Have you figured out that I love foraging? I am quite careful what we eat and even if someone tells me something is ok, I’m still going to check it out and do my own research before we eat it. The first time Chad brought home morel mushrooms, I was in a panic. I wasn’t about to eat a mushroom without being absolutely certain that it was safe. Mushrooms are pretty scary and I wasn’t familiar with morels but once we figured out they were safe to eat, and we tasted them, we headed to the woods often in search of morels.
Here in Texas, I think I’m more concerned about my safety while harvesting the bounty than I am about what happens if I eat the wrong thing!
Believe it or not, there aren’t many cactus plants on our land. I guess it all depends on how you look at it . . compared to the amount of cactus we’ve had in other places (MO, KY, LA, GA, MS), we have a lot of cactus because those places had none but compared to what many folks have here, we have few. But, look at those needles! If you’ve never been stuck by a cactus, you can’t imagine how sharp and painful they are. They also will puncture tires on lawn mowers and even the cars. I think the RTV and tractor tires are a little more sturdy when it comes to cactus but we still try to avoid running over them.
Agarita is another plant here that produces berries than can be used. I’ve heard agarita makes a great jelly and jam but can also be used for pies, cobblers and even juice, with sugar added. I had no idea what it was and asked a neighbor. Then I did some research and can hardly wait til I can harvest some berries in late spring or early summer. They make a saffron colored yellow flower in early spring and the berries follow. I was all set to harvest berries this year but there wasn’t a single berry to be found. I think it was the late freeze/cold that caused them not to flower and produce.
Almost equally as painful as the cactus, the agarita has sharp needles on the ends of each leaf.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of plants on our land.
Even though they’re wild and probably don’t need or appreciate my attention, the plants closest to the house are getting watered and fertilized! Yes, I want berries! I figured that since there are so many plants, I can see if watering and fertilizing makes any difference at all.
The small seeds from the berries supposedly can be roasted and ground, then used as a caffeine free substitute for coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but Vince is and said he would try it. Now . . I just have to wait for spring and hope for a good crop of agarita berries.