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What's your favorite wild fruit to harvest and eat?

 
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Commonly found wild foods and medicine plants in our woods are blackberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, apples (from a long lost 150+ year old farm), pine needle tea, nettles, willow bark and more. Of course, can't forget dandelions and cattails ...
 
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persimmons and jam from sweetened crabapples if tart
 
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Here in the high desert, it's cholla buds in the spring and tuna (prickly pear fruit) in the fall. Also, pinones (aka pine nuts).  Tons of juniper around here but I've never yet tried the berries.
 
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We have a volunteer plum tree with a small, dark red fruit which is awesome fresh or made into jam or ketchup. It might not count as it's likely close to a domestic plant genetically speaking. There's also a mushroom locally that I can safely identify. It's great dried and then crushed into soups.
 
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My favorites are Black Raspberries, Choke cherries, wild grapes, and ground cherries. The thorns from collecting black raspberries are painful but worth the harvest. Choke cherries are sour but make a fantastic jelly. Wild grapes are great too. I've found some plants that have excellent flavor. Ground cherries are also very delicious for making salsas. They're a bit sweeter than tomatillos. I also like to leave some berries on the plants and let them over winter. Once they do the berries become almost jel-like and have an incredibly fruity, sweet taste. It's like a mix of strawberry, pineapple, and other fruits all though in one little berry.  Simply amazing! :)
 
pollinator
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Skandi Rogers wrote:We don't get too many fruits that are worth picking really

Cloudberries are lovely but way to rare to pick, they should be photographed and left alone.



You might try propagating a plant or two so that you can have your own.  You need not pick the berries but layering or other relatively non-invasive techniques might work.    My economics professor once pointed out that the entire reason that whales are endangered and chickens are not all revolved around ownership of the animal in question.  None of us own a whale so as the saying goes when it's no one's it's everyone's so people still hunt whales.  However, if someone came into your yard to hunt your chickens, they're your property and you have legal recourse against the hunter of chickens as well as rights to protect them as your property.  

If you have your own, you can always "rewild" a portion of the offspring.  

I forgot to add pricky pear cactus pears - OMG the syrup and jam you can make with them.  Its absolutely worth the thorns - just as much as the blackberries.  (I used to get into trouble for stopping on the way home from school in the blackberry bramble - school clothes torn and purple from eating my way through the bramble)  Pick with tongs, into a bucket and get fire or torch to burn the spines off.  Peel and enjoy.  
 
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Huckelberrys!
 
Jay Angler
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thomas rubino wrote:Huckleberry's!

I have a cake I make when I have too many eggs. It's similar to a pound cake, and when I mix huckleberries into the batter, along with a little bit of lemon zest, it looks like I slaved over a fancy desert. Reality is, the local huckleberries are very small, so the hardest part of the cake is doing the picking!

Today I harvested some nettle tops, along with some domestic greens (walking onion, French Sorrel, Russian Kale, a few dandelion leaves, and parsley) and made a mixed greens pesto. It freezes nicely, so I can pull out a little at a time to add to pasta dishes, or fake-it pizza. I just wish nettles were an easier sell with the boys!
 
gardener
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Actually had my husband start dinner without me while I processed dewberries - we're deep into the first flush of berries right here, right now and I don't allocate enough time to *carefully* wander through the bramble that has taken over the currently unused portions of the yard, then wash and package for the freezer - I was scooping berries out of the sink into a bag when Darling Adorable sat down with his meal.  Oops!
There being such a short window to gather them, I try to do as much as I can.

The mulberry trees are fruiting as well, which makes for interesting collecting. The chickens get the berries that fall and a few hens have learned to climb and pick. I was more than pleased to have wild song birds moving into the area, centered around the mulberry trees - Cardinals and Mocking Birds have settled in again.
I noticed several Passion Fruit vines in the bramble, too, which makes me very happy. There was one Passion Fruit vine volunteer I found last year that climbed over a patch of Goldenrod,  and I had hoped it would return.

Favorites have to be Dewberries for the short season and lovely flavor. I made a syrup from them last year and will probably try a jam this year. Same for the mulberries - they made a great jam, so I'll try that again. One of my roos has learned that the hens LOVE dewberries and was tidbitting along the edge of the bramble with ripe berries. He's a keeper!
 
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I really don't have a single favorite, however, I have a few I like for different reasons.

The fruit I get the most enjoyment from finding is definitely Pawpaw. I'm never sure if im gonne get to them before someone (or someopossum) else does. Also, the huge variation of flavor and texture from patch to patch makes them interesting.

The fruit that I look most forward to simply on taste are Hillside Blueberries, V. pallidum. I cleared a section of forest where I currently live (ridgetop) to make way for some bees. Doing so let in enough light for what I assumed were Deerberries, V. stamineum, to bloom and set fruit. Thankfully and to my surprise, they ended up being Hillsides and some of the biggest and juiciest I've ever found. I plan on taking them with me when I move to my new property and incorporating them in with the reat of my commercial varieties.

The one fruit I have a love hate with are Wineberries, Rubus phoenicolasius. Lovely flavor and abundant, but invasive.
 
Kristine Keeney
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There will be Permies who argue with you about whether something is invasive and that's a Bad Thing.
Over the years, I've slowly shifted to "invasive just means very enthusiastic". As long as we're not talking about a single plant that covers square km of ground, preventing anything else from growing there, what some people call invasive is just their definition. If there's something getting pushed out of that spot where you can do something about it, and the thing getting pushed fills a similar niche? Replace it.
But if it's just an overly enthusiastic plant with a better survival-rate than whatever it's pushing out,... evolution tells me that it might be that thing's time to go somewhere else.

I will make exceptions for Norwegian Rats (the big and very invasive, in a Bad Way rodents) and fire ants (because fire ants). Humans have a bad habit of taking things places and being careless with them, so cats, rats, dogs, and pigs probably count, too, but there are specific cases for those and we're better at monitoring those situations. People are people, though.

All the Rubus vines tend to be rather enthusiastic in their preferred areas, but they allow for succession growth, so I don't think that counts.
 
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Kristine Keeney wrote:There will be Permies who argue with you about whether something is invasive and that's a Bad Thing.
Over the years, I've slowly shifted to "invasive just means very enthusiastic". As long as we're not talking about a single plant that covers square km of ground, preventing anything else from growing there, what some people call invasive is just their definition. If there's something getting pushed out of that spot where you can do something about it, and the thing getting pushed fills a similar niche? Replace it.
But if it's just an overly enthusiastic plant with a better survival-rate than whatever it's pushing out,... evolution tells me that it might be that thing's time to go somewhere else.

I will make exceptions for Norwegian Rats (the big and very invasive, in a Bad Way rodents) and fire ants (because fire ants). Humans have a bad habit of taking things places and being careless with them, so cats, rats, dogs, and pigs probably count, too, but there are specific cases for those and we're better at monitoring those situations. People are people, though.

All the Rubus vines tend to be rather enthusiastic in their preferred areas, but they allow for succession growth, so I don't think that counts.



I  have adopted the "invasive" wild blackberry and raspberry growth on my small plot of land.  They now form the perimeter that separates my cultivated 1/2 acre from my forest 1/2 acre.  In my raised beds and containers I am intentionally growing lamb's quarters, wild onion and garlic this year along with conventional vegetables.  With the climate changing, the strong plants will survive and I have long been wondering why these and other strong, nutritious weeds are not our intentional crops.   Next I am eyeing the various docks for my edible "weed" garden.  
On the other hand, I have been struggling with invasive English Ivy. It is both satisfying and disturbing for me that this year some disease is causing the leaves to brown and
it is dying off en masse.  I find this satisfying because it has been a huge battle, but disturbing because if incredibly resilient English Ivy is being killed off, what about  our cultivated vegetables? I know, I know: SOIL HEALTH.  But people can  live supremely healthy lifestyles and still die young from cancer.
I will post pictures later.  
 
Susan Mené
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A little off topic but here's the dead ivy
thumbnail-4.jpg
diseased ivy
diseased ivy
thumbnail-3.jpg
in the middle of perfectly healthy pachysandra
in the middle of perfectly healthy pachysandra
thumbnail-2.jpg
dead-used to ne covered with ivy
dead-used to ne covered with ivy
 
Kristine Keeney
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WOW!
No clue what's going on with the ivy. It doesn't look like any disease or bug I'm familiar with, but I've seen a lot of leaves on other plants that look similar.
I get similar damage from water droplets in sun - but that wouldn't effect the whole plant/s.
I'm ... glad(?) the ivy is dying back, it being so aggressive, but I understand why you're nervous about it.

I feel the same way about "The Groundcover That Ate East Texas", which is a plant I took a cutting of from my parent's house back in 2003 and has spread to cover the entire front of our yard, near the house. It extends about 5 feet from the skirting and has managed to climb underneath for a short distance, but hasn't tried to get inside (at least). The geese and chickens will sometimes nibble it. I've tried pulling it up - it makes great biomass for whatever you need biomass for - but it grows back, just where it is, rather well. It's reached a level of stasis with the rest of the yard, so we're pretending it's just another green plant. As my husband says, if it mows, it's grass. Even if it's obviously not.
 
Susan Mené
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Kristine Keeney wrote:

"The Groundcover That Ate East Texas"

Hahaha!  That's great.

 
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In Western Kentucky, my favorite wild fruit are Autumn olives. They have a nice tartness to them and they produce as much fruit as a domesticated fruit species.
 
Susan Mené
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Kevin Goheen wrote:In Western Kentucky, my favorite wild fruit are Autumn olives. They have a nice tartness to them and they produce as much fruit as a domesticated fruit species.



I LOVE Autumn olive!  Got a huge haul this year!
 
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Blackberries, black raspberries(though it's been many years), persimmons, chanterelles
 
pollinator
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There are blackberries and summer raspberries along the track where I walk our dog daily. I make sure the ones I pick are above dog height, if you get my meaning. There's also a cherry tree but the birds get all of them. Elderberries I use in winemaking and haws from the abundant hawthorn bushes get turned into haw jelly but I really like the fruit that needs no processing best and the raspberries rarely make it home.
 
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Where we live now?
The fruiting body of the chantrelle mushroom. There’s a lot of good foraging here, but the chantrelle mushroom is over all favorite foraging.

Over the world?
The wonderful Ohi'a 'ai- called the mountain apple in Hawaii. We went looking for them on the downside of a huge hike. We had never seen them, but found a grove that matched the description. The fruit was obviously getting eaten by feral pigs and fruit bats. Ee knocked them down with rocks and ate them during a huge rain storm.

Far too delicate for commercial grow operations, but an incredible fruit.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Blackberries, black raspberries(though it's been many years), persimmons, chanterelles



Hi Carla, I picked some persimmons today. They are very sweet after the freeze but are wild persimmons supposed to be so tiny?
20231126_170934.jpg
Small persimmons
Small persimmons
 
Carla Burke
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May Lotito wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:Blackberries, black raspberries(though it's been many years), persimmons, chanterelles



Hi Carla, I picked some persimmons today. They are very sweet after the freeze but are wild persimmons supposed to be so tiny?



The ones native to the USA are, but the pictures I've seen of the Japanese ones are so much bigger, and honestly, prettier, it's hard to believe they're even in the same genus.
 
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May Lotito wrote:Hi Carla, I picked some persimmons today. They are very sweet after the freeze but are wild persimmons supposed to be so tiny?


Absolutely.  American persimmons are much smaller than Asian persimmons.  Typically they are golf-ball-sized at the largest.

Those actually look like some nice ones!  Not too smooshed.  The thing about American persimmons is that you basically must pick them off of the ground to ensure that they are fully bledded (sp?) and ready to eat.  If still hanging on the branch, I wouldn't trust them, even after a good freeze.  As a result, dealing with smooshed fruit and foreign debris is just a part of the process.

But they are so, so worth it! : )
 
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Huckleberries up in the Cascades, I camp in the same place every year, been there every year since I was in my mother's womb, and if you go at the right time of year the huckleberries are a true delight.  I also enjoy salmon berries and blackberries.

On the non-sweet front I like sour clovers, dandylion leaves for salad, miner's lettuce for salads, and I hope to learn about many more.  When nipplewort found its way into one of my garden pots I put it into its own pot so as to encourage it, I always do that when something edible, or good for the bees, comes along if I have enough pots (growing things on an apartment patio).
 
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