Herbs & Plants
Of The Southwest
There are 47 varieties of wild berries that were used by Native Americans! Just a few of these berries are: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, elderberries and others. Most of these wild vines grew easily in a wild range of climates, and were particularly valued by hunting and gathering tribes on their seasonal rounds. It is not hard to imagine little Native American children “helping” their mothers, as children do today, with their mouths smeared with berry juice. What wasn’t eaten at the time of harvesting could be dried and stored for later use, or combined with meat and dried into pemmican.
Today, modern horticulturists have greatly expanded the size and variety of these native berries, but they somehow don’t taste the same as the wild berries of memory. One of my fondest childhood memories is that of gathering wild blueberries for my mother. The only incentive to pick more and eat less was the promise of blueberry pie or cobbler and ice cream if the pail was filled.