Wild grapes growing in my backyard, are they edible?

BedStuyGardenerSeptember 3, 2011

Hi All,

I would be super happy to know if I can/should eat these wild grapes growing wildly in my backyard. I don't know if someone else planted before I moved in or not, but it's a very aggressive plant. In fact, before I moved in, the landlord had thought he had destroyed it all, but shoots from the tree took off at the onset of summer and the plant has reached from one side of the yard to the other in the course of a few months. The grapes start green and have just recently started turning dark purple in the last few weeks. When I open the grapes, they smell like grape juice and I really want to eat them, but am afraid they might be poisonous. Your help identifying is greatly appreciated!

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I would say they are fine. Doing a quick search of 'poisonous grapes' only turns up dog stories, but I have no personal experience myself.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 2:03PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Looks like wild grapes to me. Just so you know, if you check edible wild plant and forager info, the poisonous wild grape look alike is Canadian Moonseed, Menispermum canadense. That is the plant you need to make sure it isn't.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Carrie B(6B/7A)

That's not moonseed. I'm loathe to suggest someone try something if they're not 100% sure, nevertheless, that's exactly what I'd do if this plant showed up in my yard.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 4:51PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Yes, I agree not moonseed, looks like wild grapes. But since we are talking about eating wild plants, I just wanted to mention the look alike so the OP and anyone reading this post (and we both know there are plenty of those!) would know that not everything that looks like a wild grape might be a wild grape.

I personally have never seen moonseed. Grapes, on the other hand... I live in a part of the US known for grapes and wine. Wild grapes grow every place. They are a common "weed" for me to deal with in gardens. Old vines in forests here get as thick as young tree trunks - you could swing on the vines like Tarzan! I would think nothing of using anything that looked like wild grapes. But I'm sure not everyone has the same situation, hence the word of caution. :)


    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 9:02AM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

Those are wild grapes. I ate many pounds of those as a kid, right off the vine, after climbing halfway up the tree they were on. Never liked the skins much, so I would crack the skin with my teeth, and then suck out the greenish insides. And the spit out the seeds.

The grapevines themselves may be a menace, but the fruit is edible. The flavor doesn't compare to modern varieties. But they won't hurt you.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:41PM
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Thanks for your replies and insight, everyone. The grapes are delicious.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 3:42PM
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They make really good jelly (or jam), too!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 4:00PM
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