Hackberry Love ( + Hackberry Milk Tutorial!)

My bestie Justin came to visit for a few days, and we roped him into coming along for hackberry fun!

My bestie Justin came to visit for a few days, and we roped him into coming along for hackberry fun!

The hackberry (celtis occidentalis and virtually indistinguishable  sugarberry or celtis laevigata) is an iconic example of a tree that is generally regarded as a “trash tree” here in the South, but which has a rich history of edible, medicinal and sacred use.

When Dan and I first decided to start learning about trees with the same fervor we had given to other plants, the hackberry was one of the first trees that stood out to me as someone I wanted to get to know. However, it took quite a while before I could consistently identify her.  It also seemed that every time I did come across a hackberry, the berries were never ripe-  that I was always finding the previous winters’ berries.  Some things just take the time they take.

A few days ago, I was in my garden tending to the compost when I noticed red berries all over the compost pile.  I wondered what they were, and thought that they looked a bit like hackberries.  I looked up, and saw overhanging our garden from the abandoned harden next door what seemed like a giant and ancient hackberry tree.  We had been in that yard many times before to pick sorrel leaves and tubers.  How could we have missed it, so glaringly obvious?  When it’s time, it’s time.

Once you know what you are looking for, it is quite difficult to miss sweet hackberry.  She has distinctive warts on the bark and is almost always full of galls on the branches as well as the leaves.

Hackberries have a long and extensive history of use on this continent by Native Americans.  The berries are rich in protein, fat and carbohydrate, so rightly so! They have been boiled, dried, ground and mixed into pemmican (a dried meat and fruit staple food). The tree has also been used to make medicine of different types.  The Houma would make a “women’s medicine”, which I love because to me, the tree has a distinct feminine spirit (hence my use of the feminine articles to describe her).  The Kiowa would also burn the wood in the altar fire during peyote ceremonies.  I adore finding plant spirit medicine connections!

Recently, I have spent quite a bit of time collecting the abundant, if extremely fiddly, berries.  I have done a bit of kitchen experimenting and am happy to share the results! Today, I am showing how to make a quick and tasty hackberry milk.  There are two ways to make it, one raw and one not.  This is for the raw version.  It has a beautiful color and a distinctive and slightly sweet flavor bursting with that wild food factor. Try it!

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I used a little over 1 cup hackberries, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of cinnamon.

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Blend in a high speed blender with about 2 cups filtered water for about 2 minutes (until the hard seeds are definitely blended smooth)

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Strain through nut milk bag, cheesecloth, paint strainer or fine colander until pulp is fairly dry.IMG_3919

You will be left with some beautifully golden and sweet hackberry milk.  We drank some of it as is, used some in place of coconut milk in a thai curry and also made this incredibly delicious chia pudding:

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Chia seeds soaked in hackberry milk, topped with pomegranate seeds, banana and foraged pecans.  So yum! My sincere desire is that you are inspired to go out and make use of this, or another wild plant today. Happy Foraging!

Raw Food Delivery Menu for August

We’ve been wanting to give some love to the catering side of Sacred Strawberry, but it has always seemed to take a back burner to other stuff we have going on.  Finally, for the month of August we bring you the Sacred Strawberry Cosmic Catering Menu!!  We are starting off fairly simple to gauge interest, so expect to see the menu grow with time.

For August:

Savories:

RAW PIZZA with Goji Marinara, “Roasted” Seasonal Vegetables, Garlic Cheeze and Fennel/Lemon Gremolata

personal pizza crust- $12

whole sheet – $45 (serves 4)

PASTA DEL VERANO

Angel hair yellow squash with seasonal veggies in a garlic herb cream sauce.  Served with wilted greens.

$10 per pint (serves 1-2)

Juices:

Yellow Watermelon/Cucumber/Lemon

Greeeen Juice (Collards/Cucumber/Celery/Green Apple/Lemon

$8/pint

Dessert:

Chocolate Berry Shortcake Bars

$7

Ingredients are organic and/or local wherever possible.

You can place an order by messaging us via the facebook page, emailing at emilynmc@yahoo.com, or calling 318-658-0949!

Minimum order is $25 and most orders will require 3 days notice.

Spring in Full Swing!

Here in Shreveport it is getting hot! Most of the wild spring greens we love are gone now, but we are making due 😉

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We are also growing lots of plants this year. And collecting fruit trees 🙂
This is one tiny part of what we have going on here, but I love this recycled chest planter. It has tomato, two types of hot pepper, two types of basil and purslane.

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Mulberry season is in full swing, too! We are so lucky to have red and white ones growing all around here!

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Foraged mulberry smoothie! :

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My favorite harbinger of summer- watermelon juice!

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We are gearing up for the summer market season here, and have some fun event in the works.
Come connect with us over at Facebook and like our page to keep abreast of the happenings!

Spring Water Harvesting and Matt Monarch

When I saw that raw food legend Matt Monarch was going to be in Dallas, I knew that I would be going. It had been a while since receiving any raw food inspiration, plus it was an excuse to get out of town!

We decided immediately to visit and fill up at a spring in Canton, TX which is about an hour outside of Dallas. The water was amazingly clear, delicious and hydrating. We will be going back regularly!

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There was a beautiful sassafras tree right across from the spring. I used some leaves to infuse in my water bottle. Wonderful!

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After all that, we made it on time to the event!

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In fact, we had a little time to pop into the amazing library next door and let Amethyst run off some energy and play in the kids area. Oh, and play in the wildflowers, too.

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It was wonderful to see Matt in the flesh, chat with other humans on similar paths to us, and listen to some healthy inspiration. Even though we left a bit early ( poor Ami was DONE lol) we still enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Of course I bought treats, too 😉

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Next time- our epic raw food meal at Be Raw in Dallas.

Food!

I wanted to share with you some of our eats around here the past few months!
Of course there have been smoothies!

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This one was a Chocolate Peach situation with shilajit and lucuma topped with bee pollen.

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Banana, peach, blueberry, lucuma, amla berry and coconut water for the little.

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Frozen banana, fresh mango, aloe Vera, snow pea tendrils and chlorella with bee pollen. I am loving bee pollen this Spring!!

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Another banana, mango, aloe and chlorella smoothie. So healing for the gut lining. It’s just an amazing plus that it tastes truly incredible! There were many more, but this is what has been recorded for posterity’s sake.

There were also juices. Lots of wild greens.

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Pretty much all of these has some combination of chickweed, cleavers, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon.

Also, there has been food. Much more than this, too lol!

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Cauliflower and jicama in a wild garlic cream sauce, spinach with coconut aminos, olive oil and lemon and some raw bread I made using psyllium husks for the first time!

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That bread going into the dehydrator.

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Some high raw wraps with greens, sprouts, quinoa burger and green Gaia dressing.

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Green juice and raw brownies. Love.

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Red bell pepper gazpacho with spirulina and bee pollen.

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Kelp noodles in a cheesy sauce with black pepper and scallions. Amazing 🙂

I’ve been feeling pretty incredible recently with all the green juices and wild spring greens. Having large quantities of it daily really just changes everything! So worth it!

Sacred Strawberry goes wild!

I don’t think I ever posted that Sacred Strawberry was in the Shreveport Times again. This time it wasn’t for raw foods, but something else that has become a big part of what we do- foraging.
http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140319

A few recipes of mine were included, too, my Chickweed-Cilantro Pesto recipe that you can find in the Recipes section of this blog as well as a Wild Green Lemonade with cleavers.
Check out the article!

Reading this blog and searching in the archives it is apparent that finding and consuming wild edible plants is something we have been doing a while. We have had the good fortune of being interested in wild plants at such a time that we have been able to forage in three countries and amass a decent library and store of knowledge. Anyway, we thought it was time to start to share what we know and teach again a little.

We led our first official edible plants walk, with our friends over at PermanentGardens.com, who are blowing up the permaculture scene here in SBC. It was wonderful to collaborate on it and we look forward to doing more soon!

My friend and one of the walks participants, Nancy, took some great photos and has kindly allowed me to share them:

The guides:

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Everyone ready to go-

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We found lots of edible plants, but one of my favorites is the Yaupon holly (ilex vomitoria) the North American cousin to Yerba Mate. Local and free caffeine source, holla!!

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We found a lot of old favorites like chickweed, dandelion, sow thistle and clover, but some relatively new to me edibles as well!
This is the spiderwort- lovely to look at and slightly mucilaginous but perfectly edible.

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And one more- Pennywort. This lily pad looking herb is related to Gotu Kola (Indian Pennywort) and has a lot of the same properties- increases blood flow to the brain thus mental clarity, memory enhancement etc. It also has a fresh parsley like taste.

All photos of plant walk: Nancy Koshnick Dinsmore.

This Spring here in North Louisiana is really amazing. We’ve had rain so things are lush and green but it hasn’t gotten hot and humid yet. We are taking full advantage of the season and get outside together as a family as much as possible. Amethyst loves it so much and I am so happy to be sharing with her something so dear to us. It took me many, many years on this planet before I really opened myself up to Mother Nature. I hated being outside, thought it was gross and generally resisted it. I am so, so thankful that that changed, that I changed before it was too late! 🙂

New Kale Chips!

Hey all local Shreveport/Bossier peeps and beyond!
Our kale chips are fully stocked again in Sunshine Health Foods, including a new flavor- Sage and Onion!!

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Also back in stock are Strawberry Chocolate Love Ball truffles, Pura Vida Green Powder blend and Spicy Nacho Vegan Cheeze-Its. Have an amazing Monday!!

Wild Juicy Day

The other day we woke up and had a green juice. This had pineapple, cucumber, celery, and orange.

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Feeling good, we took some kale chips and fruit for the road and decided to get outside. We ended up near Caddo Lake, where we hiked a bit, relaxed and end up finding tremendous patches of chickweed, cleavers and dandelion! You know we picked some!!

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Chickweed patches

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Cleavers!
We also saw some mushrooms, and we saw then again the next day down by the Red River! They look like oyster mushrooms, but I don’t trust that!

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More green juice- this time wild!! I blended the greens with apples and lemons and then strained. Simple, effective and delicious! I made enough for two days.

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Amethyst LOVES her green juice!!

We also saw sow thistle, goldenrod and a few other things on our day out, but none in such abundance or condition to pick. The sow thistle is really abundant now though around here but is best cooked, so expect a cooked wild greens post soon 😉

From my green heart to yours! xx

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Sprouted Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge

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Oh, this porridge is good! Breakfast is ALWAYS one of the pitfalls for me in maintaining a high raw diet. Some mornings, especially in the colder months I just do not want a green smoothie. I have been loving my green smoothies recently, don’t get me wrong! Just not first thing in the morning. Hence, the buckwheat porridge! I first blogged about it over a year and a half ago when I was still pregnant, so it has been a while! I don’t really know why as it is also damn easy once you have your buckwheat prepared. You can even do that the night before- just soak a bowl of buckwheat before you go to bed, and it will be ready the next morning. Is it better and more optimal to have your buckwheat after two days of sprouting? Well yes, but sometimes ain’t nobody got time fo dat! And that is good enough for me!! So anyway,
This porridge has rosehips added for extra vitamin C action and shilajit for trace minerals.

Raw Vegan Sprouted Buckwheat Porridge

2 cups sprouted buckwheat
1 handful sprouted hazelnuts
1 banana
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rosehips powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp shilajit (optional)

Blend until smooth. Heat gently on stovetop if you want (I won’t tell!)

Top with fruit of choice ( my berries were not seasonal or local, but a needed burst of summer flavor I needed this morning) and more maple syrup if desired, and any toppings you like- hemp seeds, bee pollen etc.

Enjoy!!

Article in Heliopolis and Unscene!

Back around Thanksgiving, we were interviewed for a local newspaper, The Heliopolis, here in Shreveport. It never ceases to amaze me when people are interested in what we are doing! I love it so much! Anyway, the article was really sweet and was written by a really awesome lady who is also a customer of ours 🙂

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See the ad for the Unscene! Festival? We vended there last weekend. The whole thing was sort of centered around an old dilapidated parking garage downtown.

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We got our pictures taken for the Inside Out Project.

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And enjoyed the experience!

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