Nearly time to pick Mayapple fruit

If you’ve ever sampled a truly ripened Mayapple, you know you want to taste that delicious flavor again.  The fruit is aromatic…juicy…tropical.  Yet, it likely can be found in the nearest woodland!  Soon it will be time to harvest them; do so only if the skin of the fruit is yellow, particularly translucent yellow.

Mayapple (also called Mandrake) bears fruit only on two-leaved plants.  The single-leaved plants did not flower; a bloom only appears during the second year when the plant produces two leaves.

Mayapple bloom

However you choose to consume them, please remove the seeds and do NOT ingest them – they are poisonous.

If you are fortunate enough to find sufficient ripened fruit to test a recipe, consider these:

For a few additional Mayapple recipes, obtain a copy of each of these books:

Billy Joe Tatum’s Wild Foods Field Guide and Cookbook

  • Mandrake Magic Punch (page 221)
  • Mayapple Jam (page 231)
  • Mayapple Jelly (page 238)

Feasting Free on Wild Edibles by Bradford Angier

  • Mayapple Jam (cooked) (page 36)
  • Mayapple Jam (uncooked) page 37) – this method intends to retain natural flavor of the fruit and will keep several months in the refrigerator

Enjoy your harvest.

Happy trails!


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