NOTE: The following post incorrectly identified this as greenbriar, while it was later revealed by an alert reader to be passiflora lutea, or yellow passionflower. It can still be used to make ink.
“Their hands and mouths covered in blue. Do you have any idea what it could be?” My husband’s voice was a mixture of concern and bewilderment.
Actually, I did. I checked out the telltale stains. They looked so stereotypically naughty.
“It’s the greenbriar berries.”
I’d been researching them lately, intending to make a batch of ink. The one thing I hadn’t learned about them was whether or not they were toxic if ingested.
“You bathe them while I Google,” I suggested.
Apparently they’re edible in a pinch, if not actually tasty. The tender spring leaves and shoots more so than the fall berries. A call to the Poison Control Center informed me they weren’t poisonous. Whew.
My next problem was they stripped the vines of most of the berries. I didn’t have enough to make the standard recipe, but I made a small sample batch. Here’s the recipe, not archival safe, mind you, but good for playing around with.
1/2 cup berries (any berries will do)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vinegar
Crush the berries, strain through a fine sieve, and add the salt and vinegar. Keep in a sealed container in a cool dark place.
It makes a very fun, purply-blue ink/paint. Cards, stamping projects, maybe in combination with some homemade paper.
From THE YARD.
The bonuses of having scraggly patches of wildness, unkempt corners, weeds.
Wonderful, wise weeds. If I kept to the conventions of suburban perfection I would have zoysia, crepe myrtle, boxwood, azaleas, pansies in fall and begonias in summer, period. All else would be THE ENEMY.