Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) in a pan ready to go into the freezer

We went on a swim in the San Marcos River a few days ago and found some loaded elderberry bushes. I harvested what I could and hope to get back to the site soon to take some good pictures. The little berries can be difficult to separate from the stems so I freeze them first, stems and all, and then rub my hands over the frozen berries - they will easily fall off the stems. (If there are still some tiny stems attached after doing this, shuffle the berries from hand to hand and the stems will stick to your palms when the berries fall out of them.) I then freeze the berries in a freezer bag or use immediately to make sauces, jellies and medicine. The berries shouldn't be eaten raw in large quantities, but are fabulous cooked into juice and then made into a variety of tasty treats. I'll post my recipe for elderberry jelly once I finish de-stemming the berries!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Here in Central Texas most wild edible harvests have been early this year due to drought and a warm winter so now is a good time to begin your mesquite bean collection. If you can get them just before they fall from the tree, you might be able to avoid the pods that are damaged by insects. Of course, the pods with a bit of insect holes (that are usually made by an exiting bruchid beetle) are fine. For the best rundown on how to harvest and process the beans, check out the Desert Harvesters website - it's the best information around! I love that they purchased a community hammermill to process the mesquite beans. And for a simple step-by-step way to process them at home, check out my mesquite post from a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wild Spinach + Purslane

Be on the lookout for wild spinach and purslane popping up in and around your gardens and compost piles. These are two of the very best wild greens. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, are easy to find and are tasty even when it gets hot and the plants start flowering and going to seed. Eat them raw or cooked - I love to add a few leaves to my summer smoothies.

Wild Spinach or Lamb's Quarter (Chenopodium album)

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)