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rachael hamblin
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I just learned today that the berries of salal are edible and can make great jam either on their own or mixed with oregon grape.  When is a good time to harvest them and are any other parts of the plant edible as well?
 
Kelda Miller
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The berries are delicious and I remember them being ripe around blueberry/blackberry/oregon grape time.

They are very 'fuzzy' though, which is fine just fresh eating to spit out fuzzy skin, or swallow, but doesn't bode well for easy drying (like blueberries). So for preserving I think the juice/jelly/pemmican techniques may work.

Also, I heard that salal leaves may be eaten to stave off hunger. I think I read this in Pojar & Mackinnon. It's kind of a, once again, fuzzy texture though. astringent mouthy fuzz feeling. But I'll munch on them when I'm in the forest without hesitation.

love the fuzz
 
Arthur Lee Jacobson
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Salal leaves, while young and tender, are edible and fair fare for trailside nibbling or adding to a salad. They have a faint astringency, and bit of sourness. The berries, in Seattle, are ripe for eating between early July and December. I love mixing a mouthful with chives. The plumpest, largest and moistest berries are from shady sites; in sunny sites they are smaller, drier. Trying to pick the berries one by one as you would blackberries is awkward. If you try plucking the berry it may burst, so you need to sever the stem. I just pluck entire ripe clusters, and pull them through my mouth, as if I was a bear. The stems are discarded. I made a pie one July of salal berries and purpleleaf plum fruits. Adding salal berries to an apple pie is easy.

I would not encourage people to plant salal for its food, because other plants, per square foot, offer far greater caloric return. And gathering wild salal is too easy.

Arthur Lee Jacobson
 
          
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Location: la grande, or
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salal leaves are a mild astringent, so pick some, dry them in a paper bag, then powder them up and when you get a bruise or a wound, mix with a little hot water and slather on, and it will help reduce the swelling and heal it up.  better yet, add some oregon grape leaves, a few st. johns wort flowers, a few plantain leaves, and a little arnica (and i do mean a little- they say it's toxic if it gets into the body, but i have found using a little internally to be ok.  i mean a little, one or two drops of tincture, or 1 leaf in a few cups of leaves.  I have accidentally ingested much more, and i lived to tell the tale).  and some of whatever else is growing around that isn't toxic...  and you have a nice plaster for wounds & bruises.  add some yarrow, and apply the powder directly to a bleeding wound and it will stop/slow the bleeding.  since everything is edible, you can also take about a table spoon of the powder, mix it with water and slug it down, thus treating the owie internally and externally.
 
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