For me, there is no better day that one spent on horseback, trail riding with Felipe, our dogs bounding ahead in search of iguanas and rabbits. Add food to the mix and you have Abby’s perfect day (a glass a wine and it’s my nirvana). This weekend we trekked up the mountain for bonetes. Bonetes are wild papayas, and are my second favorite foraged fruit, they taste like apricot custard. They are messy fun to eat because the flesh is really mushy and sticky. They are loaded with seeds, and I find the best way to eat one is to scoop up a blob with your fingers, as if you were eating poi, suck the flesh from the seeds, and spit the debris. We then make our way to the watering hole to destickify ourselves, before the flies swarm us.
We have also been eating Juan temprano this month, a succulent similar to purslane. It has very little flavor, but is prolific and grows right outside my door. It is dark green, so I have decided it must be loaded with nutrients, and throw it in everything: eggs, salsa, salads and stir-fries.
This month’s final offering is, Nances de Pero. Most people don’t eat nances de pero. They have a weird chemical flavor, and if you eat too many your mouth goes numb. I eat four or five when I can wrestle them from the fire ants because my mother-in-law swears that if you eat as many as you can handle, you will never get a cold. I kind of like their odd flavor and haven’t had a cold in years, so I keep munching.
Since it is unlikely you will have an opportunity to try these foods I have included an ad hoc recipe. I was told by a friend that the seeds of bonete, when toasted and salted, tasted just like bacon, and it is bizarre but true.
This is Marion Cunningham’s Avocado Bacon Salad from The Supper Book, my favorite cookbook ever. Marion is not afraid of fat, and it is one of the things I love about her.
Avocado Bacon salad
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ sour cream, mixed. I add a few drops of milk to thin it.
8 slices bacon (or ½ cup toasted salted bonete seeds)
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
2 avocados peeled and cubed
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored rinsed wrapped and chilled, cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Dice bacon and fry until crisp, pat dry with paper towels. Toss together all solid ingredients with salt and pepper, dress to coat.
- Foraging for Homemade Snacks: Eating Dandelions (greenphonebooth.com)
This is a great article with a recipe for batter fried dandelion flowers!