Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Wild foods along the Kaikoura Coast.
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.