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  #41  
Old 11.05.2015, 14:36
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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My young neighbour is the local 'garde forestier' and we discussed this with him recently. It is perfectly allowed to pick spruce buds- providing you use common sense- you don't strip a tree- but go round a tree picking a few here and there, leaving a balanced tree, then moving to another. Same with any foraging, be it for mushrooms or whatever- you need to respect nature and never over pick. Sadly, some people are like foxes in a hen coop- and just do not know how to behave in nature and when to stop. All the forests around here belong to the Commune (Gemeinde) and there is no problem with picking with respect.

However, picking all buds for commercial purpose is just 'not cricket' at all.
By the way, Odile, is it allowed to pick elderflowers which grow wildly here? I was tempted many times to pick a few, but was stopped by the thought that might be illegal or something (knowing that CH has so many regulations re. pretty much everything)
I really want to make an elderflower cordial. I haven't drink it in years.

Last edited by greenmount; 11.05.2015 at 14:48.
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  #42  
Old 11.05.2015, 15:01
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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It is perfectly allowed to pick spruce buds- providing you use common sense- you don't strip a tree- but go round a tree picking a few here and there, leaving a balanced tree, then moving to another.
Thanks Odile. Maybe it's just a cantonal or even local thing, but since you need quite a lot of buds for just one little jar, I think people who'd like to do it should ask their commune / Gemeinde first. I posted my previous statement because there was a major problem in the St. Gallen area decades ago.

For instance, for one pound of dandelion bread spread you need about 230 blossoms. I'm doing that only on our own property in the Engadine. Next raid is due this week. Ascension day, long weekend, long evenings plucking petals and then slowly simmering the syrup down from two huge pots to four little jars, but worth every minute.

My Swiss dandelion honey flavored ice cream with fresh Saskatoon berries is famous in Northern Michigan, just like my raclette made in the fireplace, with half of the potatoes replaced with Jerusalem artichokes, delicious because of the slight sweetness they add to the cheese.

It's morel hunting season now in Northern Michigan, by the way.
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  #43  
Old 11.05.2015, 15:35
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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Question for Tom- when I ask Italians about morels, they seem totally unaware that they exist, at least in Tuscany- perhaps they do in the North- and just couldn't give me the name for them. I found it now, 'spugnole' - perhaps they do not grow further south.
They grow in Northern Italy, and Ticino near Mendrisio.

Tom
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Old 11.05.2015, 15:38
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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By the way, Odile, is it allowed to pick elderflowers which grow wildly here? I was tempted many times to pick a few, but was stopped by the thought that might be illegal or something (knowing that CH has so many regulations re. pretty much everything)
I really want to make an elderflower cordial. I haven't drink it in years.
No problem at all- but again- as said above, don't strip a whole tree, but pluck a few flowers from all sides, and from several trees if there are several in the area. Just common sense and respect. Shame you live so far away, as I would come with you and add some from my nigra elder, for the adding pink colour. If anyone wants dendelion- there are tons here... same with sorrel, bistort, and Meadow Sweet (a bit later though, not ready yet) and wild garlice on a beautiful walk on the Swiss/French border by a lovely stream.

When we lived in SW London, near Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park- I used to be the only one picking mushrooms there (early 1970s) - then they became fashionable with posh restaurants with French or Italian Chefs- and gangs (of East Europeans, who know their mushrooms well) were sent to pick everything that grew, but the bucket load- stripping the place bare. So, sadly, it is no longer allowed. Nature needs respect and balance- and those who forage need to learn that first of all.

With elder flowers, be careful in Switzerland to only pick the ones with the usual flat domed ombrel flowers, which are white, later turning to black fruit- and not the oval ones from the mountain elders, which later turn into red fruit- as they are midly toxic and do not have the same sweet taste.
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  #45  
Old 11.05.2015, 19:40
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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No problem at all- but again- as said above, don't strip a whole tree, but pluck a few flowers from all sides, and from several trees if there are several in the area. Just common sense and respect. Shame you live so far away, as I would come with you and add some from my nigra elder, for the adding pink colour. If anyone wants dendelion- there are tons here... same with sorrel, bistort, and Meadow Sweet (a bit later though, not ready yet) and wild garlice on a beautiful walk on the Swiss/French border by a lovely stream.

When we lived in SW London, near Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park- I used to be the only one picking mushrooms there (early 1970s) - then they became fashionable with posh restaurants with French or Italian Chefs- and gangs (of East Europeans, who know their mushrooms well) were sent to pick everything that grew, but the bucket load- stripping the place bare. So, sadly, it is no longer allowed. Nature needs respect and balance- and those who forage need to learn that first of all.

With elder flowers, be careful in Switzerland to only pick the ones with the usual flat domed ombrel flowers, which are white, later turning to black fruit- and not the oval ones from the mountain elders, which later turn into red fruit- as they are midly toxic and do not have the same sweet taste.
Oh no, I would never strip a whole tree (at least this much I know).....anyway, it was too much common sense that prevented me to touch even one single flower.
You are right, there is a chance I might mistake the toxic ones for the good ones, who knows. My grandparents had a few elderflower trees in their garden, so it was never a problem. (and now I'm dumb and can't say 100% which is the good one, but that's another story....heh, I took everything for granted)
I'll try to buy them, I think it's better...till I can visit you one day for some good lessons.
Btw. I'm also among people who're afraid to pick mushrooms, my friend is trying to teach me and am still veeeery reluctant to pick on my own. I help her and offer great conversation though...
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Old 11.05.2015, 19:53
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

Just check pictures on line and you can't go wrong, truly. But you'd be most welcome anytime- happy to teach you. Just Google :

Sambucus Nigra. I've actually checked, and the other kind is actually edible and safe too- just does not have the same sweet taste.

Bettr safe than sorry- many people get very sick or even die picking mushrooms every year. I was born to it, learnt as a babe in arms with my parents. But I never pick unless I am absolutely sure- and I have many books in several languages to check and re-check. Also, each Commune here has an expert that can be consulted any time-I've never used the service here- but any pharmacy or Coummune/Gemeinde, can give you the detal. In the UK in the 70s- neighbours were all sure I'd die eating wild mushrooms, despite telling them I knew exactly what I was doing. It was funny.
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  #47  
Old 11.05.2015, 22:49
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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Just check pictures on line and you can't go wrong, truly. But you'd be most welcome anytime- happy to teach you. Just Google :

Sambucus Nigra. I've actually checked, and the other kind is actually edible and safe too- just does not have the same sweet taste.

Bettr safe than sorry- many people get very sick or even die picking mushrooms every year. I was born to it, learnt as a babe in arms with my parents. But I never pick unless I am absolutely sure- and I have many books in several languages to check and re-check. Also, each Commune here has an expert that can be consulted any time-I've never used the service here- but any pharmacy or Coummune/Gemeinde, can give you the detal. In the UK in the 70s- neighbours were all sure I'd die eating wild mushrooms, despite telling them I knew exactly what I was doing. It was funny.
Thank you, Odile. Your last sentence made me smile because this is exactly what I was thinking of my friend! She kept reassuring me that she knows them very well because they grow in her country too and she used to go with her parents to pick mushrooms but I was still a bit afraid I can testify they were delicious ....and safe... I cannot say which sort/type they were though (there's an abundance here, they grow everywhere not only in the woods).
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Old 11.05.2015, 22:56
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

LOL - a bit vague - come one, give a description, colour, size, smell, gills or tubes... time of year.

Must go and have a look at the top of our field to see if the St George's mushrooms are beginning to show their little white heads. Now for a coïncidence- it is very rare for a private property to have a private ring of delicious wild St George's mushrooms. In fact I only know of two, our last house in the UK, and this one in Switzerland- both in the top right hand north corner. How bizarre is that? (and even more delish for it).
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Old 12.05.2015, 00:04
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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LOL - a bit vague - come one, give a description, colour, size, smell, gills or tubes... time of year.

Must go and have a look at the top of our field to see if the St George's mushrooms are beginning to show their little white heads. Now for a coïncidence- it is very rare for a private property to have a private ring of delicious wild St George's mushrooms. In fact I only know of two, our last house in the UK, and this one in Switzerland- both in the top right hand north corner. How bizarre is that? (and even more delish for it).
I did a bit of google-ing to look for a good picture but didn't find exactly what I'd remember. We picked them last autumn, in October maybe...anyway, they were brownish/a bit red(ish)/auburn and I am almost sure it is one of the species within the genus Lactarius or milk-cap mushrooms. I'm afraid I'll have to ask my friend how they call them "back home" (mushrooming is quite a hobby there)
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Old 12.05.2015, 09:55
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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Just check pictures on line and you can't go wrong, truly. But you'd be most welcome anytime- happy to teach you. Just Google :

Sambucus Nigra. I've actually checked, and the other kind is actually edible and safe too- just does not have the same sweet taste.
.
Yes, I know that's the scientific name of it. As I said, it seems this is the type that I've seen growing at the sides of the roads/paths/meadows, but nobody picks them....or at least I haven't seen anyone..Maybe they don't know what to do with it?
The thing is you can't buy it.. I've been looking in some saturday markets in my area. Noo way, I take it it's either forbidden , which would be strange because it's definitely not an endangered species, or the "wrong" type...afterall, and I haven't noticed the difference. Anyway, seeing how problematic is here to take advantage of the local flora, and by that I mean picking a few flowers not whole trees, I'll give up.
But I'll look more in the bio shops, maybe they have it in reformhaus. If not, I'll ask someone from my family to bring me some when they come to visit us. The nature is very generous there, you can find pretty much everything you want in markets too. Problem solved.


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It's morel hunting season now in Northern Michigan, by the way.
Is it legal?

Last edited by greenmount; 12.05.2015 at 10:07.
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  #51  
Old 12.05.2015, 10:09
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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Yes, I know that's the scientific name of it. As I said, it seems this is the type that I've seen growing at the sides of the roads/paths/meadows, but nobody picks them....or at least I haven't seen anyone..Maybe they don't know what to do with it?
They don't.

I'm the only person I know that has ever used them, though the fruits and not the flowers, but I haven't done so in 20 years or so.

It's certainly not forbidden, nor the wrong type.

Tom
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Old 12.05.2015, 11:16
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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They don't.

I'm the only person I know that has ever used them, though the fruits and not the flowers, but I haven't done so in 20 years or so.

It's certainly not forbidden, nor the wrong type.

Tom
Then they don't know what they're missing...a cold, right from the fridge elderflowers cordial in the summer is something very, very pleasant. Akin to iced tea for the Americans from the Southern states...I imagine.
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  #53  
Old 12.05.2015, 13:34
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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They don't.

I'm the only person I know that has ever used them, though the fruits and not the flowers, but I haven't done so in 20 years or so.

It's certainly not forbidden, nor the wrong type.

Tom
People here in the Jura certainly do pick the fruit to make jam or jelly (as in clear jam, strained)- but they usually mix with other fruit. Traditionally it was a good way to make other fruit go further- add bulk. But yes, I first learnt about 'elderflower cordial' or champagne in the UK. It is not traditional here- although when I make it all our neighbours and friends just love it- so it might catch on. As said, I make mine from our own black leaves (well, very intense deep purple) elder with pink flowers, and it gives a lovely pink tinge to the cordial- flowers not out yeat at our altitude (950m). Will take photo and post when ready.

What is your favourite recipe - anyone?
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Old 12.05.2015, 14:08
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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It's morel hunting season now in Northern Michigan, by the way.
Is it legal?
Yes. Just make sure you're not shot by a farmer for trespassing.

Unlike Switzerland, Michigan has almost no footpaths or hiking trails. You have farms of several hundred acres with no way across, actually very boring while walking the dog because you have to stay on the roads.

There are lots of so called called trails, though, emphasis on "so called." We are on Bay View Trail. It's about 40 ft wide plus a soft shoulder of another eight feet on eother side, enough for three semi trucks side by side.

We don't have many morels on our property because there are only few conifers.

By the way, our mulberry tree mentioned above grew wild. We didn't plant it. It just popped up, in the middle of the septic field of all places. I had to transplant it because trees aren't allowed in septic fields.
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Old 12.05.2015, 14:13
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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But yes, I first learnt about 'elderflower cordial' or champagne in the UK. It is not traditional here- although when I make it all our neighbours and friends just love it- so it might catch on. As said, I make mine from our own black leaves (well, very intense deep purple) elder with pink flowers, and it gives a lovely pink tinge to the cordial- flowers not out yeat at our altitude (950m). Will take photo and post when ready.

What is your favourite recipe - anyone?

Mine are just about to come into bloom. Not enough to make cordial on their own but I will supplement them with the white flowers from the neighbour's tree.
Her kids really like the cordial when I've made it.

I make a sugar syrup then infuse with the elder flowers, lemon slices and zest overnight before straining into bottles. The recipe says to use citric acid too but it's optional and I've never bothered to go to the pharmacy to get any.
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Old 12.05.2015, 14:15
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

Neighbour's tree is completely loaded with flowers.
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Old 12.05.2015, 21:46
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

Here is a recipe in French, they use fizzy vitamin C tablets instead of citric acid- will try it this year and see:

La recette de base pour 3 litres de sirop à peu près :
  • 40 belles ombrelles de fleurs de sureau
  • 3 citrons bios
  • 2 kg de sucre
  • 2 litres d’eau
  • 3 pastilles de vitamines C effervescentes 1000
Ramasser les ombrelles, récupérer le maximum de fleurs avec le minimum de tige. Les laver à grande eau avec un peu de vinaigre pour faire tomber les petites bestioles. Brosser les citrons et les couper en rondelles grossières. Mettre les fleurs dans un grand récipient qui rentre dans votre frigo. Faire chauffer l’eau avec le sucre et quand le sucre a fondu verser sur les fleurs et les tranches de citron. Laisser 4 jours au frigo. Filtrer et verser dans des bouteilles propres, ajouter à chacune des bouteilles de 1 litre, 1 pastille de vitamine C et laisser les s’évaporer dans la bouteille avant de fermer.


40 elder flowers
3 untreated lemons
2 kg sugar
2 litres water

2 fizzy vitamin C tablets (cheapest are from Migros)


Wash flowers in water and a little vinegar is bugs are present

Brush lemons and cut into slices with rind
Put flowers in a large non metallic bowl - and put water and sugar to boil until sugar is melted and pour over the flowers. Cool then put in fridge for 4 days- the filter and pour into 2 litre bottles - put a Vitamin C tab in each bottle and close bottle top when it has stopped fizzing.
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Old 12.05.2015, 23:40
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

I found a multitude of recipes for the elderflower cordial/socata (many of them are adding a small quantity of yeast, and I know that some people are allergic to it), but this one if from a site that I really like and it looks similar to my mom's recipe
Ingredients
3 l water
6-8 big elder flowers
250 g sugar
2 lemons (middle sized) - zest and juice
Wash the flowers in plenty of cold water and then put them in a big glass recipient. Make a syrup from the aforementioned quantities of water and sugar, pour it while warm onto the flowers, add the lemon zest and the juice, cover the recipient and keep it in the fridge for 2 days. After 2 days filter the juice, put it in bottles and keep them in the fridge. Really simple.
P.S. Some prefer using honey, although I guess honey can be so aromatic and could overtake the flavour of sambucus flowers..I wouldn't use it.
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Old 17.05.2015, 18:30
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

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We don't have many morels on our property because there are only few conifers.
.
Had morels for the first time in my life just two days ago... I didn't know they were that good! I haven's seen them here, only the dried version (hope they are half as good) But yeah, it's worth hunting them.
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Old 17.05.2015, 18:41
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Re: Edible wild foods ...

Lucky that our St George's mushrooms came up just in time for our wild edible food week-end - I had my eyes peeled all the time for morels- and didn't find a single one though - thank goodness we can buy them in bulk from France - but they still cost a fortune!
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