Tuesday, June 5, 2018
We are lucky in New Zealand to have one of the richest species diversities of seaweeds in the world. With at least over 900 species of which 50 can be readily used. Of these 50 or so edible species there are five types of seaweed that I recommended for everyday foraging. These species are readily available, tasty and can be used in a wide range of ways to enrich your seafood dining experience. Of course seaweeds are easier to catch too than fish!! Unlike mushrooms there are no poisonous seaweeds in NZ so you can experiment with the remaining species. Gathering seaweeds is fun and something that everyone in the family can participate in and a good way to fill in half an hour after a day’s fishing, providing the tides are favourable. Look for extremely low tides, otherwise by using snorkelling gear you will increase the diversity of seaweeds available. For me adding seaweeds to seafood dishes has enriched many meals and there are some significant health benefits from eating seaweeds from our clean waters. Overall one of the most common and harvestable seaweed species found throughout New Zealand is Wakame. This species has firmly spread its roots in our waters and is now widespread from Auckland down to the sun-Antarctic and even out to the Chatham’s. The spores are spread like wildfire allowing wakame to establish anywhere where there has been significant boating traffic. Initially seen as an invasive species in a negative way the tide has turned and now wakame is valued for aquaculture production and is harvested commercially in NZ now – being of significant economic value. Wakame is tasty seaweed that can be used in many ways. It has a rich flavour, is not too salty and a soft texture. The ultimate sea vegetable. Wakame has a distinct frill like base to its stem and just one large central blade. One heat is applied its colour transforms from a dense green- black to a bright green making it also more appealing to look at. With its soft texture the stem and fronds can be finely shred up, then add some sesame seeds and oil to make a tasty seaweed salad. Bladder kelp is also very tasty seaweed when fresh and cooked. Its flavour is a lot more salty than wakame. Also bladder kelp is generally found from Wellington south where it in places forms dense forests and is also a prized food of the butterfish. The fronds (leaves) can be dried and oven baked with olive oil to make kelp crisps. A healthy alternative to potato chips and very tasty. The fronds can be shred when stemmed and like wakame turn a bright green colour. Also the bladders can be jarred and marinated adding a crunchy element to a salad. Bladder kelp is also a good seaweed species to put in the smoker with some fish to wrap around a whole fish in the oven to act as an oven bag to kelp seal in the moisture if the fish and infuse the seaweeds flavour (a natural salty seasoning). In addition the dried leafs of the bladder kelp can be dried and ground into a power to make a seaweed sprinkle (which as a slight peppery flavour) and adds a lot of flavour to a wide range of seaweed dishes. - Karengo overall is one of our tastiest seaweeds with a strong umami flavour- which has been compared to bacon. It really is superb when dried out and then fried in a pan with butter and some lemon juice. The karengo grows around and is best harvested in the spring time. Neptune’s necklace is easily identifiable as its name suggests being a series of light brown beads. This seaweed is ideal for pickling in a jar with vinegar and adding some seasonings. When lightly heated it will turn a bright green colour. The fresh grown Neptune’s necklace makes the best eating. Its crunchy texture is a great addition with roast vegetables or with a salad. Bull kelp is also a southern seaweed and very practical. The blades from fresh bull kelp can be cut into seaweed chips that can be oven roasted. Bull kelp can be used as an oven bag itself to cook a whole fish or shellfish and infuses a very pleasant roast seaweed flavour into the food. Meats can be covered in bull kelp frond wraps to add flavour bull kelp and Kombu (in northern New Zealand) is ideal for this. Best for many types of seaweed to gather freshly beach washed materials as it saves you from having to take the wild plant. One of the advantages of getting your own seaweed is cost. Overall throughout most of New Zealand you can recreationally harvest seaweeds (just check that you are not in a marine reserve). Choosing areas of clean water is important when gathering seaweeds. Once harvested seaweeds need to be processed quickly, because they will break down in three days. Air drying initially then placing in a dehyradator is the best way. Once dried store the seaweeds in an air tight jar or ideally vacuum pack so they do not reabsorb moisture and go stale. Seaweeds can also be pickled, the Neptune’s necklace is ideal of that. Bladder kelp, wakame is ideal for steaming and then shredding and adding to a salad when fresh. As already mentioned some seaweed is tasty when smoked. Many of the brown seaweeds will transform from a dull brown to a vivid green when cooked- a cool trick for the kids- the colour change is as if by magic. The health benefits of seaweed are amazing, in many ways seaweeds are a super food and one in which there is increasing awareness and utilisation of in NZ. So diversify the flavours put on the table from your next trip out sea fishing and take a moment to grab some seaweed.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Foraging along the edge of the top of the south with Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau Copyright
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
I am a forager based in Christchurch and the Waipara Region in North Canterbury. My foraging tours are based around Banks Peninsula and the wine growing regions of North Canterbury. Typically foraging trips range from 3- 6 hours and a wide selection of foraged foods is collected and prepared at either a local restaurant or out in the field with simple dishes that allow the tastes of the foraged ingredients to be savoured. I have lived in Canterbury all my life and have an intimate knowledge of the region and it's natural resources. I have written a range of regional foraging guides that are available online and am working on a comprehensive photographic guide to the forage foods available in New Zealand. I often travel around NZ and work with chefs (such as James Beck at Bistronomy in Napier and Giulio Sturla at Roots in Lyttelton and have been employed by top Queenstown Resturant , Amisfiled, for 18 months working for innovative chef Vaughan Mabee and Forager/chef Adam Harrison ) and have involved with the implementation of foraged foods into a range of tertiary institutions My business name is Wild Capture and I can be contacted on 0274501916 (NZ) or Email E: firstname.lastname@example.org Foraging tours are customised for group requirements. We can also visit local vineyards and match foraged foods to locally produced wines Peter Langlands Wild capture Foraging Tours
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Local foraging event celebrates diversity of wild-foods (and the opportunity to prepare a wide range of seafoods). Peter Langlands 1 February 2016 The second North Canterbury Forage event was held on the 30th of January 2016 . The event initiated and organised by Angela Clifford has been an outstanding success. Angela represents a range of vineyards (Tongue in Groove wines) in the Waipara Region, and the event was to profile the regions high quality wines alongside the range of foraging ingredients available within a stone’s throw of the vineyard. Eight teams of people headed out from the iconic Pegasus Bay Vineyard forage, fish and hunt a wide range of foods for a range of some of New Zealand’s top chefs to prepare in innovative and exciting ways. Yet while a wide range of seafood was gathered it was a 150 kilogram wild boar that stole the show, shot by local vineyard manager Nick Gill. Seafood featured well in the day’s bounty with a wide range of seaweeds, shellfish and fin fish collected in addition to some freshwater eels. The event showed just what a large variety of food can be gathered in a small area. The event helped to profile the diversity of fish species that can be used outside of the traditionally known species. Scarlett wrasse and sea perch were served up with steamed seaweed and seaweed butter to create an impressive on the table dish for some international visitors. An octopus even made it onto the table. Even small yellow eyed mullet caught by using a bait net were transformed into tasty boquerones, a Spanish perpetration which involves marinating the mullet and serving them as a snack before the main meal. Increasingly there is more awareness about matching vines with seafood and freshwater fish. White wines overall are the best for seafood matches , with aromatic wines like Gewürztraminer going well with strongly flavoured oily fish. A crisp and light Riesling , chilled is also a compliment to many types of seafood. Some of the stronger flavour fish species like kahawai can be matched with a Pinot noir. The Waipara Region is very well known now with wines winning international awards. Many international wine writers attended the event, along with some of the country’s top chefs - with the aim of making the Waipara Region a food and wine tourist destination. Overall many chefs and vineyards feel that we need to make our country more of food and wine, destination, to rival adventure tourism. The event is planned to take place again in 2017 Link to North Canterbury Forage 2015 – https://vimeo.com/124989478 Photograph – 1-Small yellow eyed mullet are prepared to make boquerones.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Coastal foraging in winter Peter Langlands For me one of the most exciting aspects of heading down to the beach is gathering wild foods. Why? Firstly hunting out “Wildfoods” can be incidental to tramping. It makes sense to gather edible things that you come across. In many cases the food will be very healthy and organic, and you have the benefit of knowing where it come from. Other benefits include that the food is often more intense in taste than commercially available options and in some cases, especially pauas there aren’t many (if any!) commercially available options. Bountiful shellfish I love shoreline foraging with its wide diversity shellfish available. Interestingly during the Irish potato famine many people starved on the doorstep of rich shoreline food resources, a great tragedy, due in part upon reliance primarily on potatoes and an ignorance of shoreline foods. Shellfish are readily available and are best taken after periods of low rainfall, or a hundred metres or so away from any significant freshwater source (if it is running off agricultural land). Green shell mussels are a mainstay and grow to a good size. I like to snorkel for mussels, as often the mussels below the low tide mark are of larger size and better condition, than those in the inter- tidal. Blue mussels are smaller than green lips and grow higher up on the tide line and are as good, if slightly different in taste, as the better-known green shell mussel. Rock oysters, which proliferate round much of our coastline, are often overlooked. Several large rock oysters are equal to a Bluff oyster and in my opinion their taste is more intense. The rock oyster tends to be a more southern speceis with the Pacific oyster growing from the northern South Island and throughout the North Island, often on sheltered parts of the coast around mudflats or sheltered waterways (such as the Marlborough Sounds). On more exposed parts of the rocky coastlines pauas are the top prize or the shoreline forager. On remoter parts of our coastline legal sized pauas can be gathered at low tide, but often snorkelling gear is required to get legal sized pauas in many areas these days. Magic of wharves I love chilling out and fishing from wharves. The key to success here is to use small hooks. Large spotties and yellow-eyed mullet make great eating when fresh. I love eating whole fish, off the bone, after crisping them up and serving with a tomato and chilli pesto. Jack mackerel can be caught around many wharves in the northern parts of New Zealand and are delicious when hot-smoked. Potting Potting for paddlecrabs or “piecrust crabs” is a fun activity. A simple hoop pot baited with an oily fish such as a mackerel works very well. Wharves make good spots for potting for piecrust crabs (which have beautiful meat in their claws). If you have a kayak then placing pots in further from shore, over open sand, will allow you to catch paddle crabs. The other exciting part of hoop potting is the by-catch- anything from brittle stars to seahorses will turn up to fascinate the kids. Healthy seaweeds On the rocky shoreline don’t overlook the wide range of edible seaweeds that occur there. Seaweeds are incredibly healthy with high levels of trace elements. Bladder kelp is one of my favourites. The blades of the kelp, when dried slowly in the oven, turn from a brown to green colour. Once crispened by baking in olive oil, and with a little cracked pepper, they make delicious “seaweed flavoured potato chip”. Neptune’s necklace when likely blanched and added to a salad makes a point of interest. Karengo, dark bladed kelp growing high up on the inter-tidal, is often in its prime in late winter. When fried with a mix of olive oil and butter, along with some cracked pepper it is delicious. Karengo has grown significantly in popularity in recent years as a point of interest by many chefs, and is commercially harvested in areas such as Kaikoura. Undaria, the seaweed accidentally introduced from Japan, is also a prime food source when dried out. As people look to more healthy forms of food, interest in gathering seaweeds is growing. Coastal herbs The shoreline area is not only a rich source of shellfish and seaweeds but many types of herbs grow wild along the shore. Wild fennel is often very prolific in dry stony areas. The fennel makes a great herb for favouring seafood dishes, and can also be brewed to make a refreshing tea. The seedpods, from fennel, when ground down also make an intense flavouring. Italian parsley often grows prolifically along shoreline areas in the rank shrub just above the high tide mark. Winter is a good time to gather Italian parsley and having go at making homemade pesto with it. There is nothing to me more comforting than cooking freshly gathered wild foods and cooking them up over a beach fire. If local regulations prohibit the use of an open fire, then a gas cooker is a passable substitute. There is nothing like dining alfresco, even in winter, and looking out over a beautiful coastal view. Brewing up a strong espresso is often a good way to “sign-off” from a days’ shoreline foraging. So next time you head down to the beach take a bucket or two, a chilly bin, a gas cooker, a sharp knife, a hammer and chisel (for the Pacific and rock oysters), some snorkelling gear, a couple of fishing rods and have dinner. At the end of the day there is nothing like some fresh sea air to clear away the cobwebs of city living. By bringing some food back to the table you can also re-live the days events. Happy foraging.
Friday, April 22, 2016
Thanks all for your interest in wild-foods and foraging. I will regularly update this blog in 2016. It is an exciting year for mapping out our wildfoods resources. In the meantime check out Meghan Walkers excellent article in the latest copy of NZ Wilderness magazine. Foraging should be a way of life in our land of plenty, but make sure that you return the favour and stand up for the environment upon which we are all dependent . Article in latest Wilderness by Meghan Walker. #wildcaptureforage Cheers Peter
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Peter Langlands The Kaikoura Coast with its temperate climate offers a range of wild plants that can be gathered from the roadside or on walks around the peninsula. Fennel is a common herb that thrives along Kaikoura’s coastal roads and the young shoots provide the best taste and can also be used in a salad. The distinctive yellow seeds can also be used as flavouring and especially compliment fish dishes very well. Another common coastal herbs the Italian parsley which likes to grow along the rocky coastline from Oaro up to Kaikoura. Italian parsley is very flavourful and like fennel is a great match with seafood. A native species, the native celery which looks very similar to the Italian parsley but grows further out on rock outcrops is a very tasty herb (but as this is a rare native species harvesting should be minimal). The most exotic plant is the banana passion fruit which occurs in vines from west of Oaro to Kaikoura Peninsula with the ripe fruit available in the autumn. On the drive up to Kaikoura there are also numerous wild apple trees on the roadside which offer an autumn harvest. Calendula flowers will add a little colour to your wild harvested salad. Wild spinach is also very common along the beaches, especially at South Bay, and again the fresh leaves provide the best eating. Make sure that you give any wild gathered plants a good wash and pick the fresh growth. Wild herbs will add a little bit of local flavour and many of the herbs occurring along Kaikoura Coastline compliment seafood dishes well. So with a little insight you can produce your own locally gathered salad. Certainly Kaikoura is a bountiful environment along the coastal strip.