My bestie Justin came to visit for a few days, and we roped him into coming along for hackberry fun!
The hackberry (celtis occidentalis and virtually indistinguishable sugarberry or celtis laevigata) is an iconic example of a tree that is generally regarded as a “trash tree” here in the South, but which has a rich history of edible, medicinal and sacred use.
When Dan and I first decided to start learning about trees with the same fervor we had given to other plants, the hackberry was one of the first trees that stood out to me as someone I wanted to get to know. However, it took quite a while before I could consistently identify her. It also seemed that every time I did come across a hackberry, the berries were never ripe- that I was always finding the previous winters’ berries. Some things just take the time they take.
A few days ago, I was in my garden tending to the compost when I noticed red berries all over the compost pile. I wondered what they were, and thought that they looked a bit like hackberries. I looked up, and saw overhanging our garden from the abandoned harden next door what seemed like a giant and ancient hackberry tree. We had been in that yard many times before to pick sorrel leaves and tubers. How could we have missed it, so glaringly obvious? When it’s time, it’s time.
Once you know what you are looking for, it is quite difficult to miss sweet hackberry. She has distinctive warts on the bark and is almost always full of galls on the branches as well as the leaves.
Hackberries have a long and extensive history of use on this continent by Native Americans. The berries are rich in protein, fat and carbohydrate, so rightly so! They have been boiled, dried, ground and mixed into pemmican (a dried meat and fruit staple food). The tree has also been used to make medicine of different types. The Houma would make a “women’s medicine”, which I love because to me, the tree has a distinct feminine spirit (hence my use of the feminine articles to describe her). The Kiowa would also burn the wood in the altar fire during peyote ceremonies. I adore finding plant spirit medicine connections!
Recently, I have spent quite a bit of time collecting the abundant, if extremely fiddly, berries. I have done a bit of kitchen experimenting and am happy to share the results! Today, I am showing how to make a quick and tasty hackberry milk. There are two ways to make it, one raw and one not. This is for the raw version. It has a beautiful color and a distinctive and slightly sweet flavor bursting with that wild food factor. Try it!
I used a little over 1 cup hackberries, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of cinnamon.
Blend in a high speed blender with about 2 cups filtered water for about 2 minutes (until the hard seeds are definitely blended smooth)
You will be left with some beautifully golden and sweet hackberry milk. We drank some of it as is, used some in place of coconut milk in a thai curry and also made this incredibly delicious chia pudding:
Chia seeds soaked in hackberry milk, topped with pomegranate seeds, banana and foraged pecans. So yum! My sincere desire is that you are inspired to go out and make use of this, or another wild plant today. Happy Foraging!
We’ve been wanting to give some love to the catering side of Sacred Strawberry, but it has always seemed to take a back burner to other stuff we have going on. Finally, for the month of August we bring you the Sacred Strawberry Cosmic Catering Menu!! We are starting off fairly simple to gauge interest, so expect to see the menu grow with time.
RAW PIZZA with Goji Marinara, “Roasted” Seasonal Vegetables, Garlic Cheeze and Fennel/Lemon Gremolata
personal pizza crust- $12
whole sheet – $45 (serves 4)
PASTA DEL VERANO
Angel hair yellow squash with seasonal veggies in a garlic herb cream sauce. Served with wilted greens.
$10 per pint (serves 1-2)
Greeeen Juice (Collards/Cucumber/Celery/Green Apple/Lemon
Chocolate Berry Shortcake Bars
Ingredients are organic and/or local wherever possible.
You can place an order by messaging us via the facebook page, emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 318-658-0949!
Minimum order is $25 and most orders will require 3 days notice.
Sacred Strawberry hosted our third Wild Edible Plant Walk with PermanentGardens.com last Sunday! We had a wonderful time introducing people to some edible plants growing wild! We met willow, oxalis, dewberries, red and white mulberries, dandelion, toothache tree, chickweed, possum grape and yellow dock. Fun times!
Here in Shreveport it is getting hot! Most of the wild spring greens we love are gone now, but we are making due 😉
We are also growing lots of plants this year. And collecting fruit trees 🙂
This is one tiny part of what we have going on here, but I love this recycled chest planter. It has tomato, two types of hot pepper, two types of basil and purslane.
Come connect with us over at Facebook and like our page to keep abreast of the happenings!
I don’t think I ever posted that Sacred Strawberry was in the Shreveport Times again. This time it wasn’t for raw foods, but something else that has become a big part of what we do- foraging.
A few recipes of mine were included, too, my Chickweed-Cilantro Pesto recipe that you can find in the Recipes section of this blog as well as a Wild Green Lemonade with cleavers.
Check out the article!
Reading this blog and searching in the archives it is apparent that finding and consuming wild edible plants is something we have been doing a while. We have had the good fortune of being interested in wild plants at such a time that we have been able to forage in three countries and amass a decent library and store of knowledge. Anyway, we thought it was time to start to share what we know and teach again a little.
We led our first official edible plants walk, with our friends over at PermanentGardens.com, who are blowing up the permaculture scene here in SBC. It was wonderful to collaborate on it and we look forward to doing more soon!
My friend and one of the walks participants, Nancy, took some great photos and has kindly allowed me to share them:
Everyone ready to go-
This is the spiderwort- lovely to look at and slightly mucilaginous but perfectly edible.
And one more- Pennywort. This lily pad looking herb is related to Gotu Kola (Indian Pennywort) and has a lot of the same properties- increases blood flow to the brain thus mental clarity, memory enhancement etc. It also has a fresh parsley like taste.
All photos of plant walk: Nancy Koshnick Dinsmore.
This Spring here in North Louisiana is really amazing. We’ve had rain so things are lush and green but it hasn’t gotten hot and humid yet. We are taking full advantage of the season and get outside together as a family as much as possible. Amethyst loves it so much and I am so happy to be sharing with her something so dear to us. It took me many, many years on this planet before I really opened myself up to Mother Nature. I hated being outside, thought it was gross and generally resisted it. I am so, so thankful that that changed, that I changed before it was too late! 🙂
Hey all local Shreveport/Bossier peeps and beyond!
Our kale chips are fully stocked again in Sunshine Health Foods, including a new flavor- Sage and Onion!!
Also back in stock are Strawberry Chocolate Love Ball truffles, Pura Vida Green Powder blend and Spicy Nacho Vegan Cheeze-Its. Have an amazing Monday!!
The other day we woke up and had a green juice. This had pineapple, cucumber, celery, and orange.
Feeling good, we took some kale chips and fruit for the road and decided to get outside. We ended up near Caddo Lake, where we hiked a bit, relaxed and end up finding tremendous patches of chickweed, cleavers and dandelion! You know we picked some!!
We also saw some mushrooms, and we saw then again the next day down by the Red River! They look like oyster mushrooms, but I don’t trust that!
We also saw sow thistle, goldenrod and a few other things on our day out, but none in such abundance or condition to pick. The sow thistle is really abundant now though around here but is best cooked, so expect a cooked wild greens post soon 😉
From my green heart to yours! xx
After the holidays, Dan and I will be giving a talk at the Broadmoor Library on the importance of getting greens into your body! We will cover the basics of different types of greens, why they are good for you and tips and tricks on how to incorporate then easily and cheaply. There will also be a demo of juices vs smoothies! It’s going to be fun!
Today’s Sacred Strawberry Raw Food Lunch Pop-Up at Sunshine Health Food was Carrot Burgers spiced with cumin and sumac on Olive Bread with Beet Hummus, mixed greens and sunflower sprouts. Sage and Onion Kale Chips Goji Berry Ketchup
Dill and Chaga Sauerkraut
Back around Thanksgiving, we were interviewed for a local newspaper, The Heliopolis, here in Shreveport. It never ceases to amaze me when people are interested in what we are doing! I love it so much! Anyway, the article was really sweet and was written by a really awesome lady who is also a customer of ours 🙂