Food that you’ve foraged yourself, growing wild in the forests and meadows of the Maine mountains. Furthermore, all of the blueberries are wild. In hedges and deep woodland. Story by John Moody | July / August 2020 . Caution: Can be confused with mock or false strawberries. Also tread lightly; try to stay on the trail as much as possible, and never harvest more than half of a patch of any given plant. They’re easy to cook, and taste kind of like a gamey asparagus. Bearberry is known as Kinnikinnick which is pronounced KINNY-kin-ICK, or Kinn-ICK-innick, and is belived to come from the Alonquin meaning “smoking mixture.” Bearberry comes from its genus Arctostaphylos, from the Greek word for bear – Arktos and staphylos – a bunch of grapes, which its berries resemble. They’re most commonly limited to acidic soils, and pine barrens are among the best places to find them. Packed with vitamins A and C, this bitter green pairs well with rich flavors- think bacon, goat cheese, or root vegetables. It’s abundant in the wild and is most frequently found in swampy woodland and wetland areas, though winterberry bushes may also be purchased at garden centers and nurseries. Around 65 million pounds of blueberries are harvested in Maine each year from an estimated 25,000 acres. It is divided into three varieties: black, blue, and red elderberries. Nourished by icy cold rivers and untouched soil, some of the best food around is growing right along our trails. They’re actually quite tasty despite their common name. The salmonberry may not sound like the most delicious food in the world, but it's one of many wild edible plants and berries in Oregon. Most importantly, have fun! Try chatting with a Texan about dewberries, and they'll talk your ear off about wild berry … Mature plants can spread to 8 to 12 feet. Aronia is a genus of 2 or 3 species of deciduous shrubs native to eastern North America. The common juniper (Juniperus communis) is the most widely known edible Juniper species. This relative of the dogwood, only grows 10-20 cm tall. Berry fruits can also be found in the fruit & vegetables section. If you're just learning how to identify wild berries, always carry a field guide with color photographs to help you safely identify berries. However, the entire plant outside of the ripened cooked berries is poisonous for humans to eat. If you’re not 100 percent certain that a berry is safe to eat, don’t take the risk. They grow on a large shrub that can sometimes be as tall as a small tree. Hickories are important “mast” trees, large trees that provide edible nuts and many other resources for people and wildlife. The lowbush blueberry can be found in fields and forests, while the sour top grows mostly in woodlands. Birds eat many wild berries that are toxic to humans. The tables were sheets of plywood propped upon sawhorses, covered with newspaper. Dandelion leaves are best picked before the plant flowers, for optimal taste and nutrition. Wild Edible Plants of New England tells what to look for: “The shape of its leaves and, especially, the talcum-powdered appearance of the young growing leaves gives it away. From purslane and orache to seaweed and wild leeks, if you know what you are looking for, then chances are you can find it in Maine. Like all food you find in the wild, it’s important to cook it for at least a few minutes to kill off anything dangerous. Zones 4 - 9. Even if you don’t find anything edible, there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon. We take local food seriously here at Maine Huts & Trails. Maine’s plentiful bogs and marshes supply wild food gatherers with an abundance of cattails. This ranking, was created by Midwest Elderberry Coop, who says that they’ve arrived at the assessment using only edible berries. Rubus parviflorus, commonly called thimbleberry, (also known as redcaps) is a species of Rubus native to northern temperate regions of North America.It bears edible red fruit similar in appearance to a raspberry, but shorter, almost hemispherical.Because the fruit does not hold together well, it has not been commercially developed for the retail berry market, but is cultivated for landscapes. There are many types of poisonous berries in North America, and some of them look similar to edible berries. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) You’ll find this succulent weed growing all over cities and suburbs, where it likes to grow in the cracks of sidewalks and under trees. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and mayonnaise thoroughly. The shrub grows to between 16 and 98 ft. (5 – 15 m) tall and is identified by a round-topped crown. This field guide is intended to provide you with information about the identification, use, and preparation of many common edible plant and fungi species in eastern North America. Hawthorn (May/Haws) Crataegus monogyna A familiar, spiny hedgerow shrub with lobed leaves and flat-topped, edible, red berries (haws). A Guide to Edible Plants and Fungi of New England Welcome to the field guide for Edible Plants and Fungi in New England. Flavor: Tastes like an intense strawberry. Only half of the red-colored berries are considered edible. Be overly cautious when foraging- never eat anything you’re unsure of, and cook it thoroughly. While wild blueberries grow throughout the United States, they are most prevalent in Maine and New Jersey. Consult a field guide to find a description of the berries and plant. There's a kind of regional pride associated with berries: inky wild blueberries are as indelibly linked to summers in Maine as fat, juicy marionberries are to Oregon. It grows 3–26 feet (1–8 meters) high and produces edible fruit known as saskatoon berries. Eastern Spicy-wintergreen fruits (Gaultheria procumbens) Maple tree sap (Acer spp.) Copyright 2020. Not only are edible wild berries a great wild food and substantial addition to your diet, but they're packed with sustenance and energizing to eat as well! But what’s even better than locally farmed food? I have accumulated a number of wild edible and medicinal plant books but they are all stored at my BOL location in Maine and I do not have access until the temperatures warm up. If you see a bird eating a wild berry, don't assume that berry is safe to eat. If you see a bird eating a wild berry, don't assume that berry is safe to eat. Add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, hot sauce if using, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and salt. Where and in which season do they grow? I also strongly suggest not using the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and any of its hybrids, though Native Americans did use this one, there is the possibility the seeds are slightly toxic. Everybody likes berries, or tart jams made from berries. identifying and using Black Aronia berries, used as a tomato substitute in autumn olive ketchup, Canning Potatoes ~ How to Pressure Can Potatoes at Home », https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=LOCA6, https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=STAM2, https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=VAVI, https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RUAR, Guelder Rose, Highbush Cranberry or Squashberry (, Mock Strawberry or Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica). Identify Wild Edible Elderberries Before foraging, learn how to correctly identify American, European, blue, and red elder plants to avoid their toxic look-alikes. These edible small red berries also have the name bird cherries, red cherries, or fire cherries. The leaves of white and red baneberries are nearly identical, but the stems that hold the berries are much thicker in white baneberry plants. This is a short list- there are a ton of edible wild foods in Maine… berries, acorns, seaweed, and leafy greens are everywhere if you know what to look for. They have a deep, red wine-like flavor with hints of blueberry…subtly sweet, and just a bit bitter. No list of edible Maine greens is complete without the classic fiddlehead. There is or was a real expert on wild edible plants in Maine who is a member here: straightrazor. Berries, mushrooms and fiddleheads are the most popular wild edibles, but natural harvesting does not end there. Racemes of small, fragrant white flowers that appear in May and June are replaced by clusters of berries in late summer. All the above questions will help you, notably to identify the edible berries. Edible hips from a large range of wild rose species. Because so many parts of the plant are edible, and at different times of the year, wild food expert “Wildman” Steve Brill notes, “A stand of cattails is as close as you’ll get to a wild supermarket.” It can even be considered a bit of a foraging ‘cheat’ since it can often be found in a garden alongside all the other weeds. 2. Look for shiny, sturdy stalks with a brown, flaky outer layer. The berries are edible, but they’re not that remarkable. The berries red, yellow or white growing in clusters should be avoided. The stem is fleshy, tender when young. Juniper Berry Blue Round, resembles a blueberry A Juniper can be a tall tree or smaller shrub; leaves are needle-like, very sharp and evergreen Found throughout the United States Juniper bark is thin with a distinctive scent (similar to cedar) and comes off in strips. Barrel-chested men sporting tattoos and oven mitts carried a giant strainer (a metal garbage can peppered with holes) and dumped 50 pounds of steaming crawfish and fixings onto the tables. Since not all berries are edible, it is essential to find ways of identifying edible berries to forage them safely in the wild. Maine grows 98 percent of America’s low-brush blueberries. You'll find wild blueberries across southern Canada, in the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and along the east coast from Maine to North Carolina. All the above questions will help you, notably to identify the edible berries. The winterberry bush is a species of holly native to eastern North America and Canada. While it is possible to buy berries, foraging is another great option. 3. Grows best in medium wet, well-drained soil but will tolerate a wide range. Partridgeberries are a common winter find as is wintergreen, which has edible berries and leaves for tea. You can cook lambs quarters any way that you would spinach or chard- it’s a good steamable green that pairs well with garlic or lemon. edible MAINE is an award-winning magazine dedicated to local foods by sharing the stories of the people who grow it, prepare it, and eat it. Since it has more iron, protein, calcium, B1, and B2s than spinach or cabbage- packing some lambs quarters into your diet will make you feel awesome. Birds eat many wild berries that are toxic to humans. Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) Grows from 25 to 30 feet high with a spread of 15 to 20 feet. Not all wild, uncultivated berries are poisonous, however. This is a short list- there are a ton of edible wild foods in Maine… berries, acorns, seaweed, and leafy greens are everywhere if you know what to look for. Also, do not use berries from the commonly sold hybrid known as the Pfitzer Juniper (Juniperus × pfitzeriana) . Again, wash well and cook down before serving. Where and in which season do they grow? The berries ripen to blackish purple and are high in vitamin C. Birds love the berries raw, while we humans prefer them cooked into pies and preserves. On the other hand, black and blueberries are typically non-poisonous. Prefers partial shade to full sun. Site designed by Nancy Marshall Communications. Be overly cautious when foraging- never eat anything you’re unsure of, and cook it thoroughly. Foodie Pro & The Genesis Framework. white berries the same size and flavor of wintergreen "Tic-Tacs" Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens Yes perennial to 5" high ground cover in acidic woodlands - can tolerate sun leaves used for tea - berries also edible (though not very sweet) Huckleberry, Black Gaylussacia baccata Yes small shrub (to 3' tall) acidic woodlands and clearings These purple berries are approximately 1/4–1 inch (5–15 mm) in diameter ( 37 ). Compare the physical characteristics that you have noted about the berries and plant with the information in the field guide. They grow on a large shrub that can sometimes be as tall as a small tree. Commercially offered blueberries are usually from species that naturally occur only in eastern and north-central North America. The shrub grows to between 16 and 98 ft. (5 – 15 m) tall and is identified by a round-topped crown. They have a sweet, non … “To rank them, we … Your email address will not be published. Whether you're hoping to pluck blackberries or whether you plan to tackle the stinging nettle, make sure harvesting is permitted and attain a permit if necessary before you forage. Is Winterberry Poisonous?. Never eat a berry unless you are completely sure it's edible. How are the stats broken down? Never eat a berry unless you are completely sure it's edible. The location of wild blueberries depends on the species. A native of eastern North America, winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a slow growing deciduous holly species that can grow up to 12 feet tall. The leaves themselves are bluish-green, delicate to the touch. Fiddleheads have some toxic twins, so it’s important to double or triple check, and cook well. These edible small red berries also have the name bird cherries, red cherries, or fire cherries. 3. Use a field guide that has color photos in order to make identification more accurate. You should have no trouble finding these guys, in fact your own lawn might be a great place to start, assuming you don’t use any chemicals. For example, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries are all rich sources for getting Vitamins C … They do grow in the wild, and are really pretty easy to spot. Hickory (Carya). dark red to purple edible berries. The berries contain oxalates, needle-like crystals that cause pain and swelling in the lips, face, tongue, and skin. Like anything you find in the wild, be sure you know exactly what you have before you eat it! Only half of the red-colored berries are considered edible. Fiddleheads are a quintessential Maine dish, so they’re really best paired with roasted baby potatoes and freshly caught fish or lobster. Many years ago, after my wife and I had established our first homestead, a friend came out to visit. A Guide to Edible Plants and Fungi of New England Welcome to the field guide for Edible Plants and Fungi in New England. Hips can be bunched or solitary, on spiny or, more usually, hook-thorned arching stems. All rights reserved. Try chatting with a Texan about dewberries, and they'll talk your ear off about wild berry picking expeditions and Mom's dewberry jam. The berries red, yellow or white growing in clusters should be avoided. The elderberry fruits grow on small bush plants and can be edible when fully-ripened. Just steam or boil for about ten minutes, then toss with lots of high quality butter, vinegar, salt (truffle salt if you have it), and pepper. If you see white fuzz, keep looking- that’s just a regular old fern that tastes gross and could make you a little sick. Foraging Aronia Berries, underutilized edible wild plants. The Vaccinum group also contains some of the most well known wild edible berries including cranberries, lingonberry, and huckleberry. That is a mind-blowing batting average. Other sections in the genus are native to other parts of the world, including the Pacific Northwest and southern United States, South America, Europe, and Asia. Leave it alone.”. Berries are edible but bitter and may cause severe stomach upset in some people. Many families have their own secret spot to find the best patch, but anyone can spot them if they know where to look. 2. Berry Nutrition Comparison Chart based on 1/2 cup (100g) Elderberries Ranked #1 most nutritious of the 17 most common berries. ). Mature height of the plants is about 36 to 48 inches (91.5 to 122 cm.). Where I grew up I always found wintergreen with berries in the spring snow. Fruits and flowers are edible, with fruit ripening in late summer. In the right location, elder grows quickly. The berries are poisonous,   although because they taste so bitter, it’s rare that a person ingests enough to become poisoned. You’ll see a whorl of 4-6 leaves at the top of the plant with the flowers and later the red berries clustered on a stem in the center. white berries the same size and flavor of wintergreen "Tic-Tacs" Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens Yes perennial to 5" high ground cover in acidic woodlands - can tolerate sun leaves used for tea - berries also edible (though not very sweet) Huckleberry, Black Gaylussacia baccata Yes small shrub (to 3' tall) acidic woodlands and clearings If you're just learning how to identify wild berries, always carry a field guide with color photographs to help you safely identify berries. Identification. Notice the color. This mealy powder, most noticeable on the undersides of the leaves as the plant gets older, repels water, but disappears upon cooking. Of New England’s native hickories, Shagbark (Carya ovata) produces the largest and tastiest nuts, with a flavor similar to walnuts dipped in maple syrup.The nuts typically ripen from mid-September through the first week of October. Edible parts: The berries. Black Aronia and red Aronia are distinct species. Plants identification with berries. Wild blueberries are safe to eat but will taste best when fully ripened. They are sold at nurseries, and the berries are not edible. In this section you will find pictures of edible and poisonous berries. In general, white and yellow berries are almost always poisonous, and around half of red berries are poisonous. 49. There are no human-planted fields in Maine. Hawthorn berries can persist into the winter as can persimmons, mountain ash, wild plums (sloes) various edible Viburnum berries and Rumex seeds still on the stalk. There's a kind of regional pride associated with berries: inky wild blueberries are as indelibly linked to summers in Maine as fat, juicy marionberries are to Oregon. Purple Aronia is either a 3rd species, or a hybrid of the black and red species. Notice the color. On the other hand, black and blueberries are typically non-poisonous. Partridge-berry fruits (Mitchella repens) Fiddleheads are just young ferns, and they grow near streams in shady forests. If crushed leaves smell like turpentine, you’ve found an inedible relative. This field guide is intended to provide you with information about the identification, use, and preparation of many common edible plant and fungi species in eastern North America. Here’s a quick guide for what to eat, what to leave alone, and what to do with it when you get home: This productive little plant tastes a lot like spinach, and is a powerhouse of nutritional density. There can be so many they make the plant It’s why we go out of our way to serve food that’s grown by local farmers; not only is it better for you and great for the local economy, it tastes great too. Maine Huts & Trails. A 3rd species, or tart jams made from berries trees that provide edible and. The classic fiddlehead ( Acer spp. ) ( 5–15 mm ) in (... Most prevalent in Maine and New Jersey smell like turpentine, you ’ re really best paired roasted. Look similar to edible plants and Fungi in New England Welcome to the field guide for edible plants and be! Percent of America ’ s low-brush blueberries white growing in clusters should be avoided to edible plants and of. And skin rivers and untouched soil, some of them look similar edible... Acidic soils, and the berries red, yellow or white growing in clusters should be avoided solitary on. 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