We show you how to prepare a homegrown and foraged Christmas feast.
Christmas has its origins in ancient festivals celebrating the end of winter and the coming harvests. There’s no better way to honour this tradition than with a bit of homegrown or foraged Christmas produce.
Whether they garnish a dish or are the star of your end-of-year menu, it’s a great time of year to be connecting with your food. And practicing gratefulness for the Earth’s abundance.
4 ways to gather your homegrown, foraged Christmas feast
Gifts from the garden
It’s a bit too late to put tomatoes in for your Christmas table. But there are still many things you can transplant now and harvest in late December.
Basil, lettuces, rocket (aragula) and even bush beans transplanted now will work. Follow our garden guides for full growing tips.
Gifts from the sea
If you’re one of the many Australians that cling to our coastlines, then foraged food from the sea could be destined for your dinner plate.
When fishing or gathering molluscs (pipi hunt at the beach anyone?!) always be sure to follow legal limits. For inspiration on wild seafood harvests see Pip Issue #16.
If seafood isn’t your thing, fear not, there are plenty of plant-based options. Also see Pip Issue #16 for our seaweed foraging guide.
Coastal plants also offer foraging opportunities. Salt Bush can be made into delicious “chips”. They’re fab as a garnish or to nibble on with a celebratory drink!
Pig Face flowers are an uncommon and unusual treat if you can find them, while sea spinaches in the Tetragonia genus are always around. These include warrigal greens aka. New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonoides) and the smaller Bower Spinach (Tetragonia implexicoma).
Mulberries mean Christmas in our house! These juicy little stainers start to ripen from late November, like an advent calendar of berry goodness!
The thing we love best about mulberries is that you don’t need a mulberry tree to enjoy them. Mulberry trees are very common if you know what to look for. Their weeping, “spready” habit means they’re experts at hanging their bounty over fences.
Mulberries can be made into a summer pudding, berry pie, as well as jams, country wines or even a sauce for the side of your festive roast. Pip Issue #10 has a full guide to mulberries.
Fatten up a rooster
Now is the time we’re all realising those spring chickens we hatched are roosters… and something needs to be done with them!
Fifty-perfect of hatched chicks are roosters, and if they’re not hatched in a commercial setting chances are they will have made it to puberty and be showing their true colours (and crows!) right about now.
If you’re a meat-eater, then dispatching a rooster often feels an ethical way to get your meat. (Of course, noting that ethics around meat eating is very subjective!).
Killing and cooking a rooster for the first time is not for the faint-hearted. Pip Issue #2 has a full guide to the process. But to ensure you do the job humanely it’s always best to have an experienced hand on board for your first go.
If you don’t have a rooster of your own, but are keen to try your hand at getting to know the meat on your dinner plate, don’t despair. There are plenty of people out there who are not, and roosters can be very easily found offered up on Buy/Swap/Sell groups for free.
A note on cooking: roosters and older hens cannot be cooked in the same way as a conventional meat bird (which are essentially babies, at six to eight weeks old). But there are dishes that have been specifically designed for these older birds. One of our favourites is the classic Coq Au Vin.