Newsletter 23 August 2016

by Green Deane

Beautyberries are not toxic to humans. Photo by Green Deane

Beautyberries have little flavor but make an excellent jelly. Photo by Green Deane

August is a hot month. Foraging falls off, class attendance is down, folks are on vacation in cooler climes. I usually spend a couple of weeks in North Carolina rummaging around. But August can be an extremely productive foraging month. Locally you should be able to find many things during your foraging treasure hunt. Grapes are ripening, both single tendril and forked tendril. Simpson Stoppers are still fruiting here and there as are Pindo Palms (the wine started two weeks ago is coming along nicely.)  The American Beautyberry is happily coming into it’s own with bunches of magenta berries, and, as mentioned in last week’s newsletter, be on the look out for Horsemint, its pink bracts and preference for sandy, dry locations makes it an easy find.

Unripe Saw Palmetto Berries

Unripe Saw Palmetto Berries

And while they are not yet ripe it’s easy to spot Saw Palmetto berries and Persimmons (both are still green.) The Saw Palmetto berries will go from green to gold (see photo right) then to black though they will probably be poached before they turn black because they can be used medicinally when green. The Persimmons won’t be edible until around mid-October or so and then the best ones are those you have to fight the ants for.  No frost is needed. Now is also a time to be looking for Hackberries aka Sugarberries, some are almost ripe but September is their better season. The tree’s green pea-sized fruit will turn to burnt orange in color. Crunchy. Black Gum fruit — currently green — won’t be ripen ’til fall and even then it is gawd-awful bad. But Black Gum fruit is edible but you’re hungry, desperate and have a lot of sugar.

Harold Grandholm empties blueberries in a field on the Merrill Road in Pownal Maine about 1969.

Harold Grandholm emptying raked blueberries in a blueberry field on the Merrill Road in Pownal Maine about 1969.  It earned back-to-school money. To the north is the Bradbury Farm.

In my native state of Maine grapes and apples were  still unripe in August but blueberries were abundant. Because of wide-spread acidic soil one could easily find 120- acres blueberry fields like the one at left. They were “lined off” with string into rows for blueberry rakers. Like digging clams blueberrying was backbreaking work and they always missed a few. So after the fields were raked we’d go pick our fill. We also had high bush blueberries, wonderful 12-foot high spreading shrubs that liked to grow among ledges and rock fences. It was also a time to find Milkweed pods in the pastures. Unfortunately our various species of milkweed pods here in Florida are not edible.

Classes are held rain or shine.

Classes are held rain or shine.

Upcoming Foraging Classes: 

Saturday, Aug 27th, George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce, FL, 34981. 9 a.m.  (This class is cancelled because of a tropical rainy weather this weekend.)

Sunday, Aug. 28th, Dreher Park, 1200 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL, 33405. 9 a.m.  (This class is cancelled because of a tropical rainy weather this weekend.) 

Saturday, Sept 10th, Red Bug Slough Preserve, 5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL, 34233. 9 a.m.

Sunday, Sept. 11th, Bayshore Live Oak Park, 2200 East Lake Road, Port Charlotte, FL. 9 a.m.

For more information about the foraging classes go here. 

The Nine-DVD set includes 135 videos.

The Nine-DVD set includes 135 videos.

All of Green Deane’s videos are available for free on You Tube. They do have ads on them so every time you watch a Green Deane video I get a quarter of one cent. Four views, one cent. Not exactly a large money-maker but it helps pays for the newsletter. If you want to see the videos without ads and some in lightly better quality you can order the DVD set. It is nine DVDs with 15 videos on each. Many people want their own copy of the videos or they have a slow service and its easier to order then to watch them on-line. They make a good gift for that forager you know. Individual videos can also be ordered. You can order them by clicking on the button on the top right of this page or you can go here.

Do you know what these poisonous berries are? You would if you read the Green Deane Forum.

Do you know what these poisonous berries are? You would if you read the Green Deane Forum.

Want to identify a plant? Looking for a foraging reference? Do you have a UFO, an Unidentified Flowering Object you want identified. On the Green Deane Forum we chat about foraging all year. And it’s not just about warm-weather plants or just North American flora. Many nations share common weeds so there’s a lot to talk about, such as the one to the left. There’s also more than weeds. The reference section has information for foraging around the world. There are also articles on food preservation, and forgotten skills from making bows to fermenting food.  You can join the forum by clicking on the button on the upper right hand side of this page.

Ganoderma growing over a pine needle. Photo by Green Deane

Ganoderma growing over a pine needle. Photo by Green Deane

If you are interested in edible or medicinal mushrooms there have been reports of Chanterelles (I harvested some of those myself) and quite a few edible Lactarius. Boletes are also producing but their edibility is more trial and error but fortunately there are no deadly members of the group. From the medicinal point of view I have also been seeing a lot of Ganoderma zonatum, our local Reishis that likes to kill palms. Whether are various species of Ganodermas are as good as the ones sold in herbal shops is a hot debate.

This is Newsletter 222. As next Tuesday is the fifth Tuesday of the month the newsletter will take a week off and resume in September.  

If you would like to donate to Eat The Weeds please click here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

farouk August 24, 2016 at 15:12

I usually enjoy foraging during this month especially when there is much rain as witnessed nowadays in Khartoum and whereabouts. I don’t have to walk far away from my house because Kafouri district has many sights still raw where one may enjoy foraging. Starting in my back garden and just outside, I can find berries; but these are Goose berries the so called Cape Goose berries – many of them blossoming and fruiting. My difficulty, like some others, is to know harvest time. I can also see extensive fields of Aka Green Pigweed; however there is also a plant which looks the same except for a slight difference in the leaf’s tip curvature.
Glad to know about Grapes blossoming time because I’m eager to see when mine will blossom – also one of them single tendril and the other forked tendril. My blossoming lemon tree is now a centre of activity by attracting many creatures of this season: bees, bumble bees, butter flies of various colours, and some caterpillars lying comfortably on leaves or doing their job like the rest.
It is enjoyable also to see dragon flies hovering or landing on a twig or branch; how lovely are those migrating birds – thank God indeed this is happy time for me to forage. Many thanks Green.

Reply

Charles Mr McClain August 23, 2016 at 21:47

Virginia creeper…

Reply

Donna Deal August 23, 2016 at 19:30

Do you teach while in NC? If so, I would love a heads up. I live in Durham, but happy to travel to wherever you are visiting in the state.

Reply

Dan King August 23, 2016 at 19:20

Deen – Any info on Crepe Myrtle or Longan. Searched your site but didn’t find anything. Interest in Crepe Myrtle is as a tea to reduce blood sugar and the Longan for eating.
Going to try and make your 09/11 class in Port Charlotte again.

Reply

Green Deane August 23, 2016 at 23:51

I think I have mentioned Longan in some newsletters but it is a commercial fruit tree and not a wild edible. Also the Crepe Myrtle is not edible but more a medicinal and outside of my area of expertise.

Reply

Leave a Comment