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!
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.
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?