Last weekend we missed Forage Friday due to a weather event so this Friday we’re going to pick up where we left off.
We’re all familiar with Grapes. The fruit of the vine permeates our culture world wide. Everything from fine wine to to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich uses the grape berries. I have recently learned that the leaf is a huge Mediterranean delicacy. A quick internet search revealed that other parts of the world use the leaves in a lot dishes. However, the leaf is not the focus of tonight’s post. It’s the tendrils that I’m interested in on this foraging excursion.
As a kid we called them snake tongues. And it was probably while doing a silly snake impersonation and using the forked tendrils for a prop that I discovered the flavor.
The tendrils of wild grape resembling the forked tongue of a snake.
The taste of local wild grape tendrils reminds me a little of sweet tarts candy. I normally only grab a few while walking around the mountains. The candy like flavor helps me with dry mouth and it’s a little pick-me-up. Although that later trait is probably due my association with childhood.
I have been curious to chop a few up and toss them into a salad but so far I’ve just used it as a trail nibble like most of the wild edible plants that I’m familiar with.
I believe that the particular variety of grape in the feature image are Porcelain Berry. The reason why I think that is because the property where I took the photos is thick with Porcelain Berry.
Porcelain Berry looks nothing like the grapes in the grocery store.
The Porcelain Berry is a really interesting grape visually. The cluster often contains a variety of blues and reds in multiple tones. They are edible raw or cooked but I’m told that the flavor of the fruit is somewhat disappointing so I have never bothered to try it.
One last thing about the actual leaf. Specifically on Porcelain Berry. Because I have just discovered that grape leaves are edible I did a little digging around the internet and Porcelain Berry leaves are said to only be edible when cooked. Porcelain Berry is not a true grape even though we commonly call them wild grapes. True grapes are in the genre vitis. True grapes leaves can be eaten raw while Porcelain Berry (genus Ampelopsis ) leaves cannot be. I also need to warn you of a toxic look-alike to any kind of wild grape is Canadian Moonseed which contains a substance similar to curare. For more information about Moonseed here’s an old video from my YouTube days.
As always please do independent research and keep in mind that Forage Friday is only intended to be used as a starting point and a conversation starter.
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