Foraging

Recently I bought The Little Veggie Patch Co’s guide to Backyard Farming.  It’s a beautifully inspirational book, to give me some basic ideas about when to plant what.  Each chapter shares ‘what to plant’, ‘what to harvest’, ‘what to cook’, an activity such as; growing plants from cuttings or making tomato sugo, and a ‘backyard farming how-to’, for example; keepings bees or herbal teas.

One of those backyard farming how-to’s, is the idea of foraging in the neighbourhood.  They suggest to trying an eating only foraged food for a day.  After watching so many episodes of River Cottage, I was excited to give it a go, maybe not a whole day but definitely try to forage a little more.

On our drive home from having a coffee with a friend, we stumbled across a dried up salt lake and having just run out of salt, this was the perfect time to begin our foraging adventure.

salt

We collected a full drink bottle of salt and as it was still a little wet, we put it into the food dehydrator over night to dry it out a little more.  Once it was dry enough, we put it into a plastic container and into the cupboard it went.

We have been using it on everything!

The second thing we foraged was samphire.  It’s a salty edible plant that grows along the coast.  My brother, who is an apprentice chef, claims he hates this stuff, it’s fiddly and the latest craze ingredient.  But I was interested to try anything that we could forage locally.

Samphire

So I picked a small sample of it, googling as I picked, to check that I had the right thing.  I was cautious of not knowing how to use it, or even of it being disgusting.  caramelised onion and potato pieJ had planned to cook this tart for dinner, using potatoes from the garden.  I was excited for him to add some samphire.  It was the perfect addition of salt to the dish.  If you look really hard you can see tiny spots of green, we were pretty apprehensive to add too much without knowing what it was like.  Next time we’ll definitely add more.

Have you ever foraged for ingredients?

 

17 thoughts on “Foraging

  1. I am always impressed to see what people can actually forage for. The only thing I have discovered is mulberries in the local park. It is generally a battle with the birds but I did manage to get a couple of jars of sauce so that was pretty good. Nice blog

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    1. Yeah we have heaps of lemon and lime around, but we also wouldn’t last a day. Just a nice thought really, but I’m definitely looking into more of what we can forage. I’m interersted to find out about mushroom finding.

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  2. Wow foraging sounds like so much work hehe 🙂 And i’ve never seen a salt lake before where you can scoop up your own salt ~ The only thing I’ve ever foraged was lemons in my mother’s garden 😛

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  3. Blackberries… There seems to be so many wild berries growing around Canberra its wonderful. Especially when they are so expensive, foraging is brilliant.

    How ingenious with the salt! ‘Good’ salt is so expensive I may have to seek out some salt lakes….

    I saw Hugh foraging samphire on River Cottage, is he your inspiration too?

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    1. We had so many blackberries where we were living before Portarlington, and I never picked one, can you believe it! I love River Cottage, maybe I need to purchase some of his seasons on tv, to get reminded to what things he comes across!

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  4. That’s fabulous Clare. I’ve never tried Samphire and always wanted to. I should really try and find my own shouldn’t I. Venturing into foraged salt is really inspiring as well.

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    1. Thanks! It was just really fun, we’ve actually nearly run out of salt again. I suppose it’s a case of when you have something so readily available, then you tend to use more of it.

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  5. Foraging can be difficult in Qld (well Brisbane anyway) as the climate doesn’t lend itself to an abundance of typically foraged food. No nuts, mushrooms, soft fruits etc Having said that, I’ve collected more than my fair share of mangoes.

    I went on a walk with Green Dean called ‘Eat Your Street’- he showed us lots of edible weeds which I wasn’t aware of. http://tiffinblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/eat-your-street-walk.html

    Best forage for me has been guavas at the bus stop.

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  6. We used to forage for blackberries when we were kids (though all we did was eat them on the spot), but that’s harder now that the Councils spray them as weeds :/
    I’ve been trying to work out whether I can get away with “foraging” seaweed from the beach to use as fertiliser…

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