Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

Next: NectarContentsPrevious: Manzanita

Miwok Material Culture: Indian Life of the Yosemite Region (1933) by S. A. Barrett and E. W. Gifford


BERRIES AND FRUITS

Relatively slight reliance was put upon berries and fruits as food supply, the Miwok, like other central Californians, putting the principal stress on seeds, greens, and bulbs. Of the eleven species recorded in addition to manzanita, eight were eaten raw, to-wit: nine-bark, Physocarpus capitatus (Pursh) Ktze. (hemekine, C); choke-cherries, Prunus demissa26 (Nutt.) Dietr. (pisakene, C; pīha'kene, S), singers ate because “good for the voice;” wild plum, Prunus subcordata26 Benth. (yoto˝a, C); wild Sierra currant, Ribes nevadense Kell. (hemekine, C); gooseberry, Ribes roezlii Regel. (kilili, C), winnowed, then pulverized in mortar to eliminate stickers; blackberry, Rubus vitifolius27 C. & S. (lututuya, C); Solanum xantii Gray (watana, C); grape, Vitis californica28 Benth. (tolmesu, C, the vine; kimisu, C, the grape), mashed with hands in basket.

The three berries or fruits which were cooked were from the California laurel, the blue elderberry, and the toyon:

California Laurel (Umbellularia californica Nutt.29). Loko (C). The fruit was roasted in ashes and eaten.

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus glauca Nutt.30). A˝ta'iyu (C), a'˝tai (S). Elderberries were used as food, always cooked. A certain quantity was eaten in season, but a larger stock was dried for winter consumption. In winter they were occasionally recooked, though sometimes eaten without.

Toyon (Photinia arbutifolia Lindl.31). Koso (C). The large red clusters of edible berries underwent protracted preparation as food. A preliminary boiling was followed by baking in a deep narrow earth oven. To maintain the heat in the pit, a fire was kept two or three days around it, but not over it. Another method of preparation was to gather the ripe berries and store them in a basket for two months until they had softened. They were then parched with coals in a basket and eaten. Large coals were used so that the separation of the berries from the coals would be easy. The berries were eaten with seed meal. They are slightly puckery.

Of the seven species also utilized by the Pomo and Yuki, Prunus demissa, Prunus subcordata, Rubus vitifolius, Vitis californica, and Sambucus glauca were eaten raw, while Umbellularia californica and Photinia arbutifolia were cooked first.

———
26Chesnut, 356.
27Chesnut, 355.
28Chesnut, 369.
29Chesnut, 349.
30Chesnut, 388.
31Chesnut, 355.



Next: NectarContentsPrevious: Manzanita

Home A - Z FAQ Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps About Search
Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/miwok_material_culture/berries_fruits.html