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Little Regarded Wild Fruits and Berries

Little Regarded Wild Fruits and Berries

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Published by: api-3747641 on Oct 15, 2008
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03/18/2014

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CHAPTER V
SOME LITTLE REGARDED WILD FRUITS
AND BERRIES
Greate store offor r e s tfr u t e which hee
Had for his food late gathered from the tree.
TheF a er i eQ u een e
N
0 one has to be told of the edibility of our wild

strawberries, huckleberries, currants, cranber- ries, mulberries, raspberries, blackberries, elderber- ries, grapes and persimmons; nor of the pleasure which some palates find in the bitterish tang that goes with the familiar wild plums and cherries, al- though the only use to which most housewives con- sider these last fitted is the manufacture of jams and jellies. It is more to the purpose, therefore, in this chapter to touch upon some less known fruits of the hedge and heath-using the word fruit in its limited popular sense as based on succulency, rather

than with botanical accuracy.
Throughout the basin of the upper Missouri and
from Saskatchewan to New Mexico, theB u ffa l o-
83
USEFUL WILD PLANTS

berry(S h ep h er d i aa r g en t ea , Nutt.) is at home. In the journals of travelers in the upper plains two or three generations ago, no bush is more often men-

BUFFALO-BERRY
(S hepherdiaa r g en t ea )
tioned than this.By the Frenchv oy a g eu r s anden -
gag\u00e9s it was calledg r a i s s e de boeuf, that is, \u201cbeef
fat,\u201d which seems in harmony with the story I have
read that the name Buffalo-berry is derived from the
84
LITTLE REGARDED WILD FRUITS

fact that it was a customary garnish to the monot- onous buffalo steaks and tongue of those early days. The plant is a somewhat spiny shrub or small tree with silvery, scurfy leaves, and forms at times ex- tensive and all but impenetrable thickets. The species isd i \u0153 ci ou s ,and only the pistillate plant

bearsfruit;butthatdoesitabundantly-tight
clusters of small, scarlet berries, so sour as to find
few takers until the frosts of October temper their

acerbity. Then they are pleasant enough whether raw or cooked, though still with a touch of acid astringency that makes, for sprightliness.J elly made from them ranks especially high, and to this end they are gathered by white dwellers in the re- gions where they grow.In fact, the plant is notin - frequently found transferred to gardens. Theb e r - ries used to be one of the Indians\u2019 dietarys t a p l e s , lending a lively, fruity flavor to the unending stews and mushes of the red men.There is a related plant, the Silverberry(E l a ea gn u sa r g en t ea ,Pursh) , native to much the same region and often cultivated in gardens for the sake of thefr a gr a n t ,s i l v e r y , funnel-form flowers and attractive foliage. Its

white,s cu r fy berries, while in a sense edible, are too
dry andm e a ly for most people, and are left to the
prairie
ch ick e n s .
85

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