Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Foraging figs, peaches and walnuts

There is something very comforting about being able to forage food at different times of the year. Here in Asturias, there is a succession of crops, windfalls and wild food to nourish you throughout the year. Around the village there are many fruit and nut trees  that mainly lay to waste their abundant fruit. No-one collects or harvests much at all.

October has been a very dry and warm month so far with very little prospects for heavy rain and the driest summer in 50 years according to the locals and we are now eager for a few downpours. The warm southern winds bring a threat of rain but so far, only a few spots noticeable on the terrace. The 'pebbling' of the sky is a sure sign of rain to come so we will see. The fruit and nut trees are dry and with the advancing winds, they shed there fruit as windfall.

This season is a time for chutney and jam making and with a batch of Green Tomato Chutney, Picallili  and various jams made and stored it is time to harvest and forage more.

A wild peach called Piesco is collected from local orchards and meadows. It is a strong tart yet sweet peach flavour which makes the most wonderful jam or chutney.

Figs were a gift from the Gods according to the Romans. Around here, very few are harvested and the majority go to waste.

Overtime, we get to know which trees produce the best fruit and collect accordingly. If the tree is on a neighbours land we would always seek permission, knowing that in the majority of cases they do not bother at all with the fruit. Needless to say we collect several basketful to make jam or eat as they come. So sweet and soft.

We usually take a jar of jam or pickle to any landowners we forage from and we hear very positive reports back as most have never before tried such things, with spices they are not used to. Fig jam made with a generous helping of All Spice is truly, a gift from the Gods.

Walnuts are now coming to maturity and the green outer casing is beginning to split and release a fresh and tender nut. When we walk we generally carry a small bag to fill along the way. These are then dried in the sun for a couple of weeks and stored to hopefully, last all year.

We are looking forward to see what's on Mother Nature's Menu in the coming weeks. Buen Provecho as they say here in Spain.

1 comment:

  1. I do miss fresh figs, I especially miss unripe figs, I used to make Fig Konfyt with them although I did adapt the recipe slightly by the addition of grated ginger, we both love ginger so any excuse.


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