Monday, August 29, 2011

Autumn: Park Hawthorn Harvest

First of all, I hope everyone has made through Hurricane Irene safely and peacefully on the Eastern US Coast and I offer my sincerest condolences to those who haven't. It was pretty tame in NYC, with naught much but some flooding but luckily, since I live in the suburbs on higher ground, there wasn't any flooding-just a few uprooted trees in the park here and there.

Speaking of the park-last Friday, the last sunny day we had before the tropical storm hit, I went for a walk, wondering how many trees would be struck down by the predicted fierce winds. Along the way, I saw some delicious looking berries. Since childhood, I have always LOVED foraging! In my early business mindset, I imagined that I could sell these berries for money, just like a farm child and be able to earn my own allowance. It didn't occur to me that perhaps other people could just go and pick the fruit themselves. Now, older, more mature, and an aspiring foodie (I hope), I just picked them simply because they taste distinctly different from store brought produce, and hey, free food. Who don't want free food? So whatever is edible, I pick. I pick dandelion leaves (salads) in spring, blackberries in the summer (raw or jam), and wild garlic (allium chrysanthum) and even to the extent of enduring the vile stench of the ginko fruit to harvest the inner nut, which has very high nutritional value and great health benefits. *Ignores stares from neighbors and passerby*  But I have never eaten wild hawthorn-I always had to buy them from the health food store, and not at a cheap price either...

Although I didn't know what they were, I boldly took some to take home to try. Actually, around 1 lb, in fact. At home, after washing them properly, they tasted absolutely wonderful. They were delicately sweet, with a touch of fruity tartness. It tasted apple-like in fact. Judging from the seeds, I identified them as a type of hawthorn berry-completely edible and in fact, is very beneficial to your health. It was a lucky and tasty catch! However, this is not advised to do by yourself if you don't know about wild berries, and I know better than to try something like this again. Eat smart.  

How to Wash 
Simply just pour berries into a large bowl, remove leaves and stem, and gently scrub them with your fingers in bunches. Rinse 3-5 times to wash out dust/dirt.
 Enjoy them the way they are or add them to yogurt and salads. You may store them in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Yum! A delightful and health snack!

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