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19 December. -The way to the edible forests- While growing trees, look for grasses that can be eaten in winter and tempura them!


Photo:Junichiro Morinaga

Text: Kayo Arita

The fourth Wild Nature School workshop is "Finally! Tempura meeting to search for grasses that can be eaten even in winter while starting to grow trees".

This event was held in December 2023 in the backyard of the former Makisato Elementary School in Midori-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, with Mr Hirai, a forestry worker involved in environmental restoration, and Dr Ikechiku, a plant doctor from Fujino, as lecturers.

Although we are aiming for an edible forest, in fact, it is already a bit of an edible forest.

Tempura of wild plants is an image of spring and early summer, but if you look for them even in winter, you will surely find something edible!

All participants search for tasty leaves while learning from Ikechiku-san, who knows all there is to know about edible plants. At the same time as picking grass, they also improve the environment by putting dead leaves in the holes they make.

We picked quite a lot of bullfinches, Japanese yaegras, crow's-peas, nobile, thistle (root), wormwood and a good amount of wormwood, which we enjoyed as tempura and finished off with a delicious meal.

If we all work together to keep the fire going, the tempura will be crispy even over a wood fire that cannot be regulated!

This time we used rice oil, but in the future we will plant camellia trees and squeeze oil from the camellia nuts.

It is difficult to get enough camellia oil to make tempura, but we now understand the importance of oil.

In the afternoon, the burnt stakes were marked with the name of the tree and driven next to the tree.

The burnt and charred area will become a home for micro-organisms in the soil, and air and water will be able to pass through.

It is also a pleasure to come back and see the tree with my name on it.

It was a day where we could fully enjoy the feeling of being alive and being be alived in nature.



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