Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Foraging in Tennessee!

Several of my favorite wild foods are coming into season this month!  Blackberries are nearly done which means Elderberries are nearly ready. The best time to hunt Elderberries is the second week in August.  They will be ripening over the next few weeks so if you pick this week you can go back next week for more.  Elderberries are really awful raw but wonderful made into jelly and syrup.  They are also a popular folk remedy for colds and flues due to their antiviral properties.

Another favorite beginning to ripen is the Autumn Olive. It is a small berry about the size of a pea. It's red with silver flicks on the skin.  The leaves are an olive green on one side and a silver green on the inside. When the wind blows you can see these trees from a distance because they are a different shade of green than surrounding vegetation.  It's a tree but usually ends up being a bush.  It's considered a noxious weed as it is not native and crowds out local vegetation.  However, I love it because the berries taste like sweet tarts and best of all they have the antioxidant Lycopene in them. It's the same antioxidant that's in tomatoes, only these berries have 17 times more! Tasty and super healthy!

Another great wild edible beginning to ripen now is the fruit from the Kousa Dogwood.  It is beginning to turn red with an orange flesh.  The skin is sour but the flesh tastes like a tropical drink!

The Passionflower fruit, the Maypop, is getting bigger but not ready yet. It needs to yellow and wrinkle before it is ripe.  However, you can pick the flowers and leaves now to dehydrate for a soothing tea. The leaves and flowers are some of the primary folk remedy ingredients in Europe for sleep aid.

As always, always be 100% sure of what you are eating from nature. Confirm from several sources.  Imagine a banana.  You know what it looks like.  You need to be that sure.

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