Glean: “to gather slowly and carefully in small pieces”
The word “gleaning” was originally used in the context of gathering the left-over’s of a crop after the main bit had been harvested. More recently it is used to mean gathering food from public land. In
it refers to folks picking berries from hedge rows and gathering herbs and greens and mushrooms from the commons. England
Here in Aus we glean from roadside trees. Trees that have sprung up from seed and are semi-naturalized around here are mainly citrus and stone fruit, guava and mulberries.
At the moment it’s citrus season.
I guess gleaning appeals to the cave woman in me; it’s hunting and gathering (without the hunting bit!) It’s kind of exciting driving along when one of the kids points out a lemon tree by the road, so we pull over and all pile out. It feels like a treasure hunt.
Last week we found a pumpkin vine that had sprung up in the bushes by one of our favourite local swimming holes. Yum! Roast pumpkin lasagne for tea!!!
Other treats to look out for are wild raspberries and there are a couple of yummy bush tucker treats too like the spotty white and pink Midjim berries (there are some of these growing in the street plantings in town…we get some funny looks when we stop and start snacking on the landscaping!) and the beautiful bright blue Dianella berries.
There are lots of edible weeds on the roadsides around here but unfortunately we can’t pick these because most local councils spray the verges with horrible herbicides, but occasionally you’ll come across a spot that looks safe and we can pick some of our favourite weeds, dock and dandelion, sorrel and Nodding top…
I love anything free and there’s nothing better than free food.