Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Farewell

Wild Plants And Wooly Bears

Cobbling together a meal from what I can harvest, catch or grow appeals to my innermost being. From April through September, nature provides plenty of fixings for my wild meals. September’s bounty, although fleeting, has a special charm.

Today serves as a good example of that. My noontime meal consisted of skull-shaped puffballs (wild mushrooms from my woodlot), fillet of lake trout (caught yesterday in a nearby lake) and tender, young green beans from my garden.

These puffballs, like all wild mushrooms, present harvesters with only a short window of opportunity. Pick and enjoy them today, for tomorrow they are gone. Transients on my dinner plate, these mushrooms are.

Togue, or lake trout, bite best in September, given that cool weather arrives sometime in mid-month. That didn’t happen this year, so the fish I caught yesterday was a bonus. Besides that, the lake closes for the season on the first of October. Another year must pass before my next late-season togue-fishing trip.

And green beans, well they have a few weeks left, given that a hard frost doesn’t kill them. A note regarding these beans might prove valuable to others who enjoy green beans. Most varieties (Tendergreen comes immediately to mind) produce well, but after the first few pickings, become fat and generally misshapen. I bought my beans from a place called Vermont Seed Company, located, oddly enough, in Randolph, Wisconsin.

Anyway, these French fillet-style beans are called Straight ‘N Narrow and the name describes them quite well. No matter what, they remain straight and relatively narrow. And, of course, they retain their sweet, mild flavor. A helping of these culinary delights, freshly-picked, has to stand as one of September’s finest treats.

Oh, the ninth month has more going for it than what I have mentioned here. Earlier on, wild cranberries come around. Winter squash become ready for eating and white perch congregate in huge schools, a boon to those who relish their sweet, flaky flesh.

So as September winds down to pave the way for October, I bid it a fond farewell.

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