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Friday, June 18, 2010

Foraging - My Latest Hobby

This year I've really gotten into and been learning alot about foraging.  It all started from looking up a tree we have in our yard. 
We have Autumn Olive trees in our "back of beyond" part of our yard, and I've always liked the look of the berries.  They're red with gold speckles.  We had one pop up a few years ago near our bird feeders, which was weird, because in all the years, that had never happened before.  So, I dug it up and moved it a little ways away.  This spring I was curious as to whether or not the berries could be used for anything.  And they can be!  They not only can be eaten, but are becoming very popular in health circles.  All the research I've done says that they have around 17 times the amount of lycopene than that of a raw tomato.  Oh, and the seeds are spread and germinated by bird crap, so that explains the random tree in the yard.  Tasty.  I'll get a picture of it in here once I get settled back into blogging.

So, I'm thinkin' to myself, "Wow, we've had all these berries around, and never knew we could eat them, make jelly with them, etc."  They get alot of berries, and they're in clusters and easy to pick.  They do have a very hard seed in the middle (hence the aviary digestive juice germinator), but you can either swallow them (very small) or spit it out.  The plant is considered invasive, though.  At least in our state it is, but they've been here as long as I can remember, and at least they have a usefulness.  The most popular recipes out there are jellies and fruit leather, and I plan on making both in the fall.

After that, I started looking up other stuff that we have growing just on our property, and was completely amazed at all the useful stuff we have right under our noses.  I'll go into more detail on each later on, but here's a list of the things we have growing in our yard that we can use, either wild or something I didn't realize we could use:

In the way back and wild:
   Autumn Olives - many scrub trees
   Crabapples - one large tree that I recently rescued from vines as large as it was.
   Sumac Berries - many scrub trees
   Blackberries & raspberries - these pop up everywhere
   Mulberries - white and red
   Birch - here and there and everywhere
In the yard:
   Juniper shrubs - we have two different ones
   Dandelions - actually a pretty useful plant
   Chinese Lanterns - in the tomato family
   Wild violets - these pop up everywhere
   Wild strawberries - small and few, but tasty

This is just what we can eat, let alone all the stuff that our rabbit can eat!  I've been pretty amazed at what I can use just from our yard.  I think of them as suprise gifts from God, stuck here long ago, and He knew one day I'd find them.  Pretty darn cool.  So, I've been foraging big time, looking up stuff, trying new things and am looking forward to more learning and experimenting!  (Although my family might not be as eager...)


  1. Just making sure all of you can comment without having to sign in...

  2. Was still signed in the first time...second test...

  3. Yes, it works easily enough. In the drop down box below select "name/url", just put a name - you don't need the url. Type your comment, then when you hit "post comment", you do get the letter recognition thingy, but it's not too bad. And that's it. No need to sign in or open an account. (FYI - the letter recog. thingy keeps computer generated spam at bay - only reason I left it active)