halifaxearthtech: Mysore fruit seller (Food)
I wrote this blog post two weeks ago but never posted it.

Following up on the Bulrush starch adventure, I proceeded to make more wild foods for my Sunday morning humanist group. This time I made blancmange, a pudding from irish moss seaweed, as well as 'elm food' from the inner bark of elm trees, and an attempt at marshmallows from the marshmallow plant.

I cleaned and chopped the marshmallows, then boiled them in some water. I intended to make the marshmallows like merangues. The water did indeed come out very stringy and slimy like egg whites, but when I tried to whip them like egg whites they simply did not hold air. Perhaps I would have had better luck with an egg beater. Euell Gibbons had good results slicing the roots, boiling them, then frying them with some onion (Stalking the Healthful Herbs, 193).

The seaweed and elm I boiled in milk, with added sugar. The irish moss gelled up nicely and ended up setting well. The elm stayed pretty liquid and was not pudding like at all. The general consensus was while they are all certainly healthy, the blancmange would have been even better with a touch of vanilla. One in our number works at a fast food restaurant, and we all pronounced the wild foods a good antidote or supplement to the fried diet.


Boiling in milk


Squeezing out seaweed slime


Elm bark processing 1


Elm bark processing 2


Elm final results, not pudding-like


Seaweed results, pudding-like


halifaxearthtech: (Default)
Happy Solstice everybuggy!
In honour of the return of the sun (at least I hope it returns. I should perhaps not count my chickens before they've hatched) I'm making Acorn Cinnamon Buns.

The spouse and I are doing our traditional Christmas trip to Cape Breton and I had to get rid of some sourdough culture. It always seems like such a waste to toss the extra into the compost (I'm always able to give some culture away to folks that want some). I'd also picked a bunch of white acorns from a tree around Cunard and Gottingen. I was invited to a solstice potluck celebration so I thougt " what the heck?".

Adventures In Local Food blog followers might recall my disasterous attempt at acorn bread last year. This year I followed Euell Gibbon's instructions from Stalking the Wild Asparagus;

We shelled out a number of the acorns and boiled the kernels whole for two hours, changing the water every time it became tea coloured. We kept a large kettle of fresh water boiling on the stove and used it for replacements, so the boiling was hardly interrupted by the water changes. The acorn meats turned a dark chocolate brown and were without a trace of their former bitterness and astringency.


I only spent one hour and five changes of water. The water was still turning out tea coloured but I'd run out of patience. The acorns taste fine, though from the tree they were mild enough to chew and swallow without gagging to begin with. Here they are, chopped and looking like nothing so much as bits of hotdog.



Here they are roasted and mixed with chopped apple. Much more appetizing.




The flour was local red fyfe. The honey is local, the apples are local, the butter is provincial and the acorns were from within walking distance. The cinnamon, well, we can dream of the day. I would say this acorn experiment was much more successful, or at least proves that anything can be palatable with enough butter and honey.

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