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CARISSA MACROCARPA

CARISSA MACROCARPA
Carissa berries are commonly known as ‘Num-num’s’. The humble Num-num bush has glossy dark green leaves and big spiky thorns, protecting its delicate jasmine-like flowers and plump, juicy red berries.
When you pick a Carissa berry, you will find a milky latex at the base of the berry– this milky latex is usually a warning sign in most plants – but in the Carissa berry, it is non-toxic.
The berries are rich in pectin, which makes them great to add to jams, preserves and relishes, binding everything beautifully and glossing it with a ruby-red hue. It is also very high in vitamin C making it a nutritious snack eaten raw. The taste of the berries are tart, sweet, with a cranberry like flavour.
Carssa berry bush sketch

Carissa berry, beetroot and apple relish

Serves 6–8

Ingredients:
¼ cup of Carissa berries, sliced
2 apples cored, peeled and diced
4 small beetroots, peeled and diced
¼ cup of sugar
2 tbs honey
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
3 cloves
1 tbs fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and pepper

Method:
Place all the ingredients in a small pot, except for the honey. Simmer over a low heat until most of the liquid has reduced, for approximately 40 minutes. When it starts to look bubbly and sticky, add the honey and simmer at a low heat for another 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool down. Pour it over a soft, room-temperature cheese such as Camembert or Brie cheese. Try to share it with your friends – that’s if it even makes it out of your kitchen!

carissa and beetroot relish

How to grow Carissa
Carissa macrocarpa, or ‘Num-num’, is a handsome evergreen shrub with fairly large shiny leaves, and grows to about 2 meters in height. It has thick sharp thorns and can be used to create an effective, impenetrable hedge. Carissa is found naturally in coastal areas from Humansdorp, all the way up to Mozambique. Although able to survive drought and poor soil very well, it grows faster in good soil with some watering. Carissa berry produces beautifully-scented white flowers from spring to mid-summer, and is followed by large red fruits rich in Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Carissa can be grown easily from seed sown in the spring, but it can also be grown
from semi-hardwood cuttings in spring.

 

Did you know…our recipe book is in the making! Take a sneak peak on the Veld and Sea website HERE

Wild food supper

We recently had some friends in the field (pun intended) over for a wild food supper.

I thought I’d share with you some of the dishes we ate.

But first the prep. Gathering ingredients for wild foods is fun and adventurous and sometimes a little crazy.

Like surfing for our seaweed, or in this case, climbing up a ladder to collect the dried Strelitzia nicolai flowers towering overhead. You can eat the fresh seeds raw and the dried ones can be ground up and used as a flour. Just remember to leave more than you collect.

Strelitzia nicolaiStrelitzia nicolia dried flowers heads

Then you have to brave the bugs and spiders to find the beautiful golden fynbos pirate treasure inside the very hard seed pods.

Strelitzia seedsStrelitzia n. seeds

The seeds are like little hard black coffee beans with a white inside that can be ground up. The gorgeous orange fluff attached to them is the aril that is also edible. It’s a lot of work for a small amount of flour, but a labour of love is usually delicious!

wild food dessertAgar agar and strawberry brule w. Carissa macrocarpa flower and Strilitzia shortcake

Pictured above on the left you can see the final product…I used the flour to make a shortcake and included the aril for added edible decoration.

So now I will backtrack to the starters. Sorry. Its like reading one of those books that the beginning is in the middle and you start at the end and finish in the future. Confusing and edgy. Exciting and wonderful –  like these sweet and salty seaweed nutsSeaweed nuts

This a super easy, highly tasty snack to make. Whether you are hosting a Rugby Watching Braai or a Canape and Cocktail Soiree, these will go down a treat.

Using freshly washed and rinsed sea lettuce or Ulva, chop up a cup full and toss with assorted nuts. season with sea salt and sugar and pop in the oven on a low heat until the nuts are golden brown and the seaweed is crispy.

Yum.

We also enjoyed oven baked periwinkle and seaweed samoosas

Periwinkle samoosas

Periwinkle samoosasPeriwinkle and seaweed samoosas

Seaweed couscous salad – get the recipe here.

Couscous seaweed saladUlva couscous salad with wild garlic flowers

Never-fail-to-please ruby relish on Bree

Carissa and beetroot relish on breeCarissa macrocarpa berry and beetroot relish topped with Carissa bispinosa berries.

Wild garlic rolls and farm butter

Tulbaghia rollsTulbaghia violacea rolls

These were used to mop up the exquisite juices of the mussels….

Musssels and spekboomMussels in a creamy white wine sauce with garlic, thyme, Salvia chamelaeagnea, Portulacaria afra and whole baby onions.

For dips we had Morogo, Wild garlic and King Protea seed pesto and a Wild sage sour cream

Morogo pesto and salvia sour creamMorogo, Tulbaghia violacea and Protea cyneriodes seed pesto. Sheeps milk sour-cream flavoured with Salvia dentata.

We hope this inspires you to be creative and adventurous with your cooking this year –

Happy 2014!