- Many litres of Giant Puffballs mushrooms from my own yard (Here's the article on the subject).
- A dozen jars of stewed apples and almost as much that I put first into ziplock bags and then in the freezer (slighlty cooked, the idea here is to keep apple chunks, therefore to prevent the apples from turning into puree, this way I can make pies out of it).
- About forty very sweet yellow pears that often are a bit bruised from their fall, but make delicious fruit ketchup or desserts.
|On the border of this cycle path, a dozen abandonned apple trees|
of different varieties still produce abundantly.
I've been observing them for about 10 seasons and
I never saw anyone harvest this abundance,
everything just rots on the ground.
- Exactly 3 pounds (1,36kg) of elderberries, my patience was rewarded with 7 beautiful jars of absolutely divine jam (it takes hours to pluck the berries without leaving any stem, a detail that would have been unimportant in a jelly recipe, but I definitely prefer jam).
- A dozen big jars of grape jelly (yes, yes, it's possible to find abandonned grape vines in the countryside and, just like the apples, the grapes manage the "wilderness" very well and even prosper on their own, without relying on human assistance to grow).
- A jar of cherry sauce that is so sublime, coated on a ball of icecream, that it has become my favorite dessert (O.K. I'll admit that I didn't have to search far for these cherries : the cherry tree in question is on my property and is a gift from mother nature).
Would you be hesitant to help yourself with all this abandonned goodness? Hélène is a bit uneasy about it, especially if she knows a passerby could see her. However, those who see me while harvesting and have the curiosity to talk to me have a very positive attitude about it. My husband is always a bit scared of transgressing any unknown and obscure law while foraging in public spaces. Of course, I would never ransack these spaces to obtain wild plants, nor would I trespass on private property without explicit permission from the owner, but here, I'm talking about fruit abandonned on the ground, on trees or vines that once belonged to well tended gardens, and that still give their abundance generously in places that lost their private title.
I would like to close this article by pointing out that, regarding wild plants in general, the important rule to remember is not to destroy any environment. Some plants are protected by government laws, like wild garlic. But many species are so widely spread that you won't endanger them by foraging them. But do be respectful. If you harvest whole plants (like when I collect burdock roots), you have to leave some specimens behind so the natural balance will stay in check and the plant will not risk eradication from any given site. It is the way to keep a sustainable environment.
What do you think about it?