Update on Oregon Grapes

 

Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium)Ok I just had to share this, remember not long ago I said I collected the last of my grandfathers massacred Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium)  well I just tasted them n they are absolutely amazing…. I sun dried them on the dash on my van n half are fully dried n half a semi dried the fully dried ones are like a spice with an unusual earthy smoked flavor I can imagine them in with my jade salt mix so I will grind them up n add to that. The semi dried ones are one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted!! they just explode in your mouth they are intensely tart but sweet similar to semi dried cranberries but I think better. Wow how I wish I had gotten more ov them…… 

Wild Rose Hips 4 Tea

Wild Rose Hips (Rosa rubiginosa)

If is a gorgeous day today so I strolled down the road to pick some wild rose hips (Rosa rubiginosa) I’m going to just dry these n store them so I can add them to herbal teas as I like, they keep for ages n the drying intensifies their beautiful flavor. I’m not sure if I have shared my nifty tea secret with you before so I will again anyway just encase I didn’t, you will notice I make a lot of jams, I don’t eat them in the traditional way on bread or toast well if I have a nice sourdough I will every now n then but I mostly put a spoon full ov jam into my herbal teas to replace the honey I would normally have.
Making jam is a great way to preserve fruits ov all sorts for long periods ov time n it gives your teas a fruity sweetness which makes them all the more special 🙂
Oh the other thing I have been doing is drying mums fresh parsley (Petroselinum crispum) n making parsley n bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) salt, it is as simple as it sounds, dry bay leaves n parsley crush up n add to salt give a good shake n that’s it you can use this in cooking or just as a seasoning on your food, it is very good.

Farwell’s to the valley n Foraged Bounties

Ok I had my mums car yesterday so I decided I would head up the valley to say goodbye to a friend n see my father n grandfather one more time before I leave n maybe just maybe do some foraging on the way to fill the stores before I leave. Surprisingly I ended up with quite a big haul, I went with the intention ov gathering Hawthorn berries n rose hips but ended up with a lot more, on the way I called into the Bushy Park show grounds n in the distance I could see promising bright green patches lying in the low lands in the dappled shade of the weeping willow trees (Salix babylonica) one of my favorite trees, when I got closer I could see a lot of hemlock (Conium maculatum) n my heart sank but on closer inspection I could see there were many young edible plants among the hemlock so I carefully picked what I wanted trying not to touch the hemlock to much as it is very toxic if you have server reactions to hemlock I dont suggest to do this ok.
The plants I gathered all together are as follows-  Hawthorn berries (Crataegus monogyna), plantain (Plantago lanceolata), puha (Sonchus sp.), prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola), fat hen (Chenopodium album), mustard greens (Brassica juncea), Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) crab apples n wild apples (Malus sp.). 

Foraged bounty

Ok I’m going to crush n ferment the crab apples n make a wild fermented cider then let it turn into vinegar, I have made the cider before n I love it it is going to be very hard to leave it alone to turn to vinegar but I really want to see how the vinegar will taste so I have to be good n not touch it other than sipping to check how it is progressing that is 😉
I’m drying all the other greens except the fat hen which I’m eating fresh, as usual I will dry n powder the puha n mustard greens for later use but two first’s for me are I’m going to dry the plantain to make a balm later which I will share when done n I’m going to put the dried prickly lettuce into my sleepy time tea as it is known as a sedative.
Now I want to show you guys the difference between the puha n prickly lettuce now I have them together like this, see pic’s below

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) leaf comparison FRONT

Puha (Sonchus sp.) n Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) leaf comparison BACK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok as you can see the puha on the rite is smooth n the prickly lettuce as the name suggests on the left is very prickly funny that a, jokes aside they are also a completely different shape n I couldn’t find any good pictures on line showing them side by side so there you go.

Now to the Hawthorns wild apples hot relish yummmmmm, I cooked for a few hour today n ended up with a scrumptious relish to take with me, you can just use any relish recipe n replace some ov or all ov the tomatoes in the recipe with the hawthorn pulp, mine is onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, curry powder, chilly flakes n spices, this is all fried off then I add the hawthorn pulp n stewed wild apples, vinegar n lemon juice then I simmer this until the onions are all tender then I add raw sugar n boil until thick then bottle. Also I’m drying a heap as you can see in picture with jam below I intend on putting them in my herbal teas.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) n wild apple hot relish.

The Guelder rose is another first for me I spotted it when travelling up for my last visit but forgot to stop n check them out on the way back out ov the valley but I didn’t forget this time. I pulled ova n with my scissors I snipped off the bunches I could reach they were hanging over the fence of someone yard n I was parked on a precarious corner on the road so I had to be quick.

Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) berries
I managed a small basket full enough to experiment with, I wasn’t exactly sure which species I had n I had read one was better tasting than the other so I was hoping for the better one obviously but I think I lucked out with this lot, the difference is hard to distinguish n most say taste is the best indicator one is bitter n one is tart plus what made it harder with these is I think the ones I picked weren’t completely ripe. Unfortunately upon biting into a lovely looking red orange juicy berry I soon realized I didn’t have to nice tart tasting one which is Viburnum trilobum or high bush cranberry, sounds good a, well I had the Viburnum opulus the less desirable one of the two but this didn’t deter me from experimenting with it, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to make a jam n see how it taste now I had them anyway.
It is bitter but it is nowhere near as bitter as rowan berries (Sorbus aucuparia) that people manage to eat n I have tried several times but I just couldn’t stand there bitterness.
I added Chinese five spice, chillie n lemon juice to the fruit pulp to mask some ov the bitterness n I think it worked well, it isn’t one I would be gagging at the bit to make each year but I like it it is unusual n definitely worth making if they  are around for something different that is if you like bitter taste which I do.
well that’s it for this one hopefully I will get another blog in before I go I’m hoping for rose hips. 🙂

Summer in2 Autmun in Maydena

Ok visiting the family in my old home town has been good for the pantry, I was hoping the black berries would be ready n I bought raw sugar n vinegar just encase to make jam n syrup. On the way up the valley I noticed some fruit on my favorite plum tree n stopped to grab what I thought was a handful to eat n I ended up with a basket full about 6 or 8 kg, they are so sweet n if I had the time to dry them n put them in a sugar syrup I would prepare them like that, it is my favorite way n they last for ages but no time so plum hot sauce it is.

foraged goodies, Maydena, Autumn
Now I will tell you the sad story first when I got back to my grandfathers I thought oh I will go see if there is any Oregon grapes (Mahonia aquifolium) left n one of my uncles had decided to whipper snip the whole garden bed back to virtually nothing they had been completely massacred…. I have no idea why someone would do this, they had taken many years to grow n fruit, I was very upset but I managed to scrounge some berries off the ground n off some of the dead cutting that were left stuck in the bushes, I will dry these n put them in my herbal tea as they are partly sun dried already, such a shame 😦

Later on I went looking for nettle (Urtica dioica) with dad around his property to no avail but I scoured a heap ov yummy goodies from my old yard, there had been a bit ov rain in between my visits so there was self seeded rocket (Eruca sativa) everywhere, young plantain (Plantago lanceolata), fat hen (Chenopodium album), sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) n some gorgeous young Puha (Sonchus sp.) I will mix all the green together n make a mixed salad to use over the next few days n dry the rest.
The elderberry (Sambucus nigra) hedge I had put in the season before I left has grown up nicely n they had some fruit on so I picked this as well, there was a small amount of horse radish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) that I put in the plum hot sauce along with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, horse radish, vinegar, raw sugar, chilly flakes, curry powder, paprika n the plums.

Also from my old yard we got some white fleshed nectarines not quite ripe, I’m hoping they will ripen before going moldy. On the way back dad n I picked a bucket ov blackberries n I this morning I cooked everything up, I ended up with 8 jar ov jam, 8 bottles of syrup, 5 bottles of plum hot sauce n heaps ov greens, so I am well stoked up now for my travels n I’m still hoping to make a heap of Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) sauce before I leave, I will pick these on the way to my next destination then I will be back with a blog then.

Sorry about this picture, it is shocking but it was under my grandfathers patio n it has clear yellow roofing so it looks a weird color n it isn’t focused properly, I didn’t realize it had come out like this until after I had processed stuff.