Palmetto Berries

We are still in the first year in our new house and are still encountering new things as we go.  As the saying goes, there is a season for everything.  And that includes Saw Palmetto Berries!  Where we live, about 7 of our 10 acres are covered in Palmettos.  They are super invasive and take a lot of work to get rid of (I’m told).  But right now, the benefits of having Palmettos are significant.  Did you know that the berries are in high demand for pharmaceutical companies?  I just learned this recently.  Saw Palmetto Berries are beneficial for prostate health and as a hair loss treatment.  Local places will buy berries at a couple dollars per pound!  

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We were a little late in the game harvesting this year.  We only got about 5-10% of what we could have gotten had we started earlier.  But it was enough for us to gain some experience and to devise a plan for next year’s harvest!  Yesterday we worked to collect them for only an hour outside.  Scott and I clipped branches and brought them up to the house to collect the berries.  And for this part, the kids were able to help us (hooray for child labor!).

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When the berries are completely ripened they turn black.  This is when they are ready to be either dried and powdered or to have the juice extracted from them.  You might wonder why people don’t just eat the berries to get the fantastic health benefits from them.  Well I’ll tell you.  I haven’t tried them, but I hear they taste like vomit in tobacco juice….so that’s why I didn’t try them.  They smell kind of like that too.  You can understand why I just assume people are telling the truth about that, right?  If they’re lying I’d rather not find out first hand.

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Cleaning branches with a nice Florida thunderstorm to cool off the evening.

Although they are ready to work with when they are ripened, by the time they get to the pharmaceutical companies, they would go bad, so they want berries that are green, yellow, or orange (not fully ripe).

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We have a lot of black berries left over, so I think I’m going to try my hand at making Saw Palmetto capsules.  Since they have ripened on the plant they have gotten more nutrients than those that have ripened off the plant.  So, I think they might be more potent, although I have not done research on this.  I’m only attributing it to my limited knowledge of plant development.

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Yesterday, we collected 155 pound of berries! It was fun to drop them off and have them weighed.  And the kids were promised a special dessert sometime this week for all of their hard work!

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