Friday, 12 October 2012


Last week I ventured out into the big wide world and returned to my cosy nest with a bag full of grapes and a mushroom bigger than my head. And all for free.

The grapes came courtesy of an afternoon in a stranger's backyard, organised by the fabulous Hidden Harvest. People with an over abundance of fruit/nuts, offer up their wares to volunteer pickers. On this occasion 7 of us turned up, picked the vines bare, and came up with this mountain of grapes:

The bounty is then divided up between the home-owners, the food bank, hidden harvest projects - and the pickers!

These are concord grapes I think, very fruity - they taste exactly like the grape juice you buy in cartons, quite a kick. I spent the next afternoon peeling grapes. Well squeezing really. Then into a pan with water and a little sugar.....boiled up, sieved to remove the seeds - and I now have 3/4 of a jar of grape jam. Very tasty grape jam it is - but you don't get a whole lot of return for your labour with these puppies!

I wasn't deterred by this though, and on my second mission, cycled off to Rockcliffe park to pick myself a mushroom - check out this beauty:
Dog available for photoshoots on request
It is a 5lb puffball. And yes, I knew it was safe to eat. According to my research it is pretty darn difficult to get puffballs confused with any other fungi (but do your own research if you want to go mushroom picking, I am no expert!). The main disadvantage of picking mushrooms in the wild is the extra stage of preparation required - bug removal. Thankfully I am not a squeamish girl, which is a good job as there were 15+ slugs, 20+ woodlice and 4 centipedes to pick off this fella before I could get to the cooking (I may need more protein in my diet, but I'm not that desperate).

Once peeled I decided that soup was the way to go, and found simple recipe to follow.....added milk and garlic. Cooked up a very fragrant soup - which looked horrendous! I could have taken photos for you, but I wouldn't wish that on you, be you family friend or stranger. Suffice to say - it minged.  I managed a bowlful (I felt obliged), but the rest has gone to that beloved home of all my cooking disasters - the compost bin.

I'm not giving up on this scrumping/free harvest idea.....but I am hopeful that my next adventure will yield better results. Watch this space.

1 comment:

  1. didn't tell me about the bugs on the mushroom! the grapes tasted amazing though.