Monthly Archives: June 2011

Forage!

Ok, I’ll admit I’ve been horrible about my posting frequency. I had hoped to do at least one a week, but when you’re in civ and have nothing to say relative to the stated topic of your blog you get a little lazy about it. That said…

I went on a forage walk with Green Deane from www.eattheweeds.com last Saturday. That was, in a word, awesome. I ate stuff I didn’t know was edible. For example, I ate American Elm, willow bark, some stuff that tasted exactly like horseradish, Wild Cucumber, Ilex Vomitoria, Saw Palmetto fruits, and a host of other things I can’t remember or identify just now. I will say that there are quite a few tasty things out there if one knows where to look.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • Wild Cucumber. Tastes just like the cultivated one in the grocery store, but is the size of a large jelly bean. They burst in your mouth like
    Fresh Burst chewing gum or a small tomato. Incredible. I’d have gathered a hatful in a heartbeat if there had been enough.
  • The horseradish-tasting seed. Good for a burst of flavor in an otherwise bland dish. Deane said it’s dried and ground and used like pepper, but we picked the seeds and munched them right there on the trail.
  • Ilex Vomitoria. It wasn’t the flavor that I liked, but that it contained caffeine and the fact that I had no trouble whatsoever keeping a small handful of the leaves down, nor did I get a jumpies like I can get on caffeine nowadays. I. Vomitoria did not live up to its name, thankfully!
  • Saw Palmetto fruit. It’s said that it tastes like “moldy cheese in tobacco water,” and “bleu cheese with Tabasco on it,” but apparently I taste things differently than some people. I didn’t taste anything like that at all – it wasn’t bad, in fact, it was a little tasteless for me.

If you’re in the Florida area or have watched any of Deane’s videos on youtube.com, I highly recommend taking a little walk.

One point of note which bothers me very much is the concept of owning anything and everything on a plot of land, especially otherwise unused land. The reason for this is that it makes many viable forage areas illegal to forage on. Yes, the plants thought of as weeds or garbage on that nearby unpolluted plot are in fact owned, and it’s illegal for you to gather them. It reminds me of the story of the food dancers in Daniel Quinn‘s My Ishmael. So much so that I have a sneaking hunch that this is exactly what he was talking about.

I’ll definitely be doing this walk again.

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