Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foraged Berries and Other Frugal Things

Note as of 6/23/11:  Live and learn:  I may have a crop of faux strawberries here, although I do note that mine are somewhat sweet and make a good preserve.  However, the presence of the yellow flower makes me think that these may be of the faux variety, so be aware if you experiment with your own yard.

I promised myself I was going to explore foraging for edible greens and such, and this holiday weekend was the perfect time to add another foraged product to the diet.  (The first, you remember, was dandelions.)  This weekend, we got serious about foraging for wild strawberries.

Wild strawberries look exactly like domesticated strawberries in miniature, which makes them an easy choice for the novice forager.  However, we were cautious, and you should be too:  we read extensively on identifying wild strawberries, and then we spent all last season eating one at a time to be sure they were what we thought they were and we had no adverse reactions to them.  (Note:  You must make your own foraging decisions; I'm not advocating this practice unless you are 100% sure.)

You will note the characteristic strawberry leaves, the tiny blossoms, and the mature berry that looks just like a domesticated strawberry, but smaller.  The leaves at the top encase the berry until it is ripe, and then they burst open to show the mature berry.  The berry is not as sweet as a domesticated strawberry. We foraged in our own yard, as we have many areas of wild strawberries since we don't treat our lawn for "weeds" and we mow fairly high, allowing the ground-loving berries to grow.

I gathered about an ounce of berries, which amounted to maybe a third of a cup in volume.  I put them in the strawberry shortcake batter, and the baking made them a bit sweeter.

Other frugal and sustainable acts for the holiday weekend:
  • We mailed a shipment for Carrot Creations, which adds a little extra to the vacation fund.
  • I caught a good sale at JoAnn's for some fabric and yarn for new Carrot Creations projects.
  • We returned an ink cartridge to Staples for a $2 credit on my reward card.
  • We got the materials for painting a salvaged garden bench and constructing new tomato cages, with most of the supplies paid for by a gift card we had received.
  • We sold a bag of books back to the half price store and put $5 in the vacation fund.
The Analysis (Wild Strawberries)

Fast:  You won't find a ton of strawberries in your yard, most likely, so this is a quick project.

Cheap:  Foraging = free!

Good:  I'm always pleased to find a free food source, and I also think it is a good intellectual exercise to learn more about living off your own land, no matter how small or urban your plot is.
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  1. Do domesticated strawberries gone wild count? Just kidding, I actually didn't know about wild strawberries, probably dont' get them here but your post reminds me I need to know more about bush tucker.

  2. LOL! Yes, for me, I keep looking for ramps, but I don't think they grow here. Of course, I may not know what I'm looking for, either.