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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pine needle tea and mint juleps

Pine needle tea and Mint Julep

Ok so as i was saying Friday was a travelling day and I had thoughts of getting to our woodland hideout and finding something to consume before we went to bed. However by the time we got here my body knew it was really 3 am so defeated I went to bed.

Saturday we got up and decided to go to a farmers Market that was on up the road to load up with local provisions. It was great so much fresh and lovely produce under one roof and not in a supermarket. We got okra, aubergine, massive tomatoes and white corn. Then there was a trip into Whole Foods Market to get nearly everything else except the alcohol. They are not allowed to sell alcohol in supermarkets in this state which I think is a great idea.

So on our return I asked Dulcie to drop me half way down the long drive so I could see what was about. We are in the middle of a pine forest which borders a creek so lots of open space. However not much obvious foraging as I don't seem to recognise many of the plants. I am aware I need to keep an eye out for poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac but of course there are so many other unrecognisable plants as well. Well I decided to go a little off track to see what I could see and followed the waters edge round to end up back at the house. Nothing was leaping out - I saw some small bushes that I thought may have had some berries on them at some point possibly blue berries but there was definitely nothing edible there now. I was also hoping that with all these pine trees perhaps a cauliflower fungus might show up. Anyway nothing was showing up so I was nearly back to the house when I felt a sharp needling pain on my ankle so as I scrabbled back under the fence I rubbed at my ankle and rushed in and then felt another sharp pain. Once in the house I went into the bedroom where Dulcie was to tell her of my adventures when she brushed something off my arm, I looked down and saw something else on my tshirt and frantically ended up waving my arms about and before we knew it there were several wasps flying around our heads so 5 minutes of rushing around waving rolled up newspapers ensued before we were satisfied that we had killed them all.

Not the best start to my foraging experiences in the US but there you go. I ended the day with pine needle tea which is delicate and I am sure I have read somewhere that it is high in vitamin c so that was my first foraged food of the US leg.

Yesterday we went to Annapolis as there was another farmers Market on where they were selling bison and I was keen to try this. We now have some new York style steaks and some burgers so will let you know what they are like.

On the way back from Annapolis I was as ever on the look out for somewhere to collect something. Disturbed ground is often a good start so an uncared for lot of land that looked like one day a house may be built on it looked good to me. After a swift turn into the next street we parked up. Dulcie is more concerned about the law of foraging than I am so came as look out while I potentially stole some weeds. The sky was quite dark and a storm was once again brewing but luckily the rain held off. I wandered all the way to the back of the lot and saw something that resembled fat hen or wild spinach as they call it over here but I wasn't convinced so carried on and then it jumped out, the lovely little lilac flowers of mint. It was a really strong scented variety as well. So rather than do the usual and think of putting the kettle on my mixologist partner immediately suggested a mint julep so that was my wild food of the day yesterday a slug or two of bourbon mixed with muddled sugar and mint and stacks of ice. Never let it be said that my wild food uses are boring!

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