Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fall Harvest

Have you ever harvested your own chokecherries? Or seen a wild elderberry tree, branches hung low with bunches of little powdery blue berries? Or fought your way through a wild rose bush thicket to get to the reddest, most plump rose hips? 
I had not, until last year, and oh, what I have been missing! 

Rather than retell the story, I will share what I already wrote! This is from another blog that I attempted to start last year. I didn't get much done on it, after the first few posts, I kind of ran out of steam. It was getting colder outside and we'd had about all the adventuring we were up for at the time :)

September 16, 2013
"A few weeks ago, my friend went out with her other half scouting for deer for her oldest son. She came back and told me that the chokecherries were almost ready to pick, that we should go check them in a couple of weeks or so. I agreed readily. I love going out into the mountains that surround our valley in the Great Basin, it is really gorgeous here. I’m actually kind of glad all anyone ever sees from I-80 is sage brush and dirt.
I have lived here for …well, a lot longer than I want to admit, to be honest, and I have never thought to look in these mountains for food! Why did I never think about the riches they offer!? I can’t answer that, other than to say I’m as complacent as most everyone else has become with the convenience of the grocery store. I am proud to say that this state of affairs is changing, and I’m learning how to live without all the creature comforts. I’m not sure what I’d do without my Kindle though…
Off we went, a couple of weeks later, buckets and bags in tow, to search out chokecherries. We found out that none of us truly knew what we were looking for, even though I’d Googled chokecherries the night before and kinda knew what they looked like. And she had thought she’d seen them before and declared them almost ready to harvest! We wandered up through one of the canyons on our four wheelers and found quite a few bushes with black berries on them, but we just weren’t sure what we were looking at. “Why are these berries so dry?”, “Guess we should have done this a couple of weeks ago”, “What are these berries?”, “Those are poison, #### told me so”. And so it went, until I saw a dangling group of dark berries that rang bells in my head and I said “THAT is a chokecherry tree!”
Yay! We found one! And then we found another, and another! We found so many, we got really picky about which ones we harvested!
We found out later, the first black berries we saw were service berries, edible, but the guy at the cooperative extension office had never heard of anyone that harvested them to eat. 
Elderberrys - beautiful

The ‘What are these berries?’ were elderberries; the ‘poison’ ones were (get this) rosehips. Who knew!? 

Juicing rosehips
And what are gooseberries? Yes, we found out what those are too. What a week we had! We gathered almost 5 gallons of chokecherries that first day, went back again for the elderberries and harvested about 2.5 gallons.
We went back later in the week and harvested more elderberries, and even more chokecherries. My daughter went with me on that trip, she climbed the trees to get to high bunches of elderberries, and we had my friends extendable pruner, were able to get another 2 gallons or so.


I attempted to harvest goose berries but I did NOT have the right equipment! Those little buggers are painful! They should be called stickerberries, there are just as many sword-length stickers as there are berries! I was able to get some though, not sure what I’m going to do with them just yet. I already knew what currant berries were (not totally in a vacuum) and harvested some of those, but didn’t find many. I’ll probably throw them in with the rosehip jelly I’m going to make, and declare it jam. Sounds good!
Elderberry tree

That was my adventure, and I plan on having a lot more this year!
I'll share some of my at home adventures tomorrow; Canning!

1 comment:

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.