White Mountains Online

Fruits & Nuts
Identification & Gathering

Arizona's White Mountains

Berry Picking:

We are often asked when the wild berries will be ripe for picking. We do have just a very few wild strawberries and raspberries on the Lakeside District, but we would find it very difficult to find enough berries on the whole district on any one given day to make a berry pie.

Wild Grapes:

Wild grapes can be found growing along many of the creek banks and canyon walls in our area. If you like to make your own jelly or jam you might find this a very interesting experience. However, if you expect a very mild-tasting jelly, you would probably be disappointed. Wild grapes are very tart and contain a lot of pectin. If you were to eat some raw, they would probably cause your mouth to pucker. They do make a delicious jelly, however, and some people like to mix the wild grape juice with milder fruits like currant or apple.

Three places you may enjoy visiting for the pleasure of these experiences are:

  • Walnut Springs - between Lakeside and Pinetop.
  • Below Fools Hollow Dam on Show Low Creek.
  • The canyon above and below Lone Pine Dam on Show Low Creek.
Pinyon Nuts

Gathering pinyon nuts can be a memorable family experience. The trees on this district are not annual producers, and a good crop of nuts may occur every three to five years, if we are lucky.

Some people like to gather the nuts and cones in the fall of the year just before the cones open naturally and shed their nuts. Then they take the cones home, place them in a fairly warm oven, and heat them until the cone opens. After this, they are taken from the oven, placed in a bag and shaken to separate the nuts from the cone. The cones are then discarded and the nuts preserved to enjoy.

Other people wait for the nut to fall naturally to the ground and then compete with the rats, squirrels, and birds. Either way, it is your choice. The species of pinyon common to our district is called Pinus edulis. It has two needles per fascicles and a small woody cone.

Some areas where pinyon trees can be found in abundance are:

  • The east and southern slopes of the hills surrounding Porter Mountain.
  • The flats east of Show Low.
  • The northeastern end of the district near the old townsite of Pinon, AZ.
  • Near Vernon, AZ
  • The ridges and flats in the Linden/Pinedale area.

For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside Ranger District at 928.368.5111 or you may write us at 2022 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona 85935

Be sure to check with the Lakeside Ranger Station for current information on gathering permits or fees that may be required.

White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside District for providing this information!

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