Wow! I wasn't sure I was going to have another go at foraging, but it seemed---yes! the auspices were in the wind! and they were of foraging!
On both days, they were really mini-foraging adventures.
On the first day, I decided to take a long walk home after an appointment. When I mean a long walk, I'm talking 1-1 1/2 hours long!
On my route, I was walking along the same street where Appley Love Field is located. It's a really LONG street, BTW. And what did I suddenly see, hanging over the fence that barred the way of anyone trespassing onto the train tracks? Wild Grape vines. TONS of Wild Grapes.
I noticed the stems were red, so I continued to walk along. Then, I picked up one and took a taste. Not bad. It is late October, mind you, so the next few that I took were not that great tasting, kinda moldy. Some of them were dried already, some were mushy, some fresh and aaah, just right. Mmm!
I got a few looks from the construction men who were in the process of repairing the opposite side of the street. I might have stopped to collect the Grapes to make a delish grape jelly and grape jelly candies, but I didn't have my clippers and I wasn't too keen at that particular moment of being eye-balled as a weirdo. Or forager. Or anything.
Nope, I was tired and just wanted to be left to myself...Well, you know how moods are. They come and go, like the wind!!
I then spotted a few Vetch flowers, so rare to be seen this late in the fall season. Mmm, they weren't sweet, but made a nice contrast against the sweet-tartness of the Grapes. It made me happy to have such FREE food right there, right for the picking!!
I continued to walk along the street, having oodles of Wild Grape vines draped over the fence for company, dazzling me with their fruits. Naturally, I partook of many more Grapes! Then I came to a tree that called to me. A baby Cedar tree, I think, with her little brown seeds growing on her leaves. She told me to try some of her leaves and I was most thankful, because the medicine in her leaves (thujone) counter-balanced the sweetness of the Grapes. I took a few of her leaves, but really needed my clippers. I told her I'd come back to see her. And her friend growing right beside her. They were both so sweet, such a loving energy. Interestingly, that link for the Cedar tree says the inner bark is edible and the medicinal actions of the leaves & twigs are many, including being antiseptic, anti-cancer, pulmonary and emmenagogue. Medicine is in the trees! :)
Did you know trees are living entities? Oh yes. They've spoken to many a-person, just as plants and rocks do. Gotta be willing to listen to what they have to say. Nope, it's not just poppy-talk or crock-pot-silly-happy stuff. St Francis was reported to have talked to trees and plants and they would tell him their secrets about what medicine they could offer to humans. Interestingly, all of his assertions were confirmed by scientific studies. And many others have similar stories to tell...
I also met a tree that had these long, brown, banana-shaped pods.When you shook them, you heard their seeds rattling inside. I'm not a tree expert and wasn't sure what type of tree it was. My intention had been to eat the seeds, but I wasn't sure if they were edible.
After some research, however, I think it could be a cultivated, thornless Honey Locust Tree. <- This vid shows the tree, the pinnate leaves and the black pods, which appear in the autumn, The tree is often planted by cities (such as Toronto) to offer shade, to counterbalance the carbon monoxide from cars and to fix nitrogen in the soil (being in the legume family). The pods look like Carob, however, their is some contention about whether the seeds are edible.
I decided to put the few I collected in the compost, oopsy! Now I'd like to go back to check out those seed pods again, and to get those Wild Grapes and more Cedar leaves and twigs---and this time bring along my pruners ;) I should just carry them with me everywhere. And some paper bags. And some plastic bags, maybe a shovel and...too easy to get carried away!
Those Cedar Trees made me think I should go about looking for Spruce and Pine Needles, also high in medicine, making great antiseptic teas...Hope the weather holds out nice for this week, if I want to make one last go before the real cold is here to stay for the next several months...
I then made a little trip into a vintage store, then passed by Appley Love Field on my walk home. I didn't go in. I was tired and wanted to go home to have a bite to eat! Mmm, just love squash, all varieties, so good, yummy yum :)
On the next foraging day, Day 2, to be honest, I was happy that I hadn't collected Wild Grapes after all.
My fridge is stocked with Crabapples, and is, in a word, cramped! I could really use another fridge, I confess. And a bigger freezer.
I still have tons of Crabapple juice I made, and there is only so much room!
Anyway, I collected a large paper bag full of rose hips. The hips seemed mushy, and reminded me of when I had gone to Appley Love Field and found the same mushiness had occurred with some of the Crabapples. It was the cold snap we had, I know.
When I got home, I realized that I had brought home several spider friends along. Oh boy.
I left the bag outside overnight, hoping the spiders would leave and find new homes.
And what was interesting was that a squirrel had come to investigate the contents of the bag. He took a Rose Hip and I saw him spit it out! Well, I know there are hairy bits and full of seeds inside, plus they can be tart, but it got me thinking...
When I took the bag inside, I started to go through the Rose Hips. One. By. One. It was a long process, but I realized that many of the hips were moldy. I'd say I kept slightly more than half, and the other I gave back to the earth, into the compost bin.
As I was going through them, yes, one by one, I was using my nose to smell each one. If you have a sensitive sense of smell, it can be a real boon in the field of aromatherapy and herbs :)
Some of the Rose Hips smelled like a rose still, and those ones I took off the hairy bits and put in a mason jar to make a Rose Hip Oil. Some of them smelled like ripe fruit, some of them had a sour smell and of them had a fermented smell. I put all those (minus the hairy bits) in the crock pot to make juice. Any that looked OK but smelled moldy I put in the compost.
I realize this might seem rather silly, but it was a good training-in-the-moment that happened to me that I thought I'd share...for others and for future reference! The nose knows :) :)
To make Rose Hip juice or broth, you simply cover the chopped fruit (I pulse chop in a food processor) with water, adding in 1-2 inches more water to cover. Let cook on Low 8-10 hours, then strain using a nut milk bag. If you want to include the pulp, like a Rose Hip "applesauce," then pulse it first in a food processor, and pass it through a food mill.
In my last diary post, I think I mentioned how I use a nut milk bag to collect the juice from the crabapples and how I use a food mill to make applesauce. It's really the same thing, they both remove the seeds. The difference is that the nut milk bag filters out the pulp while the food mill doesn't.
With the Rose Hip juice, you can then add it smoothie recipes, to baked goods to sweeten them, or make jello or jelly candies...
I made a batch of candies using half Crabapple and half Rose Hip juice--- sweetened with sweetie stevia, of course! It was a nice combination. I was going to make candies with just the Rose Hip juice, but I found this particular batch lacking in taste.
Speaking of Rose Hip Oil, I had said that I would give an update about it. In other words, it has been 6 weeks since I infused the Rose Hips in 1- walnut oil and 2- avocado oil. I found the one with the walnut oil much richer in texture, however I found that the berries had a slight smell since I had also crushed some of them. To both of them, I added in several capsules of Vitamin E, and to the one that had the slight fermented smell, I added in more Vitamin E oil. I'm also storing both my oils in the kitchen cupboard as opposed to the bathroom, although I have heard that some keep this Vitamin C-rich oil in the fridge. Yup, my fridge is full, and it's really not pleasant putting a cold oil on your face in the middle of a -20C winter morning. Yes, the cupboard it is!
For the new batch of Rose Hip Oil I made, I used just olive oil, organic and first pressed. I've used that in the past with great results. I use the oil directly on my face, however I am sure you could add melted shea butter, mango butter, etc. and turn this into a "proper" facial cream. I like the simple method :) And it works for me :)
Well, that's about it for now. Keep shining bright, no matter the weather conditions, sunshine ;)
P.s. A few pics for your viewing pleasure...
Curiosity Got The Cat: