*@ 2446 @ Black Chokeberry - Nero @ Native to the eastern half of the United States. Early in the 20th century, aronia was introduced in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia where high quality, large fruited cultivars were selected. Thousands of acres of aronia are now grown in Eastern Europe. ‘Nero’ were selected in Poland for commercial fruit production.

When fully ripe, aronia berries have a sugar content as high as grapes or sweet cherries. They have a high acid content but are not sour when fully ripe. Juice from these berries is astringent and high in vitamin C and antioxidants. The berries have a sharply sour and sometimes astringent taste. The unpleasantness of the raw fruit can be overcome by cooking or processing it into jams, salsas, or baked goods. Anthocyanins contribute toward chokeberry's astringent property (that would deter pests and infections) and also give Aronia melanocarpa extraordinary antioxidant strength that combats oxidative stress in the fruit during photosynthesis. The USDA gave the Aronia berry an ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity—a measure of total antioxidants) of over 16,000, almost triple the amount of antioxidants of other powerhouses like acai, blueberries, or blackberries. The intense concentration of flavonoids and anthocyanins in the Aronia berry helps the body fight off viruses, allergies, and carcinogens. See a bar chart comparison in the image gallery on this page (Gallery tab). Analysis of anthocyanins in chokeberries has identified the following individual chemicals (among hundreds known to exist in the plant kingdom): cyanidin-3-galactoside, epicatechin, caffeic acid, quercetin, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and malvidin. All these except caffeic acid are members of the flavonoid category of antioxidant phenolics.

The fruit is rich in pectin and can be added to fruits that are low in this substance when making jams.

Black chokeberry is capable of crossing with Sorbus species.

Many current sources (including the USDA) list the species as Photinia melanocarpa. @ end

*@ 2437 @ Perennial Veggie - Garden Sorrel @ Sorrel is well known in French cooking. The green leaves go well in egg and cheese dishes. Upon heating, the leaves turn from vibrant green to greyish green. The leaves get their sourness from oxalic acid.

Less well known is the fact that you can eat the seeds and roots. The book "Self Reliance: A Recipe for the New Millennium" by John Yeoman has these uses listed for sorrel. The roots of sorrel can be dried and milled into a starchy red 'flour'. Collect the profuse brown seeds of sorrel in autumn onwards to sprout for fresh food vitamin throughout the winter. Plants for a Future adds the following. Sorrel root flour can be made into noodles. The seed can be ground and added to other flour to make bread.

Wikipedia documents the many uses of sorrel leaves around the world:

In northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as yakuwa or sure (pronounced suuray) in Hausa or karassu in Kanuri. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using kuli-kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income. A drink called solo is made from a decoction of the plant calyx.

In Romania, wild or garden sorrel, known as măcriş or ştevie, is used to make sour soups, stewed with spinach, added fresh to lettuce and spinach in salads or over open sandwiches.

In Russia and Ukraine it is called shchavel' (щавель) and is used to make soup called shav. It is used as a soup ingredient in other countries, too (e.g., Lithuania, where it is known as rūgštynė).

In Croatia and Bulgaria is used for soups or with mashed potatoes, or as part of a traditional dish containing eel and other green herbs.

In rural Greece it is used with spinach, leeks, and chard in spanakopita.

In the Flemish speaking part of Belgium it is called "zurkel" and canned pureed sorrel is mixed with mashed potatoes and eaten with sausages, meatballs or fried bacon, as a traditional winter dish.

In Vietnam it is called Rau Chua and is used to added fresh to lettuce and in salads for Bánh Xēo. @ end

*@ 2420 @ Rum Cherry - Seedling @ In Japan, the blossoms of the common flowering cherry are preserved in salt. These cured cherry blossoms are used to make tea. The rum cherry, Prunus serotina, has edible fruit, twigs and bark, according to the Plants for a Future website. I would take a guess that the petals are also edible, though I have not found any reference I can cite on this.

from LV on ForageAhead forum on yahoo groups:
I make the nicest ice cream topping with black cherries every year.
There is just nothing better than it. I tried making preserves and all
other fancy stuff, but just using it as a topping after you added some
dextrose is just amazing.

I have about five trees on my property I harvest from. In my opinion
they are roughly the same quality and I do not get fruit quality
variations as e.g. with persimmons.

Harvesting takes me and my daughter and a large tarp with a slit and
hole in the middle, so the tarp spans a large are of the bottom of the
tree with the stem through the hole. I then use a grapple and rope
throwing the grapple around a branch, then shaking the branch resulting
in a downpour of cherries. It sometimes take a gorilla ladder if things
get stuck, so I have several ropes and grapples and if one gets stuck I
move to another branch, and only use the ladder at the end to take them
all off after I collected the cherries. I then remove the tarp and pull
it to an open space, place the hole inside a 15gal drum and we lift the
tarp at four corners, with the cherries forced into the center hole
where the drum is. Takes about 1-2 hours to do all the trees but the
amount is really good and if I make sauce out of one harvest, it lasts
for more than a year!, really a good deal.

The trees give me about three harvests repeating the above.

I am going to try your pointers regarding blossoms, I can collect about
a wheelbarrow load full after the rough winds we had yesterday. @ end

*@ 2403 @ Cactus - Cow Tongue @ I acquired this cactus from Goodie, a friend I met on the ForageAhead foraging group on Yahoo. I planted them outside under the eaves of my house, near my banana tree. It is hot and dry in this location. The desert location in California where these came from is colder (-4F) than my place in winter. Goodie recommends a recipe for napolitos with the cow tongue pads from a cookbook by Diana Kennedy called "My Mexican Kitchen." She is an expert on traditional Mexican cuisine -- the real stuff from Mexico, not the Taco Bell version. He followed her directions for sauteing napolitos, which included sauteing for up to 15 minutes until all the goopy fluid disappears. He found them quite tasty and edible this way, especially when sauteed with some garlic and onions.

According to Merriwether's Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest:
Closely related to prickly pears, cow's tongue cacti pads and fruit can be used in the same manner as other Opuntia species. The pads can be peeled then sliced and cooked like green beans though much slimier. The peeled pads can also be sprinkled with your favorite beef/venison jerky spices and then dehydrated into "vegan jerky".

The fruits are usually mashed, boiled, and then strained through a fine mesh such as cheesecloth to release their delicious juice. This juice can be drank straight, made into jelly or wine, or slightly sweetened (it's already quite sweet) then boiled down to make a syrup.

Before doing anything with the pads or fruit you must remove their tiny, almost invisible needles called glochids. Use a barbecue tongs to harvest the pads/fruit and then burn off the glochids with a torch or gas stovetop.

Peel the fruit (tuna) then mash it up in a saucepan. Add just enough water so as to cover the pulp then boil for about ten minutes. Let the resulting juice cool a little then filter out the pulp and seeds through cheesecloth or other fine filter. @ end

*@ 2324 @ Elderberry - American Elder @ I received this plant as a Thank You for speaking at the Tacoma chapter of the Western Cascade Fruit Society. I talked about maggot barriers. I was using plastic sandwich bags on apples that year.

The blue or purple berries are gathered and made into elderberry wine, jam, syrup, and pies. The entire flower cluster can be dipped in batter and fried, while petals can be eaten raw or made into a fragrant and tasty tea. The flowers add an aromatic flavor and lightness to pancakes [2] or fritters. For pancakes, ladle pancake batter into the buttered skillet, press whole clusters of elderflowers into the batter and, when it is cooked through, gently pull away the stems, leaving the tiny blossoms embedded in the pancakes. Cook on one side only to preserve the appearance of the pretty white blossoms, cook them at a low temperature so they don’t burn before they’re done, or finish them in a 325-degree oven.

The elderberry was well known to the native people of North America. Throughout the months of July and August, the small clusters of berries were gathered in large quantities. These clusters are dried carefully on the drying floor and preserved in considerable amounts. When wanted, they were cooked into a rich sauce that needed no sweetening.The elderberry was so greatly enjoyed that families would live for weeks on little else. Many were dried for use in the winter, and were either re-cooked or eaten raw.

The active alkaloids in elderberry plants are hydrocyanic acid and sambucine. Both alkaloids will cause nausea so care should be observed with this plant. Elderberries are high in vitamin C.

The wood is hard and has been used for combs, spindles, and pegs, and the hollow stems have been fashioned into flutes and blowguns. @ end

*@ 2298 @ Dogwood - Silky @ Silk Dogwood is also known as Silky Cornel and Swamp Dogwood. I acquired this based on the description in the Oikos catalog. It says "Fruit has high amounts of calcium –excellent for good skeletal growth in wildlife and high amounts of fat energy." I thought it would be interesting to have a fruit with fat in the pulp, like an avocado. That is probably a stretch because I can't find any modern facts about human edible uses of Silky Dogwood, but I want to try. Like other dogwoods, if it tastes bad fresh, it may taste good after frost. Since I can't find the facts I need with Google, I will make this page the authoritive resource for the human use of Silky Dogwood.

According to "Fruit Consumption by Birds in Relation to Fat Content of Pulp" [1], the pulp of Silky Dogwood is 5% fat by dry weight. Compare this to 25% for avocado and 50% for olive. Oil of Cornus is "limpid oil" obtained by boiling and pressing the ripe berries [3].

Other facts: Kinnikinnick is a Native American smoking product, typically made of mixture of various leaves or barks with other plant materials. Silky Dogwood was called Kinnikinnick because its bark was added in these mixtures. The book "The Fragrant Garden" [2] says "the inner bark of Cornus amomum have a mild perfume scented fragrance". @ end

*@ 2298 @ Herb - Sage-leaved Germander @ Sage-leaved Germander has been used to help clear beer and add the desired bitter flavor, similar to hops. The leaves are not used directly but are made into a strong tea, called ambroise, that is added to the fermenting wort. Ambroise is the name of Teucrium scorodonia in Jersey. When used in brewing beer, it adds a very dark color. Scorodon is Greek for "garlic", and this is not appropriate since this plant has no garlic component. There is one reference to the dried leaves smelling like leeks.

The essential oil of the flowering aerial parts of Teucrium scorodonia L. ssp. scorodonia growing in Italy on Verrucano, was analyzed by GC and GC–MS. All the identified compounds were sesquiterpene hydrocarbons. The main ones were germacrene B (26.2%) and β-caryophyllene (25.2%). See the links for more information.

A more thorough analysis:
Volatile oil (0.3%): containing among others, alloaromaden-drene, aristolene, beta-caryophyllene, alpha-caryophyllene (humulene), spathulenone, caryophyllene epoxide
Irilloide monoterpenes: including among others, acetyl harpagide, reptosideDiterpenes: the spectrum varies greatly according to strain, including among others teuscorodal, teuscorodin, teuscoro-dol, teuscorodonin, teuflin, teuscorolide, teupolin
Flavonoids: including among others, cirsiliol, cirsimaritin, luteolin @ end

*@ 2266 @ Rampion - Creeping Bellflower @ Creeping Bellflower is a perennial with beautiful purple bell-shaped flowers. Closely related to the rampion of the Rapunzel fairytale (Campanula rapunculus).

Arthur Lee Jacobson says "I grow Creeping Bellflower because the flowers are tasty and I occasionally eat the roots when digging up a bed they've overrun; they are doubtless nutritious even though devoid of flavor." Plants for a Future says "Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked. Rich in vitamin C. A pleasant mild flavour. Root - raw or cooked. A nut-like flavour, very palatable. The young roots are best. Somewhat sweet, they are a pleasant addition to the salad bowl." A blogger in Warsaw, Poland says "I boiled them in water along with potatoes and other vegetables, but probably the roots will also be ok in a stir fry." A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America by Lee Allen Peterson says this about this plant "The slender runners send down fleshy underground branches which can be chopped and added to salads or boiled for 20 minutes. The taste is slightly sweet, suggesting parsnips. Late Summer-Fall".

I have been growing this plant since 1983. The flowers are awesome. The plant has a reputation as a terrible weed. I disagree. I have no problem controlling where it grows. If I get tired of it in a spot, I just weed it out. It may take a few weedings, but it is not aggressive. Dandelions on the other hand are evil. They would take over my whole garden if allowed. Creeping Buttercup, Ranunculus repens, is even more evil still! @ end

*@ 2178 @ Wintergreen @ The berries are edible and contain wintergreen oil, a pale yellow or pinkish fluid liquid that is strongly aromatic with a sweet woody odor (components: methyl salicylate (approx. 98%), a-pinene, myrcene, delta-3-carene, limonene, 3,7-guaiadiene, delta-cadinene). Along with vanilla, wintergreen is the dominant flavor in modern root beer recipes.

During the American Revolution, wintergreen leaves were used as a substitute for tea. From notes by Paghat: "The leaves can be harvested at any time of year, but have to be fermented if they are to have any taste beyond just a pleasant odor. To prepare the leaves, pack a jar with them, fill with sterile water, & set the sealed jar in a warm spot for several days, until the water becomes bubbly with fermentation. The first soaking of water makes a strong tea when heated & diluted to taste; or the flavored water can be used in cooking or to add a distinctive flavor to lemonaid or pecoe tea. The fermented leaves themselves are strained & placed in a dehydrator or permitted to dry out naturally if it is a low-humidity season. The dried leaves can later be prepared in boiling water like any other tea, making a milder brew than the water from the original fermenting."

Gaultheria, for Jean Franois Gaultier (1708-1756), Canadian physician and botanist who made botanical studies of the Quebec region with Swedish botanist Peter Kalm (1716-1779). Kalm, an associate of Linnaeus, named the genus Gaultheria in honor of Gaultier in 1753. The word procumbens, from the Latin, "prostrate". Other common names include Box Berry, Checkerberry, Deerberry, Eastern Teaberry, Ground Holly, Mountain Tea, Creeping Wintergreen, Ground Tea, Partridge-Berry, Petit the du bois (Quebec, "little tea of the woods"), Redberry Wintergreen, Spice Berry, Teaberry, Winisibugons (Ojibwe, "dirty leaf").

Related to the PNW native Salal (Gaultheria shallon). @ end

*@ 2001 @ Sweet Cicely @ An early flowering perennial, known for its aniseed taste and fragrance. The whole plant (leaves, roots, seeds, blossoms) is edible, and smells of aniseed when crushed. Sweet Cicely once was a widely cultivated culinary herb. The leaves can be cooked like spinach, added to soups, omelettes and custards or used fresh in salads. The crisp stalks make a good substitute for celery after light cooking. The roots can be eaten raw in salads or boiled and eaten like parsnips. The roots also make a good wine (?).

The leaves and the seed make good polishes for wood. Simply rub the leaves over the wood and then rub the wood with a clean cloth to remove any greenness. It is particularly good on oak panels, giving a lovely glossy finish and an aromatic smell. The seeds when pounded into a paste were used to make a sweet-smelling furniture polish. See the links for a polish recipe.

The fresh whole plant contains trans-anethole and estragole, the same as star anise (0.05% oil, 85% trans-anethole). These phenylpropanoids are about 13-15 times sweeter than sucrose. The plant contains volatile oil which contains trans-anethole, germacrene-D, beta-caryophyllene, limonene, chavicol methyle ether, alpha-pinene, alpha-farnesene and myrcene. It also contains flavonoids such as luteolin and apigenin glucosides. @ end


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