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Friday, June 10, 2016

An Exciting Foraging Trip Today


Today, last minute, I went into the city to forage, and I came home with such a great amount of stuff that it was exciting!



The kids and I picked a large amount of capers. We already picked once already this season, but just filled one small jar, and since I love capers and I want them to last until the next time capers are in season, we got to work and picked a huge amount. I know this doesn't look so big, but that's just because it lacks the context- it was enough to fill a large jar. All of these are from two caper plants, and there were still plenty more, we just wanted to move on to do something else after.

 

The last batch of capers I made were pickled in vinegar, so this one, I think will be lacto-fermented after soaking a few days to release their bitter flavor.

I've figured out how much time it takes to forage capers vs how much it costs to buy them from the store, and capers are cheap enough hear that financially there isn't really a point to pick capers, however, it is fun to do so and it's nice to be able to say that you ate something that you made, even if time-wise it doesn't pay off, and the flavors of homemade capers are nicer anyhow, so that's why I still do it.

Though I generally use plantain leaf medicinally, as I don't particularly care for the taste of their leaf as a vegetable, I did forage plantain for food today. But their seed heads, not their leaves.


Ever hear of psyllium husk, used as an egg replacement and additive in baking, specifically gluten free baking?
That's plantain seeds- plantain seeds can be used the same way. I still have to separate the seeds from the seed heads and winnow them before I can use them.

The thing that most excited me about foraging today probably were these pears, though. Fruit generally are summer forages, but I haven't really found any wild fruit ripe yet other than mulberries (which I haven't been able to get in super large quantities); figs are still ripening, as are grapes, and prickle pears, and since our family goes through a lot of fruit, it's nice to be able to save money on produce by picking my own.


We picked a good nearly 9 pounds of pears! We could have easily picked more, but we had to go...


I also brought home two types of allium flowers- these white ones...


...And these purple ones. I use them both the same. I tend to just stick them in my fridge as is, and then either use them fresh, or when they dry up, use them the same way. They don't spoil in my fridge, just dry, and then I use them year round as well. They work any place I'd use garlic or onion in recipes- last thing I did with them was make a flavored oil for my gnocchi with them, and before that I used them in a chimichurri sauce. It's terrific. And broken up, the flowers also work as a decent garnish.



Yup, I'm pretty excited about what I brought home.
I had no idea when heading out what I'd find, but what I did was pretty amazing!

Foraged anything lately? Any you're particularly excited about? Anything you want to forage but isn't ripe yet? 
If you're not a forager (yet!), do any of these things look familiar? Have you seen them growing near you?

5 comments:

  1. Great tips! I am loving this blog! What a gem!

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  2. I really enjoyed reading about your foraging trip. Where did you find these treats? I love to go for walks in my neighborhood, but mostly only nibble a few things hear and there. But when blackberries, plums and apples are in season, I can actually forage a decent amount. Today I nibbled on a few handfuls of sour cherries, thimble berries, and I picked a few sprigs of spearmint for tea.

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  3. Oh how I wish I could find some capers. They don't grow anywhere around my area. I did have something wild growing in my compost garden, I've seen you forage it on here but can't remember what it is. In the end it doesn't matter as a little brown bunny ate real good on it one morning last week and it's gone. I was happy he cleaned up my garden but saddened by the loss of this plant. Good news tho, it's coming back. Perhaps once I put my fence up then this plant will be safe.

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  4. I did not realise plantain seeds could be used in the same way as psyilium husk! I will be gathering some - there is a lot of plantain that grows on our property. Thanks!

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  5. This is by no means a criticism. But how do you know if a pear tree belongs to anyone? When I was little there was a a apple orchard behind our house. The owner at one time harvested and sold the apples. But when we were kids the apples were just on the trees until they fell to the ground and rotted. My parents were adamant we were not allowed to pick them (even off the ground) So all that fruit rotted for years. When I was a teen the government took some of the land for access to a highway they were building.My sisters and the neighbor girls finally had parental permission to pick the apples. But by then, the trees had been neglected for years and the fruit was small and wormy.We did make a pie or two. Even today, it strikes me as a shame. We were large families with not much money. My parents could buy us fresh fruit but I don't think the neighbor family could afford many luxuries.

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