August Foraging Guide
by Nai'a LeDain
In the lush landscapes of Washington, there is one natural treasure that has woven itself into the hearts of foragers and nature enthusiasts alike—the iconic Himalayan blackberry (Rubus spp.). A true Washington classic, these luscious berries have left an indelible mark on the memories of many.
The Himalayan blackberry is a sight to behold, its trailing canes adorned with clusters of plump, dark-purple jewels that gleam under the summer sun. While its invasiveness is evident in its prevalence along roads, trails, and forest edges, these bountiful bushes have become a welcome sight for those who cherish the delights they offer.
Foraging for juicy blackberries was one of my favorite pastimes while on hikes and bike rides with my dad. It's the perfect summer activity to explore the great outdoors with loved ones, pick these delectable berries straight from the vine, and savor their succulent sweetness as a reward for their adventures.
Recipe: Huckleberry Pancakes Celebrate the huckleberry season with these delightful huckleberry pancakes, a true taste of mountain magic:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup fresh huckleberries
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined. It's okay if there are a few lumps.
- Gently fold in the huckleberries.
- Heat a griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease it with butter or cooking spray.
- Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Serve the huckleberry pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup (I get big-leaf maple syrup from Mama's Garden) and a sprinkling of fresh huckleberries.
Recipe: Elderberry Immune Elixir Harness the power of blue elderberries with this delightful immune-boosting elixir:
- 1 cup fresh or dried blue elderberries
- 4 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 1/2 cup Bud & Bloom honey
- In a saucepan, combine the blue elderberries, water, cinnamon stick, and fresh ginger.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool.
- Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean jar, pressing the berries to extract all the liquid.
- Stir in raw honey until well combined.
- Store the elderberry immune elixir in the refrigerator, and take a spoonful daily during the cold and flu season to support your immune system.
Remember, while foraging for wild berries is an enchanting experience, it comes with a responsibility to preserve the environment and its inhabitants. Always practice sustainable foraging by respecting local regulations, only harvesting what you need, and leaving no trace behind.
So, embrace the berry season, embark on a delightful foraging adventure, and allow the flavors of nature to awaken your senses. Happy foraging!