Yes, finally!  We now have Oregon grape gracing our wild salads and it has been SO missed!  This week, we began bringing home chokecherry, a month later than it’s supposed to show up.  In fact, many trees still haven’t ripened yet.  We have two strains of chokecherry in the valley, picked one strain for the first time this week and it makes a very dark-coloured juice after boiling.  At first, I thought I’d boiled it way too long, but all that did was concentrate the flavour.  The second batch from that picking got boiled last night for the proper 5 minutes, and it was still that colour.

Black ChokecherryI like to use chokecherry in making vinegar for salads, pancake syrop, and using the leaves, dried crushed berries, and bark in teas and hot cocoa.  Chokecherry really adds to the richness of cocoa!  We don’t drink coffee, but when my daughter added some of the concentrate to a friend’s cup of coffee, supposedly it tasted really good.

While I was boiling the chokecherry last night, I paid a trip to the baking soda box as well, saving myself roughly $10 off grocery store pricing for toothpaste and facial scrub.  I also made another batch of anti-bacterial hand soap.  I have a jar of herbal infused vinegar in a corner of the counter for my next batch of vinegar hair rinse.  That will save another $3 roughly.  So all totaled, I’ve saved an estimated $15-$17 because of last night’s efforts.

We have half a turkey roaster filled with dried purslane to pound up, as well as more dried nettle to crush as well.  My daughter brought in more Mountain Sage to dry and we finally crushed our first round of dried narrow plantain leaf this week.  Broadleaf plantain is growing well finally!  Looking forward to gathering their seeds later this fall.  Gathering salsify roots to do more test boils.  See how the stringiness changes as the plants die.  Got three more on a hike a few days ago.  So foraging is slowly picking up steam.  Not a good year so far, but we’ll see what we can lay aside for the winter this year.  If the roots soften up decently, we’ll have a root veggie this winter, and if the false Solomon’s Seal berries thaw out nicely, we’ll have wild peas for dinners as well.  I need to test that theory now that we have a decent handful in the freezer.