Monday, November 25, 2013

Hooray for Bay Nuts!

Today three friends and I harvested more bay nuts, each of us has already been out collecting, either together or with others (one of my friends is eight years old, and I am glad to have this special time with her in this context).  In Santa Cruz, the California Bay Laurel tree is very abundant in the wild spaces around this area.  From where I live, it is a ten minute walk to the river where redwood trees, sycamore trees, bay trees (and more) share the land.  In other seasons, nettles can be found, and soon mushrooms will be popping up like hidden treasures.

For me, harvesting these foods is a way for me to connect to the land, and to do that with friends creates a special kind of bond between us.  In a small way, we are meeting our needs for basic sustenance, and in a larger way we are also bypassing the capitalist alienation of how we get our food.  It is also important for me to mindfully do this gathering, as this also involves a kind of relationship, one with the trees and nuts and land from which they grow.  I also give back, gratitude and tend to these areas.  This attention to how I relate, to myself, to others, to the land is an important aspect of anarchism for me, where I embody my theory in the how-I-am in the world.  And the bay nuts are really tasty (and have a caffeine like effect).

Here are some links that give some directions on how to process bay nuts.  There are two primary methods, roasting in the shell and roasting outside of the shell.  I have tried both, and you can too.  Whatever the method you use, be sure to not over-roast the bay nuts.

-Baynutting: Tips for Harvesting, Storing and Using California Bay Nuts in the Shell
-Handout on Harvesting and Roasting Bay Nuts Out of the Shell

Also see the article posted on the Meristem Health Distro blog about Ethical Harvesting.

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