Sunday, 27 September 2009
Wild Food in September: Himalayan Balsam and Cherry Laurel fruit
Both invasive (but beautiful) plants are abundant by the river where I live (Wales). Cherry trees have plenty of fruit, and the balsam has flowers and seeds on different stages of ripening at the same time. After reading the articles here and there, I collected some wild food (under surprised glances from some locals) and made cherry laurel and Himalayan balm petals jam (I added to it a little bit of orange juice and plenty of brown sugar). I had to do quite a lot of skimming. Now I am very happy with the jam, its dark (apart from little bits of chopped pink petals) and doesn't taste too sweet, in fact it reminds me of true cherry jam cooked with pits (mine one was without pits). We don't eat much jam at all, so I made just a little, mostly to use later as a middle layer in cakes. As for Balsam seeds I found them very tasty, sort of nut-like, but they don't need shelling. I hope to collect more before the winter. Happy foraging!