One urban berry I’ve been enjoying lately is the currant, Ribes sp. Currants and gooseberries are native to the Pacific Northwest, but the one pictured above is growing along my neighbor’s driveway and is most likely a cultivated variety. I think it is not native chiefly because of the color of the berries. The native wild ones have dark blue, purple or black berries, whereas this is clearly red.
Currants have a sweet yet tangy flavor. They are high in potassium, calcium, Vitamin A, citric acid, and pectin, which helps if you want to turn them into jam.
Trivia: Gooseberry and currant are pretty much the same thing, except currants don’t have spines or prickles, according to Pojar & MacKinnon.
Thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, is a native food plant that lives in the forests of the Pacific Northwest as well as in local urban and suburban landscaping. The pink-red fruits resemble raspberries in flavor and appearance. It’s ripening as we speak, and it’s an easy one to identify. Look for a berry bush with pale green leaves that are large, fuzzy and maple-like.
Thimbleberries are in the rose family. Historically, they are one of the berries that indigenous people bake in the sun and store for use year-round, like salal.I’ve also been munching on yucca lately — in particular, the flower petals. Yucca is native to the southwestern part of the continent, but yucca is a common ornamental in landscaping here. It’s a wonder plant with a ton of uses for anyone interested in primitive skills or survival, from soap to cordage to fire spindle, paint brush, needle, thread, food and fish poison. I have some videos and further info in one of my previous posts on yucca here.
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