Aug 29 2012
While hiking in the Canadian Rockies in Canada, we met a man who shared his knowledge about some edibles along the trail. I wanted to share some of these with you. The first one he pointed out was “Soap Berry” known by native Canadians as the “Buffalo Berry”. He said the berry was added to buffalo meat as a way to preserve it and at a restaurant in Vancouver that he had a dessert made from the berry but felt that it was definitely an acquired taste. It is best known in the U. S. used in soaps.
As we continued on the trail, he pointed out some juniper berries on a bush. I have seen juniper bushes in people’s yards even with the berries but there was something special about seeing the bushes on the trail. I liked the thought of walking the trail and picking a few juniper berries to add to some cabbage, potatoes and carrots.
Last but not least, he showed us the beloved gooseberry bush with a few berries which in near and dear to my heart. As a child, I picked and stemmed gooseberries in the summer if we were lucky to find them and my mom made a sweet and sour pie which is one of my favorites! It was unfortunate that it is unlawful to plant gooseberry or currant bushes in North Carolina because it is an alternate host to the white pine blister rust that can kill pine trees.
Here are some pictures of the red soap berry, the green juniper bush and the gooseberry bush with the green and purple berries.