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Today's foraging haul in Texas: pictures  RSS feed

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Collected plants and seeds mostly for propagation.


This rocky hillside looks forbidding but is actually covered with food as far as the eye can see:



Sotol Dasylirion has an edible stem full of carbohydrates, which needs to be cooked for several hours. It is difficult to harvest, requiring the stem to be dug from the hard ground:




Buffalo gourd is prolific and easy to harvest:




I got all these today:



Agave is not native to my region but is common and these babies will grow up to have big edible hearts. They could also be made into tequila:



Cholla is also not native to here but is commonly planted for decoration. Has edible stems and buds:



Osage Orange fruits are not edible, but the wood is durable and good for making bows:



Soapberries are not edible but can be used for laundry soap:



Mexican Buckeye is a native with pretty flowers in the spring. Seeds are cute but not edible:

 
Kathy Burns-Millyard
Posts: 75
Location: Arizona low desert
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Great finds! I finally realized this morning that I've got several devils claw plants loaded with fruit. Plan to fry some up and let the others mature into seed.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Location: zone 7
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I find drying the osage orange and putting themin your dry food storage keeps bugs out well.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for that tip!

 
Jeffrey Hodgins
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Yes many thanks. Question can you eat the tubers of the buffalo gourd or could they be processed and fed to animals?
 
Tyler Ludens
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"Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest" by Delena Tull says the tuber contains as much as 56% starch by dry weight and that the starch can be extracted by various methods. So yes, edible, but not without some processing! Considering these plants live many years, the tubers are probably large and very tough....
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Tyler Ludens wrote: Soapberries are not edible but can be used for laundry soap:


Actually that statement may not be entirely correct. According to what I have read, the seeds can be roasted to remove the traces of cyanide. Secondly Melicoccus bijugatus a species in the same family, has seeds that can be eaten raw but are better cooked. Also the toxins in the fruit are water soluble and could possibly be leeched like an acorn to remove the saponin.

Half of the plants listed as poisonous are great food plants. I'm not saying you should be a Guinea pig but I never belive that poisonous BS when I read about it and do you want to know why, because half of the time they don't say what the toxin is. I always try to learn what the toxic components are and see if they can be mitigated with some simple processing (90% of the time roasting or leeching will get rid or them). Warning Scientific data detailing all specific toxic components should always be used when processing toxin containing plants.

If anyone has first hand experience eating the seeds of Sapindus saponaria please comment.
PS Quinoa is high in saponins and we eat that right?

 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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Could be but Chaiyote also a Cucurbita lives a long time and its roots are tender. They give up their juice to the plant each year and then new tubers form in the fall they grow deep and to the sides making them hard to get but worth the effort. I would be interested to learn more about these tubers if you are so inclined to dig one up.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Tyler - You have soap berries growing!! I have to buy them at the store.

Can you also get seeds? I would be happy to pay for some soap berry seeds.

Our zone is a little too northern for soap berries but I would try to grow some anyway. I have set up a sort of micro climate here and am growing lemon, lime and mandarin orange - might as well add soapberry if I can find it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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The seeds of Osage Orange are edible, apparently. I won't be able to dig up a Buffalo Gourd root because they live in a brambly fenceline on a neighbor's property. Jeanine, I'd be happy to send you some Soapberries, maybe we can do a swap. Looks like they will grow at your latitude: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SASAD

More about Osage Orange: http://www.eattheweeds.com/maclura-pomifera-the-edible-inedible-2/
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Tyler, I would love to. Are the berries the part that is planted? I did a search on planting but I'm still going to plead ignorance.

Don't know what I have that you would want but feel free to quiz me - or if you see something on any of my posts that you are interested in.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I would just plant the berries "as is" not remove the fruit at all, just let it decompose over the winter, probably leave the pots outside in case they like a little stratifying. Message me your address and I'll get some out to you soon.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Elm seed pods, known as "samaras" are edible. Our local elm is Cedar Elm Ulmus crassifolia

On the tree:



They are a little tedious to harvest though plentiful, they are small. Not all trees ripen at the same time, so the harvest season is probably a couple of weeks, perhaps longer for more mature seeds.



I blanched them briefly and we had them as a side dish this evening. They were bland but not unpalatable. A little fuzzy. Longer cooking might help get rid of the fuzz. My husband seemed to like them more than I did.




More about eating elms: http://www.eattheweeds.com/chinese-elm-a-tree-that-doesnt-go-dutch-2/
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I'll bet they would be fine if you tossed them in with a salad after blanching or stirred in with some other vegetables - I would never have thought of elms!
 
Tyler Ludens
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There are tons of them out there, so they could be a part of each dinner mixed with other things. I'm wondering if the caloric value goes up as they ripen, but then they become tougher.....
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Tyler, I received the soapberries today!! Thank you so much. They arrived in perfect condition.

I have never seen the fresh berries before, only the dried hard ones that I buy for washing. I didn't realize they were so pretty

Right now is garlic and onion planting time so I'm hot and heavy into that. I'll check my calendar to see when the best time will be to start these. It will make a fun project to keep a picture log of the progress.

Thanks again!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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You're welcome!

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