Friday, July 3, 2009

Garden Sprawl Friday

I said in my last Garden Sprawl post that I was going to do a post on kiwifruit, but it can wait.

On Wednesday, Canada Day, I was in the woods and saw lots of the berries ripening, and while I ate some, I came back Thursday to do some foraging. Mainly the red huckleberries (click on any photo to enlarge),

and some Indian Plums:

I may have tried red huckleberries before, but I'm sure yesterday was my first time trying Indian Plum, or Osoberry. It's not a real plum, but has a stone like one. The Latin is Oemleria cerasiformis. It's a native shrub here along the pacific west coast, and is the first to bloom in early spring, with lime green, lance-shaped leaves. In the cold, stripped woods you will see these green bursts opening like lots of stars. They are followed by white/green hanging dioecious flowers, the female flowers smelling nice, the male ones smelling not so nice. The flowers are followed of course by the fruit.

The taste of them is definitely wild, not in the extravagant sense of the word, but you know it's from the woods. They have a watery kind of intense sweetness and with a certain other flavour that seems for a second to be just a little too much until it suddenly dissipates.

I could eat them, but I'm not going to be claiming every one that I see, like I do with thimbleberries:

The red huckleberry bush that I did most of my picking from was in a swampy region, and fortunately there was a big moss covered rotting log with ferns growing out of it that I could stand on to get to the very top of the bush. A bird perched itself somewhere close by and poured out all manner of profanity on my head as I harvested. I left a good deal on the bush for the birds.

Thursday was my night to make dinner, and there's something about bringing a bit of wild food in from the woods together with the other food you are preparing, some of it from the garden.

I pulled a bunch of carrots

and a bunch of pacific scallions,

the ones that form these little bulbs that can be made into sweet pickled onions. These went with some new potatoes from the store around a pork roast. I pulled some beet thinnings, the leaves of which went with the romaine, some scallions, some carrots, some red huckleberries, and some orange pepper into a salad. The new roots of the beet thinnings I didn't waste but threw in with the vegetables around the roast and olive oil.

The red huckleberries,

were cooked down and slightly sweetened into a sauce that went on top of ice cream for dessert.

A little searching and time in the woods. A back garden. One roast. Good grub.

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