Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Many Wild Edible Plants of Texas

Last weekend hubby and I went to a Wild Edibles workshop. Identifying wildflowers and wild edible plants has been an interest of mine for several years now, but I am more of a novice at the latter.

I have read several sources and books and looked at tons of pictures, but just really felt that this workshop would be a great help because it would be "hands on" with an expert.

This class was held at the instructor's home, on her ranch, in the Texas Hill Country. The ranch is about an hour and a half from where we live, which was perfect because the plants there would be pretty much the same as what I would encounter in my area.

The weather Saturday morning couldn't have been more perfect and the class was small, making it great for one on one with the instructor and time to ask plenty of questions as we trekked around the property.

Before taking our walk, The instructor gave us a handout of the plants we would be identifying that day, and she had some "edibles" for us to try, in the form of Prickly pear cactus jelly, which I was already familiar with because I do make that myself, except that she makes a low sugar version and it was very good, so I want to email her for that recipe. She also set out a dish of the pulp of some Texas persimmons, which was very sweet on it's own and had no sugar or anything added. She served the jelly and Texas persimmons with crackers made from flour from mesquite pods. Everything was wonderful!

After we talked for a bit at her picnic table, we went for our walk and she showed us all the plants on our lists. She had chosen a good beginner's list of wild edibles that have no poisonous look alikes. I haven't counted but there were probably a good 20 plants on the list. There were plants such as the prickly pear, Texas persimmon, agarita, cucumber plant, dock, bull thistle, sow thistle, dandelion,wood sorrell, mustang grapes and much more. We tasted a lot of the plants that day as well.

I had a great time! I told hubby that I was "higher than a kite" because I love plants anyway and to learn about native plants and about wild edibles like that was just really "it" for me!

When we got home I discovered some wood sorrel in my yard which I plan to harvest and use in salads, in tuna sandwiches and on baked fish because it has a wonderful lemony taste!

I also have tons of acorns in my yard and I had hoped to make acorn flour but alas, my tree is a red oak and is more bitter than the white or bur oak so even though I tried boiling some of the nuts twice as long they were still a little too bitter to be worth the effort of making the flour.

You can bet though, that I will be making lots of mesquite flour this summer! That stuff is wonderful! I am going to gather all the pods I can get my greedy hands on!

As we were leaving the class Saturday, I told hubby, "Well you can look at it one of two ways,either we took a class on wild edibles, or we paid money to eat weeds in a stranger's yard!"

Here are the instructor's two blogs. She has tons of information at both. One blog is older than the other as she later on had moved her blog. 

Wild Edibles Texas

Wild Edibles Texas on Wordpress

3 comments:

  1. Funny, but Texas is the last place in the world where I would expect a cornucopia of wild edibles. Just showing my ignorance. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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  2. It surprises even me, especially the food that is available out in the west Texas deserts, but then I guess that is how the Indians survived out there :-) The agaves for example provided food,drink,cordage etc. Yucca flowers were food as well as cacti. It is all very interesting to me.

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  3. I remember as a Boy Scout eating some of the wild plants.

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