Saturday, 28 September 2013

Going Wild goes abroad

  So, the weeklong interlude in activity has not been due to apathy, but because I have been sunning myself for a week in the south of France, and very nice it was too.  Although this was a time for relaxing, there was of course still time for a forage here and there. Here’s what I found;

Perennial Wall-Rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia):

Although this plant grows in Britain (it is supposedly fairly abundant), I haven’t yet found it on home soil, so was rather excited when finding it abundance on every road side and crack in the wall whilst in Nice.  The taste is a like a slightly more mustard-y salad rocket, the flowers pack the same punch and also taste great. When found it abundance in can take just a few minutes to pick a bagful, so it would be foolish not to!

The flowers taste delicious - a great way to add some colour to a salad

Living up to its name - Perennial Wall-Rocket

Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.):

(As there are over 200 species of Prickly Pear in the Opuntia genus, I cannot tell you the exact species I picked.)

Because these cactus fruits don’t grow in Britain, I was unsure what they were upon seeing them at first, though I was fairly certain of their true identity.  However, for me, ‘fairly’ is a gamble with poor odds, so they were admired but ignored for the first few days until we visited a small grocery store that happened to be selling them.  I’m still unsure who would buy them when they are so abundant in the wild, but hey, I’m glad that shop was selling them otherwise I might never have picked some.

Think you’ve heard the name Prickly Pear before? Can't remember where from? Perhaps this will jog your memory;

Prickly Pear with a view! Looking out over Monaco 

Although we had seen Prickly Pears quite literally hanging over the roadside when cycling around, I foolishly decided that I would scale a rather steep hill to pick some, so it would feel like I'd earned them, y'know?

A steep climb for a snack

I should have listened to Baloo and be careful of the aptly named Prickly Pear; after picking, my hands were full of tiny spikes that were a devil to get out.  Thick gloves really are a bare necessity.  

After brushing the spikes off, the fruits were safe to handle


Although the inner flesh may look delicious and slightly like that of a papaya, it was in fact nothing special. A fairly bland, watery taste - like that of an unripe papaya crossed with a tasteless melon of some sort. I'll be willing to try these again, as I know how the taste of fruit can alter depending on the different variety, location, time of year etc, however, my first taste of Prickly Pear was not an especially memorable one. Worth the climb? To try it, yes. For a tasty treat, no.  

Not much flesh - the centre consisted mostly of seeds

Wild mushroom market:

Came across this market stall - an impressive sight! 

Saffron Milkcaps galore 

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