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Monday, 18 July 2016

Fascination with Ferns

We have walked the grand-dog on the Confederation Trail here in Prince Edward Island, Canada, for several weeks now. The trail is the former rail bed and is lined with trees, wild flowers, shrubs and ferns.

 

The wind in the trees soothes the spirit and the full bloom of summer has given the trail two walls of green.

 

Part of my fascination with the trail has been the varieties of ferns with their beautiful leaflets and fronds. 

 
 
They are plentiful, lining the sides of the trail, in the shade of the trees. 

 
 
All are vibrant shades of green and some varieties grow from a central point.

 

When I was young, we grabbed such a whorl of fronds about six inches above the ground and pulled out the root looking for the "banana," as we called it. If you peeled back the hard covering from the root, the center was soft and tasty. We ate them every year, without ill effect. 

Our ancestors used many of the edible items in the environment to supplement their meager diets and passed the information on to the next generation. My generation didn't eat the fern root out of necessity but because we could.

People speak about foraging today as if it is something new. One of the top restaurants in Canada is located in St. John's, Newfoundland and the chef forages for some items on the menu. We are going back to our roots again, even in the restaurant business.

22 comments:

  1. It's very green. You must be having a wetter summer than us. We do seem to be getting more rain lately, however.

    I like the pun of getting back to 'our roots.'

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    1. We are having enough rain, just when we need it. The greens are lovely on the trail.

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  2. If you wait a week or so and look under the fronds if the spore capsules are ripe you can pop the frond on a bit of paper and make spore prints. You have to be short of things to do but it passes half an hour.

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    1. The kids would enjoy that project!

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  3. Stunning even without the tasty roots. What a vibrant green.

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  4. Are those "bananas" currently used for any dishes that come to table?

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    1. I'm not sure. Maybe not. They are using things I've never heard of though

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  5. I am really glad that we ARE going back to our roots. A much less wasteful life.
    And love ferns. Intricate and amazing.

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    1. It would be good to get back to simple, readily available food.

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  6. How wonderful! I love all kinds of ferns, too, but I haven't eaten any of them yet. Maybe I should. :-)

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    1. You should try them. Ferns are so pretty.

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  7. I love ferns too. They make me happy. Also Elephant Ears.

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  8. Me too, Barbara. They are beautiful and make me smile.

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  9. Beautiful pictures. I've noticed that nobody bothers much with digging up horseradish roots any more. When I was a child you could often see old ladies digging them up to make horseradish sauce, but it's a lot less bother to pick it up at the supermarket.

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    1. Supermarkets make it too easy. Now however, with the foraging for restaurants, they charge outrageous sums for food that is free to anyone.

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  10. Interesting. Never heard this about ferns. I posted on my second blog about an edible weed in Alaska that I did not know one could eat.

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    1. It's something we did and it didn't hurt us. There is so much we can eat in the environment, even among wildflowers. You have to be careful however. Some plants are toxic or even poisonous.

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  11. Great pictures of the ferns! Love the green. Good example of the Interrupted Fern in the first picture, rarely see it here.

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  12. We have those walls and floors of green for such a short time, it is good to celebrate them!

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