Saturday, March 31, 2012

Japanese Knotweed Identified



Knotweed flowering
Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) is a wonderful wild edible, but a horrible invasive species. It came originally from Asia, and has spread to the US from the UK as a planted ornamental plant for its pretty white flower sprays in summer and fall. Japanese knotweed will grow just about anywhere, next to water, on the side of the road and railroad tracks, anywhere there is ample sunlight. It will also grow in just about any type of soil, so it easily excludes native vegetation. It spreads mainly through rhizomes underground, but the seeds have "wings" to better ride the winds. The rhizomes are strong enough to grow through asphalt and retaining walls, causing damage to structures. The thick layer of last season's decomposing dry stems will outmulch all competitors, creating large stands of impenetrable knotweed forests.
Last season's dry stems


The shoots appear next to the last season's dry stems, first as pink shoots, then growing quickly into tall, red-speckled green stems with a crown of curled, green leaves. The shoots have a sour, green apple-like taste, but with an odd vegetal quality. It is probably one of those love-or-hate tastes. Some recipes may call for you to peel the stalks, which we do with a potato peeler. When the shoots are about 3"-8" tall is the best time to gather them to use in recipes like dessert bars, tapioca, or a jelly. If the stems are about 8"-12" tall, we still pick them to make the jelly or wine. When they get too much taller, more leaves will unfurl and the stems become tough and stringy, almost more string than flesh. The stems can grow 6'-12' tall, and there is a second species that grows in our area that is even bigger, the giant knotweed (Polygonum sachalinense).

There are several very distinct identifiers, including the jointed stem which looks like bamboo, a membranous sheath at each of the stem joints, and leaves that are broadly oval with an oddly straight base and a pointy tip. They unfurl into leaves about 5"-6" long and 2"-4" wide. When sliced, knotweed has a mucilaginous quality. Japanese knotweed does contain some oxalic acid and should not be consumed in massive quantities. It also contains resveratrol, which is the same compound found in grapes and red wine that might positively affect heart disease. Most resveratrol nutritional supplements are derived from Japanese knotweed.

Japanese knotweed chilled soup



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dock Recipe: Dock Stuffed Baozi (Chinese Steamed Buns)


Curly dock
Some of the more common greens in our area are the docks- curly dock (Rumex crispus) and broad leaf dock (Rumex obtsifolius). Dock greens are not tender enough to eat raw as a salad for most people, but they are tough enough to stand up to cooking as a pot herb. Essentially, you can chop them and add them to soups, curries, stews, casseroles, and any other place you might have used another green like kale or cooked spinach.

Broad leaf dock
We made the filling to this recipe two ways, once with curly dock, once with broad leaf dock. The filling made with curly dock had a sour/tangy taste, almost lemony, and was a bit more tender. The filling made with broad leaf dock was slightly bitter, and the texture was more substantial and toothsome. Both fillings were excellent, so make the buns with whatever dock you have, or to fit you tastes. We like both sour greens and bitter greens, so we would make them both again with the abundance of free, local, and fresh wild foraged dock in our area. As usual, this is a vegetarian recipe. We used some re-hydrated Hen of the Woods mushrooms, but you could use some shiitake or white buttons. You will need a bamboo steamer and some parchment or wax paper squares to steam the buns on.

Dock Stuffed Baozi                       makes 16 filled buns

Bun dough
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


1. To make the bun dough, mix together the yeast, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/4 c. flour and 1/4 c. water. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, becoming bubbly.
2. Mix in the additional 1/2 c. water,  2 c. flour, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil. Knead the dough until its surface is smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 2 1/2-3 hours.
3. Punch down the dough and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into 16 portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
4. Flatten a dough ball in the palm of your floured hands into a 3" circle. Spoon 2 Tbsp of cooled filling into the center of the circle, then gather up the edges and pinch them closed. Place the filled bun onto a small square of parchment paper or waxed paper to rest for 30 minutes, covered.
5. Steam the filled buns over simmering water for 15 minutes in a covered bamboo steamer. Serve hot with dipping sauce.


Filling
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
1/4 c. chopped mushrooms
1/4 c. crumbled firm tofu
1 tsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
6 c. coarsely chopped dock leaves
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1. In a saute pan over medium high heat, heat the toasted sesame oil and peanut or olive oil. Add the minced  ginger and garlic and saute 1 minute.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms, crumbled tofu, and 1 tsp. soy sauce and saute for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Using the same hot pan, add the water and 1 Tbsp soy sauce and bring them up to a boil. Toss in the chopped dock greens and cover to steam them for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the cover from the pan, add the mushroom/tofu mix back into the pan. Saute until all the juices have evaporated, stirring often, about 5 minutes. The greens will have turned dark olive green and reduced to about 2 cups. Cool the filling mixture before stuffing the buns.

Dipping sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped chives, ramps greens, or field garlic stems
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. sugar

1 . Mix all ingredients together and let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spicebush Identified


Spicebush Swallowtail on milkweed
The spicebush shrub is a favorite spice we like to use to season teas and beers, and add to stewed apples or to baked goods. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree, known by several names: common spicebush, Benjamin bush, or wild allspice. It is native to eastern North America, ranging from Maine, through Kansas and into northern Florida. It is a favorite food of the Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly and its larvae.

Spicebush grows as an understory shrub in wet forests, along trails, in swamps, and rich woodlands. In the early spring, they are often the first shrub or small tree to produce their flower clusters, which are small, yellow and fragrant. The flowers are produced before the leaves appear, and are either male or female. The shrub is not self-fertile, so both male and female plants must be present for the production of viable berries and seeds to be produced on the female shrubs.

The leaves are alternate, simple, oval and broader after the mid point of the leaf. They are bright green, about 2"-6" long. The bark is grey/brown and spotted with small bumps called lenticles. When picked fresh, the twigs can be used as a seasoning for teas and skewering meats over a grill, with a mildly spicy/citrusy flavor.

The berries are drupes,, about 1/2" long and oval, ripening from bright green to red in August and September. In the center of each berry is a seed covered with a dark, leathery shell. The berries are highly fragrant, like allspice or cloves mixed with lemon. Soon after the berries are picked, they oxidize to a dark reddish-black, so we preserve them several ways throughout the year to use in recipe. We add them to vodka, keep them in sugar, or freeze the whole berries, since they contain lots of volatile oils that dissipate if the berry is dried. Robert likes to add spicebush berries to beers that he brews.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hairy Bittercress Identified


This is a new spring green for us, one that is ready to eat right now. "Wildman" Steve Brill had asked if we were finding hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) in our area yet, but we had never looked for it before. I browsed through a few books to look for it with no success, but it was listed on his app "Wild Edibles", available in the android Marketplace.

Hairy bittercress is known by other common names like pepperweed, snapweed, and land cress. It is in the mustard family, and has the same peppery, bitter flavor as other mustards. It is best to gather the greens very early in the spring, or in the late fall when the leaves are tender. The many leaf stalks grow from a basal rosette, can reach about 4" long, and are sparsely hairy. Each leaf stalk has 5-9 paired leaflets, and the largest unpaired leaflet is at the tip of the stalk. From the center of the basal rosette, flower stalks will grow up to 10" tall, with several more leaf stalks growing from the main stem. The flowers are very small, white, and have 4 petals, and will bloom while the seed capsules are forming. The seed capsules are small, about 1/2"-1" long, and olive green. When the seed capsules are mature, they can explode and spread the tiny seeds far from the parent plant. While the flowers and flower stalks are edible, they may seem a bit tough compared to the more tender leaf stalks and leaflets.

Hairy bittercress may be considered an invasive lawn weed, as it will form dense mats of rosettes over an area. It likes to grow in disturbed soil, in a sunny area that may be a bit wet. A great place to find it is invading greenhouses and newly potted plants and gardens. We found some growing next to buildings, where a micro-climate is produced by the building insulating the soil and rainwater is dropped from the roof. Hairy bittercress is originally from Europe and Asia, but now widely spread throughout North America..

To gather the hairy bittercress, we just lift up the cluster of leaf stalks and cut them with a knife near the ground. Then we wash the greens and pick through them, discarding the yellow leaves and pinching off some of the larger stems and flower stalks. They add a peppery bite to raw salads, and can be cooked with soups or in a recipe like other greens. We did eat a big salad with a yogurt and bittercress dressing for dinner one night, and may try some potatoes cooked with bittercress and field onions into a breakfast hash this week.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hairy Bittercress Recipe - Yogurt Bittercress Dressing


After we finally found a good amount of hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) this past weekend, we made a big salad full of the mildly bitter and peppery greens. The salad also contained some goat cheese and some sliced pickled ramps that we made almost 2 years ago, and a creamy Yogurt and Bitercress Dressing. If you are not a fan of bitter or peppery foods, you might just serve the dressing over more tender lettuces. We love the bite from the bittercress, and its season is almost over, so we try to eat as much as we can when it is young.

Yogurt Bittercress Dressing                                  makes about 1 cup

1/2 c. olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
2 c. washed bittercress greens
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 field garlic bulbs, or 1 clove garlic
1/2 c. plain yogurt

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender except the yogurt. Blend until smooth.
2. Whisk into the yogurt by hand, otherwise the dressing becomes watery. Drizzle over your favorite salad.

Hairy bittercress

Friday, March 16, 2012

Field Garlic, or Yard Onions Identified


Cleaned bulbs of field garlic
Even with the warm, early spring, most lawns are brown and dead except for some tufts of long, green field garlic. We have always noticed the bunches growing along roadsides, in fields, and lawns coming up before most other edibles. It looked like an onion, it smelled like an onion, it had to be an onion, right? There are many different types of wild onions and garlics like ramps (Allium tricoccum) and the European ramsoms (Allium ursnium) that Robert is familiar with, and other species of wild garlic that grow in isolated areas of the western US. The wild garlic that appears most frequently in our area is probably one commonly known as field garlic (Allium vineale).

Field garlic is native to Europe, and is considered an invasive species in a few states. A few years ago when I was trying to Google "yard onions" I mostly came across people complaining about the plant, and looking for advice on how to eradicate it using herbicides, poison, and digging. Now there is more information on the edibility of your yard onions, but still a lot of opinions on the desirability of the plant. Some clusters seen to naturally produce narrower leaves that are more tender, and some clusters produce thick, tough leaves that are attached to a larger bulb. Using the correct stage of the plant is crucial to enjoying this edible weed. This is  a plant that could easily be added to any recipe calling for onions, garlic, or chives. Gillian likes the large bulbs grilled with a bit of salt and olive oil.

Grilled with olive oil and salt

bulbs of field garlic
small, peeled cloves
The leaves of field garlic are slender, waxy, hollow tubes that can grow 12"-18" tall. The bulbs can be 1/4"-3/4" in diameter, and are covered with a fibrous outer layer that is easily removed. The bulbs sometimes have small cloves covered in a hard shell attached to them under the fibrous layer. The big bulbs can be used like an onion, and although the tiny cloves are a pain to peel, they have a sweeter taste. The tender, smaller leaves can be used like chives in many recipes, chopped into salads, and added to soups. Once the leaves get larger, they get a bit tough and stringy, but are still good to cook with in soups.

The field garlic flowers in June, growing on a tough stem. A ball of tiny bulbs, called bubils, grows at the top of the stem. From some of the bubils a six petaled, purple flower forms before the tiny bulbs fall to the ground to propagate. This flower is also edible, making a pretty, savory addition to an early summer salad.

Star of Bethlehem-see the white stripes?
There is one poisonous look-alike to field garlic, a common wild flower called Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum). It comes up at the same time and often right next to some field garlic. It is easily distinguished by the flat shape of the long leaves, a white stripe along the length of the leaf, and no onion odor. It produces a white, 6 petaled flower. The bulbs of this flower contain alkaloids and cardenolides, which are toxic to humans and livestock.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Field Garlic Recipe - Cottage Cheese & Field Garlic Bread


Snipping off the smaller and more tender leaves of the field garlic (Allium vineale) will give you a oniony-garlicky substitute for chives. In the early spring, the leaves of field garlic are very tender, and would also make a nice addition to a potato salad. Later in the season when the leaves get a bit tougher and stringy, the leaves can be chopped and added to soups. The purple flowers produced at the ends of the leaves make a tasty and pretty garnish in salads. I give the full leaves a quick rinse, then pile them up to chop through with a sharp cleaver to get fine pieces. This bread recipe is more of a batter bread, since the dough is too wet to knead. Coming hot from the oven, it makes the whole house smell like an onion bagel, and pairs well with cream cheese.

Cottage Cheese and Field Garlic Bread                          makes one 8" x 4" loaf

1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (about half an envelope)
1 c. small curd cottage cheese
1/2 c. chopped field garlic
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, mix together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 15 minutes until the yeast is foamy and active.
2. In a small saucepan, warm the cottage cheese up to room temperature. Add the chopped field garlic, and add to the yeast mixture in the large bowl.
3. With a large spoon, mix in the egg, salt, baking soda, and flours into the yeas and cottage cheese mixture. Mix until there is no more dry flour visible. The batter will be thick, but too wet to knead.
4. Cover the bowl and let it sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours to proof.
5. Heat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8" x 4" loaf pan, and pour the bread batter into the pan, spreading it evenly.
6. Let the loaf rise for about an hour, or until the loaf has doubled in size. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the loaf is browned. Cool for 20 minutes and remove the loaf from the pan. Serve the bread sliced, toasted, and smeared with cream cheese.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Early Spring Foraging Tour with "Wildman" Steve Brill

Gillian walking with the Wildman

2012 marks the fourth year we have taken tours with "Wildman" Steve Brill. He takes the trip into Connecticut a few times throughout the year, mostly to the western edges of the state in Redding or Danbury, to give his wild food tours. His daughter is just a bit older than Gillian, and they get along well. We are still learning new wild edibles, and Wildman enjoys showing us something new. The tour we took on Saturday, March 10 was at Tarrywile Park in Danbury, and it was also Wildman's birthday! The News Times of Danbury was there to do a story in the local paper, and the article included a photograph of Gillian sampling a day lily.

This was the earliest time of year that we have ever taken a tour. It has been a rather mild winter, and spring is creeping in early this season. Wildman has been putting up teasers on Facebook all week about what plants he had been finding in Central Park in New York City, like wood sorrel, hairy bittercress, and dandelions. It might be a bit colder over here in southeastern Connecticut, because the dandelions in our area are not up at all. So far, we have been tapping maple trees for sap and making syrup.


Day lily shoots
Day lily tubers
The first new edible he showed us was day lily (Hemerocallis fulva). We both knew that the shoots, tubers, and flowers of the day lily were edible, we just had not tried them yet. The shoots were up at Tarrywile, and He gave some to Gillian and me to taste. They were quite tender, and mild like green beans. Robert dug some tubers for us to eat at home. It appeared that the deer liked eating the shoots as well, as we saw many nibbled  down to the ground.

Hairy bittercress
The second new edible we learned was hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), a fantastic green plant for salads. I had seen the information about this plant on his app, but had never come across it out on my own. It was a lot smaller than I had pictured, but the taste is fantastically fresh and lightly peppery, very similar to a watercress. It was growing in a micro-climate created by a building insulating the soil and providing extra moisture in the form of rain run-off. We will look for this plant to make some salads, dressings, and add to soups.


Wildman Steve Brill
After the tour we were invited to a friend's house for Steve's birthday dinner. Joe and Kathy are wild food super-enthusiasts, and also members of two mushroom clubs, CVMS and COMA. The Indian-themed feast they prepared featured a Chicken Mushroom Masala, made with chicken mushrooms (Laetiporus sulphureus) and tofu, and a brilliant assortment of chutneys and dips for papadum crackers. We humbly contributed a plum jam, and ramps and roasted garlic jam to the dip lineup. The dinner was fantastic, and Gillian and Violet spent a couple hours cracking black walnuts on Joe's fancy nut crackers as snacks. It was the perfect end to a great day of playing for the two girls, and learning for all of us.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Maple Syrup Recipe - Maple Pudding Cake


This is the recipe I use to make the Maple Pudding Cake. It might seem a bit odd while you are making it, but it all comes together into a fantastic, self-sauced, sweet cake in the end. We serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Maple Pudding Cake                     makes 8-9 servings
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. maple syrup
3/4 c. water
2 Tbsp butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350F, or if you are using a glass pan 325F. Grease a 8" x 8" pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and chopped walnuts in a bowl. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
3. Combine the maple syrup, water and butter in a saucepan. Heat this mixture just until the butter melts. Pour it over the top of the cake batter in the pan, but DO NOT stir. It will look weird!
4. Bake for 45 minutes.
5. Allow the cake to cool for about an hour. The sauce at the bottom will continue to thicken as it cools, forming the pudding at the bottom.

Tapping Trees for Sap and Making Syrup

Gillian sampling sap from the tree
As long as the nights are still freezing and the days are warming in mid-February through March, we are able to tap a few maple trees to gather the sap that flows befoore the tree produces buds. We walk through many wooded areas during the summer and autumn months, identifying the trees and plants we find. It is much easier to identify leafy deciduous trees in the summer than in the winter by bark alone. We keep track of the location of several maple trees and return to them in late winter/early spring to tap. Sugar maples produce sap with the highest sugar content, about 4% at peak collecting times, but you can also tap other maples, box elders or some species of birch.


Robert purchased taps from Holdridge's Garden Center in Ledyard Center several years ago. The trees we need to find must be at least 12" in diameter for one tap, and 22" in diameter to support two taps. He uses a power drill to drill a hole into the tree and then uses a mallet to pound the tap snugly into the hole. Creating a small hole in a tree like this will not kill the tree, the tree will recover and close the hole within the year. A collecting vessel is hung from a hook on the tap to collect the sap that flows. Depending on conditions, it can be a slow drip, or fill a half gallon bottle in a day. We can expect to collect 5-15 gallons of maple sap from each tap during the season.

We are collecting the sap mostly to drink as sap. The sap is slightly thicker than water and very refreshing to drink. It contains small amounts of sucrose, glucose and fructose, all natural sugars. The fresh sap also contains small amounts of malic acid, zinc, maganese, potassium and calcium. We filter it through a coffee filter to get out any bits of wood or debris and chill the sap. In Korea there is an establised culture of drinking lots of sap in the spring as a cleanse.

To make syrup from the maple sap, you need 40 parts of sap to make 1 part of syrup. That means you need 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup! There is a reason why real maple syrup is so expensive. We did try to boil our own syrup last year with limited success.We boiled down about a gallon of sap to make just about a quarter cup of dark syrup. It was mostly an experiment to see if it could be done, and we were happy with the results.


So far this season, we have put out three taps on maple trees in the area. The sap production was slow at first, supplying us with just enough fresh, cool sap to drink every day. As the season has progressed, the output is greater. Even with the recent cold snap, we are getting about five gallons of sap every three or four days, far too much to drink. We steamed up the kitchen and boiled about ten gallons of the sap in batches to end up with about a quart, or 4 cups, of our own maple syrup. While I am not an expert at grading the maple syrup based on color, we boiled it down enough to make a rather dark syrup, since we like the more caramel-y flavor of a darker syrup. With that much maple syrup in the house, I made a Maple Pudding Cake using the recipe we picked up a few years ago at the Hebron Maple Festival. The festival is this weekend, March 10-11, in the center of Hebron.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wild Edibles in Hawaii - Coconuts

Coconut Palms at the Hotel

Plants on Hawaii have many different origins, some indigenous, others alien. Endemic plants are those species that evolved in isolation on the Hawaiian islands and are found nowhere else. Indigenous plants are those that colonized the island before the arrival of humans, such as those that arrive on the winds or over the ocean. Plants introduced by the first travelers to Hawaii, the Polynesians, are regarded as native. Most of these plants have important uses for food, fiber, medicine, and spiritual significance. Alien species are the plants introduced after the late 1700s since contact with European explorers. Some plants were brought purposely, many were accidental weed introductions. Many alien species are escaped cultivated plants and fruit trees, and many are causing damage to the native and less hardy Hawaiian plants. Here we discuss the coconut, the most easily recognized wild edible in Hawaii.

Coconuts are thought to have been brought by the Polynesians to the Hawaiian Islands. It is the world's best known palm, and has many uses as food and as fiber, thatching, and as building material. Coconut palms thrive in sandy soil and are salt tolerant. They prefer areas of abundant sunlight, regular rainfall, high humidity, and temperatures above 55ยบ F all year to produce mature fruit. The coconut palm has a distinct grey, slender, unbranched trunk with a slightly bulbous base. They tend to lean a bit due to the constant tropical breezes. The fronds of the palm grow from the top and drop away with age, elongating the trunk. The leaves are alternate and pinnate, growing along a tough central stalk. The leaflets are leathery, bright green on top and dull green on their undersides. Coconut palms produce flowers and fruit all year around, often flowering and fruiting at the same time. The flowers are on long sheaths that emerge from the base of the palm leaves at the trunk. The coconut palm will produce many mature coconuts in a year under optimal conditions, although many will not survive to maturity due to weather, mold, or harvest.

The coconut is not technically a nut, but a layered drupe. When you purchase a coconut at the grocery store, the outermost, fibrous layer is already removed and it is usually mature, with the hard shell and white flesh inside, and often very little liquid. When we are in tropical areas, we seek out young, green coconuts that have fallen from the tree prematurely. Inside an immature coconut, there may not be any white flesh at all, just coconut water or a thin layer of coconut jelly. Immature coconuts are opened by slicing off one end, through the not-completely-hard outer fibrous layer and the thin shell. We love to drink the fresh coconut water of green coconuts. The water contains sugar, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and provides an isotonic electrolyte balanced drink. It is now becoming a popular commercial product, often sold at health food stores. The jelly occurs when the coconut is a bit older than the immature green coconuts as the water (the liquid endosperm) is converted into the white meat of the coconut, but has not fully matured. The jelly is usually a thin layer, slightly sweet, and soft and gelatinous. The mature coconut has the white, dense meat inside a hard sell surrounded by the fibrous husk.

Sprouted coconuts, with and without the fibrous husk
Matt Kirk also showed us how to find and eat sprouted coconut, a little known delicacy. Once the coconut has matured and fallen to the ground, the endosperm has solidified into the white "meat" of the coconut. This meat nourishes the developing plant embryo, providing energy for the plant to sprout. The consistency of the meat then becomes fluffy and spongy, almost like angel food cake, as it fills the cavity of the seed. The coconut produces a green shoot from one of the eyes on the shell, and a few roots to anchor to the ground. Once we peeled off the fibrous husk, Robert and Matt cracked open the hard shell so we could sample the fluff inside. The taste was a bit sour, almost sightly fermented, but also quite good. This was a wonderful,  unique experience that we are happy to have tried.

Coconuts are one of our favorite wild edibles of Hawaii. The palms surrounding your hotel or at shopping centers often have the coconuts removed for safety reasons, and you can often find the harvested coconuts for sale by roadside vendors who will use a machete to chop off the top so you can drink the water inside. Many coconut products like candies and sweets are produced from the white, slightly sweet flesh of the mature coconut, and we shouldn't forget the coconut milk and coconut cream that is made from the processed meat for your pina coladas!