With all the walks around the neighborhood lately I have been noticing and picking up walnuts here and there, little did I know I was mistakenly stumbling into an addictive and quite popular Christchurch (and indeed the world) pass time. Urban Foraging. It happened thus; I mentioned in passing conversation to my lovely ladies the walnuts I had been spotting who then agreed on their wonderfulness and told me all about a “map”. I decided I needed to find this allusive treasure map, how does every modern girl start her education these days? Yes indeedy I went “googling”.
Christchurch Forgaging Map was found here. Although I have been told by these fellow foragers that not everything is on there, for there is an unspoken rule. No-one revels their spots, the good spots are found only by chance or rumors. Places where wild asparagus grows, the biggest sweetest chestnuts, the yummiest mushrooms – these spots will be harvested in secret and locations taken to graves.
The generosity and spirit of sharing must be very strong in the people that setup the map, from what I can tell this world would be a very secretive one to break into.
On the foraging note we collected Chestnuts in Hamner when we were there a couple of weekends back. I roasted them up and ate them with salt, Kylie and I both agreed they were worth finding more and foraging some locally. Lovely and sweet, I love sweet things with salt. Mmmm..
This is what they look like before a good roasting. Note they are not the “horse chestnuts” Which are poisonous.
Ready for roasting:
I have yet to have any success foraging for edible mushrooms. I have some verbal descriptions of what to look for. But really am a little scared to just try them… the consequences being rather dire. I continue to look on my walks and take photos with my phone, but I think I need someone who knows about mushrooms to take me on a tour… I will let you know if I have any success.
Here are some links to get you started on foraging or to help your already formed habit:
– A blog (not very current) on urban foraging.
– The facebook page – yes theres one for everything these days.
– A bit about the people that started digitising it all
– A small part of an old book on food gathering in New Zealand (look out for this book in second hand book dealers!)
Have fun exploring. I think the best part of all of this is just paying attention to the trees and the ground and appreciating what we can eat for free and its healthy! Not only that if I have time I will take a bike instead of the car and stop at the local park or graveyard just to look around and see what I can see! I am getting a new appreciation for our parky urbanness that is Christchurch.