Harakeke Seed Coffee
NZ Harakeke seed coffee
I haven't managed to make coffee from flax seed this season, but I'd like to collect some ripe seeds to dry and use as a sprinkle on baking or in crackers and cookies, the shiny black color is amazing.
This time last year I was camping off grid in my van (right until the day before lockdown) and was spending my days foraging. It's interesting to notice how I end up foraging for the same wild edibles at the same time each year. I remember on this trip I gathered wild hawthorn and flaxseeds, which are both ripe again now.
I had time to kill so decided to try my hand at making a roasted flax seed coffee. It was pretty rustic, I roasted the seeds in my cast iron skillet on my camping gas cooker, then I used a flat river stone I found on the side of the river to smash up, aka 'grind' the seeds. I'm sure it would be a lot more professional at home, but it was actually way more enjoyable doing it this way, and totally off grid, in the wild. I then brewed the ground seeds in hot water, simmering for 20 mins before straining. Whilst tasting nothing like 'coffee', it had a lovely, sweet flavor, which tasted a bit like roasted sunflower seeds, with slight coffee like aftertaste. I really enjoyed it.
The next week we were in lockdown and beginning to seriously question where our food was coming from, and what would happen if it did run out? Well, I knew that I'd still be able to make 'coffee' without too much trouble!
Of course if you are harvesting from native harakeke (just like any wild food), please be respectful of the natural environment, especially our native plants. Most of our native plants provide our native birds food, so I prefer to take very small amounts of seeds and berries at a time, leaving the rest for the birds. I usually just gather from my own garden, which ensures I am not damaging wild plant environments. In the wild you'll need to ask local iwi for permission before harvesting. And if you're gathering along the coastlines please be careful not to trample the dunes and cause erosion.