Endings n New Berries Discoveries.

Ok guys sorry haven’t blogged for awhile I had to drop everything n head north as a sista ov mine was dying but I was lucky enough to just arrive in time to say my good byes n hold her hand as she physically passed once the machine was turned off n I was very glad to be there for her family at that time, so big luv to my sista n I thank you for all the food knowledge you passed to me x.

Ok so whilst up in the tropics again I did manage some foraging mostly purslane (Portulaca oleracea) coconuts and wild passion fruits (Passiflora foetida) to the delight of my friends which loved the foraged food experience.  I spent a couple weeks with friends in Melbourne before coming back to trouwunna n Jess n I managed to foraged more purslane several different species of mint for fresh mint tea, heaps of fat hen (Chenopodium album) and a few others I can’t think of of the top of my head rite now. It was very very dry in Melbourne so it was hard going there wasn’t much around at all but we managed to get something most outings.

Now I am back in trouwunna n before I rushed off I had made yellow plum leathers my favorite leathers see below.
Yellow plum fruit leathers

Now to the new berries, how exiting I love things that are new to me. Whilst visiting my grandfather before I left the state I noticed the mohonia or Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium) were ripe on the two bushes my grandmother had in the garden, I have known about these for years but never been in the rite place at the rite time for them so I managed to pick a small bowl full that I took back to were I was staying and I cooked them up like any other jam but it set really hard like a tough candy so I don’t have pic’s of this I can’t get it out of the jar but I have picture of the gorgeous fruits. I really like the flavor of these wish they were more abundant here.

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) The next new berry for me is the mirror bush berry (Coprosma repens) I have know about these for awhile to, actually I have known about all three for awhile but just never got around to experimenting with them, the mirror berries are one of those plants were I’m having to go every second day and collect the ripe berries as they are in many cluster along the tip of the end of the branches n ripen at different stages but that’s ok because I’m parked at my friends place just two blocks up the road n so far I have managed the short walk every other day to pick them, I am putting the ones I pick in the freezer until I have enough to play with, exiting…..

Mirror bush berries (Coprosma repens)

Lastly the prickly pyracanthus berries (Pyracantus sp.) also known as firethorn, I tickled off the ripe berries placed them in a pot covered with water and simmered until tender I then mashed them so the flesh separated from the seeds you don’t want to eat the seeds as these contains amounts of arsenic like other Rosaceae species such as apples it isn’t a huge concern unless consumed in large amounts but I think it will be less bitter as well so it is a taste thing as well. Once mashed I strained them by pushing the pulp through a stainless steel strainer I put this seedless pulp back in the pot added salt, pepper, chilly flakes, garlic, vinegar and a small amount of cornflour to thicken the liquid I then boiled rapidly then bottled. The flavor is tart n appley with a hint of bitterness which isn’t unpleasant, I really like it it is similar to hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) n they are in the same family n they have a similar method of preparation, the pyracanthus berries are more tart and not quite as mealy as hawthorns they are definitely worth a try I will be using them in the future as they are a prolific fruiter and everywhere here in trouwunna/Tasmania.
Firethorn berries (Pyracanthus sp.) n sauce.

I’m sitting here writing this blog enjoying a fresh lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) tea with birch twigs n trouwunna tea tree honey or Manuka honey if you are kiwi. I have a new found appreciation for the good old lemon balm after studying up on her a bit more she is a very powerful medicinal plant so I intend to partake in more of her healing benefits into the future I have never really loved lemon balm she isn’t my favorite lemon flavored plant lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) n lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) are and I took her for granted but no more I have sincerely apologized n respect her now as she deserves. I’m sure she healed the cold sore in the corner of my eye n I got my friend Nat to use a cold lemon balm tea on her face n lips when they were red n inflamed n she said it really helped her.

The birch twigs are lovely they remind me of fall in my home town as most of the fall trees there were birches it has a slight sweetness that reminds me of maple syrup also and I assume it would be more similar to birch syrup of which my first attempt was a big fat fail anyway you should try it it is as easy as picking up fallen branches, breaking them up adding to water and simmering for a couple of minutes in a pot.

Well that’s it for now I am not mobile once again so not sure when I will get to do any real major foraging until I fix this van or get towed to somewhere else for a change in habitat but until then cheers n enjoy 🙂

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