Foraging is in.
It’s hot and hip and happening.
It’s on the up and up and it’s trending right now.
Take a look at D.O.M in Brazil listed as the 4th best restaurant in the world and Noma in Copenhagen rated no 1 best restaurant in the world last year “Taking nature’s bounty to new levels”. They both work with indigenous ingredients.
Slow Foods are taking it seriously. The Ark of Taste is documenting it globally.
Locally check out this “West Coast odyssey” blog
This wonderful lady is even doing it in the city, check out her pavement foraging
Dr Renata Coetzee and of course the one and only Margaret Roberts (my hero) have some amazing recipes.
Here is an extract I found on Google Books from “Stories that Float from Afar: Ancestral Folklore of the San of Southern Africa” edited by J.D. Lewis-Williams: “Plant food or veldkos, as it is known in Southern Africa, was gathered principally, though not exclusively, by women. According to local conditions, veldkos comprised of edible roots, berries, nuts, grass seeds and so forth.” When I used to search for veldkos on the internet, there was a smattering of entries, but now it’s all over Google. At last! *Happiness* Here is a great link explaining more about veldkos as well as some local restaurants that cook with indigenous ingredients
We forage regularly at home to enhance our meals. Whether it is seaweed, wild mushrooms, indigenous plants, or even harvesting our garden vegetables, we always try to have something fresh in our meals.
I never used to forage. I used to shop mindlessly in the supermarkets, buying at will, regardless of the season. Since moving and living here I have become aware of what is readily available among the wild plants that grow in the area, how to prepare them and how exquisite all the flavours are. Before I lived here I would walk with half open eyes, enjoying the fresh air and commenting on all the pretty flowers. Now when we go for walks, I have become like a squirrel. A squirrel with secateurs and a basket. With my eyes peeled and nose twitching, I scan the bushes for ripe berries and edible flowers, checking for roots and shoots, rubbing and smelling the scented foliage to conjure up ideas for my next recipe. We tend to get excited when we see ripe seed on our walks. Shouting at one another to come and have a look, in fact. Very excited indeed.
Forging sustainably and responsibly is very important. And to know what is edible and what is poisonous is rather serious. We often have requests to be taken around to go looking for edibles. Even though we love doing this and definitely love eating and having fun, there are simply not enough hours in our day to do it all the time for free, so we are now offering “Foraging in the Fynbos” guided walks and tastings here at the nursery, on our mountain and in our gardens. See previous blog post for more details.
Get your walking shoes on and don’t forget a bag.
Take my hand and let’s go find something to eat…. I’m hungry, aren’t you?