What do bears like to eat?
Any campers out there know the answer - just about anything - including tooth paste and soap. So let's ask this a different way. What do bears choose first when they have a lot of options such as greens, zucchini, corn on the cob, homemade pickles in crocks, and dried pasta?
Ahh - let me tell you. It's the corn first, followed by the pickles, and if neither are around, the dried pasta. Yup, they eat it dried. I've never seen them go for anything greens ? chard, zucchini, etc. Bear cuisine trivia comes easy to me after cooking and teaching for years at French Meadows Summer Camp, in the NW corner of the Tahoe Forest. As I have said before, this area is so remote, it's where park rangers relocate the troublemaking, wedding-cake eating bears from Yosemite. There's no electricity or structures in camp, so the food is stored in tents. We've spent many a night banging on pots to keep the bears from eating it, but when we lost that fight, at least we got an intimate look into the favorite foods of bears.
Interestingly, they have a preference for pickles.
This week, we were supposed to Food Party! about homemade sauerkraut adventures, but that must wait. I forgot I have to post early, cuz I'm headed to summer camp and there's no internet there either. So instead, we have a quick-cabbagey recipe for you, till a return from the depths and breaths of the great Tahoe forest.
A pressed salad maker as pictured below, makes you a quick veggie pickle. This is a unique option when you don't have the time or inclination to make a full batch of sauerkraut. And it's the perfect option when you wake up to find the bears have gotten their hands into all your crocks of precious homemade pickles. Make it in the morning and it's ready by dinner. Pheew!
Macro Pressed Salad
1 head napa or green cabbage, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 small daikon radish, grated, or 6 red radishes, sliced thin
2 stalks celery, sliced thin on the diagonal
½ medium red onion, sliced paper thin
2 medium carrots, grated or julienned
½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup brown rice vinegar OR umeboshi plum vinegar (optional)
Place all vegetables in a bowl, add the salt and mix well with your hands, rubbing in the salt. Transfer to a salad press (purchase on-line or at your local food coop).
Press down for 1 hour ? 48 hours. When you like the taste, squeeze out excess liquid. Toss with vinegar and serve. Serves 6