Monday, May 7, 2007

Waiting for the Salmonberry

Went out scouting yesterday for medicinal plants and wild foods. I am keeping an eye on this bush. Can't wait for the berries to ripen! Wile your waiting for the berries to bloom you can eat the young shoots, they are usually surrounding the more mature bush that produces the berries (behind the above shoot in the picture is stinging nettle, these are usually around too, they have hairy stems instead of the more smooth salmonberry stem). They have a pleasant sweet flavor. Some Oregon Native American tribes would gather the young shoots for food in early spring.

The Rubus group also includes blackberry, cloudberry, dewberry, thimbleberry, wineberry and yellowberry. All species of Rubus produce edible berries that can be eaten raw or made into cobblers, jams, jellies and pies. The fruit also can be used in cold drinks, teas and salads and is easily dried and preserved. The fruit of some species is even used to make a liquor. The dried leaves can be used to make tea, and tender salmonberry or blackberry shoots can be added fresh to salads. Rubus idaeus (raspberry) is noted to be a favorite household remedy. A leaf infusion was used to treat mild diarrhea, as a gargle for mouth ulcers and sore throats, as a wash for bathing varicose ulcers and sores, and as an eyewash. The berries are rich in vitamins and minerals and traditionally have been taken for indigestion and rheumatism. Rubus plants are commonly found in sunny thickets and mountainous areas, especially at higher altitudes (Angell 1981; Hedrick 1972; Medsger 1966; Peterson 1977).

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