Archive for the Foraging Category

Unexpected Recognition

Posted in Foraging with tags , , on July, 2009 by melendwyr

Sometimes you don’t notice things until you’re made aware of them. Then they’re ubiquitous – but it’s not the world that’s changed, its your perception that’s altered.

I had just finished reading about desirable strains of wild apple and crabapple trees when I went for a walk Saturday. Passing by a local retail complex, I noticed a stand of decorative crabapples that I recalled being covered in pink flowers early in spring, and that were now laden down by a heavy crop of marble-sized red fruits. Out of curiosity, I picked a few and found them to have a crisp texture, clear, pleasant tartness – and bright red flesh all the way through.

I’m reasonably certain that I’ve found some Hopa Ornamental crabapples, a variety that Euell Gibbons praises as being both delicious and commonly planted. They seem to lack the faint bitterness that makes many wilding apples and most crabapples not really desirable for raw eating.

How many times had I passed those trees without recognizing them as edible? Or even noticing them at all?

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More Successful Foraging!

Posted in Foraging on June, 2009 by melendwyr

Passing by the Municipal Building on my way to the library, I happened to notice that the landscaping trees were covered in purple-red berries the size of a large pea.

A little research and judicious taste-testing later, I’ve concluded that they’re juneberries, also known as serviceberries, saskatoon, shadbush, shadberry, and all sorts of species names within Amelanchier. And no one around here seems to realize that they’re edible – and utterly delicious. Like blueberries crossed with black raspberries, with a hint of rose.

Trees and shrubs planted for decorative purposes often don’t have fruit, or they’ve been selected for fruit that looks nice but that wildlife won’t actually eat so that it’ll hang on the bare branches during winter. Even when the fruits are eaten by wildlife, they frequently either aren’t edible for humans or have so little culinary value that only a very hungry person would bother with them. It’s pleasantly surprising to come across a planting of a species that’s so scrumptious.