Wild Food All Around


| 10/24/2013 7:59:00 AM


Tags: Wild, food, dandelion, hawthorn, juniper, rosehip, elderberry, medlar, sorrel, sloe, Ireland, hedgerow, fat hen,

Brian KallerAll food was wild once, and all the vegetables in rows at the grocers were bred over centuries from what we now call weeds. Their most promising pieces were swelled and sweetened, made fleshy or fertile, or otherwise transformed to fit our tastes.

Yet tastes change with each generation; look how swiftly the perfectly white eggs of supermarkets were replaced by brown ones, with an identical taste but a trendy “natural” image. The centuries have done the same to our crops, leaving behind legions of purple carrots, blue potatoes and other victims of our whims.

In the last century, moreover, we have shipped more and more food across the planet, so that rows of Australian maize or Moroccan tomatoes can fill shelves in Iowa or Scotland. Our crops had to be bred to stand out as consumer products and yet survive the journey, leading to the massive sizes and cardboard flavours of supermarket produce.  The “fresh vegetables” most of us grew up with were, typically, nothing of the kind.  

Genuinely fresh and wild food still exists all around us, though, and this time of year the Irish hedgerows create a vertical salad bar of fruits, nuts, leaves and berries. Many wild plants are edible and few were bred into groceries, and even those that were domesticated can still be found in their original form – which often tastes better, as anyone knows who has tasted a wild strawberry.

nebraskadave
10/25/2013 8:53:23 AM

Brian, great post reminder about foraging. The best place by far to forage in my area is along the abandoned railroad beds. A plethora of different things seem to grow along the banks of the railroad beds. Another thing that is easily foraged here in Nebraska is the Mulberry. The tree literally will grow just about any where and does. Even places it's not wanted. The fruit can be used for many different things and every year I have full intentions to harvest the berries to make jelly but being as they are not ripe until the end of June, summer activities just get in the way. Thanks for some great tips about foraging. ***** Have a great Fall foraging day.


nebraskadave
10/24/2013 1:36:08 PM

Brian, great post reminder about foraging. The best place by far to forage in my area is along the abandoned railroad beds. A plethora of different things seem to grow along the banks of the railroad beds. Another thing that is easily foraged here in Nebraska is the Mulberry. The tree literally will grow just about any where and does. Even places it's not wanted. The fruit can be used for many different things and every year I have full intentions to harvest the berries to make jelly but being as they are not ripe until the end of June, summer activities just get in the way. Thanks for some great tips about foraging. ***** Have a great Fall foraging day.





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