Caragana, the bush that perhaps saved the prairies. This wonder was planted around farms to act as a wind break, when the dust bowl of the dirty thirties carried the agricultural top soil away. Caragana, is used in arid desert-like area as a part of a perma-culture programme to nitrogen-fix the soil enhancing the quality. There is no doubt about it, the area around Caragana bushes is lush and luxurious with plant life. Around the one room schoolhouse yards, Caragana served as an amazing living fence.
However, what many pioneers and homesteaders in Saskatchewan had not realized is that the amazing Caragana is also edible, very nutritous, with surprising health benefits as well. The seeds from the Caragana pods can be prepared as any other legume, ie. the dried beans or peas purchased in the store. The young seedpods can be eaten from the trees, with a delightful snap pea flavour. And the beautiful tender yellow flowers, are simply delicious. Eat them on the trail, or scatter some within your next salad for a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.
“The whole plant, known as ning tiao, is used in the treatment of cancer of the breast, and the orifice to the womb, and for dysmenorrhea and other gynecological problems.”Plant-Life.org However Only Foods recommends that those who are pregnant not to eat the Caragana.
Next time you are out and about try a nibble of the seed pods. In its vegetal form, Caragana, does have the potential to be a staple food crop. Caragana is a very nutritious legume. What an amazing opportunity to wear a pink ribbon, and have a nibble of Caragana.
Genealogy Hint and Tip:
Next visit to the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan remember to ask to see the Pioneer Questionnaire file These questionnaires were sent around to households Circa1950 and asked questions in regards to lifestyle such as Pioneer Diet, General Pioneer Experiences, Schools, Churches, Recreation and Social Life, Farming Experiences, Folklore, Health, Housing, Local Government, and Christmas. There is even a listing which can be searched to determine if your ancestor took part in this early survey.
Another Edible Legume Arcol-o-gist.
Caragana arborescens – Lam. Plants for a future.
Two forever foods SurvivalBlog.com
a deciduous legume tree or shrub of the Caragana genus in the family Leguminosae. It is an edible nitrogen fixer and a great source of chicken fodder. Practical Plants.
Caragana arborescens Wikipedia.
Caragana. Caragana arborescens. ‘Ross’ Caragana, Siberian Peashrub Government of Canada. Agriculure and Agri-Food.
Caragana or Siberian Pea Shrub. United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Permaculture Plants: Pea Trees and Pea Shrubs Temperature Change Permaculture.
Shelterbelt Varieties for Alberta – Caragana, Siberian Peashrub. Government of Albera. Agriculture and Forestry. December 17, 2015.
Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens) Raw Edible Plants.
Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens) Only Foods.
Siberian Pea-shrub. Caragana arborescens Lam. Plant-life.org.
” if you devote 22% of a quarter section, that’s 160 acres, to trees, you can double the crops.’ It’s a question of planting trees strategically. The trees reduce the speed of the wind, modify the climate, they modify the difference in temperature from day and night, and above all the trees make it possible for the earthworms to come into the land, and the earthworm casts its own weight every 24 hours. And a well-populated acre of worms casts 30 tonnes of worm castings per acre per year. That’s equal to 30 tonnes of farmyard manure on that land.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker