Saturday, November 26, 2011

Backyard Edibles

In Issue No. 20 of Edible Austin magazine, Amy Crowell talks about foraging for wild edible foods.  I’m not an expert on the identification of backyard edible weeds, but there was one plant that she talked about that I can easily identify.  That plant is Turk’s Cap.  
In the fall, Turk’s Cap produces a small red, edible fruit.  The fruits look like little apples, but the question is, do they taste like little apples?  I’ve read conflicting opinions of what this fruit taste like.  Some say it is bitter, some say it does taste like apples, and Amy suggests that it has an “earthy, cucumber-sweet flavor”.

I think I’ll see for myself.  Here’s Amy’s recipe from her article titled, Fast Foraging:

1 c. ripe, red Turk’s cap fruit
2 c. water
¼ c. sugar (or to taste)

Wash the fruit and place it in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the fruit softens. Crush the fruit with the back of a large spoon or a masher. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth, and gently squeeze out all the juices. Let cool and serve over ice.
For my little taste test, I'm halving the recipe.  I didn't have cheesecloth on-hand, so I pressed my fruit through a strainer, which seemed to work fine.
Adding 1/2 Cup Fruit
Stirring in Sugar
Straining Fruit
So, what does it taste like?  Hmmm... it's not bad.  Definitely not bitter.  I think it has a light apple cider flavor.  I may have overwhelmed the fruit with a bit too much sugar.  The flavor is very faint.
Amy recommends that by adding some tequila, this versatile beverage can be transformed into a cocktail.  Now we're talking.  Cheers!


  1. Interesting. I'll have to go look up that article. I have a lot of Turk's Cap in the backyard.

    Cindy S.

  2. Learned something new, thanks. I will have to pass this along to my friend in Houston, she has a plethora of Turks Cap.

  3. Hi do you know if turks cap grows in Southern California? Hard to find info on this weed. Thank you

    1. It's not native to those parts, but I don't see why it wouldn't grow there. Here's more info: