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Ozark Lady
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

Foraging!

My goodness, for being in a drought condition, and so many trees, weeds, gardens etc. all dying, or barely holding on, my son found alot of wild grapes!

I had found one small vine, near my pond, that had enough to get a quart of juice for jelly making.

My son called today, he was out playing on his 4 wheeler, and wanted to know if I wanted a few gallons of grapes? And could I bring the truck because we wouldn't be able to reach most without it!

I have been about 4 hours simply getting the grapes off of the stems! Looks like about 2 gallon of tiny wild grapes, when I finish the last of these stems! That will make lots and lots of jelly! Maybe even some grape fruit roll ups, but they will be sour, so I will need some apples to mellow them out a bit.

That ought to get me back into food mode!!! I have just been... looking for projects that are non-garden related, since gardening is such a letdown this year... Awww well, it will make gardening all the sweeter next year!

But, folks, get out on trails (where you are allowed to pick wild foods) and get you some grapes, I also got some sumac... and my elderberries are still putting on fruit. The wild foods are out there, you just need to look them up for your area, get familiar with them, and go look.
Be sure of your identification, as far as, unfamiliar items, but wild foods add alot of variety and fun to menus!

It says that wild cherries are also ripe here now, so tomorrow we will wander around looking for more treasure!

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applestar
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Sounds like fun! Good luck on your "gathering". :wink:

tedln
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Ozark Lady,

What will you do with the Sumac? Use it as a natural dye?

Ted

TZ -OH6
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There are a lot of wild foods out there, especially "salad" weeds brought over from Europe as edible plants/herbs.

Here's a list of things I could have eaten in the past few years without stepping off of the cut grass of the yard. Sure, the yard is surrounded by a several acres of overgrown filed/woods, but it is still in city limits surrounded by at least two rows of houses before farmland is reached. I didn't even crack open my edible wild plants book for the obscure ones, which I probably wouldn't recognize anyway.


Hickory
Walnut
Sugar maple
Apple
Crabapple
Wild Cherry
Oak
Grape vines


Blackberry
Elderberry
Dandelion
Plantain
Violets (?)
Clover (roots)
Wild Garlic
Creeping Charlie
Sumac
Purslane
Mustard
Wild carrot
Pokeweed (usually poisonous unless prepared correctly)
Morel mushrooms
Puffball mushroom

Animals
Deer
Rabbits
Squirrel
Wild Turkey
Woodchuck
Raccoon
Opossum
Crayfish

That's the traditional stuff. There are also the grasshoppers, blackbirds, cats and dogs, etc which are not part of the American culinery experience.

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Ozark Lady
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I found recipes for making Sumac into jelly, and it is amazing how much of the plant is actually usable. Something new to try!

Deep in the woods, the plants are doing fairly good. The rose bush below the Pawpaw has gone dormant or died due to the drought, but deep rooted plants are doing okay.

Paw paws are still green, I haven't noticed any black walnuts, but the leaves are still on the trees.

tedln
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I haven't been around sumac a lot and would be concerned about harvesting poison sumac instead of edible sumac. I've read the effects of poison sumac on the skin are worse then poison Ivy and poison Oak.

I love cakes and cookies with Black Walnut. They are a lot of work to get the meat out though. The black walnut husk makes a good black dye if used while the husk is still green.

I wear a lot of Black Tshrits in the summer. By the time summer is over, most of them have faded to a light shade of black. I've often wondered if I had a black walnut tree in the area, if I could renew the black color of my shirts with the walnut dye.

Ted

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Ozark Lady
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There are 250 species of Sumac. Only very few are poisonous. And the easy key is: Poison sumac only grows in swamps... wet lands.

Good sumac grows on dry land... you can't get much dryer than here, at present, except to be a desert!

Poison sumac is white berries, not red ones!

Like anything else folks can have allergies to it. I have handled it, and tasted a berry, no effect, but hard to believe it will be something edible.

Can't be any worse than purslane or lambs quarters though, tastewise.

TZ -OH6
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Our staghorn sumac looks very different (bright red berries) than poison sumac, and is usually abundant when found.

Susan W
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A note, from my perspective on sumac. (Ark, MO sometimes called 'shumac'. )
I use the berries for the dye pot, and need to go foraging. As the burbs moved out, so did my source...This is the staghorn sumac, often growing by roadsides. In my experience, often across a ditch, brambles, poison ivy and more to get to it.
The berries are in clusters, reddish, growing stiff up, not hanging like grapes.

Ozark, are you seeing them? Perhaps time for me to take a drive with a few baggies, and clippers

BTW Sumac berries make a great tea. It has a lemony taste, Sweeten as wished.

tedln
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Susan, are you a loom weaver?

Ted

Susan W
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Yes, loom weaver and mess with natural dyes. In another lifetime had a walk in store with looms and taught weaving.
Shifted now to in-home studio, focus on my 18th c stuff (weaving/dyeing).

tedln
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Beautiful stuff with hand spun fiber and natural dyes. What motif's do you use? Native American? Free Form?

Had a few friends over the years who had big looms. I really admired their work, but requires patience.

Post some photos of your work.

Ted

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Ozark Lady
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Yes, the Sumac is ripe here, it is common sumac, not as large as the Staghorn. And with the drought, I have large tomatoes ripening as small as cherry tomatoes... so it could be prematurely ripening.

Yes, you make the Sumac tea, and then strain it, and use that to make a jelly. I wish that my corn hadn't failed, I also found a recipe for corn cob jelly...

I did a bit of weaving in a college arts and crafts class, it was fun, we also did wax dyeing, enameling, and made jewelry.

I just got some potters clay, so I will be trying a new skill!



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