Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A-foraging we will go

Lucy adds acorns, gathered on a walk to the park, to clay in the studio.
Watching her, I realized we were nearly out of acorns, and asked if the kids wanted to gather some more.

We're back in the swing of things, here, and it's been a busy first week and a half with the kids! I was sitting back, observing the kids at play, watching for that beautiful moment that signals the beginning of a possible ongoing group investigation, when I realized that--of course--food preservation had taken center stage again. How could it be otherwise in the autumn, in a house where we're at the height of storing up for the winter? Naturally, the kids' play and interests reflect that which is going on all around them.

This year, we've been noticing the similarities between our work and that of the squirrels and other animals around us, all gathering, gathering, gathering. Here's a bit of the story, so far.

Everyone was game for an acorn-hunting walk. But setting off with our baskets reminded one of them that "we could pick crabapples" at another local park. That became the plan for the next day. In the meantime, I introduced them to the idea of acorns as food.

The acorns we gathered--plus a few other discoveries.

We used a hammer and a brick to break the acorns, and nutpicks to remove the meat.

Acorns to be processed, caps for the studio, shells for the compost.

This morning, this invitation to continue the work awaited them on the coffee table, along with a book which elicited many shouts of "we picked those!" (Oh, I had such fun pulling books to support this interest! I'll share a book list soon.)

The hunt for crabapples was disappointing (they were mostly gone), so we moved on to gathering wild grapes and goldenrod, instead.

Heading home after a successful foraging expedition.

At the moment, we've got acorns waiting to be cracked and processed into acorn meal (with the promise of acorn bread in our future--for the equinox, maybe?), wild grapes and crabapples dripping juice through a bag, to be made into jelly, and goldenrod waiting to be made into salve. And those are just the with-the-kids projects; never mind the tomatoes, beets, carrots, and more I plan to preserve this week!


P. J. Grath said...

I'm curious, Lise--what will you do with the acorn meat?

Luisa said...

Yeah me too what do you do with it?
The picking with the kids looks so cute with their little baskets.
I have loads of basil(wilting) and garlic how do you make your pesto without nuts? I thought you mentioned once that you can make it with sunflower seeds?

Lise said...

P.G. and Luisa,

The acorns will be broken, boiled, boiled again in a change of water, and again and maybe again, then dried, then ground into meal, and eventually used for bread. (I'm following these directions this time: Will let you know if it's good!

Luisa, yes, I made pesto with sunflower seeds, just replacing the pine nuts (didn't really measure, just threw stuff in the blender). It tasted pretty good.