I just need more.
We have highbush and lowbush blueberries, a blueberry look-alike that I can’t identify, and a berry that grows on creeping, strawberry-like ground cover, that I also can’t identify. The problem — besides the fact that I can only establish the ediblity of the ones I can’t identify by eating them – is that there just aren’t enough. What kind of jam can you make with a haul of seventeen mixed berries?
We also have mushrooms. The identification problem is even more pronounced in the fungus kingdom, as most mushrooms you find in the wild look something like many mushrooms in books, but exactly like none of them. However, even assuming the nice tall, gilled specimen I found by the driveway is a delicious parasol mushroom and not a deadly destroying angel, there’s only one of them.
Quantity, I think, is underrated. Cooks who go on about using only the best, freshest ingredients irritate me. The stuff that grows wild is often seedy and small, maybe a little bitter or astringent, but I can work with it – that’s what garlic and lemon, sugar and cinnamon are for. If, however, there’s simply not enough … well, that’s what pasta is for, I guess.
This week, the only wild thing I found in sufficient quantity to do something with is a fungus growing on one of our oak trees. It’s white and a little slippery to the touch, and it may or not be the appetizingly named tapioca slime. Tapioca slime is edible, but tapioca slime look-alikes? I won’t be finding out, as Kevin has flatly refused to have anything to do with it.
It’s back to picking blueberries. Maybe I can get enough for a pancake or two.