Hackberry snacks

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Hackberry snacks

Post  Shep on Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:57 pm

The hackberry tree is probably the most abundant tree we have growing in the creeks and woodlands of eastern Kansas. It's edible berries are ready for picking now. High in protein and important oils, this nutritious berry is eaten worldwide and is probably the most common edible found in archaeological digs of native cultures. Native Americans gathered them, ate them raw, or pounded them to crush the hard seeds, and used them much like nuts. The berries (not to be confused with the often seen leaf galls) start out dark green, turning to reddish brown, and are ripe when dark brown to almost black, but not withered. You pop them in your mouth, straight off the tree, and eat the whole thing, chewing up the seed and all.

In fact, if you think of the hackberry more as a nut than a berry, you'll be pleasantly surprised about the taste. My students argue whether they taste more like grapenuts (only crunchier) or like fig newtons. You decide.

Shep

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