Berry good to see you

24 Aug

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I’m exploring a new area tonight with my main interest in the ripeness of the Chokecherries in this neck of the woods though there are a large number of Staghorn Sumac which have made me thirsty for some sumac-ade.

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Somewhat elegant for a name like Staghorn Sumac isn’t it. This small tree often grows in groups and in this area I see around 30 small trees ranging in heights from 4 to 10 feet.

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Here are enough Staghorn Sumac berry-heads to make a few litres of ade. This one is easy to gather and also prepare and  I am a bit surprised it isn’t more popular as a wild food. I’m tempted to gather some to dry for winter this year and experiment a little with it beyond the usual jellies and beverages, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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There are some more interesting berries around here, these are Highbush Cranberries (Viburnum trilobum).

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Here is a better look at the whole shrub, these berries are far from ripe at this time and are often gathered  in the fall after a few frost have hit them, they are hardy and are often on the bush when the snow is deep.

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Another Viburum this one is called Wild Raisin (Viburnum cassinoides), a few blue berries are already ripe and very sweet. Interesting how the berries will continue to ripen here and there on this shrub for many weeks, nice shrub for a small snack in the yard in late summer, the taste is something like dates, this berry has a large seed.

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You may want to click on to see this Wild Raisin shrub closer, lots of clusters on this one.

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The Chokecherries are not quite ripe enough, maybe in a week or so.

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The elderberries in this area probably will be killed by frost before they become ripe, it happens sometimes this far north, especially in shady areas like this one. You’ll need to click on to notice all the small green clusters of elderberries in this photo.

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These are not berries though for those who haven’t seen Milkweed in the seedpod stage let me introduce them to you. I know I was surprised the first time I seen this plant with their unusually large pods for plants in a cool climate. I’ll add this photo to my edible plant page after.

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Now for some Sumac-ade refreshment. cheers

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2 Responses to “Berry good to see you”

  1. The Novice Gardener August 24, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    Been making sumac lemonade myself. I have a wild patch in my backyard. Starting to think it was a mistake to plant them; they’re too invasive! Looking forward to seeing your sumac experiment. Should I gather and dry now? I usually just harvest what I need for a pitcher of sumac-ade, never made it with dry berries.

    • 1left August 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      In my area it has been dry so I’ll gather 25 heads now since the taste is a pleasant acidity though I’m not sure if this will change in dried form? I’ve read it will stay very similar so I’m hoping this is true. I will gather some more in the fall and also winter to compare the flavour of the different seasons. A good method is to frequently rub a wet finger on your Sumac and taste and then go with you buds. Inspect the heads, trim and dry only in small pieces, some sift out the hard stuff and then process into a powder. ciao.

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