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dankphishin

Foraging for favorites

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I have been foraging a lot. Partly at least due to being broke, but I miss it from childhood. I have so far gorged on dandelions (I love bitter so they are great) violets, and most recently garlic mustard greens. I live in super suburbs and most of what i find is too close to the road or in placest that may have been sprayed, but if I have energy i ride my bike a mile or so to where there is some wilder land.

Garlic mustard is intresting. I put it in a spinach and cheese souffle and that was my fave so far. I have also been "foraging" peach leaves and making some vin de peche, which is glorious and tastes like spring. Foraging is not the right word, stealing from my neighbors tree is what it really is. Same with the mint I get that has overgrown the front porch of a local restaurant.

I am dying to find some more stuff, and I have a local mulberry tree pegged for later on. Also hoping to make some dandelion wine.

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I "foraged" in the yard today for nasturtium seed pods. The first image is about a cup of the pods along with the debris of stems and petals. The second image is of the pods in a salt and water brine set to soak uncovered for a day. Will resoak again depending on how sharp the bite is versus the flavor tomorrow. Then they will get a hot vinegar bath with a touch of sugar. Anybody else pickle these? They are compared to capers. I love them in a caponata when the eggplant and tomatoes are at their peak. Of course they lend a unique accent in the same applications as capers in so many dishes.

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Yajna, can you talk a bit more about making vin de pêche? It sounds great (and my parents have a peach tree!)

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I used the recipe on David Leibovitz.com.. it was a bottle of red wine, with about 40 peach leaves soaked in it for a week. Then you add sugar and some brandy. You drink it as an apperitf over ice, and it was so good!

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Went out scouting, the blueberries are starting. Early for here and it looks like it's going to be a good year. I'd say another week and they'll really be jumping.

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Went out scouting, the blueberries are starting. Early for here and it looks like it's going to be a good year. I'd say another week and they'll really be jumping.

I bought blueberries from the side of the road a couple of days ago - saw a whole lot of people selling them on the way to Sudbury yesterday. Must be a really good year here.

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Went out scouting, the blueberries are starting. Early for here and it looks like it's going to be a good year. I'd say another week and they'll really be jumping.

I bought blueberries from the side of the road a couple of days ago - saw a whole lot of people selling them on the way to Sudbury yesterday. Must be a really good year here.

I hope so. I hate those years when you have to plod around in the heat and bugs for 2 hours or more to get one bucket.

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Is this early for Ontario? Last year I was picking blueberries in NB in the first week of August and I was still about a 1-2 weeks too early.

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It's a little early for the part of Ontario where I live assuming I'm not wrong and can start the serious picking within the next week.

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A came upon a good quantity of lobster mushrooms. Although they are not uncommon, it's very rare for me to get at them before the slugs do, so I've never picked them before. I fried up a few in butter and they were pretty good, but not particularly distinctive. Any favourite preparations?

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We ended up making a mushroom risotto with the lobsters, which was pretty tasty. The mushrooms themselves are fairly mild but have a nice firm texture. This time of the year, I've moved on to better fodder.

Chicken of the woods

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Also, while we were out we saw several giant swallowtail caterpillars on a prickly ash bush. Normally they just look like bird droppings but when you touch them they rear up a snake-like osmeterium, which apparently releases some pretty foul odour.

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No apples for us this year, after last year's amazing bounty. However, a bumper crop of wild grapes...more than I can use. Grape jelly is the result.

Out on our perimeter walk this morning, we saw several puffballs, still small, and we'll watch them for picking this coming week. Ed loves puffball fried in butter. I freeze the extra for a variety of mushroom uses during the year.

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Blueberries and chanterelles are nuts this year. I've been using chanterelles like the lady in the Frank's commercial uses the hot sauce... I put that *bleep* in everything.

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It's still too early for picking, of course, but this is going to be another fantastic apple year. Our farm has apple trees all over it.

Oh, it's not an apple farm...they escaped from the first houses built here. We are a hemp farm.


Edited by Darienne (log)
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Apparently elderberries grow around my area (central Texas), but I don't trust myself to forage correctly. Add that to the fact that the inedible parts of the plant are poisonous...

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After a few hikes that left me empty-handed expect for some wild sage, I finally found elderflowers and made a syrup/cordial. It's the end of the season though, and most of the elders are no longer in bloom. I will try to come back in a few weeks for the berries.

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We are getting heat now so the wild fennel will be finishing in the canyons. I keep reading about the loveliness of fennel pollen. Is this captured from the wild variety or from the domesticated garden one? Have any of you collected it, and do you have tips?

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Heidi - I was in a restaurant in Santa Barbara recently and they had just picked a few wild fennel flowers (the smallest flowers) and sprinkled them on a cucumber soup I believe. I thought that was a great idea. It was pretty and delicious.

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How is your vegetable garden doing? Depending on where you are, many areas may just be warm enough to have your seeds germinate. It will be many more weeks before anything is ready for the kitchen.

 

I have been harvesting daylily shoots for a couple of weeks now. Many parts of daylily are edible, and are commonly used in many parts of the world. The shoots and young stems are very tender and mild tasting, kind of like white asparagus. They are very prolific perennials. The more I cut, the more they grow. They are completely happy in shade and need no care whatsoever.

 

Do you forage?

 

dcarch

 

Braised Cod on Daylily Shoots.

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I haven't tried the shoots--the flower buds are very tasty.  I have a big asparagus bed, so most of my foraging has been confined to that.  I did find a couple of shiitake mushrooms on my mushroom log this spring.

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I can smell morel mushrooms growing somewhere out here--lots and lots of ground to search and I haven't done it yet.  My asparagus is going great guns.  

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Have to try the Day Lily shoots.  If there is one thing which we have around the farmhouse in great profusion, it's Day Lilies.  Never heard of this before.  Thanks.

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Day lily bulbs are well-known in Chinese cuisine.  The dried flower buds of day lilies are even more widely known and used; known as "kum chum" in Cantonese, used extensively in Chinese cuisine.  I've shown the use of them in many of my dishes posted here on eG.

 

But as for foraging from my backyard - that is limited to what  had planted beforehand, inclusive of either herbs or vegetables.  Does that fall under your rubric of "Foraging", or does your use of the term apply largely to plants that "happen" to come up and are/were not specifically planted to be harvested?  (I suppose dandelion greens for salads would qualify, then, although I have not done it - and I have plenty of dandelions available)


Edited by huiray (log)
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Of course, huiray.  How stupid of me.  :raz:   I've never connected the day lilies that I buy in the local Asian grocery to make Hot and Sour Soup with the Day Lilies which grow around the house.

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