Monday, September 2, 2013

Harvesting Choke Cherries and Rose Hips

Yesterday morning my girlfriend Miss M and I went foraging. (This is the first time I have been out in the true outdoors in a very long time) Miss M picked me up around 10 am in her trusty Subaru. We had our little day packs with our map in hand and everything else we might need in case we were caught up in one of the storms that frequent us this time of the year. I brought a light hooded jacket, hat, filtered water bottle, chapstick and a small pail to haul whatever harvest we might find.

We stayed in a popular play area to avoid any contact with our more aggressive wildlife neighbors. This also worked well for us since we could forage right from the road without too much physical effort.(I still have limited strength) A beautiful river drops down this narrow winding canyon where trout abound in the frigid waters and serious fishing occurs. You know the kind of fishing where they make you throw the fish back in. I prefer the other kind of fishing called keep and eat.

The dark paths seen here were caused by heavy rain run off from a storm the other night.
 When foraging, be sure to have a trusted guide with you that has pictures and descriptions of edible plants to help you identify a safe harvest. There are toxic plants everywhere, even in your own home, so be careful not to become a victim.

Number One bought me this guide for this area about a month ago.
We were visiting a Ranger's station looking for a good map when I spotted this book. A friend of ours had mentioned to us what a thorough guide this book was and he was right.
 I do not have any pictures of the hunt, but I have pictures of the harvest. We also found black and red currants, wild licorice, raspberries, mustard and many other edibles. This was all growing on the side of the road.  I had only planned to pick rose hips to dry for tea this winter, but the choke cherries were calling to us. I knew that the rose hips were ready to pick, the choke cherries were a nice surprise. Miss M made syrup last night with her bounty and I made syrup with mine after I came home from Church.

I kept all the rose hips to dry at my house and will divide the spoils when they are ready. We are planning another harvest this week(If I am up to it) after discovering all the ways to preserve the fruits. We missed out on the other berries, it was just too late in the season to harvest any amount worth preserving. We are both new at this, but fully intend to learn as much as we can since we enjoyed ourselves so much. We both like the outdoors. I want to harvest some licorice root. It is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Three rose hips have more vitamin C than an orange. I used honey to sweeten the choke cherry syrup. I will use it to sweeten my tea, on my whole wheat pancakes and I may make some jelly.

Choke Cherries

Rose Hips

 Watch for future posts on preserving the harvest. Spoiler alert: I have a batch of pineapple vinegar brewing!!!


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