In yesterday’s post, I re-posted a posted picture from spring (I love the word post) of the Jack-in-the-Pulpit flower. Last night I went hiking to the same spot and found what I believe is the same plant, now with berries.
According to the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, the corm (underground root-like structure) can be eaten after it is thinly sliced and thoroughly dried. You can eat the slices like potato chips, or grind them into “a pleasant cocoa-like” flour. Don’t eat them raw, though. They contain calcium oxalate, a substance that will cause an “intense burning sensation” in the mouth.
The book says nothing about eating the delightfully red berries. My opinion is, since berries contain the seeds, wait until they are ripe – or even gone – before you collect the corm. That way we’ll have more Jack-in-the-Pulpit next year! (Indeed, the Peterson Guide suggests collecting from fall through early spring.)