Monday, August 5, 2013

Native Plants

     Just as much as non-gmo seeds are the seeds for preppers, native plants are worth investigation.  Too much time and money has been spent by agri-mega corporations through  high powered ad agencies to sell us on the idea that all pumpkins are orange.  They are not just orange, they are a specific halloween greeting card orange, blemish free, and so bland they need pounds of sugar and spice to make them taste like pie.

     It isn't just pumpkin.  It's oranges that are pumpkin color and apples that are firetruck color, broccoli that is hunter green, peas that are deep dark green and taste like ear wax, carrots also in pumpkin color and corn that is the color of oleomargarine.  All of these colors do occur in nature, but after they have been blanched and frozen, they rarely maintain that color.  Still, food shows up at the store all bright and shiny for you to purchase what you have seen on TV and print ads. 
     We live in a very lucky state of being, in a country that tosses the less than perfect specimens to provide us with the finest produce to choose from.  It kind of kills me a little that only gardeners know all the peppers on the plant are not the exact same size length and color.  

     It irks me just a bit more to take out the trash in a home and see whole bowls of fine fruit and veg tossed away because after three days on the counter, it is less bright, or a dot appeared on one fruit so they were all tossed because of perceived spoilage.  
Seminole Pumpkin
Cucurbita mushchata

     I went to the Art and Foliage Festival earlier this year and was given a free plant.  Apparently, a lot of people are wondering what happened to the fruits and vegetables of their youth, as I am.  I was given a Seminole pumpkin vine.  I planted it and this photo here, shows what I expect to harvest later this year.  It isn't orange.  It isn't Halloween greeting card pumpkin orange.  It is edible.  It is natural, it is non-gmo and it is Native to Florida.  This is what the North American pumpkin looks like in the Deep South.   I like it.

     All Bell Peppers are not green. all tomatoes are not red and all broccoli is not hunter green.  I like the natural native color of things.  I like knowing my food has no dye, no additives I didn't put in there and no assistance from a friendly well meaning geneticist.  What is Native to your homeland, that doesn't stack up neatly at the produce stand?  What does it look like?  What are they called?  Here, we have ditch berries ( also called Dewberries) that look like blackberries but taste like dirt if you pick them too soon.  We have ditchweed better known as pokeweed, which is questionable as to it's toxicity, but a million NOT dead people can't be totally wrong and in a case where you are hungry, knowing to pick pokeweed when tender and young and cooking it well for and hour after washing it first, well, food is for the living.   

Our oranges are imports, grafted on to lemon stock.  Our roses are hybrids grafted on to Cherokee rose stock.  In a TEOTWAWKI situation, I will protect and preserve what I can, grow Native and non-native as long as I am able and like others, eat what I need to survive.  Till then, I think I will look into the native weeds and vegetation and learn more of what may not be pretty but, nutritious.  


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