Tuesday, July 3, 2018

An Edible Walk #FlavoursomeTuesdays #BlogBoost

Let's take a quick walk on the Vestal Rail Trail near Binghamton, New York.  Why not find a couple of edibles and take a trip back in time to the early 1980's, when my spouse and I lived in rural Arkansas and did some experimentation with wild edibles?

Elderberry.  Our next door neighbor had a huge elderberry bush almost on our property line.  He welcomed us to pick all we wanted.

I used to make elderberry jelly. 

Homemade jelly tastes so much better than store bought, but it is a lot of work.  All stems must be removed from the tiny (and I mean tiny) berries.  Then there is crushing, straining, cooking (I always used store bought pectin), then canning in canning jars in a boiling water bath (fun in the hot Arkansas summer).  We would work on this after working our day jobs and the hour commute home, sometimes staying up until near midnight when we had several batches of produce to process - now, just thinking of all that work makes me feel tired.

My spouse made elderberry wine and, one time, even made elderberry flower wine.

Next, rhus glabra - smooth sumac.  We had a lot of sumac on our Arkansas property. 

We experimented with making a tea from the berries of sumac, which you do once the berries turn red and ripen.  It was too tart for my taste.  I've now found the leaves and roots of this particular sumac were used medicinally by Native Americans. 

Next, something I don't personally eat, wild roses.  Most of the roses on the rail trail are white rugosa roses, but I was pleased to find this pink rose in mid June.

Roses are related to apples (among other fruits) - if you've seen wild rose hips, they look (to me) so similar to crab apples.  Those who eat these will add the rose petals to salads, or take the buds, dry them, and make tea.  Then there is rose water - something we never made from our rose plants in Arkansas, but apparently it is quite easy to do.

Finally, Rubus odoratus - purple flowering raspberry.  I found this walking on the Vestal Rail Trail on Sunday - it is edible, but I have never tried them.  This is the flower I found Sunday.  Unlike most brambles, they flower in late June and early July where I live.

I've been thinking a lot of the things we used to do years ago, that we abandoned in the past thirty or so years.  One day, we hope to go back to some of what we used to do.Why not?

Life is here to be enjoyed!

Joining up with #FlavoursomeTuesdays (hosted by Bellybytes and Metanoia) and day three of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #BlogBoost

26 comments:

  1. Loved this post from the bottom of my heart because it includes such a sustainable way of living! Discovering wild fruits and flowers and making edible out of it! Amazing..that’s how humans used to live ages before.

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    1. That's right - and we do well to keep some of those skills active.

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  2. I am quite certain I will leave those foods for others to savor- unless I find myself desperately hungry.

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  3. Wow - didn't know roses are kin to apples. Thank you for sharing these tidbits of information about edible plants. I remember my mom and grandmothers using what was growing (both in the garden and in the "wild"), including making a dandelion salad in the spring. I haven't been as courageous. :-) Where we are living right now fig trees are abundant, and the stories of their produce used by locals are so fun to hear. It would be interesting if we all took a little bit of what we "used to do" and made it part of today!

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  4. Hii! Your blog post reminds me of the Mid West Wild Flower trail in Western Australia. The wild flowrr seadon is not long and happens durung the winter rains which we are experiencing now.

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  5. What a fun post! It makes me wish I lived in your area so I could go looking for these plants.

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    1. You should have your own wild plants where you live. There may even be a class locally.

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  6. We make a rose jelly( jam) too which we feel has medicinal properties. I know for sure it is really sweet.....

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  7. This was a fun read, although I have to admit that I don't want to work that hard to make the edibles...I just enjoy the flowers!

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    1. No problem; flowers are there to be enjoyed - not just eaten! (and, unless you know what you are doing, it can be hazardous).

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  8. Some of it sounds delish. Some, not so much.

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    1. Some isn't that delicious - acorns, for example. But you can get elderberry products in the stores.

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  9. This edible trail is so delicious.But I would be afraid to try wild berries or flowers though

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    1. You do well to be cautious. I only chose plants that were well known, and didn't have anything poisonous that looked similar. For that reason, I avoid mushrooms, for example. There is also a poison sumac, but the flowers and fruits look quite different.

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  10. How cool that you can identify which plants it's safe to eat. Although, ever since having Poison Sumac as a child, that's one plant (safe or not) I'd stay away from.

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  11. I am in awe of people who know what to eat in the wild. It is a skill I'd really like to have. Of course it would take study. And work. Hmmm . . .

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  12. We are lucky to live near a creek where wild blackberries grow. I noticed on a recent walk that it looks like a big crop this year. Now I need to beat the birds to them!

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  13. I'll enjoy the flowering plants. Maybe in another lifetime I would attempt the edible products from them. Thanks for this.

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  14. OMG, thanks for the memories from I use to live in upstate NY! We had so many elderberry and sumac bushes!!

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  15. I love discovering new, and healthy, goodies to add to salads and other dishes. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  16. You are correct. I made grape jam before and it was exhausting. From picking the grapes from the backyard, peeling them, making sure there wer no seeds, then the cooking..ugh. Who knew that so much work went into creating a few jars of jam. After making the jam, it felt like I wa scared to eat it because of the work that went into making it. Grea post

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  17. I love to eat wild edibles, and I usually find something to snack on. In the fall, there are plenty of apples and pears. Also, there are wild grapes. They are very small and have lots of seeds but they are so tasty. I can usually find raspberries and blackberries, too. Another yummy treat is wood sorrel, which people think of as a weed. It has a tart flavor and plenty of vitamin C. There are also plenty of fungus among us types of wild edibles but I can't tell an edible mushrooms and I'd rather not accidentally consume a toadstool.

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  18. I had no idea roses were related to apples. Learn something new every day.

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  19. Appreciate your enterprising nature Alana! So much goes into making the elderberry jelly. Kudos to you and your patience. I am sure the elderberry jelly thus made must far more worth its efforts.
    WE introduced me to so many other flowers, which I never knew excisted. Thanks for that.

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  20. Delicious! Hats off to you for making the elderberry jelly.. I am sure you enjoyed the 'fruits'of all that work for the rest of the year! We do use rose petals in our cuisine and make a sort of jam with rose petals. Rose plants do not develop rose hips here .. Great post Alana!

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  21. Love it!

    Used to be that the first greens from my garden every spring would be a plant (which some would call a weed) called lamb's quarter, I would pull all the other weeds and let that one grow up until I could pick it. I must have overpicked one year, though, haven't had any volunteer in my plot in the last few years.

    It does grow elsewhere in Brooklyn but mostly in places where it's quite likely that dogs have left messages on it, so no.

    https://frogma.blogspot.com/2008/07/weedeater.html

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