Recipes from the Pucher Autumn Forest

Do you know Acorn Flour Cookies and Rosehip Slatko?

by Silja / 20. Oktober 2022 / Culinary World / Nature
Herbst-Rezepte-Wald © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke



This is what nature tastes like in Salzburg: straight from the forest to the kitchen table.

When you wander through the woods like this, it"s especially exciting again now in autumn. At no other time of year do you look so closely, bend down so often and go for a walk as much as you do now in autumn. You can collect colourful leaves, thick cones and even more to make autumn decorations, and autumn also has a lot to offer in the way of culinary delights.

 Eichel im Laubwald © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

Or do you know the almost forgotten "nutrient tree" - the oak. Most people no longer associate the oak with nutrition, yet its fruits, the acorns, were once an indispensable foodstuff. It fills you up, is healthy and there are numerous ways to use it, but there is also something to consider when using it in the kitchen!

Along with the oak, the rosehip is also a nourishing food for the cold season. It can be collected and processed well into the winter. From our holidays in various Balkan countries we brought back the processing method of "slatko". In Serbia, for example, various types of fruit, including wild fruit such as rose hips, are preserved in this way. Of course, I had to try it out for myself, and what could be more appropriate as the temperatures got cooler? I combined the rosehip slatko with a warming porridge, delicious!



The oak - from nutrient tree to acorn meal

Along with beech, spruce and pine, oak is one of our most common trees. The oak belongs to the beech family, and there are around 600 different species of oak known worldwide. In our country we mainly find the common oak (Quercus robur) with individual acorns on long stems and the sessile oak with sessile acorns in clusters close to the twig.

Eiche im Wald   © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

 Ancient food plant

The oak has been with us for ages. It was once an important "nutrient tree". Even before there were fields on which potatoes and cereals were grown, acorn fruits, which contain easily digestible carbohydrates, were important fillers and certainly at least as important as bread is for us today. Acorns are extremely nutritious and contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids and plenty of B vitamins in addition to proteins. Acorns were once collected as an important winter food supply, among other things. Later, when there was arable farming and livestock breeding, the oaks represented an important livestock feed. Pigs, cattle and goats grazed in the forests. The acorns played a particularly important role in pig fattening. Acorns are also food for animals such as squirrels, jays, wild boars, roe deer or dormice. The oak beetle and the oak gall wasp are also associated with the oak. In times of need, cereal flours were diluted with acorn flour and a coffee substitute was made from acorns.

 Other uses: From tanning agent to timber

In addition, oak bark was of great importance because of its tanning agent content. It was "the stuff" for tanning animal skins and thus for making leather goods. The tanning effect can also be used in medicine. Tannins bind proteins of the skin and mucous membranes and therefore have an astringent effect. They seal, relieve itching and remove the breeding ground for germs. Decoctions of oak bark are used for ablutions, poultices and baths. Washes and compresses are used, for example, for skin impurities, weeping eczema, skin allergies with itching, wounds and burns. Sitz baths with oak bark are made for haemorrhoids and vaginal catarrh, among other things. The decoction is used as a gargle for swollen tonsils and to strengthen the gums.


Last but not least, oak with its hard and durable wood provides good building material. Its wood is therefore also very popular for making furniture.

 

Acorn flour: How it"s made

I really appreciate wild plants in the kitchen. We have so many great wild plants that not only help us eat healthily by providing valuable nutrients, they are also interesting because they open up new flavours and creative possibilities in cooking and baking, including the acorn, from which you can make a wonderful and satisfying flour.

The procedure is a bit laborious, which is probably why acorn flour has fallen into oblivion. But I say it is worth it! Because of the high tannin content, the tannins have to be flushed out. Tannins are bitter and too many can lead to stomach cramps and nausea. In addition, they would upset the metabolism in the long run, as they prevent the absorption of proteins and iron. Acorn flour is great for baking. Biscuits, cakes, breads, pancakes and much more can be made with the addition of acorn flour. As a rule, baked goods should contain 10 to 20 percent acorn flour.

Eichelmehl © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

This is how you can make your own acorn flour:
  • To make the flour, first put the collected acorns in a bowl of water and sort out any that float up. The rest is dried for 2-3 weeks to make it easier to peel them. I place them spread out on a tray in front of the wood stove, where they dry quickly.
  • After drying, the acorns are peeled. You can also use a nutcracker to crack the acorns. The brown seed skin should be removed, as it is usually bitter. If the skin cannot be removed immediately when peeling, you can soak the acorns in water until the skin comes off easily. To do this, spread the soaked acorns out on a tea towel and rub off the skin.
  • To wash out the tannins, bring the acorns to the boil in a saucepan with plenty of hot water and simmer for about 15 minutes. The water will change colour. Strain the acorns and repeat the process until the water no longer changes colour.
  • Now strain the acorns, dry them in the oven at 50-70 degrees and process them into flour in a blender. If necessary, allow to dry a little more before filling the flour into a container.

Recipe: Acorn Spelt Cookies

Eichenmehl Plätzchen © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

INGREDIENTS: 300 g spelt flour | 100 g oak flour | 150 g sugar | 200 g butter | 2 eggs | 2 tbsp oat flakes fine leaf | 1 tsp cinnamon or coffee spice | a little vanilla | 1 pinch salt
PREPARATION:
  • Combine flour, sugar, rolled oats and spices in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the eggs and mix.
  • Add butter and knead until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees convection.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut out. I used acorn, oak leaf and cat cutters here for autumnal flair.
  • Bake the biscuits for approx. 10 minutes until golden brown.

Eichenmehl Plätzenchen Schoko © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

The biscuits can still be dipped in liquid chocolate if desired (very tasty!). The biscuits are very filling and should be enjoyed in moderation.



Rosehip - the fruit of the rose!

Rose hips are the fruits of various rose species. Especially wild roses and dog roses are called rose hips, for example Rosa canina (dog rose) and Rosa corymbifera (dog rose). Just like acorns, rose hips are actually recognised by every child, so they can be easily recognised and used by everyone. In principle, all rose hips are edible, but some are not so suitable, for example because they are very small, like those of Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose).

Hagebutte © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

The rose hips contain itchy hairs with small barbs. Even in kindergarten we used to put them in each other"s clothes as "itching powder".

The red fruits, which are actually aggregate fruits and contain many small nuts, are particularly rich in vitamin C and also contain vitamin A and B vitamins. The sweet and sour taste is unique and so the rosehip is not only a hit in terms of health, but also in culinary terms. So it"s worth keeping your eyes open when you go for a walk. As with acorns, however, only effort is rewarded with special treats. With rose hips, for example, it takes a little work to free them from seeds and hairs. Because for culinary purposes, we only use the red pulp, which comes from the cup-shaped, fleshy flower base.

Good vitamin suppliers and special in taste

Whether mush, ketchup, fruit leather or liqueur, rose hips are very versatile in the kitchen. For example, I find them very fine as a fruity ingredient for an autumnal pumpkin soup. This year I made a so-called "slatko" from the rose hips for the first time.

If you want to benefit from the high vitamin C content, which exceeds that of lemons many times over and is not destroyed by heating, you should go and collect rose hips right at the beginning of the season in September/October, when the fruits are still nice and firm. This is the time when the rose hips contain the most vitamin C. With the frosts, the sugar content increases and the vitamin C content decreases, but the fruits are now nice and soft and sweet and are ideal for making jam and marmalade. To reach this state even before the first frost, you can also put the rose hips in the freezer before processing. For the slatko, however, we definitely need firm fruits.

Folk medicinal use

Both the rosehip peels and the rosehip seeds are used medicinally. It is therefore worth saving the seeds. Both the tea and a powder are commonly used. The tea made from the rosehip peels is used to strengthen the immune system, for bladder and kidney problems (draining) and for stomach and intestinal problems, and is said to have a regulating effect on cholesterol levels. The tea made from the kernels (kernel tea) is drunk for urinary tract infections, to prevent diabetes, to reduce fat deposits and for rheumatic joint complaints. In order to extract the ingredients in the best possible way, the peels as well as the seeds are steeped in cold water for 6-8 hours. Then bring them to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes before straining the tea.

The powder is used for rheumatic joint complaints, but can also simply be included in the diet for health promotion and prevention, It is made from the dried peels and seeds. It is best to powder them in a coffee grinder. It can then be added to muesli, yoghurt, fruit puree, etc. or stirred into a drink.



Autumn is also mushroom season

In the Pucher forests you can now find countless different types of mushrooms, including some bizarre creatures, poisonous mushrooms that are simply beautiful and interesting to look at, but also edible mushrooms, like this parasol, which, breaded, makes a wonderful and tasty vegetarian schnitzel. Upside down, it serves me here as a collection basket for the rose hips.

Incidentally, the name "Hage" comes from the Old High German "hagan", which means thorn bush. The word "Hag" is related to this, describing an enclosed area surrounded by hedges. These hedges often contained many thorny bushes to make the hedges impenetrable. Even today, rose hips are often found in hedges along the edges of forests and roads.

 Hagebutten juckende Härchen  © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

Attention! Remove itchy hairs!

For all uses, it is important to remove the itchy hairs first, otherwise it can become unpleasant. To do this, I first halve the rose hips with a knife or scissors and scrape out the seeds with an upturned spoon. I wash both the skins (if they are still firm enough) and the seeds under running water, let them drain in a fine sieve and then dry them on a tea towel. I rub the seeds between two tea towels to remove the hairs.



Slatko

We love to get a taste of other countries" cuisines. You get to know interesting products, preparation methods and often special plants. There is so much to discover, for example Slatko! We then bring the inspirations back to Puch and implement them in our own way and with our products. And what is Slatko?

It is fruit preserved in a sugar solution. Slatko has a tradition in Serbian, Bulgarian and Macedonian cuisine. Like everywhere else, people here were looking for ways to preserve surplus fruit, sometimes making fruit that was not quite ripe edible. There are so many variations, for example slatko with figs, quinces or wild berries.

In northern Macedonia, we tried watermelon slatko, which is made from the yellow flesh that is between the green skin and the red pulp. We fell in love immediately!

Slatko with rowan berry & rose hips

When I read that slatko is also made with wild fruit in these countries, I knew I had to try it out. So this year I have already made slatko with rowan berries and with rose hips, both delicious! With the bitter-tasting rowan berries (Sorbus aucuparia), however, one must generally be careful that they contain the slightly poisonous parasorbic acid. If too many rowan berries are eaten raw, this can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Heating the berries causes them to lose their toxicity. So there is no problem with the ingredient in the way the slatko is made.

I am presenting you the rosehip recipe here, Slatko always works on the same principle. Because different fruits have different textures, some are softer, some harder, slatko is about getting a feel for how long the fruits are simmered in the syrup and whether you pre-cook them or not.

A little story on the side

I did a little reading up on the slatko. It mostly coincides with information we got from locals. Slatko is often used as a topping for desserts or pancakes, but there is also a custom around slatko. For example, guests in Serbian and Bulgarian households are offered a glass of water and a spoonful of slatko as a welcome. In Serbia, we were also welcomed with slatko with our coffee. It is said that every guest, in order to honour the host, can ask him for another taste. For this, a new spoon must be offered. Asking a third time if the host does not offer it of his own accord is considered inappropriate.

Hagebutten Slatko © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

Recipe: Rosehip Slatko

INGREDIENTS: 100g firm, halved, pitted and washed rose hips (wash to remove itchy hairs) | 250g sugar | 100ml rose hip boiling water | 1 lemon slice | 1/8 vanilla | 1 small piece of cinnamon bark | 2 cloves

PREPARATION:

  • Cover the rose hips in a saucepan with cold water, bring to the boil and leave to steep briefly in the hot water.
  • Strain the rose hips through a sieve and collect the rose hip boiling water. Skim off any foam and measure out 100 ml.
  • Heat the sugar and rosehip cooking water in a saucepan until the sugar has gently dissolved. Then simmer down to a viscous syrup.
  • Now add the rose hips and let them simmer gently in the syrup for a short time. Not too long, because the rose hips must not disintegrate.
  • Now fill the rose hips with the syrup into a sterile screw jar, the rose hips must be completely covered with syrup, and close with the lid.

Warming Porridge with Rosehip Slatko

The slatko can be used to refine many sweet dishes. It tastes good stirred into yoghurt, it can be served with cakes, as well as with cheese. There are no limits to the imagination and that"s exactly what I love about wild cooking! Now that warming dishes are in high demand again in autumn, I also like to combine it with a porridge. Not only is the fine rosehip flavour a delight, the syrup also gives the porridge the necessary sweetness.

Ingredients: 80 g oat or spelt flakes, I prefer oats | If desired, 1 tablespoon nettle fruit | 300 ml water | 150 ml milk, e.g. oat or almond | 1 teaspoon honey | ½ teaspoon cinnamon or coffee spice | 1 pinch of salt | 1 tart apple | some butter | 1 handful of walnuts | rosehip slatko |

Preparation:

  • Briefly toast the oat flakes in a pot until fragrant.
  • Mix water and milk, add to the oat flakes and stir with an upturned wooden spoon until a creamy paste is formed.
  • Sweeten discreetly with honey (remember that the slatko also provides sweetness), stir in cinnamon/coffee spice and a pinch of salt and season to taste.
  • Cut the apple into pieces and toss in melted butter, adding a little cinnamon/coffee spice if necessary.
  • Finally, break the walnuts into pieces and garnish the porridge with nuts, apples and rosehip slatko.

Slatko Porridge © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke



Autumn in the SalzburgerLand

I could fill countless pages about autumn. There are so many beautiful things to discover in nature at this time of year and so many wonderful recipes that give us joy and special taste experiences at this time of year. I hope that my contribution has whetted your appetite and given you a few ideas. I wish you a wonderful autumn, with rustling leaves, bright colours, culinary delights and time out.

Hiking tip: Take a walk along the Salzachuferweg to the Ursteinsteg below Urstein Castle near the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences. There you can enjoy an enchanting view of the Salzach with its autumn-coloured banks!

Herbstblick vom Ursteinsteg © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

If you want to know more about the world of herbs, visit me on Instagram at @wildemoehre.blog or on my website www.wildemoehre.at.

TIP: For herb lovers, I have also summarised my herbal knowledge in a book called "Ganz schön wild", where you can read a lot about wild herbs for home medicine, natural cosmetics and enjoyment.

 

Yours sincerely

Your Silja Parke

Ganz schön Wild © wildemoehre.at – Silja Parke

 



Hier geht`s nach Puch bei Salzburg

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