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Old 07-24-2010, 01:14 PM
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Are these berries edible?

I don't have a photo, sorry. The bush looks exactly like a holly bush, but the berries look like blueberries. I know that the red berry version of holly is toxic. Anybody familiar with these?
Old 07-24-2010, 01:47 PM
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Mahonia?

Quote:
The small purplish-black fruits, which are quite tart and contain large seeds, are included in smaller quantities in the traditional diets of Pacific Northwest aboriginal peoples, mixed with Salal or another sweeter fruit. Today they are sometimes used to make jelly, alone or mixed with salal.
Old 07-24-2010, 01:47 PM
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You would actually trust someone to say yes or no on this with just this vague description. LOL
Old 07-24-2010, 02:35 PM
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It's actually a pretty good description of Mahonia (AKA Oregon Grape).

If it is Mahonia, the berries are edible, but they're really tart - I tried making jelly with them once and it was still unbearably zingy even when I added sugar in equal weight to the fruit.

I've got some in my garden - I'm planning to pick them and put them in brandy or gin (this works well with sloes, which are also really sour when fresh). By coincidence, I took a photo of them today, because I'm going to write an article on my site about them.
Old 07-24-2010, 03:13 PM
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I had great hopes of jelly from them, too, but there was no real flavor, just sourness.
Old 07-24-2010, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
You would actually trust someone to say yes or no on this with just this vague description. LOL
LOL? Really? I figured that someone from the Northwest would know what I'm talking about. I'm just curious, as I've never seen blue berries on a holly bush.

Mahonia sounds like it might be correct, and I did find that on a website before posting. The leaves didn't look exactly right on the site I visited. Moonshiner: That's gotta be the one. Thanks.

Last edited by Chefguy; 07-24-2010 at 03:29 PM.
Old 07-24-2010, 03:27 PM
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They're probably a 'superfood' - the juice stains very deeply - probably loaded with anthocyanins, which have antioxidant properties (although the efficacy of these in the diet is disputed, I think)
Old 07-24-2010, 06:42 PM
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Superfood?

As in; Warning: May cause Monsterism ?
Old 07-24-2010, 06:49 PM
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If you see holly and Oregon grape side by side they really don't look alike. One is a tree, the other a bush. The leaves of the holly are dark green, thick and shiny, Oregon grape are light green to red, thin and not so shiny. The only similarity is the leaves of each have scalloped edges that come to thorny points. Holly's leaf points are sharp and hurt, Oregon grape leaves are softer.

Last edited by picunurse; 07-24-2010 at 06:52 PM.
Old 07-24-2010, 08:01 PM
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Mahonia leaves are generally flatter than holly too - holly leaves are distorted at the edges so that the spiky tips point up and down, as well as outward.

It is worth noting that the superficial resemblance to holly is noted in the species name for this plant - Mahonia aquifolium (Holly is Ilex aquifolium)
Old 07-24-2010, 08:01 PM
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Missed the edit window. Holly
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