"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Land of Milk and Honey

Click to enlarge

Can you guess what we had for breakfast? Not our typical morning fare, but it sure was good.

We have been picking Oregon grapes off and on for the last few weeks. The plant is very popular for the medicinal value of it's roots but we are much more interested in the tart seedy fruits. I'm convinced they are extremely healthy but have found little information regarding the berries besides the fact that they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Many people use them for preserves or wine but that involves the use of a little too much sugar for my liking, so we freeze and add them to the fruit mixture that makes up our morning smoothies.

A handful of blueberries and huckleberries

A trip to beautiful Upper Priest lake provided us with more huckleberries, blueberries, and a nice hike in the forest. I have not positively identified the blue ones as a form of wild blueberry but they sure don't taste like your average huckleberry...they're very tart. We make special trips to this lake just for this particular berry that I have yet to find growing anywhere else.

At the far end of this picture is a beach that I once camped overnight on, there is a swampy area back in the forest...leeches everywhere. I call it leech beach.


Silke Powers said...

Ok, that first picture has me stomped... I looks like a cut up tree branch to me, but then I thought maybe it's "Schwarzwurzel," the English word eluding me at the moment. You probably know what I'm talking about though. I don't know what the little flowers are. Garlic flowers?

The berries look wonderful! I love the wild blueberries! Never heard of Oregon grapes - will go look them up right now!

Hope you are having a great weekend!! :) Silke

P.S. The picture by the lake is gorgeous!

Roasted Garlicious said...

i thought maybe mushroom stems and garlic heads or onion heads? LOL ... as for the berries.. my mother always said there were two different kinds of blueberries... 'real' blueberries and blue huckleberries... have some very fond memories of being a kid and picking berries with her :D

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

So Salsify with some alium flowers? possibly walking onions?

Do you guys grow the salsify yourselves? What do you think of it as a crop?

Mr. H. said...

Silke - You were so close, the tree branches are scorzonera, and yes you got the garlic flower part right. Happy birthday!

Roasted Garlicious - You got the garlic head right, and the scorzonera does indeed resemble certain types of mushroom stems. I think what we picked were your moms "blue huckleberries".

Rick - We grow both salsify and scorzonera, I think the scorzonera has a much better flavor and thicker root. The salsify has a propensity to branch off and form forked hairy roots that are hard to clean. Both store well in the root cellar or left to overwinter in the ground.

Stefaneener said...

Looks healthy, at least. And flavorful -- did it fortify you for the hike? I love to pick berries, all kinds. Oh. . . we should check our huckleberry spot and see how they're doing!

Mr. H. said...


Scorzonera is a good source of carbs, like potatoes, so it probably does provide some energy.

Did you know that we have not seen one other person picking berries or mushrooms this year...more for us I suppose. We have noticed less people foraging in the woods every year, I'm not sure why...must be to much work.

Silke Powers said...

Ha! I was completely right, because scorzonera are "Schwarzwurzeln" (black roots) in German. I bet it tasted great! Thanks for the birthday wishes!! :) Silke

WeekendFarmer said...

My wife says that is GOBOU...Japanese name for a root. In Japan they put it in Miso soup. Or, they saute it with shredded carrot.

See below:

Mr. H. said...


I looked up gobou and they say it is burdock root. We have wild burdock growing in our field and were just discussing how to use it as a wild edible.

I had no idea that is was used in Japanese cooking...really neat. Now, thanks to your wife, I know what to do with it.:) Thanks.

LynnS said...

I always learn something from you!

I'm so surprised that you see less foragers. I would surely have figured there would be more, just because of the economy. But yes, there's a little bit of work when you forage or grow your own. Guess it's too much bother for most. That's more for all of us, though.

I am soooo jealous of all of your wild berries!

Robbyn said...

I'm glad you posted the picture of the scorzonera. I'm not sure if it's suited to our growing zone but if so it'll be neck and neck with my notes about salsify. I'd heard they have a slightly oyster flavor (hard to adequately describe flavors with words, I'm guessing)and that's piqued my curiosity because a few years back I eliminated some forms of seafood from my diet, oysters being one of them. But the more I read the more I see that so many flavors of all sorts (not to mention the health-enriching qualities) are right around us and I at least for one have been completely in the dark as to the abundance of edible leaves and roots. I LOVE catching up reading on your blog and revel in your gardens...beautifully abundant! You guys stoke my Plant Fever and I keeping adding more seed types to my wish list. Thanks for feeding the addiction, heh heh :)

Mr. H. said...


Scorzonera will grow anywhere salsify does, probably better. I prefer the root structure and flavor over salsify, but do grow them both.

Some people swear they have an oyster like flavor but mine never really have. I do like the taste of both but always have difficulty describing it...kind of a sweet, almost nutty taste like a sunchoke and texture similar to that of a parsnip

Fall and early overwintered spring roots are the best, a little more tender, but they can be used anytime.
Just plant them like you would a parsnip, in deep, loose soil as they can get ups to 3' long. They are worth growing for the flowers alone. There is a couple more pictures of ours in a June 8, 2009 post "The Other Roots."

Growing ones own food is one of the few good addictions.:) I'm always amazed when I read raw foodists blogs describing the many delicious foods they can recreate with only raw natural ingredients that are not even cooked....amazing. Thanks for your comments.


Related Posts with Thumbnails