Urban Foraging (and podcast listening)

A whole storage of weeds, herbs and flowers between buildings, Oslo 2019.

I had a couple hours to kill so I decided to go out hunting for dandelions to test a wine-recipe I found online. I had very good company in the form of some sweet podcasts. All in all a good day. So good in fact, I wanted to share it with you.

There was a big trend with nano-breweries in Oslo a few years back among my friends and acquaintances, a trend that is sadly on the decline. I have enjoyed more than my fair share of inventive brews done by a couple of dudes with some hops, passion and a plan. Safely secured in online discussion groups and meetings in someones kitchen to taste the latest bottled projects – For a brief period of time I was in some kind of golden age of brew sampling.

As the time between taste-sessions gets longer and longer, it hit me how spoiled I was back then. I never contributed anything besides dropping some money into the pockets of the hobby-brewers and gave my opinion on their products. Always the consumer and the critic, never the producer.

It was time to change that. Its time to get some practical knowledge on brewing, distilling and wine making.

Fields of Dandelions close to the church down the road.

As I was lurking the internet for interesting wines to try my hands on I came across a recipe for dandelion-wine. In my head it sounded totally bizarre. Of course I had to test it!

The best part is that the raw materials, the dandelions themselves, grow wild all over the place where I live and nobody cares about some weirdo that goes around harvesting in the fields of the yellow flowers.

It was very meditative to go around with a plastic bag, squatting down and pinching off flower heads. Especially since I was in good company – I was catching up on my podcast listening as I went about my business. I was getting acquainted with a new one (for me) for this journey: Tasting Anarchy (Twitter, homepage).

A podcast very on theme for what I was doing, indeed. 😂

Overgrown bench in my neighborhood, Oslo May 2019

The three episodes I listened to solidified Tasting Anarchy as part of my podcast-rotation from now on. The premise is great – Two guys trying out wines and talking about everything in regards to taste, production and history of wines and they even bend in some libertarian-anarchist thoughts into the conversation every now and then (hence the name of the podcast). For someone that knows very little about wines and its mysteries, it is a very informative and pedagogic listen. My favorite episode of the ones I was listening to was Episode 68 that dug into the world of biodynamic wines with Craig Camp as a guest, a producer of that sort of wines. Can not recommend enough.

I promised to give an update on how the sunflowers and tomato plants I guerrilla gardened at a school some time ago and I have some bad news on that one: The plants didn’t survive the humans. I took a detour on my way home to check up on them, a few days before my girlfriend had taken a bike ride in the area and told me the plants was growing well. But when I arrived at the site they were gone. They had been removed and the removers didn’t even replace them with something, they just dug up the plants and left those parts of the flower beds barren. Nothing growing on that patch as far as I could tell, just some sad looking bushes. At least the experience taught me a lesson in being a better guerrilla gardener, so there is that. Perhaps it was a bit too ambitious? Perhaps I could have done the planting better to deter any vandals from doing their deed? Oh, well.

Scene of the crime: Picking petals.

After a few hours of enjoying the nice spring weather by picking dandelions it was time to go home, fire up an episode of Streetfood: Asia (a great Netflix series!) and start the boring task of picking the petals and start cooking some wine.

(Since this is written a week and some days after the process has been started, expect to read about the procedure, my twist on the recipe for dandelion wine, and all that good stuff, very very soon.)

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