This autumn harvest consists of feijoas, chestnuts and mushrooms, all harvested in the heart of Nelson city. Our council is actively planting fruit trees for community use, so it’s been feijoa crumble, feijoa pie, feijoa sorbet and just feijoas eaten with a teaspoon au naturelle all April.
The chestnuts were roasted – just cut in half, oiled and salted and roasted until the skins came off easily. And the mushrooms? There are actually two types here; common field mushrooms, little ones all snowy white on top and baby pink underneath and birch bolettes, the big ones with fat, meaty stalks. The bolettes are pretty easy to identify, due partly to the fact that they grow under birches (no surprise there) and that the underside consists not of gills like field mushrooms, but by a texture that looks more like closed-cell foam.
Having eaten field mushrooms with confidence since I was knee-high to a grasshopper it was a little un-nerving the first time we cooked these, having identified them confidently thanks to Andrew Crowes book – A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of NZ, published by Penguin. Having had them a few times now we are confident that they too are a safe and delicious addition to our cycling foraging adventures.