• Terminology Tuesday

    In keeping with the theme of this weekend’s annual Kirstenbosch Plant Fair, ‘A Feast of Fynbos’, I have chosen the term VELDKOS (country food) for today’s Terminology Tuesday.

    Botanical definition: Edible plants foraged from the wild, particularly bulbs, tubers, corms, fruits, seeds, flowers and leaves, eaten raw or cooked and/or used as natural flavourants for food and drinks.

    Not only do these plants provide food for us, but they also provide food and homes for pollinators and other wildlife. What better reason to grow our own veldkos in our gardens? Time to locally indigenise the veggie patch!

    To whet your appetite, strandveld delights that our Cape Flats Fynbos Nursery will offer at the Fair include wild rosemary, strandblombos, wax berry, rose pelargonium, silver bush tea, golden sage and dune spinach…look out for the edible plant stickers.

    Metalasia muricata or strandblombos, used as tea in Lesotho © James Puttick

    Metalasia muricata or strandblombos, used as tea in Lesotho Photo: © James Puttick

    Morella cordifolia, or wax berry. The fruit coat yields a large amount of fat which can be used for food. Photo: © James Puttick

    Morella cordifolia, or wax berry. The fruit coat yields a large amount of fat which can be used for food. Photo: © James Puttick

    Lastly, some important notes on responsible foraging from Loubie Rusch’s Veldkos Finds on foodwithastory.co.za:

    Be absolutely sure that you have identified the right plant before picking or eating it. Refer to books as well plant identification sites on the web, but be weary of using Facebook groups – where non-experts often comment – to definitively ID edibles. This is not advised. Triple check if necessary – if in doubt, don’t.
    Always taste new foods with caution and in small amounts at first, bearing in mind that individuals manifest food intolerance differently.
    As there are currently no permits required for foraging plant material, please do take care to harvest indigenous plants sustainably – always leave enough behind for the plant to be able to continue to grow or reproduce abundantly, be careful to not over-harvest seeds, leave roots in place, and take care not to trample plants whilst foraging.
    Exotic weeds may be picked in great quantity, knowing that you are performing a service to the environment.
    Get permission if you are harvesting on private land, whether foraging exotics or indigenous plants.
    Never remove or eat plants from a nature reserve.
    Always wash your haul very thoroughly, and make sure you are picking from an unpolluted site.
    Bear in mind that some edible plants can be toxic if eaten in large quantity, or if not prepared correctly.
    Always be informed about what you are doing and be prepared to take responsibility for your actions, both during harvesting and eating.

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