Wild Edible Plants . . .

This site is a database for wild edible plants of North America. I encourage any users to leave comments reflecting their experiences with a certain plant. Much of our knowledge of edible plants is either lost, superstitious or incorrect. There's a lot of hype about how dangerous wild plants can be, when in reality most are not only safe they're critical for your health.

My perspective is somewhat unique in that my family and I have camped as a lifestyle for over a decade - essentially lived with edible plants and used them on a daily basis. We have also been raw fooders for a very long period. Becoming 100% raw vegan sparked my interest in edible plants like nothing else. Every day I was out hiking the trails barefoot, eating grass, eating flowers, trying parts of the many plants I came across with a clean palate . . .

Using wild edible plants is the best way we can defy the system, maintain our health, and get our independence back.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ebbing's Silverberry (eleagnus ebbingei)

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The silverberries are getting ripe! There's one hedge along a south-facing wall where most of the berries have turned a speckled strawberry-red.
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This shrub is everywhere in the Atlanta area. It's unmistakable in that it's a shrub with evergreen leaves that have a ragged edge - and the fruit, leaves and stems are speckled with silver. The undersides of the leaves are speckled with a rusty brown.
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I've found it trimmed into bushes and hedges around apartment complexes, along the bottomland forest of the Chattahoochee River, and just today saw it outside my father's factory . . . short bushes with new rust-brown shoots spreading in a long arc beyond the bush - eventually they will be trimmed. When it's not trimmed it's like a sprawling mass of shoots sometimes over 12 feet high - it can form a thicket and engulf young trees.
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As far as edibility, the ripest silverberries are a thin layer of edible flesh, very acid yet sweet, around a long ridged seed. Those still not quite ripe have some astringency - though nothing like the astringency of the related autumn olive (eleagnus umbellata).
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Many permaculture sites rave about the Ebbing's Silverberry - it's a nitrogen-fixer, great nesting and windbreak hedge, and has berries ripe in early spring.
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It is great there are berries this time of year - typically late winter/early spring is the leanest time for foraging. However the berries are nothing like the unbelievably good and unbelievably profuse berries of autumn olive (common weed tree throughout the east). The flesh of the Ebbing's silverberry is thin, acid, and covers a large seed. It is slightly possible that the berries are not fully ripe yet. But considering the size of the seed, and that I've found some with no astringency (usually the sign of a ripe eleagnus berry), I'm doubtful. But either way it's a great food source, and I'm sure loaded with nutrients.
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I have finally got my green smoothies down, now that I'm on Day 4 of going 100% raw. Look at this beauty:
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Incredibly, incredibly satisfying. This is made from 1 cup of filtered water, 2 ripe bananas, a ripe mango, and organic collard greens. The secret I realized was in blending the mix on high for an additional 30 seconds, until every last trace of leaf bit is blended in. I was always worried about getting the mix too hot from blending, but this 30 seconds on high hardly heats it up at all. In fact it all remained cooler than room temperature as the water was cold.
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I had a green smoothie with kale this morning (felt a little nauseous chewing all the unblended leaf bits). For lunch I ate 2 pounds of strawberries that I found on sale. After my 2nd green smoothie that you see above, I made a delicious salad:
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I probably wasn't all that hungry for it, but I know I've got to spoil myself somehow or the diet will feel too strict. It's romaine lettuce, a tomato, dulse, some chopped red onion, and a dressing made by blending 1 avocado with the juice from 2 tangerines. The dressing was very creamy and interesting. Next time I will try lemon or lime instead of orange, so it's not quite so sweet.
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On the walk back from eating silverberries I spotted our local weed cress (cardamine spp.) now in flower:
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The leaves are somewhat stronger, but for a mustard, pretty mild. I might try a smoothie with a handful or two of cress. I'll at least gather it for my next salad.
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I'm going to try a raw diet for my dog also, Mishka:
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I was planning on starting today, but I'll wait a few more days until I'm more stable myself.
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He's a 65 pound white shepherd. I've got him on BilJak now (a fresh frozen dog food). I'm hoping by giving him real meat with bones that not only will he be healthier, and happier, but learn what real food is like. That way when we're up homesteading in Tennessee, maybe he'll actually try eating all the mice and moles and birds he catches, instead of just throwing them around as toys until they rot.
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2 comments:

  1. Love the information about the Silverberry and eatting it's berry as well in eating healthy! I'm trying not to eat man made food!

    Thanks again,

    Ed

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  2. Kudos for exploring healthy options! We, too, feed our cats and dogs raw meats. All are long lived and healthy. Good luck in future!

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