Places to visit in Israel

Culinary Adventures in Ofer Forest: A Journey of Discovery and Cooking


A Gathering and Cooking Workshop in Ofer Forest: Exploring the Rich Flavors of Nature. Dive into the world of wild edibles with a focus on acorns, carbs, nettle, and garlic. Discover the art of creating herbal tea using five unique ingredients and crafting stews with incredible tastes. Experience the joy of connecting with nature through culinary exploration.

Author & Co-authors
Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
1.08 km
4h 55 m
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To start your day, consider a unique tea blend with five ingredients: cinnamon, apple, ginger, sumac, and cardamom. For preparation, use 2-3 cardamom leaves, 8-9 apples, and half a sumac. Note that true sumac is red, not purple - the latter often results from Turkish processing methods. Authentic sumac can often be identified by the presence of sumac clusters outside reputable spice shops, particularly in the Upper Galilee region above Carmiel.

Be cautious with wild mushrooms, as many are poisonous, and some can cause severe health issues. Identification should not be based solely on images, as the key characteristics of mushrooms, such as a smooth stem without a ring and its association with certain plants, are crucial for safe foraging. For example, the 'Nand' mushroom, known as El Azli in Arabic, is a good edible variety suitable for soups and frying.

For health benefits, consider olive leaves, which can lower blood pressure and aid in sleep. Boil 150 leaves in a liter of water until it acquires a bitter taste, then remove from heat and refrigerate. Dilute a cup of this concentrated liquid with water and drink before bed for optimal benefits.

During November's olive harvest, some olives are left behind on the trees. Over time, these olives dry and wrinkle, losing their bitterness and becoming as edible as raisins. It's important to differentiate between these naturally sun-dried olives and those that still retain their oils. Often overlooked, these 'sun olives' provide instant, satisfying nourishment right under our feet in Ofer Forest.

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The carob tree, an integral part of the forest's ecosystem, offers a plethora of uses. To make carob juice, soak whole carobs in cold water for 12 hours, then cook for 4 hours. Contrary to popular belief, carob seeds do not have a uniform weight; each averages around 0.2 grams. Historically, they were used as a measure for weight (carats) and even to size shoes, with the length of the sole measured by the width of the seeds.

The carob tree is fully utilizable, from seeds to husks, making it a versatile ingredient for various stews. Harvest occurs in October and November, months referred to as 'Tishrin' in Arab culture. Carob syrup, also known as 'dibs', is a healthy delicacy with antibacterial properties and energy-boosting qualities. To prepare, cut carob into pieces, soak in water, then boil the filtered water. Different varieties of carobs exist, each with unique properties. Carob flour is produced by drying the carobs and grinding them, with seeds removed, offering yet another culinary application of this remarkable tree.

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Cruciferous plants are recognized by their cross-shaped flowers, each with a unique structure that indicates edibility. When flowers aren't in bloom, identification relies on leaf structure, resembling a violin with a head and multiple 'hands', and a distinct rough texture.

These plants, including white mustard with its white spikes, contain mustard oil, imparting a pungent aroma and a mustard-like flavor when the stem is used. According to the Law of Energy Flow, the part of the plant where the most energy is invested is typically the most nutritious and edible. This rule guides foragers in Ofer Forest, helping them identify the most beneficial parts of these versatile and flavorful plants.

Marcolian, often mistaken for the goose spoon plant, is known for its medicinal properties. It's especially helpful in treating nettle burns. To use, simply crush the stem of the Marcolian plant to release its juice, and then apply it to the affected area for relief. This plant is a valuable resource for those exploring the natural remedies found within the diverse flora of Ofer Forest.

In their early stages, chrysanthemum plants closely resemble the leaves of Savion. The key difference lies in their blooming patterns; Savion typically blooms earlier. It's important to note that Savion is considered one of the toxic plants within the chrysanthemum family. Understanding these subtle distinctions is crucial for safely navigating the diverse vegetation of Ofer Forest.

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Sorrel, often regarded as the natural equivalent of lemon, is known for its distinctive sour taste, which is attributed to its oxalic acid content. This unique characteristic of sorrel makes it a popular choice for various culinary applications, especially in traditional dishes where a natural, tangy flavor is desired. Understanding how to utilize sorrel's natural acidity can add a delightful twist to recipes, making it a favorite among those who explore the natural flavors of Ofer Forest.

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Nettle is renowned for its high nutrient content, including iron and vitamin K, making it an excellent natural remedy for various blood diseases and pain relief. Its only drawback is the stinging sensation caused by the fragile, acidic hairs on its leaves and stem.

To safely consume nettle, it can be blended with tamar and banana for a nutritious drink. Alternatively, by carefully handling the leaf from the side without hairs, it can be eaten raw. Techniques like crushing the leaves help break the acidic hairs, neutralizing the sting.

Nettle's stem is uniquely triangular, a feature that helps distinguish it from other plants. When foraging for nettle, note that the leaves spread close to the ground and the plant lacks a garlicky smell. Its subtly sweet flavor makes it a great addition to salads, offering a unique culinary experience in Ofer Forest.

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The wild asparagus grove in Ofer Forest is the origin of the cultivated supermarket variety. The tender wicker, or shoot, is the most valuable part of the plant. When foraging, it's crucial to harvest the asparagus at the soft, not the hard, part of the shoot.

Asparagus is renowned for its health benefits, particularly for cleansing the kidneys and urinary system. It is characterized by a strong ammonia scent, especially noticeable after consumption. Additionally, asparagus is the subject of commercial collections for cancer research, highlighting its potential medicinal properties and its significance in both culinary and scientific communities.

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Rue, often associated with folklore about warding off demons due to its strong smell, has a rich history. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that carrying rue could repel rats. Today, its distinct aroma is valued for flavoring olive oil. Just a few branches are sufficient to infuse a jar of oil, creating an excellent base for special culinary creations.

An interesting aspect of rue is its harvesting method; it is best picked at night. Daytime sun exposure can damage its aromatic compounds, so nocturnal harvesting preserves its potent essence. This combination of historical significance and contemporary culinary use makes rue a unique and versatile plant in Ofer Forest.

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"Despite its exquisite beauty, the daffodil flower contains toxic compounds, deterring wildlife from consuming it. This toxicity extends to floral arrangements as well; before combining daffodils with other flowers in a bouquet, it's advisable to soak them in water for a day. This practice helps to mitigate the risk of their toxic acid affecting other flowers, ensuring the safe and harmonious blending of various blooms. The daffodil's striking appearance and hidden toxicity make it a fascinating yet cautionary element of Ofer Forest's flora.

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A short, independent stroll through Ofer Forest can lead to charming backlogs, evoking memories of the Arab village Ein Ghazal, which translates to 'Ein Zvi' in Hebrew. This historical connection has influenced the naming of two towns in the region: Ofer, meaning 'son of the deer', and Ein Ayala, where 'Ofer' also signifies a fawn or young deer. This intertwining of natural beauty and cultural heritage adds a layer of depth and meaning to the exploration of Ofer Forest.

In the serene surroundings of Ofer Forest, foragers can discover wild asparagus, perfect for pickling. This traditional method of preservation not only enhances the asparagus's flavor but also allows you to enjoy this forest delicacy year-round. Pickling asparagus from Ofer Forest is not only a way to connect with nature but also a journey into the art of culinary preservation.

"While raw bitter almonds can be toxic, with as few as fifty nuts constituting a lethal dose, they also possess a flavor that stimulates the appetite. Interestingly, about 80% of the global almond supply comes from the United States, predominantly from California. This highlights the importance of understanding and respecting the dual nature of almonds - their potential risks and their widespread culinary and nutritional uses.

Nand Mushrooms Translated with Google Translate

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Herbal tea, known for its ability to ward off chills and even prevent intoxication when consumed before alcohol, is just one of the forest's natural treasures.

In the realm of acorns, the small Tabor oak stands out with its cup of curly spines, while its larger counterpart contains high tannin concentrations, crucial in leather processing and wine aging in oak barrels. Making acorn flour involves a meticulous process of cracking, peeling, and grating to isolate the white inner part.

Exploring further, we find a plant with a shitake-like aroma, offering a unique flavor to mushroom dishes. Janbott's fruits, another forest find, are harvested in July-August.

Lastly, the Pickle flower, native to South America, is recognizable by its three heart-shaped parts connected at the apex, resembling clover. Each of these elements contributes to the rich botanical diversity of Ofer Forest, offering a blend of culinary and practical uses.

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