Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Huckleberries, Wineberries, and MD

OK, listen up Louise, here's the current developments on berry picking.

*we need something closer.
*Matt and Marsha, who live in Maryland, like to pick berries.
*I used to hunt in Maryland, and have an idea about some good spots.
*I would like to check out both sides of the Potomac, actually.
*there's a new development: we might be able to try a new berry.

When I checked out Bill Heavey's blog, I found out that he basically is blogging about

"his quest to feed himself for one year by hunting, fishing, cultivating, and gathering wild foods around his suburban Washington, D.C. area home."
So far it's been more than just about hunting and fishing sure enough, and naturally in the summer he's got to be thinking about berry picking. Quoting him in one post (he has a great sense of humor) he vents a little about the frustration of trying to use one of the guides you can buy today:

"Personally, I’m not finding the green world quite so accommodating. In fact, I’m starting to believe that many plants have no desire whatsoever to be eaten."
He hasn't breathed a word about huckleberries, but is one to something about what he is calling wineberries, apparently these. Judging by his post above, what he is on to is that transplanted Asians (evidently) have been planting in their yards a variety that has escaped and is really thriving in the wild. I'm gleaning that people are really catching on to finding and picking them now. Furthermore, there may be things about them that are an improvement over blackberries. Perhaps a typically better picking situation? As far as eating blackberries, the seeds bug me (making wine out of them seems to be the best use) while huckleberry seeds just don't seem to be a problem. Hopefully, this is also the case with wineberries. Ideally, it will mean two different types of berries we can pick locally. Having a choice is good, as huckleberries sometimes are a bust. We'll have to see how it goes with the wineberries, Heavey's last post on the subject gives some pause.

I think this'll have to be the last at my blog on huckleberries, as I'm sure I've exhausted everybody if not the subject. There is one more thing in the vein of a tongue-in-cheek "that really bothers me" but I'll save it for another day when I might also combine it with thoughts on cornbread, yankees, and "how they do it up North."

BTW I am getting the following feedback sort of sotto voce:
*claims that only the South does deep-dish is incorrect.
*I am some kind of lard-monger!
*my pie is too tart and I should not use lemon juice, or not so much of it.

So far no one has tried to defend the heinous act of putting sugar into cornbread.

This subject amazed me. Once I started blogging it just poured out of me. Go figure, brother Forrest gets the credit this year for advocating we really give the huckleberries a go.


Louise said...

Trying new types of berries? Oh man, I can see the headlines now: POISONOUS PIE KILLS 4; POOR BERRY IDENTIFICATION BLAMED

"I knew they should have stuck to huckleberries, laments cook's niece."

Carlw4514 said...

we shall follow the 5 step procedure if necessary, Louise. This is reliable for everything but mushrooms, which scare me to death BTW.

Five-Step Procedure

1. Rub a little of the plant on the inside of your upper left arm. This is a sensitive area but one that should not incapacitate you. Wait 8 hours to see if your skin breaks out in a rash.
2. Rub a little of the plant on the outside of your lips. Wait 8 hours to see if your lips break out.
3. Put a very small quantity of the plant in your mouth, chew it up really good, and then spit it all out. Wait one day to see if you get sick.
4. Try swallowing a little bit of it the next day. Wait one day to see if you get sick.
5. Never eat too much of a known or unknown wild plant in a short period of time.


Marsha said...

Here is my two cents: Why, oh why Lord, must people bring plants here from China and Asia that then escape and cause havoc for Native plants, and possibly an ecological disaster. Will we never learn???

For all we know this is the snakehead of berry plants and soon our wild raspberries and or blackberries will be overtaken by this plant through aggressive growth or hybridization. If we go out, it will be my goal to remove said plant by the root.

I am getting pretty good at killing Chinese barberry that kills everything in its path so I guess I can take on wineberry too.

Sorry. I don't think I am tree hugger but I am becoming very sensitive to the fact that our global world is bringing to our shores rampant diseases that kill our trees, foreign fish and mollusks that invade our waters and kill or harm out native species, and in some instances like West Nile, even bring human disease.

New Zealand is hyper sensitive about invasive species. They are an island and they already have plenty of ecological disasters to deal with from introduced plants and animals. They are a microcosm for the rest of us. When you travel to New Zealand, they sterilize your shoes. We could learn something from them.

Louise said...

I've never read that 5 step test -- it's a good one! I had a coworker who took a mushroom identification class, and he still won't pick wild mushrooms, because there are too many deadly poisonous look-alikes.

I also agree with Marsha's comments, to some extent. Then I think about Darwinism and evolution and wonder how many plants/animals were exterminated when people crossed the Siberian land bridge. You can't stop change, no matter how hard you try.

Matt said...

You can never use enough Lemon juice in anything in my book.