foraging

The Douglas fir is the state tree of Oregon but it has Scottish (Perthshire) roots taking its name from David Douglas, a botanist from Scone.
This week, my local beach has been unusually busy as crofters gather storm-damaged seaweed. Traditionally seaweed has been collected on the western coastal areas of Ireland and Scotland and used as a fertiliser, but in Scotland it also has a rich industrial history.
If you didn't make wild cherry brandy, supermakets will come to your aid. Foraging is seasonal, cherries may be long gone but the Douglas Fir is ever green and bonne chance with the chestnut hunt.
Let's encourage everyone to cook in season and include a little from his or her local natural larder in the supper pot. Prudent foragers may have glacé wild cherries, chestnuts and softened haws squirrelled away for Christmas mincemeat and puddings, but sadly I rarely do this.
It is said that whilst coastal Irish and Scottish cows chewed the cud, the farmers chewed the dulse. Raw dulse requires considerable chewing but dried and stir-fried, as in this recipe, it becomes a rather moreish nibble.
Add a hyphen to differentiate sea-buckthorn from buckthorn, which has many variants,and that done, a forager taps his or her seasonal finger waiting for autumn, when the spiny coastal shrub displays the most vivid, small orange berries.
Historically blackberries were planted around church graveyards to deter sheep or folklore claims, to keep the devil away. Whatever the reason, at this time of year there is plentiful supply of blackberries, hips and haws on both town or country church land.
all is not doom and gloom for the discerning Hebridean foodie. It really is a question of eating local, even if the larder is limited and using the bounty of the natural larder of Scotland. This larder is by its very nature, seasonal but those with a tendency to plan and prepare can perfect the aged skills of preserving, drying and the more contemporary advancement, freezing.
I have recently learnt two things about myself. The first is that I really, really like to participate in activities that I'm good at. The second is that I'm an oddly bad loser.
Well, who'd have thought that the raw foodist could come out on top in times of financial crisis? Everyone's always banging on about how expensive organic produce is, blah, blah, blah, but they really weren't taking into account the bonus of foraging, AKA free food!