I have walked along many beaches on my travels and it has never (really NEVER) crossed my mind that I could pick some of the local vegetation and eat it. I instantly think of eating a rogue mushroom or some poisonous fleshy leaf that could leave me either tripping into another world or seriously harming my body.
Little did I know that Cape Town’s beaches boast a wide range of biodiversity; like the rest of our country, except that you can eat some of it too. From wild rosemary, wild spinach, spekboom, waterblommetjie, Num Num berries and many other plant species (apologies for the lack of botanical names – I’m a novice forager); we are actually spoilt for choice when it comes to foraging and cooking with fynbos (indigenous vegetation).
My friend Alex invited me to join her at a ‘Making Kos‘ (Kos is the Afrikaans word for food) class in Kommetjie as her Mum was unable to make it. I jumped at the unusual opportunity! So a few Sundays ago, we left Cape Town’s CBD and headed out for a gorgeous sunny day in Kommetjie (about an hour drive from Cape Town).
The host, ultimate fynbos forager and chef, Loubie, introduced us to some of the edible vegetation that we would be looking out for as we stood in her sister’s gorgeous modern kitchen overlooking the ocean. We then set off to search and forage some edible fynbos.
A fun fact of the day
If you eat two Spekboom leaves, you will
consume your required daily amount of vitamin C.
After our foraging expedition, where we learnt how to harvest the various fynbos, we headed back to the kitchen to wash, dice, stir-fry and create some unbelievably delicious meals.
We started off with a quick snack of fresh rye bread, Camembert cheese served with Num Num preserve. It is delicious. My parents are coming over for dinner this evening and I am making a similar version – Brie, gluten-free rosemary crackers topped with Num Num preserve.
My favourite dishes of the day included stir-fried wild spinach and oyster mushrooms, a very green quinoa salad, a wild tzatziki and poached pears served with plain yoghurt and a berry sauce.
I was a bit concerned about sampling all the wild fynbos dishes and landing up with an upset stomach. However, I left feeling surprisingly healthy and inspired to cook some healthy, tasty food as well as developing my balcony garden of edible herbs.
If you’re a foodie and outdoor enthusiast, then definitely try out one of Loubie’s ‘Making Kos’ classes. Check out her Facebook page for more details on her next class.