Today, while my husband prepares for his annual hunting trip, I am up at the homestead gathering. As convenient as my garden is, right out my front door with its neat rows of produce ready for the picking, its domesticated flavors can’t compare to the wild tanginess of a berry foraged from the forest. Half the experience of eating a huckleberry or spreading thimbleberry jelly over your toast is the memory of finding it–the day spent in the mountains taking careful notice of things, discovering not only the berries you were seeking, but stumbling upon the carefully built midden an industrious chipmunk has gathered against the winter snow.
I read recently that women are better suited to gathering than men. It seems that we see colors more vividly than the guys and I wonder then, what the world looks like through their eyes, slightly less saturated, a bit duller perhaps.
Anyway, on this fine summer day I am gathering rosehips to dry in the sun–a winter’s bounty of vitamin C rich tea. And of course, a few kept by to make a rose hip cake. When the boys were little and we spent our summers rangering in Glacier Park, their favorite stories were the Broughton Bear books, by Susan Atkinson-Keen. The main character was a little boy who lived in a cabin in the wild, just like my sons. And the boy in the stories lived with a grandfatherly bear who took him out in the woods to share some natural history and gathering adventure which always ended in the preparation of food, recipe included. Thus began our tradition of gathering the fat red rosehips to make a summer rich treat in the middle of winter.
ROSE HIP CAKE
2 cups dried rose hips
1 cup water
blob of butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Cover and simmer rose hips in water for 20 minutes. Strain to remove seeds, hairs, and pulp. Set aside 1/2 cup of this juice with a blob of butter.
Beat eggs in large bowl. Beat in sugar. Add flour, baking poweder, and hip juice. Mix well. Pour into greased 8″x8″ pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven.
3 tbls. butter
3 tbls. brown sugar
2 tbls. cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Mix topping in small pot and heat until butter melts. Pour over cake, then brown slightly under the broiler.