Jul 11

Friday Feast! July 11, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

Jun 27

Friday Feast! June 27, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

Jun 20

Friday Feast! June 20, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

Jun 13

Friday Feast! 13 June 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

Jun 10

Recipe: Leatherleaf Mahonia and Plum Hand Pies

Rachel Gentile found a leatherleaf mahonia shrub near my apartment and collected a bowlful of berries.  After trying one and realizing the berries are too sour to eat raw, she figured she could treat them like rhubarb: add a lot of sugar!  Next to the mahonia was a plum tree, so she grabbed a couple of sweet, ripe plums to add to the mix.

Invasivore_mahoniapies

 

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of fruit, seeds removed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 cup tapioca starch (or corn starch)

pinch of salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

Mix all ingredients together, set aside to prep mini crusts.

Rachel used a store-bought roll out pie crust, but the more adventurous can prepare their favorite crust recipe! Roll out crust to ¼ inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter or jar to cut twelve 3-inch diameter circles.  Place six circles on parchment paper or a silpat on top of a cookie sheet.  Spoon out 2 Tbs of filling mixture into the middle of each circle.  Place remaining six circles on top, sealing the edges.  Slice the tops of each for a vent.  Brush with egg white and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake 20 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Verdict:

The berries combined with the plums make a delicious pie filling. The seeds of the leatherleaf mahonia are really bitter.  A food mill is useful for extracting the seeds from the fruit and Rachel highly suggests removing as many seeds as possible before using mahonia berries in a pie. However, the seeds are a headache to remove, and biting into a seed ruins the taste!

Invasivore_mahonia

 

Jun 06

Friday Feast! June 6, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

May 26

Species profile: Leatherleaf Mahonia

Over the past few weeks, folks in the Midatlantic and Southeastern United States might have seen a holly-like plant with large clusters of deep purple fruits that resemble grapes.  Although the leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) is widely available in garden centers as an ornamental shrub, it is considered an invasive species in some Southeastern states.

Photo Credit: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University

A member of the barberry family, the leatherleaf mahonia was introduced to the United States in the 1800’s.  It is native to China, Taiwan, and Japan but is now common in the forest understory from Maryland down to Florida.

The thick, shiny leaves of the leatherleaf mahonia are compound (meaning that there are many small leaflets that make up one larger leaf), with bright yellow-green leaflets that resemble spiky holly leaves.  The petiole connecting the leaflets is reddish in color.  Flowers bloom in late winter, and fruits emerge in early spring, ripening in the end of April or early May.  Edible, deep purple, waxy berries grow in large clusters like grapes.

If you are lucky enough to grab some berries before the birds get them, these tart fruits can be used like most other berries in pies, jams, and chutneys.  And as always, if you come up with a good invasivore recipe for leatherleaf mahonia berries, please let us know!

May 16

Friday Feast! May 16, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

May 09

Friday Feast! May 9, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

May 02

Friday Feast! May 2, 2014

Eating invasive species news and notes from around the internet!

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