Elaeagnaceae Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.

Russet Buffaloberry

Thompson - Food, Bread & Cake

Use documented by:
Turner, Nancy J., Laurence C. Thompson and M. Terry Thompson et al., 1990, Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, Victoria. Royal British Columbia Museum, page 209

View all documented uses for Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.

Scientific name: Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt.
USDA symbol: SHCA (View details at USDA PLANTS site)
Common names: Russet Buffaloberry
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Family (APG): Elaeagnaceae
Native American Tribe: Thompson
Use category: Food
Use sub-category: Bread & Cake
Notes: Soapberries dried on mats and formed into cakes. The berries were gathered in the summer, but were not hand picked because they were too soft. A clean mat was placed underneath the bush, then a branch laden with fruit was held and hit with a stick until the fruit fell off. The ripe berries were then placed in a basket, heated with hot rocks and spread out on mats or on a layer of 'timbergrass' set on a scaffolding and allowed to dry. A small fire was lit beneath so that the smoke would drive away the flies. The dried soapberry cakes were then broken off, placed in a birch bark basket with water and 'swished' with a whisk of maple bark tied to a stick. The mixture was originally sweetened with the 'white' variety of saskatoon berries that were dried and soaked in water to reconstitute them. More recently, sugar was added to the whip to sweeten it. The sweetened froth was served in small containers, first to the men and then to the women, as a sort of dessert or confection. It was said that the soapberries must never come into contact with grease or oil or the berries would not whip. One informant said that special containers were used for the preparation of soapberries, not for cooking or any other purpose, so that the berries could be kept free of grease. It was said that pregnant women should never eat the soapberry whip.

RECRD: 32713 id: 37921