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Favorite Wild Fruits

Updated on December 7, 2014
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For years, Yvonne has been developing a sustainable homestead complete with chickens, food plants, on-site water, solar power, and more.

Mulberries and some are ready to pick.
Mulberries and some are ready to pick.

Wild Fruit Recipes and Facts

Ever since we were children, we have loved the fruit of native plants. Now, with the Green movement and the increased use of native plants in landscaping and sustainable gardens, those delicious fruits are available to more people.

Here we provide useful information and easy recipes for using some of our favorite wild fruits including blueberries, blackberries, crabapples, mayhaws, grapes and mulberries in jam, jelly, cobbler and more. If you don't have access to wild fruits or don't grow your own, then domesticated fruit can be substituted in most of the recipes.

All the photos on this page (unless otherwise noted) are the property of Y.L. Bordelon (aka naturegirl7) All Rights Reserved.

Many of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.

"Famous fruits imported from the East or South and sold in our markets ... do not concern me so much as many an unnoticed wild berry whose beauty annually lends a new charm to some wild walk or which I have found to be palatable to an outdoor taste."

Thoreau, Wild Fruits

Lessons Learned in the Blackberry Patch

Some of my fondest childhood memories involved heading out to the blackberry patch with Mom and my sister and brother to pick until our buckets were full or until my little brother's face and shirt were purple, whichever came first.

After the fruit was picked, we girls learned how to preserve the fruit as we helped Mom in the kitchen. We also learned how to use the fruit that we picked in a variety of delicious ways. And yes, before you think it, I was raised in the country. I lived most of my adult life in the city, but always yearned to move back where the air is fresh and there's room to spread out, and luckily that dream has come true.

With the Green movement and recent "back to natives" and sustainable gardening trends in full swing, I thought that some of the knowledge I learned at my mother's knee might be appreciated, so I have put together some information and recipes about some of my most favorite native fruits.

I hope this will be the first of a series about identifying and using edible native plants. And now, on to our Favorite Wild Fruits.

Wild Jams and Jellies

Wild Jams and Jellies: Delicious Recipes Using 75 Wild Edibles
Wild Jams and Jellies: Delicious Recipes Using 75 Wild Edibles
I own this book. The plnt descriptions are great and the recipes are divine.

Blueberry, Huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.)

My most favorite wild fruit (and probably the one that has the most beneficial properties) is the Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium species). We think that they are tastier than the cultivated varieties, especially the one they call, Elliot's Blueberry (Vaccinium elliottii).

There are about 20 or more species of wild blueberries on the North American continent. The wild blueberries bloom and bear fruit much earlier than the domesticated ones. We usually are picking berries in March. Down here in the south, we use the name "Huckleberry" and wild blueberry interchangeably, but whatever you call them they make excellent eating and can be used for pies, jellies, jams, tarts or to just pop into your mouth.


  • Parts used: fruits
  • Uses: fresh, cooked or dried fruit, jelly. Edibility: outstanding taste and texture, not abundant.

Wild Blueberry Flowers Print

Wild blueberries, also called Huckleberries, grow throughout the forests of Louisiana.
Wild blueberries, also called Huckleberries, grow throughout the forests of Louisiana. | Source

Preserving the Fruits of the Earth

Preserving the fruits of the earth: How to "put up" almost every food grown in the United States--in almost every way
Preserving the fruits of the earth: How to "put up" almost every food grown in the United States--in almost every way
If you want to learn more about preserving fruits and vegetables, this would be a good place to start.

Wild Blueberry Fruit Print

Blueberry Recipes

Blueberry / Huckleberry Sauce

4 cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

dash of almond extract

Blend 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add a dash (1/8 teaspoon) of almond extract. This sauce can be poured into sterilized jars and kept in the refrigerator to be used like jam on toast, biscuits, ice cream, etc. You can also pour the hot mixture into a cassarole dish, add biscuit dough and make a cobbler or use the blueberry sauce / filling in the easy cobbler recipe below.

Easy Fruit Cobbler

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup granulated sugar (we use raw sugar)

2/3 cup milk (any %)

1 cup flour (we use unbleached)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Sprinkle with spice (we like cinammon)

Make the batter and pour it into a greased baking dish. Pour the blueberry sauce or canned fruit pie filling over the batter. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is light brown. The crust will magically rise up to cover the filling.

Edible and Useful Plants of Texas

Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide
Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide
This covers edible plants of the Southwestern U. S.

Huckleberry Flowers

Mrs. Dawson's Blueberry/Huckleberry Muffins

½ cup margarine or butter

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar (we use raw sugar)

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons sugar to sprinkle on top

2 cups flour (we use unbleached flour)

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups blueberries

2 teaspoons baking powder

At low speed, cream margarine, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mix until well blended. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Sprinkle blueberries with flour before adding to batter. Add ½ cup blueberries, stir by hand. Add rest of blueberries. Grease muffin pan and grease top of pan or use paper cupcake liners. Pour mixture into pan and fill 2/3 full. Sprinkle rest of sugar on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until done. Cool in pan at least 30 minutes before removing carefully. Makes 18-20 muffins.

Berry Bible

Mulberry (Morus spp.)

and Recipes

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) is native to the United States, but the Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) has naturalized over much of the Southeastern United States since it was imported in an attempt to start a silk trade here. Both have delicious berries and other parts of the plants are edible, too.

Mulberry trees are bird magnets, so if you like to have a variety of birds in your yard, then this is a great tree to have. One draw back is that the purple juice of the fruit will stain things, so the tree should not be located near a house, driveway, etc. Pick the fruit when it is ripe (usually early April in the south). One good method is to lay a piece of plastic on the ground under the tree and shake the limbs. The ripe berries fall off easily. The ripe berries can be used for sauces, jellies, jams, tarts, pies or just eaten raw.


  • Parts used: fruit, young new shoots & leaves .
  • A tree with 3-6" fine toothed, often 2-3 lobed leaves. Twigs hairless, sap of twigs & leaf stalks is milky. Fruit is like blackberries, red then purple when ripe. Found in rich soil, open woods, & fence rows.
  • Uses: fresh fruit, jelly, cold drink & cooked vegetable. Edibility: good quality, neither widely distributed nor abundant.

Red Mulberries, Nearly Ripe

These red mulberries will turn black when ripe.


Mulberry Jam

2 lbs. ripe mulberries

1-2 cups granulated sugar

3 ounces liquid pectin

Wash thoroughly 2 pounds of fully ripened mulberries. Add to a deep saucepan, add a little cooking water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, keeping the pot covered. Remove from the heat and strain the juicy pulp through a food mill. This will remove the seeds and skins.

Recover and measure the juicy pulp, add 1-2 cups of granulated sugar to each cup of sauce, depending on your sweet tooth. Mix thoroughly, bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add 3 ounces of liquid pectin, mix thoroughly, and boil for 1 full minute. Skim off the foam, pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal.   (by Joe Freitus, Wild Preserves)

Mulberry Cobbler

You can also use the Blueberry Sauce and the Easy Fruit Cobbler recipes and substitute Mulberries for the Blueberries.

Red Mulberries

The black one is ripe.
The black one is ripe. | Source

Grapes (Vitis spp.)

The United States has many different species of grapes. In the Southeast, where we live, the Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) and the Summer Grape (Vitis aestivalis) are the most popular.

The Muscadine is the most prized because of its large size and flavor. The Summer Grape is a smaller grape and occurs in large clusters. Muscadines and Summer Grapes ripen from mid to late summer down here in the South. They should be picked when they are fully ripe, although some partially ripe ones are good if you are making jelly. The leaves of the grapevine can be used in Mediterranean dishes, like stuffed grape leaves. Muscadines are grown in gardens all over the South. The trick is in the pruning because grapes need new growth on which to flower and bear.

Wild Muscadine Grapes

Muscadine grapes ripen a few at a time.
Muscadine grapes ripen a few at a time. | Source


  • Parts used: tendrils, leaves, fruits
  • Vines that climb with tendrils, simple, deciduous leaves with palmate veins. Found in thickets, edges of woods.
  • Uses: fresh fruit, jelly, cold drink, cooked green. Edibility: good quality, abundant.

Green Summer Grapes

These will turn purplish-black in late summer. The bunches can be clipped when most of the grapes are ripe.
These will turn purplish-black in late summer. The bunches can be clipped when most of the grapes are ripe.

Grape Recipes

Wild Grape Jelly

5 lbs. of wild grapes

1/2 cup of water

8 cups of sugar

2 ounces of pectin

Stem and wash 5 pounds of wild grapes. Use a ration of 3 pounds partially ripened grapes and 2 pounds of fully ripened grapes. Place into a deep saucepan and crush with a potato masher. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring the mixture to a bol. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain the cooked fruit through a food mill, then through a jelly bag. Save the pulp for grape butter. Place the juice in a saucepan, add 8 cups of granulated sugar and bring to a boil. Add 2 ounces of liquid pectin and again boil for 1 full minute. Skim off the delightful foam, pour into jelly jars and seal. (by Joe Freitus, Wild Preserves)

Blackberry (Rubus spp.)

and Recipes

Blackberries and Dew Berries are an integral part of growing up in the South. Every child knew where the sweetest patch was located and visited it frequently during summer vacation.

When picking blackberries for jelly or jam, Mom always told us to pick a few of the half ripe ones. They have more of the natural pectins, so will make your batch of jelly or jam "jell" better. When doing serious picking, you should dress for it, with long pants and long sleeved light weight shirts, and also wear socks because the thorns can be vicious. We also used to carry a large stick to help push the canes aside and to probe the inside of the mass of vines to chase the snakes away. (Snakes don't eat berries, but like to lie in wait for the birds and rodents that do.)

But the delicious fruits are worth the trouble, since they can be eaten raw or made into pies, jellies, preserves or even syrup. The stem tips can be steeped in boiling water for a wonderful tea.

Wild Blackberries


  • Parts used: fruit, stem tips
  • Dew berries root at the tips of canes and have single flowers. Blackberry canes don't root at the tips and have many flowered clusters. Found in alluvial soils.
  • Uses: fruit, jelly, cold drink, tea salad. Edibility: outstanding quality, abundant.

Blackberry Flowers

Blackberries in the Wild

Blackberry Recipes

Blackberry Juice

Add fresh blackberries to a blender and crush until a fine soup is produced. Keep adding fruit until 2 quarts of juice is obtained. Pour the juice through a few layers of cheesecloth, just to remove the pulp and seeds.

Next add 2 cups of lemon juice and you have an excellent summer beverage. Serve chilled for best flavor. It can also be frozen and used during the winter months. (by Joe Freitus, Wild Preserves)

Blackberry Jelly

2 1/2 quarts of blackberries

Juice of 2 lemons

5 cups of granulated sugar

3 ounces of pectin

Clean and wash the 2 1/2 quarts of fully ripened fruit. Place in a container and crush completely with a potato masher or use a food mill. Heat the mixture until the juice approaches boiling. Now allow the juice to simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a jelly bag or cheesecloth. Recover 3 cups of the juice and place it in a deep saucepan. Add the juice of 2 lemons or 1/4 cup of reconsitiuted lemon juice. Stir well. Add 5 cups of granulated sugar and mix well. Place the mixture over a high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Add 3 ounces of liquid pectin and bring mixture to a boil (one that you can't stir down) for 1 full minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, skim off the delicious foam and pour the juice into hot, sterile jelly glasses. (by Joe Freitus, Wild Preserves)

Blackberry Cobbler

Use the recipes for Blueberry Sauce and Easy Fruit Cobbler and substitute the Blackberries for the Blueberries.

Wild Berry Book

The Wild Berry Book: Romance, Recipes, & Remedies (Camp and Cottage)
The Wild Berry Book: Romance, Recipes, & Remedies (Camp and Cottage)
Besides recipes, this book contains information about herbal remedies.

Wild Plum, Sloe (Prunus Americana, P. umbellata, P. mexicana)

There are many species of Wild Plums in the United States and when ripe, most of them have flavor that is superior to the domesticated varieties. We have Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana) and Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia) growing on our property.

For jelly or jam, you should pick 80 % of the fully ripe plums and 20 % of the red, partially ripened plums (late spring to summer in the south). Wild Plums are also a good tree for the wildlife.

Wild Mexican Plum Blooms Poster

Wild plum trees add color to the spring landscape.
Wild plum trees add color to the spring landscape.


  • Parts used: fruits
  • Large shrubs or small trees similar to wild cherries with small white flowers followed by large fruit (red, yellow, purplish or black) Found in thickets throughout Louisiana.
  • Uses: Fruit & jelly. Edibility: outstanding taste, pleasant texture & healthful qualities, easy to gather, rarely abundant.

Mexican Plum Flowers

Green Wild Plum

Mexican Plum trees are one of the native species growing in Louisiana.

They have lovely flowers and delicious plums.


Wild Plum Jam

3 pints of plums

4 cups of sugar

Wash 3 pints of fully ripened plums, mixing in several partially ripened plums for added flavor. Place into a saucepan and crush with a potato masher. Bring the mashed plums to a boil; then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the hot plum sauce through a food mill. This will remove the skins and large seeds.

Place the hot juicy pulp into a saucepan, add 4 cups of granulated sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture is thick. You may wish to reduce the cooking time by adding 3 ounces of liquid pectin. Once cooking is complete, pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal.   (by Joe Freitus, Wild Preserves)

Crab Apples (Malus spp.)

Our native Crabapple will grow in upland and low land conditions. Crabapple trees are beautiful small trees that bloom lovely pale pink blossoms in the spring. These blossoms are followed by fruit of varying color and size, depending on the type of crabapple.

Our Southern Crabapples (Malus angustifolia) are about the size of a small plum and are yellow when ripe. The fruit can be collected in late summer and fall, depending on what zone you live it. They make great jelly and preserves. The fruit is also eaten by a lot of different animals, so Crabapples are good trees to plant for the wildlife.

Southern Crabapple Fruit

The fruit turns yellow when ripe.
The fruit turns yellow when ripe.


  • Parts used: fruits
  • Large shrubs or small thorny trees with pinkish-white flowers followed by large greenish yellow or reddish apple-like fruit.
  • Uses: fruit, jelly, preserves, cider

Southern Crabapple Flowers

Crab Apple Recipes

Crab Apple Jelly

5 lbs. partially rip fruit

5 cups of water

8 cups of granulated sugar

Select 5 pounds of partially ripened crab apples, discarding any soft or rotten fruit. Remove the blossom ends and stems. Cut the fruit into thin slices, leaving the peels and cores intact. Place the fruit into a deep saucepan, add 5 cups of water, cover and simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Use a hand masher and crush the fruit completely, producing a juicy sauce. Allow the mix to simmer for 5-10 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat, strain through a jelly bag, gently squeezing the pulp but do not force any of the pulp into the juice. Save the pulp and make jellied apple butter.

Recover the juice, place into saucepan, add 8 cups of granulated sugar and stir constantly over a moderate heat until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Then bring to a boil for 1 full minute. Pour the jelly into hot, sterile jars and seal.

Recipes for Other Wild Fruits

Elder Blossom Fritters (Serves 8)

2 cups fine white cornmeal

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 cup water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

¼ cup corn oil for frying

16 elder blossom clusters, washed and dried

Prepare a light batter beating together the cornmeal, egg, water and maple syrup. Heat the oil on a griddle and drop the batter by large tablespoonfuls onto it. Immediately placing 1 blossom cluster in the center of each raw fritter and pressing lightly into the batter. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Flip and fry for 3 minutes on the other side. Drain on brown paper. Serve hot, sprinkled with additional loose blossoms and maple sugar.

Native Mayhaw Flowers

Mayhaw Fruit

Mayhaw Jelly

3 lb. mayhaws

4 cups water

¼ cup lemon juice

7 ½ cups sugar

½ bottle liquid pectin

Wash and crush fruit; add water; bring to a boil and simmer for 10 min. Extract juice. Measure out 4 cups. Add lemon juice and sugar. Follow standard procedure for making jelly with liquid pectin.

Sure Jell Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin, 6 oz
Sure Jell Certo Premium Liquid Fruit Pectin, 6 oz
Certo insures that the juice thickens into jelly.

Things You'll Need to Make Jelly & Jam

OXO Good Grips Food Mill
OXO Good Grips Food Mill
A food mill is used to grind up the cooked fruit so the juice is released.

"Many people think that survivalists and herbalists are not unlike a swarm of locusts swooping down on the landscape and devouring everything. This can't be further from the truth. A good survivalist and herbalist actually can do more good for any landscape than a person that does nothing at all."

Tom Brown, Jr.; Tom Brown's Field Guide Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants

Thoreau's Wild Fruits

Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript
Wild Fruits: Thoreau's Rediscovered Last Manuscript
The lost manuscript which details many of the edible wild plants which Thoreau encountered.

Encylopedia of Edible Plants of North America

The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America: Nature's Green Feast
The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America: Nature's Green Feast
This is the ultimate book for the survivalist or herbalist.

Crabapple Flowers Mug

Some Pretty Mugs for Tea and Jam

Visit our Naturally Native Creations Gallery to see more designs.

© 2008 Yvonne L B

Let us hear about Your Berry Picking Fun

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I think wild berries make the best cobblers.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      8 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      WOW what a beautiful lens you wrote about the delicious wild fruits. We hardly have wild fruits growing in my country alas.

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 

      8 years ago

      One of my favorite wild berries is also the blueberry and here in Maine we sure so have a lot of them. You put together a great and interesting lens. I'm glad you got to live your dream and move back to the country. :)

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      8 years ago from Shanghai, China

      What a wonderful lens. Wild fruits are so delightful - and it is so easy to ignore them. (Ha - especially if you live in the city!). Thank you for giving me so many good ideas.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love this lens ty so much as it mentions most of the fruit i love in summer and all yr long since i love to bake ahead and freeze or clean and pick and freeze. My favorite is making icecream out of these favorite fruits.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This really looks good. I'm going to look for wild fruits in my area. Thank you for this idea.

    • KellydeBorda profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh my - until I read your lens, I had completely forgotten the fun we had as kids, going out and picking wild mulberries! Oh - and eating them until we were stuffed and had red hands and mouths from the juice. Blessed by an angel. :)

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 

      9 years ago

      Great lens! Living in the mountains of Colorado, my selection of wild fruits is quite different from yours, but I, too, enjoy harvesting and using all of them! It was interesting reading about some of your favorites.

    • imolaK profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this lens with us. Blessed!

    • dahlia369 profile image


      9 years ago

      Beautiful lens on natural/nature topic - I very much appreciate you sharing all your traditional recipes. Blessed! :)

    • JimHofman profile image


      10 years ago

      We are anxious to try your recipes here - sure sound tasty! Lensrolled to our "Indoor Fruit Trees" lens.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      10 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I've been enjoying wild berries since I was a little kid - nothing like free, delicious native fruits! I really enjoyed this lens - lots of great recipes, too!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      These sound so wonderful! I'll have to try some of your recipes sometime. Great lens. blessed by an angel.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      10 years ago from Central Florida

      I've been picking wild strawberries in New Hampshire and now the blueberries are ripening. Time for long walks finding these.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      We had 4 kinds of apple trees at home when growing up...but the crabapple jelly was my favorite. Nice job on this. 5* and fav'd.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      11 years ago

      What a delicious lens. All my favorite berries are here and some interesting recipes too. Love it.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      11 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I love berries...your mugs look great!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Love berries, especially blackberries and blueberries. Sweet! Thanks for the lens, well done.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      11 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      We have a lot of strange wild fruits and berries here in the Klamath River Valley. I see some of it here. 5* / Angel Blessed

    • GonnaFly profile image


      11 years ago from Australia

      What an excellent lens! Most of these don't grow in the wild here in Australia. But I do grow blueberries in my garden :-)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very Interesting Information!

    • profile image

      natnickeep lm 

      11 years ago

      Great lens. We have a black berry bush in our yard. I can't wait to try out some of these recipes, but I will have to wait till next year. To bad berries don't grow all year round.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      11 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi! You've been added to the "Squidoo lenses on edible wild plants" lens.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      11 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Mmm - love wild berries! Reminds me of my childhood when we used to pick blackberries, lovely memories of getting scratched and famously falling down a bank into the road. Where I grew up (in Scotland) we had wild gooseberries that were my father's favorite to pick.

    • Demaw profile image


      11 years ago

      It seems when I was growing up most people had fruit trees, berry bushes and grape arbors. In the name of a neater landscape the trees and bushes disappeared because folks didn't want to be bothered with the care. Now with the new respect for nature there is a resurge in interest in edible landscape.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Your story about your childhood reminds me of my own.

      Mom and the 6 kids used to go pick up wild raspberries and

      blueberries in the summer. In the fall, we picked hazelnuts

      which we used when making "sucre a la creme" and chocolate


      A big 5

    • AppalachianCoun profile image


      12 years ago

      Nice lens. We haven't tried cobbler with crab apples, but we want to try it. Thank-you for the recipe.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Welcome to the Totally Awesome Lenses Group.


    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      12 years ago

      Beautiful, informational lens. Nice!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      12 years ago from Royalton

      The Three Bears stopped by to pick some berries. Thank you for such a delicious treat.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      There are chokecherry trees growing wild on my mother's farm. They make the best jelly...

      Great lens



    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      12 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I'm growing grapes and berries, but the squirrels and birds usually eat them before we get a chance. Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      This is a very beneficial lens for anyone wanting to eat healthly fruits. The close up photos help to identify the various edible fruits found in nature.


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