Foraging for Food

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worth1
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Re: Foraging for Food

#21

Post: # 26364Unread post worth1
Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:08 am

Texas has such a diverse climate you can find all sorts of things to eat.
One I see all the time is the buffalo gourd.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#22

Post: # 26368Unread post TXTravis
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:47 am

karstopography wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:47 am
Agarita is another I want to do more with. Make some jelly or a mead. The beautiful tart berries get ripe around April. I have a good spot to forage for these.
In Central TX these are ripe in May, but either way, they're outstanding. The traditional way to harvest is to lay out a bedsheet all around like you would a Christmas tree skirt, then whack the plant a bunch. The ripe ones will fall off. As a kid, mom never had any success with jelly--she used the same recipe that she used for Mustang grape jelly but the Agarita doesn't have nearly as much pectin and wouldn't gel. Mom isn't actually that great of a cook, so YMMV. Anyway, we always go Agarita syrup instead, which was still good.
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Last edited by TXTravis on Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Foraging for Food

#23

Post: # 26369Unread post TXTravis
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:53 am

Haven't seen anyone mention the Texas Persimmon. They're super sweet and tasty. The big seeds are easy to spit out. You can make wine and mead and jams and jellies, but it'll be dark brown. If you can get over the color, I imagine it'd be good. Raccoons love these things too.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#24

Post: # 26729Unread post Cultivator
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:54 pm

Prickly pears, dandelions, honeysuckle, dewberries, and pecans! My mom also used to "forage" kumquats from a tree near her office building that never looked like it belonged there.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#25

Post: # 26734Unread post Shule
Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:41 am

We've got wild blackcurrents and wild rose hips to forage for in my home area.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#26

Post: # 27914Unread post karstopography
Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:21 pm

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Foraged up about 400 grams of American Beautyberries. Plan on using them in a Mead.

Really distinctive and complex aroma. Spicy and floral. Raw fruit reminds me of grape zotz candy without the fizz or much of the sugar. Not something people, including myself, generally want to eat raw, but is said to make a great jelly or wine. The Raw fruit isn’t bad, just isn’t very good either.

Supposedly, the leaves have a proven mosquito repellent substance or two. Leaves thrown into the water can also stun fish. Interesting plant.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#27

Post: # 27932Unread post TXTravis
Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:48 am

@karstopography I knew what those were as soon as I saw them! I didn't, however, know they were edible. My parents have a huge thicket of them outside Marble Falls, so maybe we'll give jelly a try (or better, get Mom to do it).
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Re: Foraging for Food

#28

Post: # 27973Unread post Bower
Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:21 pm

That reminds me - dogberries are a favorite for jelly. No one would eat them raw, (except my mother and a raven or ten), and they make horrible wine, but boy are they great in jelly. Smoky and fruity together... om nom nom. I try to get some every year.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#29

Post: # 27996Unread post worth1
Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:57 am

Neighbor had beautyberry growing in yard for awhile.
They stopped watering as much and it died.
He was flabbergasted when I told him the berries were edible.
Also flabbergasted when I told him about all the other edible plants otherwise known as weeds.
Crab grass and bed straw to name a few.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#30

Post: # 28218Unread post karstopography
Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:50 am

I’ve discovered yaupon tea. I have scads of native yaupon holly on my lot. With COVID-19 and the supply chain disruptions, my latent interest in forageable foods has been rekindled. Yaupon tea, made from the dried and toasted leaves of ilex vomitoria (not an appetizing name) are said to be the only native to North America plant with caffeine. Anyway, I ordered tea from Lost pines, their light roast, and it is delicious. Going to make my own now that I know what it is supposed to taste like.

BTW, the taste is somewhere between green and black tea, very smooth and less bitter than ordinary black tea. It does have a mild caffeine kick. It also has a good amount of theobromine, which is found in chocolate among other plants. Theobromine is another sort of stimulant and toxic to dogs.

Caffeine, pyrethrin, nicotine, theobromine, strychnine, tomatine, deyhdrotomatine (both found in tomatoes) are often just natural insecticides the plant produces to ward off attack. Most are toxic to humans, some deadly in small doses, but including our favorites are caffeine and nicotine. Nicotine is highly toxic and caffeine moderately so. Both produce some pleasurable effects, though.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#31

Post: # 28278Unread post Donnyboy
Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:59 pm

I went through summer and winter survival schools in the military. It's amazing what you will eat when you are hungry. Today, mushrooms are about the only thing I forage with the exception of meat. I used to have all the mushroom field guides and belonged to a mushroom foraging club. We had a couple of mycologists in the club who knew which ones to eat and more importantly; which ones not to eat.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#32

Post: # 28362Unread post Donnyboy
Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:16 pm

"’ve discovered yaupon tea. I have scads of native yaupon holly on my lot. With COVID-19 and the supply chain disruptions, my latent interest in forageable foods has been rekindled. Yaupon tea, made from the dried and toasted leaves of ilex vomitoria (not an appetizing name) are said to be the only native to North America plant with caffeine. Anyway, I ordered tea from Lost pines, their light roast, and it is delicious. Going to make my own now that I know what it is supposed to taste like."

In my mind Yaupon was a non native, invasive species. I then remembered it was a product used in many preparations by native Americans in east Texas, They also made a stimulant drink with dried leaves. A few years ago, "Texas Country Reporter" had an episode about two sisters in east Texas who started a tea company by harvesting yaupon on their large property. I don't remember the name, but I believe it is sold at HEB stores. When I was still an active hunter in east Texas, Yaupon was my bane. It was the predominant understory below the tall oak and pine trees where I hunted. It was always taller than my head. I used a tractor mower every year and cut lanes through it in order to see the wild hogs and deer. The following year, I had to do it again. In areas with decent rainfall, Yaupon is more invasive than Mesquite. I see it planted as driveway borders in many subdivisions and simply laugh. Ignorance is bliss.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#33

Post: # 28364Unread post worth1
Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:21 pm

As you may well know, I can't turn around without seeing yaupon where I live.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#34

Post: # 30272Unread post karstopography
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:42 pm

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The Tree of Collective Happiness Bark. Mimosa Girdler beetle harvested the limb to propagate it offspring. I harvested the bark from the perfectly cut limb. Beetle wins by getting to have some babies. Tree wins by getting pruned as trees pruned by these beetles live twice as long as trees passed over. I win by getting free bark from which I’ll make a tea to promote mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Everyone wins.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#35

Post: # 30274Unread post Bower
Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:12 pm

WIld blackberries.
The birds must've brought the seeds here, I guess - I've only seen them in one place we used to go pretty far in the woods. Now they've taken over a bank I was working on and wow - super productive this year and much earlier now that they're getting some sun. These bushes are super thorny and the fruit don't ripen all at once, so you have to pick a cupful now and then.
Actually I shouldn't call it a bush - the plant is a creeper low to the ground and roots itself as it goes along. In the place where they've run riot there are layers of plants overlaying one another, so you have to reach in under to get at fruit. Ouch but worth it, especially this year since I have no currants to pick.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#36

Post: # 30585Unread post Tormato
Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:11 pm

Gardadore wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:03 pm
I was given some ramps last year in the spring. Having never seen them before, instead of eating them I planted them. The person who gave them to me was astonished at my lack of knowledge! But they came up this spring so I investigated how to prepare them. One article suggested cutting them just at the bulb top so they could grow back. This would save the plant. I did that and will see if they sprout next spring. If so then I will have a permanent Bed of them.
Full sun will kill them. A mostly shady spot, that's well watered is what they need. Around here, some grow under maple trees (the first large trees to leaf out). Others grow on steep north facing slopes that have spring seeps. Shade and water.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#37

Post: # 30586Unread post Tormato
Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:14 pm

Ramps, fiddleheads, all kinds of wild berries, black walnuts (with stained fingers to prove it), butternuts, etc...

I stay away from mushrooms, and I'm curious about nettles, but... I've been stung too many times to count.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#38

Post: # 30599Unread post Hilldale
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:16 pm

The wild strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are favorites of my family. We also like to gather hickory nuts and black walnuts.

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Re: Foraging for Food

#39

Post: # 30645Unread post Donnyboy
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:38 pm

I spent some time relying on hickory nuts, black walnuts, wild grapes, and wild persimmons as an important part of my diet. Good food, but you must be patient because the nuts are slow eating and you need some good sized rocks to break them open.
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Re: Foraging for Food

#40

Post: # 30677Unread post Gardadore
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:54 am

Sounds like my ramps won’t come back. They were in a sunny spot and we have had a dry summer. Thanks for the tip. If any do emerge next spring I will make sure to plant them in they shade and water!
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