Monday, September 7, 2009

Foraging


The archery-only season for deer in the Northern Sierra Nevada drew to a close yesterday, and yet, that isn't a picture of venison...

The archery-only season for deer in the Northern Sierra Nevada drew to a close yesterday, and yet, that isn't a picture of venison...

These are blue, or mexican, elderberry (Sambucus mexicana). Down where we live on the Delta, these plants begin fruiting in June. However, I found myself on some 5-6,000 ft. elevations over the weekend, and found fruiting plants and flowers, which I also gathered.

Not really caring for the taste of fresh elderberries (they remind me of slightly bland blueberries), I never bothered collecting these, but I've recently taken up canning, and I'd heard that they really do better when cooked a bit. Since there were still no deer with antlers (I firmly believe that deer with antlers are a myth perpetuated by the Dept. of Fish & Game), I started picking, and took about five cups.

Later, down the hill, I found a great blackberry bramble, and picked a few cups of those, too. Yesterday, I made blackberry jam (my first time with pectin), two quarts of deep-colored jam, and my favorite. I also submerged the elderberry flowers in a simple syrup and lemon juice and zest.

As for game, nothing in season (that I'd known about), but good flocks of mountain and valley quail, and band-tailed pigeons, as well as squirrels.

3 comments:

Donald "Bud" Stark said...

Josh, I just finished foraging, and learned a bitter--as you shall see--lesson. I had been ten minutes picking one of the many untended almond trees along the road in the Delta when a lady stopped and asked if I had sampled an almond from that tree. If I hadn't, she suggested I do before I continued picking from that tree. I found the almond to be bitter. I thanked her and politely waited till she was out of sight and sampled several others. The whole tree was bitter, so I moved on to another and sampled it. It was sweet. I never knew.

Josh said...

Wow, I never would have known, either. I've not much experience with nuts (immediate family members and close friends notwithstanding).

Rebecca said...

Pttthhhh.