Foraging

I've posted about my foraging trips many times before. There is a surprising amount of food along our highways and byways. Today was all about gathering something up.

We made a drive last night, three large reservoirs provide a lot of scenic shoreline. It was bright and hot. The air conditioner was well appreciated in my truck. Before we left, I grabbed this photo.

Several of you asked for a shot of the hammered copper hatband my brother made me. After I monkeyed with it, there is some shiny, some aged, and just a tiny bit of green patina. I wanted more green, but the clear coating turned most of it dark.

We spotted a surprising amount of both wild and feral fruit. I keep bags in my truck at all times for just such an event. We pulled over and filled a tiny mesh bag with beautiful blackberries right before the monsoon started. In fact right now, I'm sitting under the awning in the middle of another thunderstorm. I have my prickly pear lemonade beside me. If the awning retracts, I'm making a run for it.

We stashed our blackberries and finished our drive in the rain, making notes of what we spotted and where. We saw deer everywhere. This young mule deer buck stopped long enough for a quick photo. It's one of my crappy iPhone snaps, but you can see his small velvet covered antlers.

We spotted wild elderberries, choke cherries, plums, hawthorns, and the blackberries. I call the other stuff feral, because it isn't native, but there are quite a few loaded apple trees, and for the first time ever apricots. These likely originated from someone's discarded pit or apple core. It's too early for apples, choke cherries, and elderberries. It ought to be too early for wild plums, but it isn't. It ought to be too late for any apricots, but there are some decent ones left.

I learned my lesson long ago about taking home baskets full of this stuff. A jar of jelly is nice, as is the occasional bottle of syrup. Beyond that, I enjoy a few and leave the rest.

I'm intimately familiar with the tiny golden plums. Today I found a red variety I've never seen before. We're on the Oregon border, so it's a bit outside my usual orbit. The red ones looked like cherries, but cherries usually come on a monstrous tree. I thought they might be someone's feral pie cherrie. Nope, plums.

These things are like tiny balls of sugar, with a pit inside. I have to remind myself that the genus is prunus, and they effect me the same was as prunes. Still, a few make me happy. I grabbed a snack sized portion of everything that was ripe.

We stopped at a marina and bought a pint of vanilla ice cream. Those blackberries are headed there. The rest are snacks. Wild fruit isn't green grocer beautiful, and if you want perfect you should stick to your favorite market. It tastes wonderful, and if you're cooking with it, you probably won't care.

I could have filled my truck bed with this stuff, but why? A few snacks are enough for me. If I want a few more, they are waiting on the tree.

I wonder how hard it is to make an Asian plum sauce while camping. Could be the makings of a fun meal sometime.

 

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “Foraging

  1. You make me want to come along! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What bounty! Treasure indeed, lucky you! I completely agree with you philosophy of taking just what you need, and leaving the rest on the tree. Let the wild creatures feast on it! Life is tough enough for them already. And your hat looks fab! Love the copoer band! Enjoy your travels!

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  3. I love foraging. You could feed yourself if you really worked at it.

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  4. Apricots fresh from the tree? Mmm!

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  5. Nice haul. Never done any foraging, but I live in suburbia. Must be great to find food like that. Good luck finding a way to make Asian plum sauce. Love that stuff for stir fry.

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  6. Ooh! Pitted fruits are the best! I think pitted fruit is the best part of summer! *slurp*
    Thanks for showing the hat band! 🙂

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  7. Ahhh, so glad you’re having a good time. Wrong time of year, but I’d love that deer’s tenderloin in my freezer…..you bring back so many memories of growing up on the farm and raising my kids in the country. We had the little, sweet yellow and red plums (only I liked them a tad green with salt) growing on the banks of all the old red dirt roads. Huge dewberries and small blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and huckleberries depending on the time of year. And mulberries, if you could climb a tree. Jellies, jams and to eat with fluffy, soft, buttermilk biscuits.

    My daughter is in GA right now with her little ones. She was laughing on the phone last night about what wussies her kids are. She took them out to pick blackberries yesterday and the two and five year old cried about the thorns, the grass being too high, bugs, everything itching, the heat and were even scared to walk over the layers of magnolia leaves. She put the five year old in the big magnolia tree (blossoms as big as dinner plates in May) and she started whining about the bark scratching her and how scared she was to be so high off the ground (same little girl will climb the highest piece of playground equipment without a care). City kids.

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    • I never knew what beef was before I was ten. There was a lot of venison in our freezer. (I still prefer it.) Kids today will never survive the zombie apocalypse. I learned to identify all this stuff from elderly relatives.

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  8. I used to LOVE to pick and eat wild blackberries as a kid. I recently had a yen for them and bought some at the store. Not only were they MUCH larger than I remember, but they were GROSS! I was so disappointed! 😦 I don’t think my taste buds changed or my memory failed… I think they must have a different variety in stores. Any thoughts?

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  9. Love that hat band, Craig and what a haul you have from foraging. The apples are slowly growing on our tree, but they are no where near ready. I’ll be out collecting blackberries as soon as they appear too 🙂

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  10. Thanks for sharing, Craig. Love the idea of foraging–I was just out last night picking wild raspberries. I’ve almost got enough for a batch of jelly. Found some other berries, not sure what they are. I need to look them up. So hoping some are chokecherries. My mom used to make chokecherry jelly when I was a kid. Not so much other fruit around here, but lots of plants that are edible, like lamb’s quarters, purslane, and nettle.

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  11. Driving through backroads of eastern Washington, 20 years ago, we saw food everywhere along the road–giant onions, turnips, carrots, potatoes, apples, beets–beets by the hundreds–strewn on narrow asphalt local routes amidst the wheat dunes in such amounts that one would need a pickup truck to collect and carry it. Eventually we saw why: mountains of produce in open trucks, harvested and on the way from field to processing.

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    • We get that here too. We are allowed to glean fields after the harvest, but I’ve never done it. Several large charities have gotten access to everything handy. You get to work all day harvesting remains for someone else. I’m only interested in a couple nice onions or potatoes for the table.

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  12. This is so cool! You should teach one of those summer courses for people who like to forage.

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  13. Amazing. all we have on the island is prickly pear.

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