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Wild About Wild Fruits

Jul 01, 2014

Wildlife and people alike enjoy the delicacies growing wild for the picking in nearby woods and fields.

So get your insect repellent, bucket, and hiking boots and get ready to pick. Mulberries are among the first fruits of the season, ripening from late May through July. Birds and squirrels love them, and you’ll find the trees filled with ripe fruit and song. They are also a favorite of children, whose blue-stained hands and faces are a testimony to the fruit’s juicy good taste. Mulberries make fine pies and cobblers. The trees grow in a wide variety of places and are common in cities.

More about Mulberries:

The wood of the mulberry tree has a number of uses, including fence posts and furniture because of its density and decay-resistance.

MDC’s Field Guide on mulberries

A fruit that’s often picked when it’s still green is the gooseberry. The unripened fruit is tangy, and makes terrific pies. The ripe fruits are reddish, sweet and excellent straight from the bush, but it’s nearly impossible to beat the birds to them. Gooseberries are found June through September in open woods and roadsides.

More about gooseberries:

The leaves of gooseberries can be used raw in a tossed salad or slaw.  They can also be used to make tea.

Another name for gooseberry is feverberry, because rumor has it you can crush up the leaves, add them to hot water and get a concoction that will break a fever.

Blackberries are perhaps the all-time favorite summer wild fruit for raccoons, squirrels, box turtles and birds, as well as humans. Ripening in late June through August, blackberries are great fresh or in pies, and are delicious as a topping. Look for their briar patches in prairies, old fields and along wooded edges.

More about blackberries:

These berries are sometimes used in natural healing techniques. The leaves have been known to provide benefits to those suffering from gum inflammation and sore throat.

Blackberry-Pecan Squares Recipe

When getting out and about, remember to look for nature’s most flavorful pickings. Find information on trails to travel across Missouri on the Ozark Trails website.

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