Eating In The Rainforest

While in Maui, we took a guided hiking tour of a rain forest.  Being tourists, we brought backpacks loaded with bottles of water, crackers, Band-Aids, bug spray, sunscreen and a camera.  Being an extra nerdy tourist, I had two cameras 🙂

We weaved through branches and over tree roots, we saw amazing plants (more on that in another post) and had the opportunity to dive off two waterfalls into pools of water.  I would have totally jumped, but I had an obligation to take pictures of my husband while he fulfilled his promise to our younger son.  Okay, I’m lying.  I’d never jump.  The camera is simply a convenient cover for my chicken-ness.

Along the way, our guide shared some foods of the forest.  I discovered the one thing I forgot to bring:  produce wash.  I took a chance and ate without washing first.  Funny thing happened; I’m still alive.  (I don’t want to tempt fate; tonight, I washed my strawberries before I ate them.)

First, we tried guavaberries.  Being the adventurous eater that I am, I waited to make sure everyone finished.  I watched their facial expressions and listened for gagging noises.  No one spit anything out, so I tried one.  It wasn’t bad!

I’m not afraid of a guavaberry…maybe just a little bit…

Red Ginger was the next thing on the menu.  Although the guide cautioned that red plants were often poisonous, he assured us the yellow buds on this plant were safe.  Since he ate first, I took his word for it.

Red Ginger:  It’s pretty and the yellow buds taste sorta like chicken, er, make that lemon.

The last goodie on the menu was a kukui nut (I don’t have a picture of that one.)  We learned that these nuts are polished and made into leis.  Doing double-duty, the oily meat of the nut is used as a laxative.  The guide told us that the little bit he gave us wouldn’t do anything….“until we got off the van.”  Well, in that case, why not?

He did leave us with one bit of survival advice:  if you get lost in the forest and have no food, you can test if a plant is edible by rubbing it on your lip and then waiting ten minutes.  If it itches or burns, don’t eat it.  Otherwise, it’s probably safe.

I don’t know about you, but the “probably” didn’t reassure me.

Have you tried any of these?  Have you tried any other plants in the wild?

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20 thoughts on “Eating In The Rainforest

  1. pattisj May 14, 2012 / 9:37 PM

    No, and no to answer your questions. I’m not the adventurous sort when it comes to food. I don’t even eat at a new restaurant until I’ve heard reviews and thoroughly checked the menu beforehand. You are so brave!

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2012 / 9:47 PM

      The funny thing is, I’m not adventurous about much of anything, especially food. I mean, I’ve been going to this one restaurant for lunch for years and I’ve only had one sandwich there. I liked it so much, I’ve never bothered to try anything else because I’m afraid I won’t like it is much as my ‘regular’ sandwich. That, Patti, is not adventurous at all 🙂

    • nrhatch May 15, 2012 / 1:36 PM

      Wow! You are in a RUT, Janna.
      Branch out.
      Try a different sandwich (or soup!) (or salad!) at your FAVE restaurant.

      Or not.
      I’m not the boss of you. 😉

      • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:53 PM

        I wouldn’t call it a rut, Nancy – I just know what I like 🙂 To me, it’s disappointing when I do vary and it’s not as good as my favorite dish.
        Maybe I will try something new….or not. You’re not the boss of me 😆 (Thanks for the laugh!)

  2. suzicate May 15, 2012 / 8:05 AM

    That sounds like such a cool hike. I wonder if that tip works in the woods as well…better not chance it though!

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:41 PM

      I wouldn’t try it unless you have to, Suzicate!

  3. Tahlitha Chadwick May 15, 2012 / 9:05 AM

    “The camera is simply a convenient cover for my chicken-ness.” Love it! I’ve been know for a few ‘convenient cover ups’ myself…shhhh. Especially in tasting new food.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:46 PM

      I won’t say a word, Tahlitha! I’m not adventurous with food either – I’ll leave that to someone else. Thanks for stopping by today!

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:47 PM

      Ha! Well, now you know, Carl 🙂 Thanks for the laugh!

  4. philosophermouseofthehedge May 15, 2012 / 11:59 AM

    The picture of the ginger is so interesting – the colors and the plant design. A real nature hike….always good to have a food tester along! The promise of waterfalls…ahhhhh!

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:50 PM

      I took so many pictures of the ginger, even before I knew the buds were edible. I have waterfall pictures – I’ll share a couple on my next HI post. Thanks for reading, Phil!

  5. nrhatch May 15, 2012 / 1:39 PM

    Sounds like a great hike. I’m pretty adventurous with fruits and veggies (and cliff diving), especially with a knowledgeable guide.

    But I wouldn’t follow Andrew Zimmern off the cliff . . . there is stuff he eats that I wouldn’t want to have within 10 feet of me. I am not going to rub raw fish or animal innards on my lips . . . not in this lifetime. 😀

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 4:55 PM

      I’d believe that you were adventurous, Nancy. It’s good to have boundaries, though. I’m with you on the raw fish or animal guts. Nasty! (I can’t even watch that show because it makes we want to toss my last meal.)

  6. xoEvelynOrtizHasSpoken May 15, 2012 / 4:28 PM

    The last piece of fruit looks like what Puerto Ricans call “kenepas” && I love those!

    & thanks for the advice on testing wildlife fruit lol

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2012 / 5:01 PM

      I hope you’re never in a situation where your life depends on testing fruit, Evelyn. It was kind of fun to eat them right off the plant.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. cuhome May 16, 2012 / 6:20 AM

    Honestly, I’ve never been in the wild for long enough to have to try the “lippy” test thing, but it sounds (somewhat) reasonable. But your post made me hungry, and now I’m going to head for the refrigerator to find some already-tested, though probably irradiated, food to fill my rumbling stomach!

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2012 / 11:36 PM

      I haven’t either, Janet. When I go out, I have enough snack food to last me several days! I hope you found some food 🙂

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