Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Foraging in the city

I'm on this kick to try and forage what I can in this city.  I live in the desert, which gives the assumption that nothing grows here and produces nothing of value.  This has been far from the truth.  In reality, Phoenix and most of Arizona has tons of fruit, veggies and other edibles right at our fingertips!  I remember growing up and my dad taking us to Los Olivos Park...car loaded with a step ladder and bucket.  He and my mom climbed the trees and harvested pounds and pounds of olives.  Then, we'd head back home and my sisters and I would help mom prepare the olives, cutting a slit into each one, then brining them.  Or, I remember when Bell Road was a 2 lane,  county road with orange and grapefruit orchards for miles around.  Again, the car is loaded with us kids and 5 gallon buckets or garbage bags.  He would pull off the side of the road, disappear into the orchard and return with buckets of juicy goodness!

Or, when we'd drive to San Diego for a weekend, and, while my sisters and I were out on the beach my parents were foraging for lumachi, snails(!!) in the shrubbery around the hotels.  Again, the 5 gallon bucket would accompany us everywhere!  We were poor back then, but my parents were very resourceful!  We ate like the rich, had a houseful of delicious smelling fruit, and a kitchen-full of marinated olives, jams, veggies, snails...

So, trying to stay true to my family ways, I'm rediscovering the bounty of goodness in the city.  I'm keeping my eyes on the olive trees, bucket and ladder ready.  The fig tree nearby is almost ready for my late-night picking.  And the prickly pears in the desert, along the roadways and around the office buildings are ready for plucking!
I picked 5 pounds of prickly pears!

Lots of spines and thorns

I removed the spines with a toothbrush, then rinsed them in cool water.

I put the fruit in boiling water for about 2 minutes to soften them up.

 then, put the fruit in a blender; cheesecloth separates the pulp from the juice.


I froze the juice...and discarded all the pulp.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

What a fun find! I had no idea Phoenix was that, well, fruitful. :)