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Wild harvesting guide for Central Texas

 
pollinator
Posts: 11802
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Sort of a golden yellow - as they ripen they become translucent.  They are generally in fairly big bunches at the ends of branches.
 
pollinator
Posts: 281
Location: SE Oklahoma
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wayne fajkus wrote:Ive never found native persimmons. Is there truth to it being bitter until a frost?



The wild persimmons in SE Oklahoma weren't tasty until they looked like they were way past optimum eating time - all wrinkled up. Before that they'll make you pucker. Wild persimmons are mostly seed and not so much fruit so the locals didn't even bother to pick them.

But then a lot of pecans in both Oklahoma and Texas lay on the ground and no one bothers to pick them up. The feedstore in Temple used to bring a pecan cracking machine in and buy them and crack them for a fee. Even so, I know of a lot of pecans that just never got picked up by anyone.
 
Gail Gardner
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wayne fajkus wrote:I'll be collecting prickly pears this week. Was unsure how to process but i found a video that:

Use torch to burn off spikes.
Place all (whole) in a pot.
Cover with water.
Boil.
Collect the juice.

He then took the juice and made jelly, but im thinking of taking this juice and tweek it with water and/or sugar to get something tasty.

Any thoughts? Better idea?



I use long tongs to take them off the plant and put them into buckets or bags to haul home. Once home, I take one out with the tongues and cut off the small end. Then I slice it in half and use a large spoon (tablespoon - not the measuring kind; the kind that comes with flatware) to scoop out the yummy insides. I eat them raw. Sometimes I'll prepare a bunch and put them in a glass jar to eat later.

The best tasting are the ones growing under big trees. They're far larger, juicier and sweeter than the ones growing out in full sun.
 
Gail Gardner
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Pokeweed



I was surprised to find that ducks LOVE pokeweed berries. It didn't seem to hurt them any. They also love a weed that looks kind of like a tomatillo.
 
gardener
Posts: 3054
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Mushrooms popped up everywhere. I wish i knew what was what. This weather has been great. Making me look like a permie-genius. Lol. But its the rain.....

Thanks for contributing gail. I worked in temple for a few years. You may know some of my family with same last name.
 
Gail Gardner
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wayne fajkus wrote:Mushrooms popped up everywhere. I wish i knew what was what. This weather has been great. Making me look like a permie-genius. Lol. But its the rain.....

Thanks for contributing gail. I worked in temple for a few years. You may know some of my family with same last name.



Yes, I would love to know which mushrooms are edible, but I haven't braved that, yet. They love horse manure and I have horses. They pop up everywhere whenever it rains. There are some pink ones on this place I haven't seen before. And some huge puffballs on a previous place which I believe were edible - but I didn't know it at the time.

I stick with what I know I know: lambs quarters, purslane, henbit, prickly lettuce, dandelion, clover flowers, Indian paintbrush flowers, day lilies, blackberries, elderberries, pecans, persimmons, black walnuts. I have tried to find an expert to go teach me local edibles.
 
Tyler Ludens
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The only wild mushroom I have eaten here was Chanterelle.  http://www.foragingtexas.com/2012/06/chanterelle-mushrooms.html

I spent about 9 hours studying them before cooking, and,I hate to say, we didn't think they were worth it!
 
master steward
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I love the name of this article:

Thistle: It’s That Spine of Year    All thistles in the genus Cirsium, and the genus Carduus,  are edible.

http://www.eattheweeds.com/thistle-touch-me-not-but-add-butter-2/


When: Best in spring, first or second year

Where:  Sandy open areas, moist or dry, old fields, roadsides, often the only plant still untouched in closely cropped pastures.

Uses: Raw, boil or steamed hollow inner stalks peeled of green outer fiber; core of unopened flower buds, when cooked squeezed out like artichoke leaves;  stripped midribs raw or cooked. First year roots once large enough to harvest,  The seeds are edible, 12 pounds will produce 3 pounds of edible oil. Suitable for cooking or lamp use.

Harvest Tips: Biennial or perennial herb, two to five feet high, basal and stem leaves lobed, lower stems leaves can be four to nine inches long, can be woolly in parts, second year stems stopped with shaving-brush flowers, purple or yellow. In some species the branching can be throughout the stalk, in the bull thistle branching occurs only on top. Very spiny, one tough plant. If by chance you have misidentified it with a spiny poppy the poppy has flowers with large petals.

Native American Indians used thistle for neuralgia, over eating, an herbal steam for rheumatism and to shrink hemorrhoids





boil, peel and eat the thistle heads like artichokes




Partially-peeled stem. The outer reddish-green layer easily splits away from the delicious inner light-green layer.




http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/thistle.html




 
wayne fajkus
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Womack nursery sent me a catalog. Check out the "wildlife cover". Prices seem pretty good. I may try the plums and persimmons

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Anne Miller
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Right now is a great time to look for places to pick up pecan.  We have so many where I live.  City parks have many pecan trees.

Here is a neat article about a lady who got lost somewhere, not sure it was in the Hill Country, for a month:

"Foraging for Your Food: 3 Edible Plants You Can Find in the Wild"

 Earlier this month, an Alabama woman returned home safely after being lost in the woods for a month. Lisa Theris allegedly became disoriented when she ran into the woods at night and could not retrace her steps. In an interview with NBC News, Theris said she survived by eating berries and mushrooms and by drinking dirty water.  



https://texashillcountry.com/3-edible-plants-find-wild/

 
gardener & hugelmaster
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If anyone near San Marcos needs a place to harvest pecans try Blanco Shoals. Many trees just inside that nature preserve. (be aware of wild pigs, especially near the water) Or that little park across from the backside of Bergstrom airport.
 
pollinator
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I think that's a milkweed pod, not edible.  https://npsot.org/wp/story/2012/2235/

:
The immature pods of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) can be eaten when they are less than two inches long after cooking. I have heard reports that the taste resembles okra without the slimy texture. There should be some immature pods in Texas already by this time of year. Here is a video describing the process of cooking immature milkweed pods:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n6wfngVPrs
 
Ryan M Miller
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I have already posted about wild cucurbits that grow in Texas on another thread already, but just in case nobody saw my post yet, here it is:

Ryan M Miller wrote:I am aware of four cucurbits that grow wild in southeast Texas close to Austin: Cucurbita pepo ssp. texana (Texas wild squash), Cucurbita foetidissima (Buffalo gourd), Cucumis melo var. agrestis (wild muskmelon), and Citrullus lanatus var. citroides (Citron melon/ wild watermelon). The wild squash (Cucurbita spp.) may be bitter and soapy when fully ripe. I have heard that it is possible to leach out the bitter cucurbitacins from the seeds of wild squash by seeping them in an alkaline solution to make them safe to eat, but I have never tried this. The wild melons, however, should be a safer bet when ripe. I have never found any wild melons before though. I have read that citron melon is much firmer than regular watermelon. It is often pickled to make preserves or juiced as a source of water. The seeds of citron melon can also be roasted like pumpkin seeds. Below are some images in descending order of the wild cucurbits from Wikimedia Commons: Cucurbita pepo ssp. texana, Cucurbita foetidissima, Citrullus lanatus var. citroides, and Cucumis melo ssp. agrestis. bonap.org also has the ranges of these four cucurbits listed.



By now, wild muskmelons (cucumis melo) and wild citron melon (citrullus lanatus var. citroides) should be ripening in central Texas (the middle of Summer). Try looking in cow pastures, rangelands and weedy riverbanks for wild cucurbits. They often grow in disturbed areas or where large animals can spread their seeds. Wild squash (Cucurbita sp.) should be fully ripe by late Summer to early Fall. Remember to boil the squash seeds properly before eating them otherwise there is the risk of poisoning from overexposure to bitter cucurbitacins.
 
wayne fajkus
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Our wild grapes are getting close. It's almost wine making time. Every year my brothers batch is better than mine. I guess i get in a rush and he waits for them to be extra sweet before picking.
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Ryan M Miller
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Are those muscadine grapes? How large are they?
 
wayne fajkus
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Yes. I  would say bigger than a nickel.  Usually ready to pick by july 4th but not quite ready. The ones on fencelines are partially ripe. The ones in trees are still green. Fence must get more sun.
 
Ryan M Miller
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I've always wondered whether or not muscadine grapes make good raisins. They are quite large (some are the size of ping-pong balls) so I could imagine the raisins remaining large. I don't have a food dehydrator or dry, sunny Summer weather though so I have not been able to try this.
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