Foraging

My friend Matt met up with me, and we went to Quyen’s place to pick up her camera:

Matt and Quyen

Matt and Quyen

From there, we went on a walk. I had to stop at the library on the way and check the weblog to look over some pictures.

Matt in front of the library

Matt in front of the library

He didn't want to go to the library

He didn't want to go to the library

… but we did

… we continued on our journey. We walked East across campus, until we were next to the Power Plant, where there are all sorts of wild edibles growing.

Matt takes a picture of me without my permission

Matt takes a picture of me without my permission


At the end of the stretch along the power plant was sumac, planted as a hedge. In the distance, along the
bike path were trees with blackberries, which I picked a lot of earlier in the season.

Sumac, in the distance a park with blackberries

Sumac, in the distance a park with blackberries

Sumac is really tart, and high in nutrients like Vitamin C. A couple days before I had picked some, and as
outlined in the weblog on foraging, I soaked them overnight, and added sugar. The result was wonderful…

Sumac berries

Sumac berries

Since I had already picked the berries, and they were already filled with some kind of weird insect, I left them and continued to take pictures of what might have been other edibles:

Elderberries?

Elderberries?

There was also some cattail in the ditches, but I wasn’t sure if it was mature or a different species than what was in the blog.

In any case, we walked back to the street I lived on, where there were some big acorn trees.

the acorn tree

the acorn tree

There was an enormous amount of acorns, and they were falling as we were picking them, enough to fill a tote bag. Many fell on the street, where they were being brushed along the edge of the curb and crushed by cars.

a nice gradient of crushed acorns along the curb

a nice gradient of crushed acorns along the curb

There was actually quite a bit of lambsquarters growing right where we were picking.
When we were done, we went back to my place and before we started shelling acorns, I transplanted some lambsquarters into my garden. It’s quite backwards transplanting what are considered weeds.

lambsquarters growing where i was gathering

lambsquarters growing where i was gathering

lambsquarter transplanted next to other weeds and garden failures

lambsquarter transplanted next to other weeds and garden failures

We shelled the acorns, chopped them finely, and boiled out the tannins.
I finished the shelling over the next couple days, drying the boiled acorns, and grinded it into flour in a coffee grinder. I used it as a subtitute for cornmeal. I pulled it out of the oven a little too early, and so it was undercooked. It tasted okay, but the important thing was that I knew it could be done, and how to do it.

shelled acorns

shelled acorns

pouring out the boiled chopped acorns to be dried

pouring out the boiled chopped acorns to be dried

cornbread made to compare

cornbread made to compare

acorn bread

acorn bread

another picture thrown in for good measure

another picture thrown in for good measure

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tushar on October 8, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    great post man, the pictures are great. I can’t remember, but wasn’t there a plan at some point to make a map of places where you could find free food around Ames?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Nitin on October 8, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    thanks dewd.
    yeah, we’ve done that a little – my friend Sue did a Google map with fruit trees/shrubs a while ago. I think I added to it a little…
    I think I should dig it up. Kind of forgot about that. Thanks for the idea.
    I wonder though if people really started getting into foraging like this (it’s actually easy, practical and fun), things would get picked dry. That’s bad for people and for the birds (i think we should leave some for animals, like maybe the stuff that’s more out of reach)
    I seriously doubt that would happen though, as really very few people at this point are interested. Plus, maybe the more people are interested, the more will be planted…

    Reply

  3. [...] them individually, ground them in a coffee grinder to make flour, and made bread out of it (see foraging). It was a demonstration in why people in various environments also had to take up cooking – [...]

    Reply

  4. [...] I am also going to go at what may be left with foraging, and see if I can partner with someone like I did last time. [...]

    Reply

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