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!
Hello friends, and happy winter! If you follow us locally, then you have probably noticed that we are not at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market this Fall, nor are our products available for purchase at Sunshine Health Foods at the moment. This is because we really felt a need to step back and re-evaluate the direction and vision that we have always had for Sacred Strawberry.
We absolutely believe in the regenerative power of raw food nutrition, and we feel that raw foods are a fundamental element in creating a life that you love with passion and vitality. But food is only one part of the health and wellness pie, and we have so much more to offer than just raw food knowledge. During this time, we are working on some new projects that we are excited to share with you in due time. Raw food is a part of it, as is our extensive knowledge of edible and medicinal wild plants. We hope you understand that, and are patient with us while we find our place in this crazy world again.
In the meantime, please know that we are still here! We are offering boxes of raw chocolates made to order for this holiday season. We are also still available for catering. If you are in need of raw pizza and chocolate cake, let us know!! We’ve got you covered. You can also contact us for a special order of ANY of our products you know and love. We are happy to make whatever it is that you are missing. Please be aware that there is a minimum order as they are made special for you!
Also new is our first product line combining the edible with the medicinal! We have two new truffles- one is an iron rich truffle specifically for anemia and the other is a lactation truffle for mamas who need an extra milky boost! Stay tuned for where to purchase.
Don’t forget our Holiday Treats workshop on December 6th! Come learn to make guilt free, delicious and nutrient dense sweets for your family and friends this Christmas!
With wishes for your health and happiness,
Emily and Daniel
True to form, I completely forgot this ever existed or that I planned in doing it until today! Plus I am still on vacation. Halfway home, but still in Houston with family. My eats today have been truly atrocious as we have been on the road all day long, but there was a forgettable salad for dinner. Instead, I’ll leave you with this ganoderma we found in my aunt and uncle’s backyard this evening along with my most fervent desire to get back in my kitchen.
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 email@example.com, 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!