Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Wildly Rich & Delicious Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

devon 5 Comments

This post contains affiliate links meaning that I may make a small commission based off of your purchase at no additional cost to you.

Foraged Oregon Grape Berry & Lemon Curd

Wildly Rich & Delicious Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

Devon 5 Comments

Tart & bitter, the berries of Oregon grape are often overlooked, culinarily speaking. Create a rich Oregon grape and lemon curd for an amazing foraged treat! This delicious Oregon grape recipe is sure to excite everybody!

Sometimes when you are a kid, you’re told things that just aren’t true.  Like that if you don’t go to sleep – Santa won’t come… If you eat watermelon seeds they will grow in your belly… Being a grown up is fun…  And while those are outright lies (“adulting” is hard), some well-intentioned adults offer misinformation that stays with you.  Like that the blue berries of the Oregon Grape are poisonous.  They aren’t, actually – they just aren’t very tasty.  However, even the humble, acidic and bitter berry can become the belle of the ball by way of Oregon Grape & Lemon Curd. This is the Cinderella of the foraged berry world.

Oregon Grape Identification & Medicinal Uses

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is the Oregon state flower.  It is a landscape staple in municipal plantings west of the Cascades, its shiny foliage, yellow flowers and blue fruits acting as Mother Nature’s pretty, albeit treacherous, jewelry.  While the name implies “grape” and the foliage screams “holly”, it is neither.  A member of the barberry (Berberis) family, Oregon grape possess sharp, holly-like leaves making it a great, all natural burglary prevention landscape strategy – trust me, you don’t want to get into a tangle with this shrub.  The core of the stems and roots is a bright yellow, owing its pigment and medicinal qualities to its berberine content.  Oregon Grape root is a remarkable herb for a variety of reason – not the least of which is affordability and availability as many of its high berberine plant cousins are reaching critical levels of over harvesting.  Oregon Grape is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial – it is the first herb that I turn to when those lymph nodes below my ears become swollen and tender.  It is also a wonderful digestive aid, stimulating digestion and the flow of gastric juices.  An “alterative” tonic, Oregon grape is thought to help cleanse the blood and detoxify the body, thus improving energy, skin tone and well being.


FDA Disclosure

I am a trained herbalist with a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, I am not, however, a doctor. Posts in this blog are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before using any herbs, check for appropriate dosage, drug interactions, and contraindications. Information contained herein is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. Please consult your primary care physician regarding your specific health concerns.


For more information on how to grow, identify and forage Oregon Grape check out this post.

Interested in learning more about Oregon Grape and 49 other common wild medicinal plants?  Check out my new book The Backyard Herbal Apothecary!

The virtues of Oregon Grape root (and stem core) are all well and good, but what about those bitter berries?  High in vitamin C and healthy flavonoids due to the anthocyanin skin pigments, the berries are ripe with their own benefits.  But they are unpalatable, to put in mildly. And there isn’t exacty an Oregon grape recipe cookbook floating around, is there (there should be).  What is one to do? Too seedy and bitter for a jam and needing more richness, I felt that a berry curd was in order.  Always inspired by my friend Jennifer from Gather (see her stunning Oregon Grape tart here), and blessed with a boatload of Oregon Grape delivered by a friend, this delicious curd was born!

The resulting Oregon grape and lemon curd is something kinda amazing.  This Oregon grape recipe has dark and deep flavor, almost musky and wild.  The richness from the eggs and butter offset the tannic punch of the berries. The combined acidity of the lemon and Oregon Grape keeps the curd bright and lively on the palate.  This stuff is good enough to eat by the spoonfuls, and there is no shame in that.  It would also be wonderful with a graham cracker crust and topped with a meringue, spread between layers of yellow cake, or atop a shortbread crust.  I fretted over whether this recipe would befit preservation by way of canning.  The USDA does seem to indicate that lemon curds are safe to water bath can but does not approve of berry curds at this time.  The acidity is indeed within the pH margin of safety, I decided that canning is not the best means of preservation of unused curd.  I feel that freezing will actually maintain the flavor and texture far better that water bath processing anyway.

UPDATE: This Oregon grape and lemon curd DID freeze beautifully!

Need more ideas for your foraged berries — check out this sorbet.

Foraged Oregon Grape & Lemon Curd - Oregon Grape Recipe

Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd Recipe

Foraged Oregon Grape Berry & Lemon Curd
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

Foraged Oregon Grapes are transformed from tart and bitter to an unctuous curd suitable for eating from a spoon. Makes about 3 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Oregon Grape puree
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups raw organic cane sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons butter cubed

Instructions

  • To create puree, place a heaping cup of clean Oregon Grape berries into a blender or food processor and pulse a couple times until juices start to release. Do NOT over puree.
  • Place berry puree, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Over medium heat and whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens (coats back of a spoon and whisk leaves traces in curd).
  • Remove from heat and pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Whisk butter into hot curd until well combined.
  • Place a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap directly on top of curd and chill until cold. Serve within one week or freeze.

Foraged Oregon Grape and Lemon Curd

Devon

Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of NittyGrittyLife.com can be seen at LearningHerbs.com, GrowForageCookFerment.com, AttainableSustainable.net, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

All posts

5 Comments

  • Susan Segsworth July 27, 2016 at 4:06 am


    I made jelly, juice, and your curd today (and canned them). The curd was the best. I was licking out all of the leftovers! Thanks for sharing!

    • Devon July 27, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      I am so glad that you liked the curd! It is pretty yummy, if I do say so myself! Thank you!

  • Emma Cooper August 29, 2016 at 6:16 am


    Oregon grape (although we don’t call it that) is quite often used in urban planting in the UK – supermarket car parks and things like that. Most people don’t forage for it, I guess, but this sounds lush! Will have to try it, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Devon August 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Emma! I love your tweets, by the way! Oregon grape isn’t very tasty on its own, so there is a very good reason that people “overlook” it. But with a little creativity, the flavor is amazing. I also made an Oregon grape mead this summer that is wonderful – blog post on that one coming soon!!!

  • […] Want more foraged berry goodness?  Check out this Oregon grape curd! […]

  • Leave a Reply

    About Me

    About Me

    Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

    I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More

    Devon

    Connect

    Subscribe to our Mailing List

    Get the news right in your inbox!

    Popular Links

    Instagram

    • 💕Still finding my footing after losing the best friend anybody could ever ask for.
My dear beloved grandmother passed from this world last Friday.  I had the great honor to be at her bedside, to feel the last hummingbird-like flutter of her pulse, to observe her final wishes as she flew from this world to the next - undoubtedly with the same compassion, dignity and boundless optimism that she blessed our world with.
This picture of hers, mine, and my youngest daughter’s hands was taken a couple weeks ago now... a treasure of time spent together before renal failure claimed her ability to speak, while she could still nibble on a cookie and enjoy her beloved black coffee.  After this picture, we entered the strange yet surprising dignified “hospice time.” For those of you who have taken part in the hospice care of a loved one - you know this indescribable separation of hospice time and “real time.” There is a fixed end point, yet nobody knows when it is - and so you live each moment, hoping that it is, in fact, not your last, while also wishing that your loved one would pass peacefully and painlessly from these earthly bounds.
I do not post this looking for an outpouring of sympathy - those that know me well know that I rather bristle at the attention.  I write this post to thank all of the dedicated hospice care workers and as a knowing hug to all those loved ones left behind who have felt the mixed emotions that this time of great grief.
Sending love out into the world tonight. 💕
#grief #hospice #hospicecare
    • During these early fall days when the first freeze is never far off, I scurry to put up the last bits of the garden. This fermented hot sauce two ways are a perfect pair of recipes for the last remaining peppers and the nasturtiums that are usually abundant at this time.
Tap link in bio for link to recipe.
#hotsauce #peppers #nasturtiums #fermentation #lactofermentation #preservation #foodpreservation #edibleflowers 
https://nittygrittylife.com/lacto-fermented-hot-sauce-nasturtiums/
    • Now well into October, I am observing the ruby glow of hawthorn berries and rose hips.
Right now is this time to make this delicious mead.  It will ferment and age just perfectly for holiday toasts and herbal libations.
Tap link in bio for link to recipe.
#mead #hawthorn #rosehips #homemead #meadmaking #makingmead #herbs #herbalist #herbalism #medicinalherbs #fermentation
https://nittygrittylife.com/spiced-hawthorn-rose-hip-mead/
    • I LOVE baking bread.  I love the tactile nature of kneading and forming the dough, and, most of all, I love the aroma that fills my home as loaves bake in the oven. 
Here is a savory sourdough recipe speckled with sauteed greens, garlic and smoked cheddar.  It is unbelievably good.  Baked in a dutch oven it develops a irresistible crust and the scent is to die for.
Tap link in bio for link to recipe.
#breadbaking #bread #sourdough #homestead #homesteading #homesteader #baking #cookingfromscratch 
https://nittygrittylife.com/dutch-oven-homemade-sourdough-bread/
    • It hardly feels real.
A year ago, I had just sent the manuscript for my first book off to the printer when my publisher offered me a contract on a second book.  It didn't seem such a crazy, far out, thing to do at the time -- this committing to write and photograph two entire books in one year.
It was.
Crazy and far out, for sure.
The last year has been a flurry of publishing activity, but I am so happy to announce that my second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen is almost ready to make its debut! 
The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen is dedicated to the concept of food as medicine, and is my guide to rethinking everyday foods and culinary herbs to cook our way to better health!
"Kitchen" officially publishes October 29th, but you can reserve your copy from me or any one of the major book sellers in the link below.  ANDDDD, as  thank you for pre-ordering, I would love to send you my Companion Guide to Culinary Herbs ebook as my gift to you!
Tap link in bio to head to my book page!

#author #newbook #book #naturalliving #herbs #herbalist #herbalmedicine #herbalism #healthyliving #foodenergetics #flavorprofiles #pagestreetpublishing #theherbalistshealingkitchen #kitchenapothecary 
https://nittygrittylife.com/introducing-the-herbalists-healing-kitchen/
    • Pears and apples are the fruits of fall. 
One of my favorite flavors from my youth was my grandmother's spiced apple butter.  I've replicated that flavor and punched up the acidity with a recipe that calls for apple cider vinegar (as opposed to lemon juice) -- giving this fruit butter an amazing depth of flavor.
Tap link in bio for link to recipe.
#apples #pears #applebutter #pearbutter #canning #canningseason #homestead #homesteading #homesteader #homesteadlife #homesteadlifestyle
https://nittygrittylife.com/slow-cooker-spiced-apple-pear-butter/
    • Absolutely amazing weekend with some even more amazing women that I am positively HONORED to call colleagues - and even more importantly friends.
A weekend spent about Salt Lake City, speaking at #gardencomm2019, touring @melonmonologues gardens and being led on a tour of her favorite mountain places, a walking tour of some gorgeous botanical gardens, and a sight see at the temple - cuz when in SLC...
So... @attainablesustainable @melonmonologues @the_happy_herban @tenthacrefarm @homestead_honey and  @brownthumbmama  you are AMAZING LADIES!
#utah #getoutside #garden #mountains #nature
    • With the weather finally cooling, it is great time to think about planting trees and shrubs in your landscape.  The long cool months ahead are great for establishing a healthy root system!
#herbs #herbalist #herbalmedicine #medicinalherbs #holisticgardening #medicinegarden #herbgarden #medicinaltrees #medicinalshrubs
https://nittygrittylife.com/10-medicinal-trees-and-shrubs/
    • Sweet pickled figs are an amazingly delicious treat.  Believe me whenI tell you this. 
I crafted this recipe around my father's nostalgic recollections of his Scottish grandmother making the most of the bountiful fruits at her Southern Californian home.  While I never tasted Nana's pickled figs, my father thought this recipe did them great justice!
Tap link in bio for link to recipe.
#figs #pickledfigs #foodpreservation #preservation #canning #canningseason #homestead #homesteader #homesteading
https://nittygrittylife.com/sweet-pickled-figs/

    Follow @nittygrittymama

    ×
    shares