foraging and growing my own
As a child I remember picking berries throughout the summer in a forest near my grandmothers house, and on into autumn when blackberries were in fruit. I also remember some of them being really sharp and others being really juicy and learning the difference between both so you always got the nice sweet juicy berries.
All of that really stopped for me as I grew up and became more active in sports and work, so forest visits became less and less frequent, until it became just another childhood memory. I still pick an occasional blackberry but not as much as I used to do. I suppose life and work got in the way. #cheflife
Then my Mom began growing her own a few years back and I began to pick berries again and eat away as I pleased, furthermore Mom also developed an interest in making jam, chutneys and relishes from her produce in the greenhouse with the addition of a small few ingredients from the supermarket. For which she became know for and I found myself going home to try the latest creation, cucumber relish still is the most unexpected surprise. (Taste was odd but really nice)
I now am growing my own strawberries but the birds are enjoying them more than I am at the moment,( natures bounty I suppose wild animals take preference over us humans). Instead of growing vegetables I am foraging for food and enjoying it immensely I hasten to add, whether it be in a forest, looking for herbs, a country road looking for berries or the seashore looking for samphire or whatever takes my fancy. I now find myself picking up a few bits every time I go anywhere.
As my career develops I figure it will be handy to know and be able to show other people as time goes on. I am now just short of looking through fields for plants that I can eat, not quite comfortable with the idea just yet.
I feel that there are untapped ingredients to be played with by chefs in the forests and shores of this country, and they taste great to be honest about it. About a fortnight ago I discovered wood sorrel, and chervil growing rampant in a forest near home, adding to that the wild garlic just outside Tralee and wild leeks outside Listowel, that is on top of where I know certain berries are and keeping my eye on them like a woman looking for a bargain.
My next step is looking to preserve these ingredients long term. There are a few ways I know of but will they work for these new foraged ingredients as well as they did for my Mom.
Only time will tell.
Follow my adventures on Instagram @chefpaulc and Twitter @chefpaulc