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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Foraging

Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that I should give Bow some pointers on foraging. If we ever convert that five acre pasture to an island for him, and if he still refuses to do any work, then he will at least need to know what naturally growing plants are good to eat. Usually chimpanzees learn this from their mothers. I therefore decided to pick some of those chives, or wild onions, as well as a sprig of redbud. Since presentation is everything, I place them in a big blue willow china bowl.


Bow saw me do this, and he knew it was supposed to be food, since it was in a bowl, but he did not ask for it until snack time rolled around. Then he just said he wanted the bowl. He did not refer to the things in the bowl.


Bow examined what was in the bowl, decided that it was not food after all, and handed it back to me. Then it was my job to demonstrate that it really was food, by showing him that I could eat it myself. He took great interest in my eating, watching closely, and then sniffing inside my mouth, so he could get a good idea of what it tasted like. While I was still busy eating, Bow decided to try the chives. He liked how it tasted, so he had some more. He never took to the redbud, though. I guess he's  not a native American! Or maybe they did something to the redbuds before they ate them. I'm not sure.

6 comments:

  1. Very interesting post, Aya - I've learned something! I had no idea that Redbuds are edible, so I did some investigating this morning after reading this post and found this (although I doubt the native americans splashed olive oil & vinegar on their redbuds before eating).
    "Fresh seedpods are edible, as well, though they must be cooked and flavored with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Seedpods quickly turn too astringent to eat if left on the tree too long. Sample one, and you'll experience all of your saliva drying up in your mouth."
    http://onlineathens.com/stories/032711/liv_805965171.shtml
    Interesting that Bow would prefer the chives over the redbuds.

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    1. Hi, Kathy. Maybe I will try that recipe for seedpods in the fall. For the time being, the buds just taste like salad to me. Not much flavor, but nothing bad about it, either.

      Bow likes onions, which is probably why he liked the chives, as they are really just wild onions.

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  2. I bet you're anxiously awaiting all the plants that will produce berries so you can introduce those too this year!

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    1. Our fruit trees look as if they will burst into blossom any time now. Of course, Bow is already familiar with the cherries, pears and peaches. He also loves blackberries, which grow wild here.

      If there are other kinds of berries we should be sampling, let me know, and I will put them on the menu!

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  3. Maybe he will have to acquire a taste for these later on. If not, at least he liked the chives, and it is cool you can go in your backyard and just pick a few.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Julia. It is nice to be able to pick as many as we want and to leave the rest to the other foragers. Nothing goes to waste.

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