by Donna d'Terra
Use care when wild foraging. Eat only plants, berries, and mushrooms that have been safely identified.
The California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) is a tree found throughout our bioregion. (It is also known as Pepperwood and Myrtlewood.)
Right now, the nuts, which look like miniature avocados, are ripe and falling on the ground. They can be dried and made into Bay Nut Bon Bons (recipe on the right). They taste somewhat like chocolate, and also have a similar stimulating effect.
This recipe came from Tamara Wilder who practices natural living skills in Mendocino County. See more about her work at Paleotecnics.com. You can also find information for harvesting, storing, and roasting Baynuts at SkillCult. com, the blog and website of self-reliance expert Steve Edholm.
Bay Laurel tree leaves are also useful. Put a handful in the jar with your grains to repel insects, or in chicken roosts as a louse preventative, or with your garlic to increase storage time. The leaves have a reputation of relieving a headache when crushed and gently inhaled.
Now is the time to collect and dry your bay nuts for the coming months. They will store for a year or more. Happy Autumn!
Bay Nut Bon Bons
Collect the nuts and let them dry enough that you can easily peel off the outer covering, and then let the nuts dry completely.
Roast the nuts in a 450 ̊ oven on
a cookie sheet for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes until they are brown but not scorched.
Cool the nuts and remove the outer shell with a hammer. Next, grind the nutmeats in a grain mill, or blender. Stir in a small amount of sweetener such as honey or organic powdered sugar, and then form into little balls.