Sunday, June 16, 2013

Foraging Again

A few weeks ago I was merrily driving down the dusty farm roads on my way to town with my children when I spied a few Tsamma melons, wild melons or cattle melons (same fruit, diverse names) growing half-hidden in the long grass of the verge. These melons are like sour watermelons, white inside. I pulled over despite my daughter's protests about being late for her driving lesson, and loaded the whole lot of them into the back of my car. It turned out that there were about fifteen of them hidden in the thatching grass.

We chopped some and fed them to our delighted cattle and turned some into melon preserve. The same recipe is used for a watermelon rind preserve. It is a typically South African recipe, wartlemoen konfyt.

 Basically you peel off the green rind and scoop out the flesh (which went to the chickens). Then chunks of the inner white rind are soaked in a slaked lime solution overnight. The next day boil the rinsed chunks of rind until they are soft. Make a 1:1 sugar syrup and boil the rind in the syrup with some chopped ginger and a quartered lemon until the pieces are shiny and translucent. 

I am looking forward to trying some wild melon preserve with chunks of blue cheese once I get back into the swing of cheese-making again. 

Now I just need to find a use for that beautiful long thatching grass that lines our roads at this time of year. The local Basotho ladies cut it and weave it into traditional hats and brooms, as shown in my May Slow Living post. They also use it for thatching their homes. Maybe I should ask one of them to teach me how to weave it. 

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