Friday, May 27, 2011

Smoky Cheese, Hemlock Tea and Other Camping Tidbits

E. and I were lucky enough to sneak off for a night of camping this week, and the jaunt was full of tasty, woodsy treats. I don't know which I liked better, the cheese that we (sort of) smoked by the campfire, or the Indian cucumber, a native, wild edible tuber with a texture like a water chestnut and a mild, sweet, earthy taste.

Of course one Indian cucumber isn't much to eat. For contrast, here it is compared to a cucumber cucumber.

Eating the root means ending the life of the plant, so harvest this one with care and only from places where plenty of others exist. I suppose the best time to find them would be in the fall, when the (inedible) berries can be planted in the hole you've just exhumed the root from, hopefully ensuring the survival of a new individual. Again, you can't quite live on this stuff. We mostly ate sandwiches.

I also made some hemlock tea by heating a stone in the fire to boil the water. I'm not going to lie to you: the mug I made the next day with a Jetboil was a lot better. But the hot stone technique always recalls my first such experience, and the thrill of it.

Blueberry flowers were in bloom and with their sweet smell and zaftig bell shape, they brought the fruit to mind. But I'll have to wait -- and possibly fight bears -- for that.

The prettiest view of the trip was not a mountaintop vista but a little something I noticed nearly underfoot. Isn't he/she a beaut?

Note: I didn't eat it.

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Jacobc422 said...

Great update and looks like you guys had some fun experimenting in the woods. I believe, however, that he/she is a newt.

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