Fall for Fermentation

Cleaned, chopped and wrapped in linen for one day with no additional moisture added.
Cleaned, chopped and wrapped in linen for one day with no additional moisture added.Blackberry leaves, fresh harvested

Best wild harvest? Let’s say what happens on the roadside, stays on the roadside. There you are, careening down the highway, taking in the roadside floral abundance and you have a wild urge to stop and…

Before the poetry happens, and you stop to pick the bundles of whatever-wildfood-it-is, think about the herbicide that “they” sprayed there in February, in April and again in the blazing heat of summer. Hum. Yes, there is presently a Monet in the burgeoning fall roadside wildflower palette, and a seemingly, redemptive regrowth in frequently plant-annihilated roadside areas…

Enjoy the view, but don’t be misled. Roadside harvest is likely unsafe.

There IS however, a lot to learn about what is blooming and maturing in safer wayside wild harvest spots by eyeing roadside happenings. There is some great news in all this talk of herbicide. Plant bounty is multiplied in warmer climates by extended growth windows and resultant, glorious second blooms. In the garden, the English Lavender is saying a last late, hello!

In the South, those prolific, hearty blackberry plants put on additional leaf and cane material in the fall. It is a second wild harvest boon time as these “new shoot” blackberry end leaves are prime for fermentation and tea making. Tea, you say? Yes, and a process not unlike the great tea-making processes of Asia. It is fall, and prime time for slow ferment. Blackberry leaf tea. Toasty, tannic, healing. Have your blackberries and drink their leaf tea, too!

A tea making process
A tea making process
Rolled warm towels are opened on day two to reveal further oxidation of leaf material
Rolled warm towels are opened on day two to reveal further oxidation of leaf material