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Urban Foraging: Edible Ornamental Callery Pears with Video



5-petaled flower of Ornamental Pear
Foraging takes some continuing education to become proficient. I am 95% self taught at this point, but have a loooong way to go to get really good. I'm not sure what quantifies "really good" as far as foragers go, but I am thinking Sam Thayer or Steve Brill good. I want to have interesting discussions with other plant nerds about the merits of cooking a wild plant this way or that. I would love to be able to really live off the land with what the mother provides her children.

How to accomplish this? On my "to do" list, I would like to take some taxonomy and botany courses, but this would mean sacrificing time from hiking, backpacking, and cleaning my often messy house. Also on the list is attending more foraging hikes offered by fellow plant enthusiasts. In the meantime, I will have to muddle through on my own.






On my long, jog/walks (would that be "jalk" or "wog"?), I frequently come across something new but have difficulty in determining the identity of the plant. Verrryy Frustrating... In another post, I discussed what to do when you have a mystery plant. One such plant for me is the ornamental pear tree.

A first rule of foraging is that you positively, 100%, without a doubt, know what you are eating before you ever eat anything. That being said, while I didn't know about how edible these little fruits are, I was certain they wouldn't kill me. How did I know this? Because I have watched these pears for years. From observing the flowers and habitat, I knew they were a Prunus genus thanks to Tom Elpel's book Botany in a Day.

Furthermore, I know that the Prunus genus doesn't have any deadly poisonous species here in the Mid-Atlantic area (there is one Prunus species, the P. laurocerasus, found in Great Britain, that is toxic, and we know how plants like to jump the pond). Not to say that I couldn't get a little sick, but since I wasn't taking a risk here, I decided to try a little nibble.

The fruits taste like sweet, mushy, dates. They also taste reminiscent of the Asian pears which are found in the grocery store. I eat the fruit seeds and all. I haven't tried preserving these little tasty treats yet, but think I could make them into a paste and dry on a pareflexx sheet.

Here is a video I did on a walk in the local park..



 

Have you tried these little tasty treats yet? Please let me know your thoughts!!

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