Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wild Edibles #2 Wild Strawberry and Woodberry


Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt consult a local expert.

Before we jump in I would just like to say I do not know if it is cool that I am doing a series that requires a disclaimer or not, but we have to be safe.

I am including both wild strawberry and woodberry in the same post because there is very precious little information available about woodberry. Woodberry, as I have always known it is called by several other names as well. Wood strawberry, snake berry, and Indian strawberry being the most common. I have not found where wild strawberry is called any thing else.

Both wild strawberry and woodberry are completely edible. Woodberry has absolutely no flavor, but hey it is calories if you need them. Wild strawberry has a very subtle flavor and some even compair it to the taste of watermelon. Both have vitamin C, minerals, and quite a bit of water in them. They can not only be used as a survival food, but in a pinch they can be used to help keep you hydrated.

The leaves of both wild strawberry and woodberry look very much like tame strawberry only much smaller. The leaves of woodberry tend to be a little more pointed as well. Below you can see a photo comparing tame strawberry leaves to woodberry leaves. As you can see there is a major difference.












The blooms of the woodberry are yellow while the blooms of the wild strawberry are white. They are of the same configuration. Both blooms have 5 petals and form a sort of star shape.

Woodberry produces fruit all summer long. I have read that wild strawberry does as well. The fruit can be eaten raw or used in cooking. I have always eaten them raw, but I have heard that cooking the berries actually enhances the flavor.

In the south woodberry can only grow where it has some shade. The further north you go you could see woodberry and wild strawberry in meadows and grassy areas. Both of these plants grow almost everywhere in the northern hemisphere. The only exceptions I can find are the extreme northeastern US and the rocky mountain regions. These plants are purported to grown even fairly high up in Canada.

The plants can be propagated by runners and by seed. The seed must go through a fermentation process similar to tomatoes, if the seed is not ingested by wildlife and distributed that way.

If you see these around your place and you are sure that is what they are give them a try and tell me what you think.



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Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel

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Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes