foraging

August 31, 2011

Off to  do some foraging in late August – to see what’s around on the trees and bushes – along the river defence from the Rye to the sea. Looking back at the town on  the hill:

And to the west

And to the east . . . .

newly shorn youngsters alone now without their mothers . . .

These large concrete shapes possibly relics from the tram line that ran along this spit connecting the town to Camber Sands. They rest leisurely on a bed of marshy samphire, but not a great taste. Most unfortunately as samphire is one of my  favourite foods but easy to leave this well alone. This is the muddy environment that this samphire grows in . . .

The verges or edges along the path are as natural as possible – the centre of the route just trodden by walkers. Some umbellifers – possibly Pceudenanum palustre in seed (seed edible)  – and what looked like fennel but have my doubts – guess what I forgot to taste it!

Rowan berries, not poisonous if cooked and will make a little marmalade and/or jelly. Hawthorn . . . . need some advice on these but most likely they’ll make a jelly mixed with a few crab apples to help it set.

Black berries on buckthorn Rhamnus catharticus. Not to eat nowadays as mildly poisonous but, in the past, if needing a real purge then the bark and berries might have done the trick  . . . or simply killed one.

A luminous stand of Epilobium with the a glimpse of the Romney Marsh Wind Farm behind. Eat Rose Bay leaves and stems and flowers when young and soft – a useful piece of info here. And below definitely harvest the  juicy edible berries of sea buckthorn – time consuming to pick as only one at a time will come free – but scrumptious on a tart.

Here with blackberry growing through and below ready to be cooked.

So there’s my year, the twelvemonth duly told
Since last I climbed this brow and gloated round
Upon the lands heaped with their wheaten gold,
And now again they spread with wealth imbrowned –
And thriftless I meanwhile,
What honeycombs have I to take, what sheaves to pile?

I see some shrivelled fruits upon my tree,
And gladly would self-kindness feign them sweet;
The bloom smelled heavenly, can these stragglers be
The fruit of that bright birth and this wry wheat,
Can this be from those spires
Which I, or fancy, saw leap to the spring sun’s fires?

I peer, I count, but anxious is not rich,
My harvest is not come, the weeds run high;
Even poison-berries, ramping from the ditch
Have stormed the undefended ridges by;
What Michaelmas is mine!
The fields I sought to serve, for sturdier tilage pine.

But hush – Earth’s valleys sweet in leisure lie;
And I among them wandering up and down
Will taste their berries, like the bird or fly,
And of their gleanings make both feast and crown.
The Sun’s eye laughing looks.
And Earth accuses none that goes among her stooks. Edmund Blunden  Harvest

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