Saturday, March 11, 2017

Karaka Berry Flesh Makes a Pungent Dip or Topping

I find the fried orange flesh of the berry of Karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus)  makes a very pungent dip or pizza topping resembling a strong cheese, a real kick to it with what I find to be an almost "rude" quality also like that of strong cheese. Also the consistency is somewhat like cheese, not that I believe in one food pretending to be another, it never works, like a person trying to be someone else.

I collect berries from the foot path and gutter below trees in the suburbs, then wash them obviously. I try to select berries that have not started to ferment/rot but by the time I have prepared them this process has invariably begun to an extent. I assume this at least partly accounts for their powerful flavor, I also assume if they have just started to ferment or decay they are still safe to eat but have no expertise in this area, I noticed no odd effects at all after eating it several times.

I should probably mention here most people know the kernels or"seeds"of the berries are extremely poisonous unless properly prepared, even in historical times when they were a major food of Maori there were occasional poisonings, possibly from prepared kernels although this does not seem to be clear. As far as I can gather they are rarely used as food today. 

There has recently been some fascinating scientific research into methods of elimination of toxins from kernels. It concluded no single method tried was sufficient for reduction to completely safe levels, suggesting further investigation into multiple approaches. It also notes some toxins were detected in the flesh of the berry, presumably at safe levels. (See : MacAskill, J. J. (2013). Quantification of Nitro-toxins in Karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus) Drupes (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/7566. )

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