Our Edible Desert, Wolfberry


The wolfberry is a common shrub in the Sonoran Desert, however its berries are much better known as Goji Berries. these slightly bitter berries are most commonly sold dry. Berries of different wolfberries do taste different and all varieties growing native in Arizona are edible. So if the first ones you try aren’t sweet enough try another shrub. Also as with all our fruits they ripen at different times by elevation so if they’re not ripe in one are take a different hike. For example right now they are ripe in the Tucson’s but not the Tortolita’s. Here’s some more info I found online, also the nutritional data is readily available, search Goji Berry, and you’ll find lots of information and claims.

WOLFBERRY – Lycium sp. Bocksdorn, Box Thorn, Desert Thorn, Frutilla, Lyciet, Lycium, Matrimony Vine,  All Sonoran desert species have edible fruit, gathered in the weeks following the monsoons. They are edible raw or cooked in soup, stew, syrup, sauce, or beverages. Boil the berries to a thick consistency and dry them on rocks in the sun. They can be stored and eaten as is, or cooked. Dried berries can be made into mush or soup without cooking. Boil and mash the berries and drain the liquid as a beverage. Or grind them and mix with a little clay before eating. Not quite ripe berries were boiled and sweetened.
Randy Young , Southwest Trekking Guide


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