Foraging for walnuts: Pt. 1
Foraging for walnuts and field mushrooms is the extent of my gathering. Sometimes a wild rabbit grazing lawn and pasture ends up as rabbit casserole, which I reckon is tastier than the chicken version. And that is the extent of my hunting. I’m no nomad – most of my roaming takes place on our ten acres. Nomadic hunter-gatherer I am not.
You’re more than likely to catch me at home for afternoon tea; I’ll be drinking a concoction of loose leaf green tea and dried jasmine flowers, and eating a couple of selenium-rich brazil nuts. Brazil nuts being a most days’ addition to our diet. Of course we can offer you a selection of teas, as those of you who read Red Clover Tea will know. Come early summer, June will forage for the red clover flowers.
When home alone, our typical lunchtime treat is either a homemade slice or a cake. When you drop in for afternoon tea, you’ll be offered one or the other. I’ve just turned sixty-eight and there’s birthday boy’s coffee cake with walnuts pressed into the icing, and today we’ll have the last two slices of a date chew with small chunks of walnut liberally embedded in it. Foraging for walnuts pays dividends!
Our hazelnut trees produce plenty of nuts but I seldom eat them raw because I have a minor but irritating allergic reaction to them – small, itchy blebs flare up on the roof of my mouth and down the back of my throat which make it unpleasant to swallow. We buy peanuts and almonds but mainly enjoy them when used in June’s baking. Cashews, pistachios and macadamias are rare treats – perhaps cashews in a Chinese and all three at Christmas.
The walnuts come from two trees growing side by side in a Department of Conservation area a half hour drive from our house. Hardly foraging really. We didn’t even have to do much of a search for the nuts this season – most of them were high and dry on top of the trees’ autumn leaf fall.
Foraging or not, on several occasions three generations of our family have gone together to harvest nuts from those two trees. And June and I regard our annual trek and gathering of the walnuts as something of a tradition, stretching back over more than two decades.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday’s Foraging for Walnuts: Pt. 2. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.