Day 154 Stalking the Wild Cat’s Claw


Wild Edibles[odDec 8

pod

Click on this picture to read more about this very interesting plant.

On the beach near our campspot I ran into a strange vine. I first noticed the pods because one grabbed me around the ankle. It was a very imprssive beast with some very sharp claws.

Had I known at the time I could eat both the seeds and ochre like pod I would have been able to cook them up with the trigger fish. I thought it looked pretty tasty but I’m not one to eat unidentified vegetation without someone else try it first.  At the time I was more interested in collecting the odd pod heads for my sister. She has her own eccentricities and while I eat the plants I find along side the sidewalk she makes them into sculpture.

Apparently the seeds that spring out of the pod (above) are nutty and sweet and the fruit (below) can be steamed or fried like orca.  This plant has a long and valued history with the native people who used the fruit and seeds for food and the fibers of the plant for weaving.

podflower

I’ve been interested in what you can eat off the ground since I was a toddler when the ‘5 second rule’ became established protocol. That behavior was supported when as a pre-teen when I discovered the recipes from Euell Gibbons, Stalking the Wild Asparagus  

I admit it. I’ve always been a geek.

In highschool I made acorn muffins, cattail stew (the plant not the animial) and yellow birch tea and as an adult I’ve finally graduated from stalking organisms from the plant to the animal kingdom.  Today I caught and ate my first fish. Ok, so I didn’t actually catch it, Nickel did… and well ok she didn’t actually catch it. Basically I haven’t graduated from  scavenging to the hunting yet.


Cochi

There was a storm out in the Gulf last night and the high tide came in fast and furious. The next day when the poodles and I hit the beach for our morning constitutional, we found quite a number of marine animals washed up on shore. You’ll be happy to know it wasn’t the pacific grebe or gull that we collected for supper but a freshly beached fish. I guess we’ve come up in the world! There were a number of species to choose from, there were several porcupine fish, a cornonet fish and a trigger fish. The triggerfish was still alive so I threw it back into the water. Sadly despite it’s weak attempts to swim away, the tide kept bringing it back in. One final time and Nickel decided that throwing away good food was just not acceptable and went in to retrieve it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I realize the poor thing was doomed and I decided that I might as well see whether all those filleted triggerfish I’d found on the beach in Loreto would lived up to their apparent reputation so I bagged it. I hate totell you, but it wasn’t quite dead and I didn’t’ know what to do about it. I decided the most merciful thing was to kill it outright so I hit it in the head with a rock.

nickfish

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Fine Scale Triggerfish, Balistes polylepis

Of course I didn’t have internet access to guide me along in this new culinary endeavor, but having seen enough  triggerfish on the beaches in Loreto, I at least knew they were edible and had an idea about where to begin. filleted

dinnerI’ve never fillet a fish before but I’ve watched enough So-You-Want-To-Humiliate-Yourself-Trying -o-Cook Reality TV shows that I felt confident in giving it a try. Now that I’ve watched this YouTube clip, I realize where I first went wrong and I shouldn’t have removed the skin before cutting the meat off the bones, but at least I had the basic area of the fish properly dissected out. diner4I didn’t actually end up with two fillets, more like trigger tartar, but I did ended up with enough fish for dinner although most of the prime meat went into the boiling pot for the poodles. I’m always satisfied when everything can be used so I boiled the entire fish for the dogs . dinner2I suppose I felt a strangesense of responsibility in making sure this fish’s death was meaningful and worthwhile.


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt least that’s what TinTin was telling me.

…………………………………………………………Tomorrow we go snorkeling

11 thoughts on “Day 154 Stalking the Wild Cat’s Claw

  1. I love the fact that you filleted the triggerfish and ate it, then boiled the rest! As a west coast dweller this is a normal thing for me and looks like you did a fine job, especially since it was your first time 🙂 I always keep the bones and head and boil them up for fish stock to use in a bouillabaisse (seafood soup) later.

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  2. Marilyn (from Loreto) says:

    Bravo Vikki! I’m so impressed with your “sense of responsibility in making sure this fish’s death was meaningful and worthwhile” that you not only ate what you could, but cooked up the rest for the dogs too! While living in far Eastern Oregon one of my dogs chased down a jack rabbit after a rare 8″ of snow fell and slowed the poor thing down enough to get easily caught. I too felt the same sense of obligation to make the most of it, and brought the hare home to cook. I had read about the possibility of Tularemia, and had also read jack rabbits weren’t very good to eat. Still, my dog had killed it and I had to give it a try. I found a recipe that suggested marinating it in vinegar to “sweeten” the meat, and tenderize it, but as a somewhat experienced game cook I should have known better! The stew was the most horrible dish I had ever cooked, I could barely eat my own “experiment” and the dogs wouldn’t even taste it! My husband did his best to gulp it down quickly, but after several bites we both gave up in disgust and defeat. I’m not sure if it was the vinegar, or that jacks really are unpalatable, but thank goodness my dog never caught another and I didn’t have to find another recipe to try. Since then someone told me soaking in milk overnight helps a lot!

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  3. Dawnlitrose says:

    Hey geekette; I, too, remember making acorn muffins in Ohio…. very bitter even with sugar; makes one wonder if the American Indians had a more effective sweetener.

    Oh, and, wow, I never realized what Cat’s Claw looked like in the wild but had read that in a derived, concentrated form it is supposed to be great for blasting Lyme Disease symptoms… fortunately Mexico hasn’t been ‘hit’ by Lyme ticks (as yet) and I hope never is; according to the CDC it is Lyme free!

    So how was the fish… did you enjoy it? :} < <

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