(First, let me welcome the dozen new readers who have joined in the last month. You have expected a blog on the edible wild plants of the Southwest, and that is what usually appears. But once or twice each summer I highlight great food tradtions I’ve found on my vacation. You may recall recall people returning from vacations back in the ’70s and ’80 and pulling together a slide show for all their friends. This is sort of the 21st century version.)
On Saturday mornings in Prague, farmers and other food purveyors gather along the Vltava River to sell their wares. The woman above holds a cheese manufactured from organic milk in Moravia. There seemed to be an interest in the value of organic produce.
Along with the cheeses, were cured meats. We were always served a full selection of cold cuts for breakfast to layer on bread. Cold cuts are also served for supper after the larger meal at noontime.
These fresh stevia plants were disappearing fast. I’m sorry that my inability to speak Czech hindered the possibility of finding out what the purchasers were actually doing with it once they got it home.
Pickled vegetables are big in the Czech Republic and this sauerkraut was sold from a bucket to take home by the pint.
This young couple at the Prague farmers market had prepared nine different fresh fruit syrups such as kiwi, lemon, orange, and blackberry. You chose your flavor, they ladled some out and then filled the glass with carbonated water. Delicious and refreshing. It made the most fabulous lemonade I’ve ever tasted. Here’s a close-up of the lemon infusion.
Summer means fresh vegetables throughout Central Europe. This merchant brought produce to our neighborhood on a boat moored in one of the Venice canals. Without access to a kitchen, I was limited to buying a few of those luscious peaches in the foreground.
In Budapest we lived in an apartment with a well-equipped kitchen and it was really fun to shop at the market and try new things. Central Europeans are really into sausages of all kinds. Here are just a few in the Central Market in Budapest. Those in the upper right corner look like standard franfurters to me but I didn’t buy any.
Hungarians love sausages so much they even slice them up and make them into salad as above.
The first time we visited the Central Market in Budapest, my husband saw the roasted goose legs and just had to go back and try them. They were great. Goose liver paste is an important national delicacy, and I guess they really do need to come up with something to do with the rest of the goose.
Saw the above in a butcher shop in Venice. There’s a different feeling about eating horses in Europe. That’s why we travel — to discover other ways of thinking and eating. But I must say the most unusual thing that I saw in the corner grocery where we shopped in Budapest was below. I was so shocked, I just took a picture and forgot to look at where they were manufactured.
If you have gathered fresh prickly pears and are wondering what to do with them now, you can see a suggestion for quick juicing in a previous post here. Once you’ve got the juice, find some terrific recipes in The Prickly Pear Cookbook or Cooking the Wild Southwest, Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants. If you don’t have time to deal with them now, put them in plastic bags in the freezer and you can process them later. And always, always, wear your rubber gloves. It takes a minute to put them on, but many minutes to take out the stickers