Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wild Berries in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon Grape and Indian Mock Strawberry)

This is a continuation on my posts of wild berries.

Indian Mock Strawberry

Edited:  Due to a comment from a wonderful reader I have re-identified this from wild strawberry to Indian Mock Strawberry. 

I was so excited when I found these at my uncle's cabin on the Washougal River.  The berry books rave about the taste of wild strawberry.  Unfortunately I was sorely disappointed.   These had no taste whatsoever.  Completely bland.  So far it seems that overall berries that get a lot of sun and heat are sweeter than those in the shade and these were completely in the shade.  I did also find a small patch along one of the nature trails near my house.  Those too were tasteless.  The strawberries are tiny.  About the size of a small raspberry or blackberry.

Oregon Grape

Oregon grape is found all over the place.  I mostly see it as native landscaping along the sides of the road. The leaves are prickly and look like holly but Oregon Grape has blue berries instead of red.  (Holly has red berries that are poisonous so do not eat the berries from holly.)  The berries are really easy to pick and there are a lot of them.  However they taste really, really, sour.  Not palatable at all really.  But if you squeeze the juice from the berries and add a lot of sugar you can make jam, or wine if you are so inclined.  I did attempt to make some jam by squeezing the juice out of the berries through a mesh bag (I recommend wearing gloves as my hands are still stained a couple days later) adding sugar (3/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of juice) and boiling.  My "jelly" ended up more like syrup.  I added some chia seeds to get some more gelling but that didn't really help either.  Selena did eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with it, but  I'll probably pour it over some pancakes or ice cream.  The jelly did taste pretty good though, but how can it not when its almost all sugar?

Next up are blackberries.  They are just starting to get ripe.  I am so excited!


Hanukkah said...

I just came upon your blog while searching for a place to pick or even buy bulk elderberries (for making syrups). I haven't gone threw all of your posts but thought maybe you had an idea on where to find elderberries in the pacific northwest? I'll come 'visit you' again to see if you post a reply...or if you feel inclined to do so, you can visit me at my blog
Thank you!

Laura said...

I saw tons of red elderberries early in the summer, but they are sometimes poisonous. Information was confusing and contradictory, but it seemed better to stay away from them. I have yet to find a blue elderberry shrub. My book says they don't ripen until September - October so I'm keeping a look out for them. It also says to never eat them raw. Good luck finding some.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, that particular kind of wild strawberry is also known as Indian Mock Strawberry. They aren't a true wild strawberry. And though they aren't poisonous, they are really bland.