School's out, World Cup is on, weather is hot, what else can I say? We have been spending lots of time at the local kid's museums, down at Rocky Neck State Park, at birthday parties, at the movies and in front of the TV.
Our weekly trips to Harkness Park finally yielded 3 bags of linden flowers and bracts to dry for tea. The fragrant flowers smell like honey, and we dry them in paper bags and store them for wintertime tea parties. We were stopped and questioned by several people as to what we were doing, including a pair of elderly Russian ladies out for a stroll. They were happy to see that someone knew what the tree was, and was interested in herbs and plants even in this modern age. The trees are easy to spot from a distance due to their speckled appearance from the lighter colored bracts against the darker green leaves. Lindens are often planted as landscaping trees for their pleasing shape.
White mulberries also ripened, and we picked a few bowls to snack on. They are not as flavorful as the red or black mulberries, and can seem almost watery, but make a good addition to fruit salads, granola, and yogurt. I think they look like a bowl of grubs.
The black raspberries are loving the sun and hot weather, and we often have to compete with birds for the fruit. We don't usually gather these in large quantities, as they can seem especially seedy. We use them fresh in breakfast granola and yogurt. My favorite summer berry, wineberry, is flowering. It is hard to see the small, white flower along the roadside, but we can spot a wineberry bramble patch easily from it's reddish blush. The whole plant is covered in red hairs which may seem soft, but there are still prickers on there too!
We tried some burdock flower stalk. Robert thinks it has an "oaky barrel" flavor, so he curried them. He also is searching for some edible seaweed books. We can gather some seaweed at the shore, like Irish sea moss, sea lettuce and kelp. Most books we can find on the subject are old, and from the British Isles, but we would like to forage some seaweed in Maine in August when we go camping. The garlic mustard is producing plenty of seeds, and they are dry enough to gather and separate from the papery sheaths. Those we add to toasted spices mixtures for curries, and top off breads with their peppery garlic bite.