Elderberries along a main road?

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kazaddress
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Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #241921 kazaddress
Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:25 am

Would these be ok to use in a Damson and Elderberry cordial.. or would the lead / heavy metal content be too high? I have 2 young children so want to be safe.

the trees are along a footpath between a motorway and a busy A-road.
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MKG
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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #241936 MKG
Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:10 am

That's a very good question. And, unfortunately, there's no definitive answer.

Pollution from vehicles is much, much less than it used to be - and if it was down to that alone, it's nowadays probably safe. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that the "historical" pollution may have embedded itself in the roadside soil, so it may be unsafe. However, people have been roadside foraging for donkey's years and there appears to be no medical evidence for deleterious effects. But having said that, how would anyone attribute possible ill effects to roadside foraging anyway?

It's a personal choice - I do take sloes from a roadside site, but it's not a very heavily used road. If it was, I might be tempted to think again. But the hedges on that roadside are over 6 feet thick, and I wouldn't think twice about taking fruit from the other side of the hedge - vegetation makes a wonderful air filter. The only general rule I observe is not to take fruit that's less than two feet off the ground, as anything could have peed on it.

Airborne pollutants can simply be washed off anyway, so the question is whether you believe that soil-borne pollutants can be taken up by a plant and concentrated in the tissues of the plant to such a level that it represents a threat to health. You can find "evidence" to suggest that this threat exists and, (of course) you can find "evidence" that it doesn't.

The short and simple response to your question, then, has to be that if it worries you, don't do it because if you do, those nagging worries will stay with you for a long time. And, I think, if there are kids involved, I wouldn't nail my own beliefs to the mast and insist on even the slightest possibility of harming them.

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Thomzo
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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #241991 Thomzo
Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:18 pm

I have a similar dilemma about a walnut tree at a busy junction at the top of a hill. Cars waiting at the top of the hill to pull away will be revving their engines heavily. I've always looked at it and decided not to. But, as Mike has pointed out, airborne particles will not get to the nuts so, maybe this year I'll give it a go.

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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #242096 snapdragon
Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:09 pm

heard a similar question on rad4 this morning, the expert asserted as long as the fruit/veg is washed it will be fine . and won't collect enough bad particles to be dangerous.

Having seen fields of foodstuffs from the motorways I'm guessing it must be so
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Thomzo
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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #242111 Thomzo
Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:23 pm

snapdragon wrote:Having seen fields of foodstuffs from the motorways I'm guessing it must be so


Very good point.

Watch out walnut.

Zoe
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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #242354 wildbee
Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:37 pm

You seem doubtful of the food's safety so why go against your instincts? I've always been taught not to pick fruit from busy roads, 'experts' can say a lot of things...

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Re: Elderberries along a main road?

Post: #243249 JeremyinCzechRep
Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:33 am

As elderberries are quite common, it is likely that you will be able to find plenty more which don't grow near a busy road. Personally I am not a fan of elderberries, though sometimes add a few to a blackberry and apple crumble.
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