Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gone Nuts!


I love cobnuts and how brilliant to find them growing just down the lane from our house. Today's the first time we've managed to pick them since moving here four years ago. Maybe the squirrels always get there first, but when I saw the potential harvest this week I was determined to beat those cute looking rats to it!

So I took my eldest along the lane today. He used his "height advantage" to forage amongst the lower branches, while I jumped like a madwoman trying to grab at the crop on the higher ones - this fantastic teamwork led to us filling the basket within about 20 minutes (and from only four small trees). It reminded me of my childhood days in Wales when my grandfather used to take us for a walk up the hills. We used to climb the huge old trees and throw the nuts down, while he used to bash them off with his walking stick.

It is really important to me to pass these traditions down to my children, not just for building up memories, but also to build an understanding that food doesn't miraculously appear at the market or supermarket. They are now used to us growing potatoes and tomatoes in our garden, albeit in tubs and pots and they are always interested in helping us harvest the small crop.

On this note our blackberry bramble is providing an excellent harvest of berries this year. We managed to pick another bowlful this morning, which contributed to the apple\blackberry pastries that I made this afternoon....steady on...am I turning into one of the dreaded Stepford Wives after all? Quick, quick someone rescue me....




7 Comments:

Paul said...

Can you eat the nuts?

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Paul - yes you can eat them. They are a variety of hazelnut. My grandmother always used to soak them in some mild vinegar (sounds yucky but they were very tasty). They can also be used in cooking - for recipes see: http://www.cobnuts.co.uk/recipes.htm

Paul said...

Since posting I've asked Mrs F, who agrees that she hasn't seen any for a couple of years, but they're very prolific this year. Thanks for the recipe site which I'll pass on. Think I might pass on the vinegar too!

Alasdair said...

You're absolutely right 21stMC! Our kids need to be able to associate food with a source ... that's why I've got wild rabbit in the freezer!

I'd never heard of cobnuts before, but I'm considering varieties of nut trees that might provide a harvest in these parts, so will add these to my list to check out, cheers ;)

21st Century Mummy said...

Wow Alasdair - wild rabbit. I should think twice about the rabbits and hares that our cats bring home but I don't think I've got the stomach for it. I have a friend who picks up a whole sheep from her brother-in-law who has a small-holding. It's already pre-carved in the right places, which she then bungs in the freezer and lasts most of the year until her next collection.

Alasdair said...

Do you know, I find them more difficult to gut and skin and stuff the more I do it ... the odour is truely AWFUL!! and when your kitchen is attached to your living room, well lets just say it can turn the stomach.

I'd like a go at a sheep though, a nice bit of mutton. If it's good enough for Prince Charles, then it's good enough for me ... and if our local farmer doesn't get his fences in order I might just get my wish :D

21st Century Mummy said...

That's a lovely account Alasdair. I now feel like I am in your kitchen...;-#