(Photo from the Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines)
Another great video below by FeralKevin. When I moved to California in September of 2006 I went crazy for Californai Bay Laurel nuts (Umbellularia Californica). I love FeralKevin’s analogy to cacao nibs in the video below, as that was exactly how I used them. For my Master’s graduation party I made huge batches of truffles with them…roasting off the nuts and blending with powdered sugar and cream. Their natural stimulating/caffeine-like properties made for a wild party!
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This video is having a hard time showing here, so
click here to access it on FeralKevin’s website.
Click here for a great article co-authored by my good friend Cecilia Garcia. She is an amazing plant person and Chumash healer. She has told me that the California Bay Laurel nuts are only eaten during the change of season and that they help your body adjust to those new energies. Cecilia and Dr. James Adams teamed up for a book called Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West-Cultural and Scientific Basis for their Use, but she just emailed me to say they have sold all their copies with no money for reprinting. If anyone has access to publishing grants, or other funding sources, please email me….we don’t want to lose access to this book!
Here is another great resource for California Bay Laurel by Tamara Wilder
Life is stranger than fiction.
While hiking last weekend, I came across some of these nuts. I collected them along with the leaves, guessing that it was Bay Laure, but not sure.
Got home, did research, found:
“You might notice the resemblance of the fleshy bay nut to an avocado. That is because they are related. I have lain awake at night plotting the domestication of the bay into small avocado sized fruit rich in oil with an enormous oily seed in the center, but….”
I roasted the few nuts I gathered and found them quite delicious. I also roasted and enjoyed some Holly Leaved Cherry nuts.
PS. I plan on gathering more of these in the near future.