What Are Quinault Strawberries?
The name “quinault” refers to the fact that these berries grow only in one place: the Pacific Ocean. They are a type of berry with large, round, white flowers which bloom from March through June. These berries have been known to be eaten raw or cooked.
There are two types of quinault strawberries: wild and cultivated. Wild quinault strawberries are found all over the world, but they are not commercially grown here in California.
Cultivated quinault strawberries were first introduced to California in 1891 by John Pemberton at his farm near Santa Cruz. Since then, there have been many attempts to cultivate them commercially.
Wild Quinault Strawberries
Quinault strawberries are native to tropical America and Europe. They belong to the nightshade family (Solanaceae).
They are among the most poisonous plants in the world. The berries contain high levels of cyanide, so eating any part of a quinault strawberry could kill you if consumed in large quantities. However, it is possible to eat some parts of a quinault strawberry without getting poisoned.
In addition to their toxic properties, quinault strawberries produce few seeds. Because of this, they are usually grown for fruit rather than for food.
There are three types of nightshades in North America:
1. Common Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
This is probably the most common and well-known type. It is a flowering plant that grows in temperate regions across the world.
In North America, it is found on every continent except for Greenland and Antarctica. It grows as a weed and can even be found growing wild in many locations.
The berries of the common nightshade look similar to blueberries, but they are smaller and have a much darker hue. The plant itself has green leaves and white flowers.
It is also sometimes referred to as “deadly nightshade.” The berries themselves are poisonous, but cooking them makes them edible. However, they still taste bad and should not be eaten in large quantities.
2. Grosse Feuille (Solanum physalifolium)
Also known as the “large leaf nightshade,” this plant is native to North and South America. It contains the same toxins as the common nightshade and can be used for similar purposes, such as making medicines.
The fruit of the grosse feuille are green in color. They are very large berries and, while not particularly tasty, they can be eaten if prepared properly.
3. Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum auriarum)
This plant is native to South America and, like the other nightshades, contains toxic properties. The berries themselves are small and red and often used for decorative purposes in some cultures.
They can be eaten if properly prepared but should not be consumed in large quantities.
Cultivated Quinault Strawberries
While wild quinault strawberries cannot be grown on a large scale, the cultivated variety can be grown for food. The plants are smaller than the wild variety and do not produce as many berries, but they can be grown in nearly any climate.
Quinault strawberries are sometimes also referred to as “Wineberries” because, when prepared properly, they can be used to make wine.
Mesquites are fast growing, flowering trees that contain beans. The honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico.
The tree produces yellow flowers and bean pods that can be eaten when cooked.
The honey mesquite tree can grow up to 30 feet in height and has a short trunk with few branches. The bark is gray in color and the leaves are dark green.
The flowers are small and yellow and grow directly from the trunk. The bean pods grow in clusters and can be 5-10 inches long.
The flowers, the bean pods (when they are young), and the honey they produce are all edible.
Sources & references used in this article:
Salish culture, foods and medicines: indigenous traditions and CAM for the prevention and treatment of diabetes type 2. by L Korn, RC Ryser – Townsend Letter, 2009 – drlesliekorn.com
Oregon and the Collapse of Illahee: US Empire and the Transformation of an Indigenous World, 1792-1859 by GH Whaley – 2010 – books.google.com
The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River by RH Ruby, JA Brown – 1988 – books.google.com
Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula by S Stevens – 2013 – books.google.com
Mapping meaningful places on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula: toward a deeper understanding of landscape values by LK Cerveny, K Biedenweg, R McLain – Environmental Management, 2017 – Springer
SEARCHABLE PACIFIC NORTHWEST HISTORY by J Ruble, B Ruble – 2018 – searchablehistory.com