Tag Archives: moxie-plum

Gaultheria teas

17 Nov

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Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens) is a very common plant under Jack Pine trees on dry sandy soil in my neck of the woods. The red berries are starting to get large and will be a nice cold weather treat from now until May any time they are visible as they may possibly be snow covered for a few weeks to 4 months, time will tell.

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Today I’m gathering a few berries but mostly the plant leaves for tea. Some folks prefer the red leaves which seem to grow in the drier sunnier areas.

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I’m also collecting some green Teaberry leaves from a shadier area to compare the 2 different colored leaves flavour.

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Ah, a wet spot in the Jack pines and here we see some green Teaberry leaves and below them is Moxie-plum (Gaultheria hispidula) which has tasty white berries during the summer and its wintergreen leaves may even make a better tea than teaberries. So I’m going to do some Gaultheria tea testing in the next few days.

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Moxie-plum (Gaultheria hispidula) usually grows in wet areas on or near old tree stumps and is rare compared to Teaberry in my area.DSC06530

Here we see a larger mature stem with many small round leaves this one is well over a foot long.

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I found a couple tea testers here at the house who will sample both the red and green Teaberry teas and also the Moxie-plum leaf tea in coming days as I must first ferment the leaves for a day or 2 before the tea tasting begins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk11Acjofu8

Gaultheria products are rarely made today though they were used many years ago. I suspect the Teaberry gum in the video was originally made with Teaberries in the early 1900s but by the time of the 1960’s video probably was made with more easily obtained ingredients, nevertheless the videos is kinda fun and the song was a popular instrumental when I was a lad. I will post the results of our (in-house tea tasting event) as an update in this post in a few days.

UPDATE Nov 19/2013

Both Gaultheria procumbens and Gaultheria hispidula leaves when fermented for 2 days make incredibly great teas. Gaultheria hispidula won the (in-house tea tasting event) by 2 votes to 1 as it was slightly more smooth though both were truly flavourful.

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Since Gaultheria procumbens is one of our most common forest plants I will choose it as the one I gather and ferment  frequently this winter. If you live where this plant is common, enjoy fresh air and walking in the woods and also have space for a few small mason jars to ferment for a day or 2, then you clearly owe this small investment of timely pleasure to yourself. This is one tasty medicinal tea. cheers

U-pick thicket festival

17 Jul

Here are a few wild berries growing in a thicket outside Sackville New Brunswick.

Close up of Moxie-plum (Gaultheria hispidula), the fruit are a nice nibble treat and the leaves make a very good wintergreen tea. I always enjoy finding these little delights.

Amelanchier berries are my favorite for fruit cookies and scones so here are a few photos.

This one is Red-berried elder (Sambucus racemosa or  pubens) which is a fruit I have been reluctant to try due to not being able to find anyone who has admitted to making a jelly or juice or wine, though I  see plenty of mention of it as both poisonous and also edible when fully ripe and then cooked as used many years ago by the Gitxsan people in northwest BC Canada. I will prepare a small amount of boiled juice to very cautiously experiment with it in coming weeks, once I’m sure the berries are fully ripe and then I’ll boil a few with some water and strain the juice, also of note all parts of this plant are claimed to be poisonous when raw. This is a very naturally occurring abundant fruit in my area and this is my main reason to taste it sparingly to explore this mystery. The is one of the last wild fruit in my area for me to sample, though it has been on my list for decades. I guess another reason for the delay is no one has claimed it taste good either, so no wonder it would be on the bottom of the list eh.

I was a little amazed at the variety of plants, shrubs and trees in this thicket which was swampy to dry sand and shifting from one to the other frequently. Cranberries and blackberries were the dominant fruits, though they were flowering at this time, here are some cranberry blossoms with a small green fruit developing on the right side of the photo.

I did say it was a festival and in the thicket we do things  a bit differently. here we look down at a member of the ginseng family, bristly sarsaparilla (Aralia hispida) with its fire works like show. You can make a tea from the roots of bristly sarsaparilla. cheers