Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Wild Grapes at the new Old Homestead

 Wild Grape Vines are found in the warmer parts of New Brunswick, along riverbanks, along hedgerows and forestland.

These vines are growing up an old white Lilac.

 The vines climb up many of the trees that grow along the property boundaries. They are reaching for the sun.

 Thought I would take a stem  to examine a little closer.

 Cluster of the flower before it opens waiting to be pollinated..... unfortunately, I was not at the old homestead during the open flowering stage to get a picture. This was taken in June. 

 Love the delicate tendrils and the finely toothed edges of the leaves.

I ate a leaf, as I read they were edible... it tasted just like a tangy grape... very much so and it was good.
So much so that I had to get John to sample one and he agreed.
There is wild food growing all around us.
We (North Americans) become so used to going to supermarkets and thinking that is the only safe food.. silly...  I want to do more foraging.
Courses in edible wild foods should be taught in schools to make people aware of their fruitful surroundings... that would also make them more environmentally aware and protective of the planet.

 Grapes as they were forming in late July... really growing. The leaves had grown to hand size.
 Some of these vines are very tall... maybe 50'... hard to tell the exact length of them as they wander and climb over and across and up and through and on and on....  They make a nice shady place underneath on a hot summer day too.

  This old Ash tree had a large limb break during the July Hurricane. We didn't know at the time that it was loaded with grape vines but when I was photographing this Hairy Woodpecker, who paid no attention to me, by the way, I discovered that it was loaded with grapes.... see them up there silhouetted in the leaves... too high up for me to gather but I'm sure they will make much appreciated food for the birds in the fall.
Obviously this Ash tree was dying (prob. from the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer that is wrecking havoc on the survival of this species) for a while by the way the woodpecker was enjoying himself.  Everything in Nature has a part to play... we will leave the large broken branch there as long as there is no safety hazard ... but not a worry as there would be no damage in that spot if it did eventually fall.
Until then it makes a great screen between us and a neighbouring property. They prob. appreciate it as much as we do.

Wild Grapes... free for the gathering.  At the moment each grape is between 3/8" - 1/2" across.
I'm excited to see how they develop... if they get bigger... if  they turn purple... when to pick them, before or after a frost...
This is exciting to me as I have never had a place where grapes grew before.  I tried growing some a couple of times in the past in St Martins but the vines withered and died... probably never helped that, the spot I chose was the place the dogs decided they liked to sleep... this new old property in a different area of the province with a different climate suits them very well.

I have read that wild Grapes are quite tart to eat fresh but make great jelly, juice and wine.
I'll see if I am able to get some before the wildlife.  I'm looking forward to it.  A nice surprise to find at the new Old Homestead.

Found this info:  on Vitis riparia
and this:  on edible wild food, Riverbank Grape

Gwen Buchanan for Desideratum, at the Old Homestead, New Brunswick,Canada


Guillaume said...

Oh the harvest season is coming! You make me miss autumn. I don't think I have ever seen wild grapes.

Penny said...

I have seen wild grapes in Japan but we don't have any here in Oz, lots of wine ones though.

WILDSIDE said...

Hmm... I've left a few comments today & yesterday (perhaps a few too many?!) but they seem to be removed as they're just not showing up... Won't add them back in, but will say I love your wild grapes...
And woodpecker... And life as you depict it.

Bye for now!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Guillaume, I hope the fall season, when it comes, lasts a good long time and that the weather if favourable. Looking forward to it.

Penny, at first I wondered if they were a domestic grape gone wild... I am assuming they are wild... time will tell.

Wildside, That has happened before. I have to brush up on my grape knowledge so I can benefit from what they have to offer.

rachel said...

When I was but a Spring chicken, Richard Mabey's Food for Free was a forager's bible here in the UK, and a real classic. Made us want to try it, but even from an armchair on a winter's evening, the illustrations kept us enthralled.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Rachel, for the reference suggestion of "Food for Free". Sounds like a book I would love to read and add to my library. Good to have a few titles in mind when searching at the used bookstores.

sandy said...

thanks for the links - i, also, feel we should learn about edible plants in nature. I live in the mountains and should there ever be a reason to be cutoff from stores, etc. this would be good to know.

I love photos of grapes. I took some beautiful ones last year at my sister's house - they were itsy bitsy red plum colored all shades of grapes but in my photos they looked so big and ready to eat.

Priya Sebastian said...

Beautiful photographs Gwen. I hope you made the jelly and it turned out good.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Priya, I'm still waiting for them to be ready and looking forward to it.

Hey Sandy, there must be all kinds of edibles up in the mountains where you live and for a longer season too. Lucky.