In the Wild with Greg Wagner

Ready for the Picking by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
August 21, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: Wild Plants | Tags: ,
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Ripe crab apples in Southeast Nebraska.

What a fun and exciting time of year in the Nebraska countryside! It’s nearing Labor Day when many Nebraska native fruits and berries are ready to be picked and made into jellies, syrups or even wines. The fruits/berries of crab apple, chokecherry, ground cherry, sand cherry, gooseberry, blackberry, elderberry, buffalo berry, currant, wild grape and plum all should be checked in your region for ripeness. However, before you go and do that, make certain you have landowner permission and that the plants have not been sprayed with harmful chemicals.

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Greg Wagner reaping the bounty!

 Don’t forget to involve kids in the harvest of these various fruits and berries, too, plus the remainder of the process making goodies, except the wine, of course. The kids will have a blast! I speak from experience. Some of my fondest memories as a child were picking plums in the thickets of our family farm with my Grandma Hintz around Labor Day and then going to her house to make plum jelly. Mmm – good! So, why not begin a wild edible picking tradition with your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews!  

 Crab Apple Jelly

 1 ice cream pail of crab apples

1 pkg. Sure-Jel or Sure-Jel light



Canning, jars, lids, rings

 Pick and rinse crab apples. Put in large pan with enough water to totally cover the crab apples. Boil slowly for ½ to 1 hour.  Strain crab apples and water until all sediment is gone. Let fruit juice cool down. (Crab apples can be tossed.) Prepare Sure-Jel according to recipe on box. Add jelly mixture, pour in canning jars.


 Comments: My wife Polly likes this simple recipe for crab apple jelly.


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