How to Know If Berries are Edible

Feeling fruity? Check out these tips to know if the berries you're eating are actually edible.

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Prevent food poisoning and food-borne illnesses with the advice in this Howcast video series.

You Will Need

  • Senses
  • Field guide

Steps

  1. Consult a medical professional or poison control if you think you may have ingested inedible fruit.

  2. Step 1

    Use your eyes

    Examine wild berries closely. Pay careful attention to the fruit's size and color, and note as many other physical characteristics as possible, including its arrangement on the bush or vine, the color of the bush's flower, and the number of leaves growing beneath the fruit.

  3. Step 2

    Use a guide

    Check the information you find against a field guide to identify the particular berry and know whether it's edible.

  4. Use a field guide with color photos to make identification easier.

  5. Step 3

    Use a mnemonic

    Stuck without a field guide? Remember this rhyme:White and yellow kill a fellow.Purple and blue, good for you.

  6. Step 4

    Check the number

    When dealing with red berries, see how many pieces of fruit grow in one location -- if the fruit grows in small clusters, it's likely poisonous, while those that grow as single berries are more likely to be edible.

  7. Step 5

    Eat up

    Checking out berries in the store? Avoid berries that have fuzz or mold growing on them. If you know a berry's good, though, chow down and enjoy the vitamins, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and great taste.

  8. Strawberries are the only fruit whose seeds grow on the outside.

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