Homeschooling adventures have turned into some serious life skills lessons, which in turn have become foraging.
As previously mentioned, we use foragingtexas.com as a main source of information, but we do a lot of external research on our own as well.
Mustang Grapes – from foragingtexas.com
Scientific name: Vitis mustangensis
What: fruits, leaves, young tendrils
How: fruit raw (very tart), cooked, dried, preserves, wine; leaves and tendrils cooked,
Where: Edges of woods. Mustang grape leaves are fuzzy and have a white underside.
Nutritional Value: calories, antioxidants
Other uses: water can be obtained from the vines (see technique in grapes- muscadine post), wild yeast from the fruit
Dangers: Mustang grapes are very acidic and handling/eating large amounts of the raw fruit can cause burns to hands and mouth.
When homeschooling, this is a good time to teach your kiddo about plant classifications. While picking the leaves (we had a mixture of Mustang grape leaves and Muscadine grape leaves, but I don’t recommend stuffing the Muscadines, they end up a little stringy).
Kingdom – Plantae
Order – Vitales
Family – Vitaceae
Genus – Vitis
Species – V. mustangensis
Our lessons then continue into the kitchen where we follow recipes and learn about fractions and conversions. You’d be amazed at how much a three year old will pick up on if you just show them. We halved this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/my-own-famous-stuffed-grape-leaves/ as well as added lemon balm from our home garden to the rice mixture.
Dewberries – from foragingtexas.com
Scientific name: Rubus species
What: flowers, berries
How: open mouth, insert flower/fruit, then chew. seep flowers/young leaves in hot water for tea
Where: Sunny wastelands, borders between woods and fields. Dewberry plants grow as a low, horizontal ground cover.
Other uses: wine, jelly, tea, wine
Nutritional Value: carbohydrates, vitamin C; small amount of minerals and vitamins A & B
Dangers: sharp thorns
Again, our goal is to memorize the classifications and understand how they work:
Kingdom – Plantae
Order – Rosales
Family – Rosaceae
Genus – Rubus
Species – R. arborginum
Well, that and to make pies.
We used this pie recipe, except exchanged the blackberries for dewberries, and used a bit more sugar.
It was a hearty dinner and dessert.