The wild berries of BC are happening right now! If you are a hiker like I am then you’ll want to know how to identify a few of these tasty treats. Come on one of our wild edibles tours to learn how to identify and cook with BC plants & mushrooms.
A List of BC Wild Berries:
Currents – Flowering/Red/Black – The berries, flowers and leaves are all edible. The berries make a great sauce for duck especially when combined with oranges as a marmalade.
Wild Blueberry – Smaller than the commercial berries, but very delicious. Can be confused with blue huckleberries, but both are edible. I once made a wild berry salad with these, goat cheese and elderflower syrup – swish!
Salmonberry – So tasty to just pick off the bush. They are very delicate and don’t transport well. Yellow and red species are both edible.
Saskatoon Berry – This one likes drier areas. My grandma would make my favourite pie with them. They can get seedy in the Okanagan.
Elderberry – Must be cooked. Only eat the blue ones, the red ones you must strain out the seeds. Good for jelly. However, the flowers are really what you want to pick for simple syrups (May). Cocktails, hello!
Huckleberry – A tart, mild, zippy little berry; both blue and red are edible. Plentiful by rivers. Great in salads.
Thimbleberry – My favourite wild BC berry, like a raspberry but sweeter. They are too delicate to transport so just eat them on the trail or make them into sauce or jams.
Oregon Grape – This one is very tart and seedy, but if you juice them they are an amazing citrus replacement. The bright magenta liquid makes a beautiful vinaigrette.
Salal berry – Great for sauces and jams, you can eat them fresh off the plant but make sure they are fully in the sun or they won’t be sweet. Also they have quite a large seed so that’s why I prefer to make them into a sauce for venison.
Blackberry (several different species) – The trailing one is our native berry, notable by its dusty blueish vine. The invasive species is the one that grows like mad, Himalayan. The leaves are very good for you as well, drink them as a tea.
Wild Raspberry – I rarely see these, it’s a trailing vine and the raspberries are very delicate.
Wild Strawberry – Tiny and so sweet they’ll knock your teeth out. Check the roadsides on any of the Gulf Islands for a bounty. I love topping lemon mousse with these gems.
Note that it’s illegal to pick wild plants on designated BC Park lands.