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Backyard Foraging

8/7/2014 12:04:00 PM

Tags: Urban Foraging, Urban Homesteading, Quince, Fruit Jams, Erin Sheehan

After last year’s successful apple foraging and our small but tasty butternut harvest from neighborhood trees, we have become a lot more aware of the possibilities for “found food.” We work hard to get food from our gardens, but we love foraging.

This month’s urban foraging escapades are on our very own property: sunflower seeds and quince. We feed sunflower seeds to the birds every winter. Inevitably some get dropped near the feeder and others are buried by industrious squirrels. We had quite a number of sunflowers come up spontaneously this year both below the feeder and along the edge of the garden. We let the seedlings grow and they flowered beautifully. We somehow managed to keep a few heads from the birds for our own harvest.

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sunflower

Sorry, birds, but sunflower seeds are delicious! We’re waiting for the heads to dry and then we’ll roast the seeds in the oven.

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quinceEarlier this week we discovered that our backyard quince trees have fruit for the first time. Our own fruit trees on our small homestead, how exciting!

 We understand that quince aren’t really all that good for eating fresh, but I have read that they are high in natural pectin, so I can make quince jam without added pectin. We’ll only have a handful this year, but if we get lucky, maybe in coming years we’ll have enough to make quince wine. We do love our fruit wines.

We are thrilled to add quince and sunflowers to our food supply. Any food we can forage is something we don’t have to buy. What tastes better than homegrown? Homegrown and FREE!



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NebraskaDave
8/9/2014 9:16:12 AM
Erin, it's great to be out in the wild foraging for food, isn't it. Urban foraging is great as well. Anyone who has a fruit tree in their yard almost never uses the fruit in the urban city. Mulberry trees abound in my part of the world which are the equivalent of the blackberry only on a tree. I used to hate Mulberry trees because fence lines would sprout up volunteers from the bird deposits while fence sitting but now I've learned to still root them out of the fence line and to not only tolerate their existence but use their fruit in positive ways. I still don't really love Mulberry trees just yet but I'm working on it. :0) I haven't foraged Elderberries in decades but it's another plant that grows wild here. I really need to stake out a few patches in the spring to be able to gather the succulent little berries in the fall. I once tried to make some jelly out of Elderberries and ended up with great pancake syrup. Foraging is a great way to supplement the garden, don't you think? Have a great backyard foraging day.



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