These days, I’m taking more notice of wild edibles tucked into corners that could easily escape a person’s recognition. I see the plum or apple trees that are ignored on the lots surrounding our daily walks, I notice the pockets of berries or herbs at the local parks, and I keep an eye out for what I think might be good mushroom pockets if we ever get rain.
Still, I notice all these bits of food and get shy about asking for permission to harvest on private land. I’m not sure why that is and it’s something I’m trying to overcome, nothing ventured nothing gained after all. A few weeks back, I got up the nerve to ask some property owners up the street if I could harvest the plums from their tree, plums that I noticed went unharvested last fall. The property owner was happy to let me harvest all I wanted and simply asked for a few jars of jam in return. Over the weekend, Jeff and I harvested these yellow beauties.
We gratefully hauled our boxes home and set about preserving this bounty. We’ve used the plums for so many wonderful things: Plum Cardamom Jam, Dehydrated Plums (Prunes), Plums in Extra Light Sugar Syrup, Plum Butter, even a Plum Cordial was started. Beyond the pantry stocking, we’ve been munching on these sweet fruits daily, and even using some to bake up treats including a plum crisp that Jeff and I devoured rather quickly and a plum kuchen that I took to the office to share.
This very simple, yet oh-so-rewarding, experience reminds me to get out of my comfort zone a bit more. The worst someone can do is tell me no, no one can take away my birthday. From now on when I see something worth harvesting and it looks like it’s being ignored, I’m going to do a little door-knocking and see what comes of it. I don’t mind at all trading some jam or other goodies for the privilege of harvesting local food.