This Week’s Woodland Grocery Specials

Wild cherries of all types are coming into season.

Wild cherries of all types are coming into season.

 

Wild black cherries, pin cherries, choke cherries, and domesticated sweet and sour cherries are all ripening. Wild cherry varies, though small, make excellent juice, wine, and fruit leather.

 

 

 

 

Milkweed pods taste similar to green beans.

Milkweed pods taste similar to green beans.

 

Only pick small, firm pods, before the fluff inside starts to mature. Milkweed pods should be blanched and the initial water discarded to remove the bitterness from the latex. Then they can be cooked like any other vegetable. Try them in stir fry or soup. Or pickle them like green beans.

 

 

 

Soapwort, also known as Bouncing Bet.

Soapwort, also known as Bouncing Bet.

 

 

 

Soapwort gets it name from the suds it produces when you rub it with a little bit of water. These suds can be used to clean your hands when you’re out hiking, or to clean everything- hands, face, body, even dishes and clothing- while you are camping.

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Anne's Lace jelly is a popular treat among foragers.

Queen Anne’s Lace jelly is a popular treat among foragers.

 

 

The flowers of Queen Anne’s Lace can be steeped to make a tea. Adding sugar and pectin makes a beautiful pink jelly. The seeds, which are an excellent coriander-like seasoning for meats and veggies, are also starting to ripen.

 

 

 

Spearmint, and most other mints, are in full season right now.

Spearmint, and most other mints, are in full season right now.

 

 

Spearmint, peppermint, mountain mint, apple mint, chocolate mint…all mints make wonderful teas and seasonings. In addition, mints are excellent medicine for nausea and indigestion, colds and flues, and stress. They dry and store very well, and are next to impossible to kill. So find a mint you enjoy and harvest in abundance.

 

 

 

Blackberries ripen slowly. They may be "sort of" black for 3-5 days before they are ready to fall off in your hand. Pick gently to avoid getting the ones that aren't quite ripe.

Blackberries ripen slowly. They may be “sort of” black for 3-5 days before they are ready to fall off in your hand. Pick gently to avoid getting the ones that aren’t quite ripe.

 

 

Blackberries and other brambles, like raspberries, dewberries, and boysenberries, are loaded this summer. Take advantage of the heavy fruit production by freezing the berries for cobblers and pies this winter.

 

 

 

 

Try drying wild blueberries and adding them to rice or couscous to rehydrate while cooking.

Try drying wild blueberries and adding them to rice or couscous to rehydrate while cooking.

 

Blueberries are also plentiful this year. They take a bit more effort than brambles, but the rewards are sweet. Wild blueberries are delicious in pancakes and scones and make excellent preserves. For a blueberry-lemon treat, try mixing equal quantities of wild blueberries and wood sorrel pods into muffins.