or seeds with an almond-like scent, a characteristic of cyanide compounds.


  • 70% of soft berries are safe. So (red and soft) improves your odds.
  • 90% of purple, blue, and black berries are safe.
  • Aggregate berries (small fruit pieces joined tightly together at a base to make a larger fruit) such as raspberries and blackberries are almost always safe to eat.
  • Edible plants that taste bitter, such as acorns, should be boiled in several changes of water in order to remove the tanic acid.

Survival expert, Mykel Hawke, gives this handy mnemonic for remembering which berries are safe to eat in the wild.

“White and yellow, kill a fellow.
Purple and blue, good for you.
Red… could be good, could be dead.”

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