There is nothing like picking your own luscious ripe Madrone berries right off the tree.
They are one of my favorites for making recipes more vibrant, tasty and wild!
I love to think of the energy and strength of the tree, from the roots up through it's massive trunk, feeding the berries themselves.
Usually they are growing from big, beautiful trees that have a magical, fairy-like quality to them. For this reason I call them the "fairy berry". If there are fairies, this is the berry they would eat.... I just know it!
Native American peoples ate wild Madrone berries growing in the Northewest U.S. and Canada.
They can be eaten right from the tree, blended with other foods or dried. It is always good to have a wild ingredient with your meals and drinks.
Wild edibles give us something you can not find in cultivated foods.
That is why we include them when ever possible with all the top 10 superfoods in smoothies and desserts.
I went out this morning for a hike exploring unfamiliar country hills where we are currently traveling.
I was happily marching along, taking in the forest scents and brisk clean air, when all of a suddenly out of know where appears this beautiful grove of Madrone trees growing on the hillside to my right.
It was a sight to behold when I first caught a glimpse of the red-orange balls and Madrone berries galore!
An exciting moment.... the big strong trees were literally loaded full, just waiting for someone to pick them before they dropped to the ground! I gladly offered my services.
It is early Jan now in Northern California and they are perfectly ripe! They are so sweet and have a taste similar to blueberries. Their skin is slightly more fibrous, maybe to endure colder climates.
I mean, how often do you see berries growing in the winter. They must have a strong and hardy energy to pass along to us. They are such a bright treat to discover on a cold and cloudy day!
It is important when you wildcraft anything that you only take what you will actually use and make sure to leave a good amount for the birds and other creatures that might depend on them.
Harvesting wild plants or wild fruits and nuts is easy, you just need to make sure it is permitted in the location you are in.
Usually, public or wilderness areas are free for the picking and there will be signs if this in not the case.
When on privately owned land it is always good to ask first, most people don't mind if you collect their fruit, especially when you notice it is just falling to the ground.
Always wildcraft with respect and care for the plants, wildlife and people around you.