Saturday, December 13, 2014

Enjoy edible berries found trailside on a day hike

Wild strawberries are edible. Photo courtesy of photobear / Photoree.
Among the pleasures of hiking is enjoying edible berries found along the trail. If with children, this is a great way to help them connect with nature. If lost, it may give you enough energy to keep going until rescuers can find out.

In general, aggregate berries – that is, a fruit formed from several fruitlets, such as a raspberries and blackberries – are edible. Other edible wild berries include blueberries, elderberries, cranberries, and serviceberries. Never eat a berry, however, if you cannot positively determine what kind it is.

Most of these berries can be found on shrubs growing at the edge of meadows or clearings. Usually such shrubs cannot grow in shaded areas such as beneath a forest canopy.

The majority of such berries ripen in late summer or early fall. Depending on your latitude, when berries ripen can shift due to the length and number of growing seasons.

Upon picking a berry, you may want to quickly rinse it with a little canteen water. This will remove any dust that has fallen upon it during dry, windy days.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.