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.
Carissa berry, beetroot and apple relish
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
1 tbs fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and pepper
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!
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
Tuesday 14th Feb 6pm
Come and experience this once-off pop-up event dedicated to sustainable cuisine that will tantalize all of your senses.
The meal will be created by Roushanna Gray of Veld and Sea, using fresh seasonal ingredients and locally produced products, transforming them into delicious foods.
Vegetables, herbs and wild foods will be picked and prepared on site that day from the Good Hope Gardens vegetable gardens. Indigenous edibles, seaweeds, floral foods and local artisan products will be used.
Quality not quantity is to be observed and that means limited spaces! There will only be 12 seats available at this pop-up so please book soon to avoid disappointment.
The Wild Love dinner will be held in the Veld and Sea classroom at the Good Hope Gardens in Cape Point on Tuesday the 14th of Feb at 6pm.
Tickets: R500 per person
Included: Four course meal, 1 large botanical cocktail, 1 small gift. Guests are welcome to bring bring own wine, corkage not charged.
Vegetarians and Vegans options available!
To book contact Roushanna Gray on email@example.com
Join us for some deliciously exciting workshops this season – We are heading back to the beach for the much anticipated return of our coastal forages, plus there are some new and exciting collaborative workshops featured in the lineup which we are very excited to share with you!
To book for any of these events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
COASTAL FORAGING 2017
Saturday 7th Jan 10am – 2pm
Saturday 21st Jan 9am – 1pm
Saturday 11th Feb 9am – 1pm
Saturday 25th Feb 9am – 1pm
This half day course will introduce you to some of our local edible seaweed, explore the magical world of rock pools, meet like minded people, learn how to sustainably harvest and prepare your macro-algae and shellfish, make various recipes together that will end in a feast.
We will start off the day meeting at the beach, and after an intro and snack on the rocks we will make our way down around the tidal pools where we will forage for edible seaweeds and mussels. This beautiful coastline is abundant with food, but as we always forage sustainably we will be focusing only on the seaweed that is prolific in the area and the invasive mussel species, stressing how to treat the wildlife with respect. After our morning on the rocks, we will head to the Veld and Sea classroom at the Good Hope Nursery in Cape Point with our foraged food to prepare and create an outdoor lunch banquet.
Includes wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious three course lunch based on ingredients foraged and prepared by the group. Notes include intro, identification, recipes and tide charts.
More info on our website HERE
Cost: R550 per person/R2000 for a group of four. Children under 17yrs R200, Children under 2yrs free. Full payment will secure your booking as spaces are limited.
BOTANICAL COCKTAIL WORKSHOP
Saturday 26th Nov 11am-3pm
Join Caitlin Hill, co-owner of Mothers Ruin, Gin Bar on this exciting wild alchemy, botanicals and floral food filled day.
We will start with a foraging master-class in the Veld and Sea classroom, followed by a walk where we will gather wild herbs and edible flowers to be used in the drinks. You will learn the basics of cocktail making – the ingredients, techniques and equipment plus a special introduction to gin as well as how to make two classic gin based cocktails. Discover the world of tincture making and create your own bitters and infusions. A light floral inspired lunch, cocktails and refreshments will be served. Leave with a herbal bouquet and your very own wild booze creations.
Venue: Veld and Sea classroom, Cape Point
Cost: R650 per person. R600 per person for a group of four
To book: Please email email@example.com
FORAGED WREATH WORKSHOP
Saturday 10th Dec 2pm-5pm
Join us for this fun and festive wreath making workshop at the beautiful home of artist and singer songwriter Amy Ayanda. A day of dreaming and creating, learn to use natures symmetry and design in two beautiful wreaths to take home. Led by foraging teacher Roushanna Gray, there will be a demo and introduction followed by a wreath making session with summers wild flowers, fynbos and foliage. No experience necessary and all equipment will be provided. Enjoy floral inspired snacks, home-made kombucha and botanical cocktails.
Spaces are limited to 10 participants.
Cost: R500 per person or R450 if you bring a friend.
KIDS HOLIDAY WORKSHOP
Monday 12th Dec 10am-1pm
Tuesday 13th Dec 10am-1pm
Kids are natural foragers. Remember growing up looking for Soursucks (Oxalis) in the winter and cape honeysuckles (Tecoma) in spring? It all comes very naturally! So imagine how fun a morning of gathering and tasting different scented leaves and edible flowers would be! The kids will learn fun facts about which plants the birds and butterflies love, get to meet the farm animals, create some artwork, make and eat delicious pizzas or scones with the foraged and harvested ingredients to enjoy with yummy Fynbos iced tea, and have fun in the playground with new friends.
VENUE: Veld and Sea classroom in Cape Point
COST: R280 for one, or bring a friend and each pay R220
TO BOOK: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: This is a small holiday class – please book soon to avoid disappointment. Any kids under the age of 4 require a parent/guardian to accompany them.
COASTAL FORAGING + HAND PLANE WORKSHOP
Saturday 17 Dec 9.30am
We will start off the day meeting at the beach, and after an intro and snack on the rocks we will make our way down around the tidal pools where we will forage for edible seaweeds and mussels. This beautiful coastline is abundant with food, but as we always forage sustainably we will be focusing only on the seaweed that is prolific in the area and the invasive mussel species, stressing how to treat the wildlife with respect. After our morning on the rocks, we will head to the Burnett Wood Surfboards workshop for a coffee and a snack before starting on your handplane creations under the expert guidance of Patrick Burnett. This handplane course offers the opportunity to make a functional and beautiful surfcraft out of wood in one day. Participants will learn about the enjoyment of bodysurfing, the design dynamics that underpin handplanes and the pleasure of shaping something out of wood. Participants walk away with their own self-crafted handplane. Learn more about Patrick and his craft in this beautiful video clip HERE
WHAT IS INCLUDED: Wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious three course lunch based on ingredients foraged by the group. Notes include intro, identification, recipes and tide charts.
WHAT TO BRING: Beach gear, slip-slops or booties, your mollusk permit (essential – available at your nearest post office), cameras, water bottle, a sense of humour and an appetite! Also please bring your drink of choice for yourself to enjoy with the meal
BONUS: Collect seaweed to take home and preserve in methods learned on the day.
PRICE: R1200 p/person. Full payment will secure your booking. Please note, this is a small workshop and only 6 spaces are available, so book soon to avoid disappointment.
VENUE: Scarborough beach + Burnett Surfboard Workshop
TEACHERS: Patrick Burnett and Roushanna Gray
Email email@example.com to subscribe to our mailing list.
Saturday the 13th of Feb 10am – 4pm
Join us for a day of indigenous plants, second-hand clothing and delicious food.
Nestled amongst the Fynbos in Cape Point, the Good Hope Gardens Nursery is the perfect venue for family and friends to enjoy a home-made treat and a discount on plants and clothes at this unique pop-up event.
FOOD – Fresh and Botanical is the theme of the day with floral foods, organic veg and wild edible ingredients harvested in and around the nursery. Veld+Sea will be creating a mouthwatering menu with sweet and savory seasonal delights, an array of Fynbos flavoured teas picked from the Veldkos garden as well as regular teas and fresh, strong coffee. Parusha Naidoo will be joining us with a selection of her super delicious vegan treats.
PLANTS – There will be a beautiful array of plants on sale in the retail and a crazy 20% sale off all plants! The nursery specializes in Indigenous plants and has a fantastic selection of Indigenous and Fynbos plants. They grow beautiful, hardy plants and trees specifically designed by nature to flourish in local climate conditions. Take advantage of the specials on offer at this even and green up your garden or balcony with these water wise plants
Aeren Fortune will have a rail of good quality, pre-loved ladies clothing from Ireland in a selection of gorgeous fabrics – silk, wool, etc. Treat yourself to some beautiful bargains!
The tea garden will have outdoor seating, so we suggest bringing a wrap if the wind is up or get some tea time treats as a takeaway if it starts to rain.
There is a fun playground for kiddies to enjoy, a succulent koppie to meander up and a 30 min Fynbos walk for the adventurous. Dogs on leads please as there are free range animals around!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you might have or visit the Facebook event page for updates and info.
Calling all chefs, mixologists, cooks and foodies!
In a bid to create awareness and interest in all the delicious wild flavours our indigenous edible plants have to offer, we are launching a Veld and Sea Flavour Challenge this summer.
How does it work?
Every two weeks I will be putting together a mix of indigenous edibles for participating restaurants, bars and foodies, labeled with their common and Latin names and share a brief rundown of their culinary uses. No payment is required, just a trade exchange for the photos of the food or drink they create with the plants, so we can share them on our social media platforms, giving credit to the creators and establishments and inspiring others to join in this deliciously wild challenge.
How do I get involved?
Easy – email email@example.com with #veldandseaflavourchallenge in the heading and let me know who you are, what you do and where you are based.
What if I have my own indigenous edibles?
Epic! And even easier – just post your food photos on Instagram, tag it with #veldandseaflavourchallenge with a description of the botanicals you used plus what your dish is called and we will include your story in this incredible edible wild flavour food journey.
Bringing you wild food catering and pop-up events inspired by veld and sea and of course, our seasonal and sustainable foraging courses. There are even sweet whispers of a new product range at summer markets and a recipe book in the creation stages.
Here are a few beautiful images taken by the very talented Gabrielle Holmes at the last pop-up food event held at the foraging classroom at the nursery – a Spier Secret dinner.
“Building up to the Spier Secret festival, we will be hosting a series of intimate secret dinners with selected industry leaders in various locations across Cape Town. Focusing on community and sustainable and ethical food production, hosts will be creating unforgettable experiences in which they will share their knowledge, skills and ultimately, their table with you.”
To join our mailing and be informed of any upcoming forages, feasts and events, send us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Please Add To Mailing List” as the subject line.
Hope to feed you soon!
Spring has sprung!!!
Which means its time for another floral event…
Join us for a day of Indigenous plants and Indigenous edible delights.
Nestled amongst the Fynbos in Cape Point, the Good Hope Gardens Nursery is the perfect venue for family and friends to enjoy a home-made treat and a discount on plants at this unique pop-up event.
FOOD – Fresh and Botanical is the theme of the day with floral foods, organic veg and wild edible ingredients harvested in and around the nursery. Veld+Sea will be creating a mouthwatering menu with sweet and savory seasonal delights, an array of Fynbos flavoured teas picked from the Veldkos garden as well as regular teas and fresh, strong coffee.
PLANTS – Spring has sprung – there will be a beautiful array of spring flowers and plants on sale in the retail. The nursery specializes in Indigenous plants and has a fantastic selection of Indigenous and Fynbos plants. We
grow beautiful, hardy plants and trees specifically designed by nature to flourish in local climate conditions. Have fun in your garden or balcony this spring and take advantage of the specials on offer at this event.
The tea garden will have outdoor seating, so we suggest bringing a blanket if the wind is up or get some boxed tea time treats to takeaway if it starts to rain.
There is a fun playground for kiddies to enjoy, a succulent koppie to meander up and a 30 min Fynbos walk for the adventurous. Dogs on leads please as there are free range animals around!
Please contact email@example.com for any questions you might have or visit www.goodhopegardensnursery.co.za and discover what we are all about.
Join the Facebook event for updates and info here: Pop-up Tea Garden and Plant Sale
By Roelien Steenkamp
There is an indigenous food revival happening at the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, 60km south of Cape Town. Here, Roushanna Gray and her family are reconnecting people with the land by teaching them how to forage, plant and enjoy wild foods which grow freely and abundantly in the Western Cape.
I once overheard an unsettling story. Somewhere abroad, a man went for a ride on his horse. They trotted along a beach where rotten kelp lay piled in thick heaps .The smell was nauseating; a mixture of raw sewage and urine. It was not long before the horse collapsed and died, and his owner passed out. An autopsy declared the death of the horse, and the unconsciousness of its owner, the result of toxic fumes emitted by seaweed.
I have heard similar stories from those living very close to the sea where kelp lies decomposing – keep your room well ventilated because if you don’t, you might never wake up. Whether this was at all true or not, it fuelled my dislike for kelp: it causes headaches, stinks, blocks launch sites, dirties tidal pools, breaks propellers, etc. Little did I know that a few years later, I would gaze upon this abundant seaweed in an appreciative manner, considering it one of my favourite superfoods. Kelp has been a fertiliser for aeons. Extracts are used in thousands of products around the world. It is a huge industry, but how could it be of use to us in its unadulterated, whole form?
Kelp, among other seaweeds and algae, is considered a wild food. So what exactly does this mean? And why is it so relevant to us in this day and age?
Image by Christoper List
When I heard Roushanna Gray of the Good Hope Nursery was hosting a coastal foraging session in Scarborough, I was quick to sign up. It was a sunny Saturday and a low tide had exposed exquisite rock pools. With permits in hand, twenty of us gathered around Roushanna with notes, scissors and plastic bags. Our mission was to learn something we’ve forgotten: how to forage, prepare and enjoy what was freely available, prolific and nutritious in our immediate surroundings. In this case, it was shellfish and seaweed. Unfortunately it was red tide, which meant that the mussels were filtering harmful algae through their bivalves and were therefore inedible at the time. So vegetarian it was!
After filling our bags, we headed back to a nearby cottage where we rinsed our harvest in a tub. We divided ourselves into teams and chose a recipe to work with. There was something for everyone: sea lettuce pine nut pesto, tahini wrack coleslaw, kelp lasagne and for desert: candied kelp and seaweed ice cream. A delicious forager’s feast which hardly cost us a thing!
I was also curious about land foraging and arranged to meet Roushanna at her nursery near Cape Point two weeks later. It was a hot day, with the screeching sounds of cicadas filling the air. As Roushanna led me to my seat, I was immediately calmed by her presence, a presence that matched the serenity of the fynbos mountains surrounding us.
Roushanna’s passion for wholesome food has been in her blood since she was a little girl. “I had no plant knowledge. Everything I know now, I learned through research, exploration and my love of food. I grew up with a mixed heritage, so there was a lot of ‘fusion food’. My life out here, and my passion for wild edibles, started when I fell in love with my husband Tom. My mother-in-law, Gael, is a botanist, so we would go walking and she’d teach me how to indentify plants. This nursery has been running for 30 odd years.”
Roushanna also ran a tea garden at the nursery before dedicating more time to motherhood. “We used to serve rooibos cupcakes and fresh salads full of edible flowers and fragrant garnishes.” She pauses and a rush of nostalgia sweeps across her face, “I love how those meals surprised people. They couldn’t believe that this food was foraged from the mountains and our garden, that it could taste that good and be so satisfying. A new world opens up for them.”
Or, perhaps, I think to myself, a very old world they have forgotten…
We talk a bit more about her life at the tip of southern Africa and how it has humbled her. I ask her the burning question, “Just what exactly is wild food and can you survive on it?”
“It would be difficult and would require a lot of patience to survive on it,” Roushanna answers. “Wild foods are foods which grow in the wild, but they can also be found in urban areas, along pavements and parking lots. They are not planted by man. They are dense with minerals and vitamins. I always tell people that wild foods should be one part of their meal, not the whole of it. It adds flavour and nutrients to a dish.”
There’s something different to the way Roushanna talks about food. For her, there’s more to food than satisfying hunger. “I have become fussy since I’ve been eating this way, it’s hard for me to see those sad boxed-up specimens in shops,” she says with a shy giggle. “I feel so good after eating my own food. It connects me with the land, the seasons, the moon, the tides. It’s also very empowering to be able to source, identify and create a meal out of them.”
As we take a walk through the nursery, Roushanna points out several types of buchu and pelargoniums. We also taste some sour figs and purslane. It is a different taste, I admit to her, but it is an empowering taste which probes something long suppressed. After observing my responses, she says, “Our ancestor’s palates were accustomed to bitter foods, now our taste buds are numbed by all the sugar in processed foods. It’s about getting used to it again.”
For many, wild food brings up images of thorny berry bushes and dandelions – things we would consider weeds, or at least difficult to prepare and digest. Is it even possible to create a diverse menu from such foods? I observe the pictures of mouth-watering dishes on the walls of the room we sit in. It becomes evident that there’s a lot to work with: fruits, herbs, roots, flowers, leaves, spices, seaweeds, shellfish, seeds and nuts. Roushanna recommends taking a trip up the west coast for a taste experience, “Kobus van der Merwe, author of the recipe book ‘Sandveldfood: A West Coast Odyssey’, is a culinary genius. He would observe the shapes and colours of the sea and recreate that scene on your plate. I love going to his restaurant Oep Ve Koep in Paternoster.” Geographical location and seasons are important when it comes to foraging, she adds. We both agree that that’s an even greater excuse to travel our beautiful country – to search for food!
Roushanna also offers courses for children. Being a mother of two, she believes it vital to speak of the stories behind the plants: Where do they come from? Who ate them? How did they get their names? This helps the children, and adults, to gain a better understanding of the plants.
“My son grew up watching me forage and loves to go with me. If your children grow their own healthy foods, they are more willing to eat it. If they can associate it with something they love, that’s even better. I always add some wild edibles to all-time favourite snacks like pizza and scones.”
South Africa is a great place for foraging – from mushrooms and seafood in the wild Transkei, to the amazing fynbos and shellfish up the western coast, you’ll be busy for days. It’s worth doing some research on your next destination and speaking to locals. Searching for your own food can add an extra dose of adventure to weekends away.
Before I say goodbye to Roushanna, I ask her how she – a true forager – would describe her relationship with nature. She grows quiet for a moment, shakes her head as if in utter disbelief of how lucky she is and concludes,
“Without it, I’d be heartbroken. It is a big part of me, it is my therapy. I also enjoy watching my kids grow up in it. When I go surfing, I am humbled completely. I am in the present moment. All I think about are the waves. The act of foraging is similar. It brings me peace and happiness; it gives me a sense of place in this crazy world.”
As I leave the nursery, I drive along the cliffs bordering False Bay. It feels as if a thick veil has been removed from my eyes. I no longer just see shrubs flashing past me and rock pools in the depths below. I see an edible landscape.
Our ‘instant gratification culture’ has done a lot to disconnect us from nature. We are so used to heading off to the shops to quickly fill our trolleys with “ready to eat” foods. We have forgotten the greater gratification that comes from ‘Slow Food’ – taking our time to forage, plant, harvest, prepare and chew our food with thoughtfulness – savouring each mouthful, even if it’s something you never thought you’d ever like (in my case, kelp!).
Foraging was vital for survival before the advent of agriculture, but it is still vital today for a different reason: to reconnects us with the land.
To ground us.
Roushanna’s tips on how to eat wild:
1. Identification is the most important part! Ask an experienced guide or local. Observe, taste, smell, touch, make notes.
2. Plant the edibles in your garden. It will teach you how to identify them more easily out in the wild, as well as to develop a taste for them.
3. When in doubt, leave it alone: be 110% sure of edibility.
4. Know which parts of the plant are edible and which aren’t. Also know how to prepare the parts.
5. Never forage in a polluted space.
6. Tread lightly. Only take enough .The rule of thumb: harvest 1/3, leave 1/3 for re-growth and 1/3 for other animals.
7. Make sure it’s legal. A mussel permit which you can obtain from your post office allows for shellfish and seaweed collections, but it is illegal to forage plants. Never forage in a Nature Conservation Are, or private properties.
8. Indigenous edible plants are ENDANGERED; this is why it’s so crucial to tread lightly and to grow them yourself whenever possible.
9. Never forage shellfish during red-tide.
10. For seaweeds (kelp, sea lettuce, wrack), never gather loose floating pieces, always cut from ones fresh and attached to the rocks as close to the tide line as possible.
Roushanna’s top wild edibles:
1. Kelp (sea bamboo, Ecklonia maxima)
2. Num num (Carissa bispinosa)
3. Pine ring mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus)
4. Veldkool (Trachyandra ciliata)
5. Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea )
6. Pelargoniums (from the Geraniaceae family)
7. Nettles (from the Urticaceae family)
8. Sea lettuce (ulva & monostroma species)
9. Ice plant (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis)
10. Kei-apples (Dovyalis caffra)
11. Cape Chestnuts (Calodendrum capense )
12. Mussels (there are two edible mussels – Black mussel (Choromytilus meridionalis) and the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). Always eat the Mediterranean mussel first – it’s an alien!
©Roelien Steenkamp, 2015