Bellefield Finds: Wild Grape, Sow Thistle, Plantain & 22 Other Herbs - Chickweed, Comfrey & St. John's Wort Salve Recipe- Double Tincture Motherwort Recipe
Finally sat down! Whew, have been so busy working (not so interesting) and running around (interesting).
Well, to be fare, I did get in some foraging at work. I collected some leaves from Hosta, Dandelion, Creeping Bellflower and Loosestrife to throw into a pesto. Mm-mmm. I've been eating a different wild green pesto almost every day. So good with Daikon Radish, Zuke and Cuke julienned sticks :)
I also collected 3 trays worth in the dehydrator of Prunella vulgaris, aka Self-Heal. I went out one day, collected a good bunch, then went out the next day and got some more. She's a small one, ya know, not much more than the tip of your pinky finger, but she makes such a sweet tasting tea, oh yes indeedy!
That foraging at work I just mentioned happened just this week, because before that it was rain, rain and more rain. Now we're in a period of no rain, hot and muggy for the past few days.
Of course, I took the opportunity to finally go foraging!
Yesterday: Foraging started right downstairs near the shed, where I collected some Violet and Plantain leaves for future infusions. I also found some Common Sow Thistles hiding behind the shed and collected some leaves to add to the pesto--- yep, in cold weather, it all goes into the soup pot and in warm weather it all goes into a mean green wild pesto ;)
I found a Malva Rosea growing beside the Rhubarb and collected some leaves to add to the pesto; also took some Rhubarb to make a nice protein shake.
It was getting late already, so I went and did some pruning in the balcony garden. Lots of Chickweed about! She's growing prolifically in the pots beside the side of the house, even Mint is confined to her space in each pot, ha ha! I did collect some Mint for future infusions of course :) Got a few Mustard leaves and Borage leaves to also add to tomorrow's pesto, as well as 3 varieties of Basil, some Anise Hyssop and even a touch of Dill.
I collected some Sage and Marjoram for later, as well as....drum roll....Zinnia! In fact, there is now one beauty of a pink flower strutting her stuff. Yes, Zinnia is edible, and I've collected her leaves to use in a future...pesto, you got it ;)
Comfrey has come in and I gathered some leaves and made an oil that I'll turn into a salve later on. As I was low on oil, I decided to use some St. John's Wort oil I had made last year, what you might almost call doing a double oil infusion, meaning that this oil is now double in strength. I also added in Chickweed for her anti-itch property.
Comfrey, Chickweed and St. John's Wort Oil/Salve
Tear or chop both the Comfrey and Chickweed into small pieces. Place in a mason jar (size is determined by how much herb you have). Add the St. John's Wort oil to cover the herbs. Give it a stir with the handle of a wooden spoon or a bamboo skewer to ensure all of the herb bits are coated in the oil. Cap with more oil until the very top. Place on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks before straining out the oil (use a sieve lined with a coffee filter). Store oil into dark amber bottles.
To turn oil into a salve: place 1 cup of the oil with 1 ounce beeswax OR carnuba wax in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pot on low heat. Once melted, stir with a wooden spoon, adding it optionally 1-2 tsp of Vitamin E oil (this is a natural preservative, prick open capsules with a knife). Pour into amber glass jars and let cool overnight before putting on lids and labelling.
Uses: minor wounds and burns, insect bites and stings, sprains, strains, sore muscles, bruises, and where nervous support is needed. Also suitable for vaginal itching due to vaginal and urinary infections.
Notes: To test if texture of salve is to your liking: place 1 tsp of the oil/melted beeswax onto a spoon. Place spoon in freezer and wait 5 minutes. Assess if you'd prefer a softer salve (add a bit more oil to the pot) or a harder salve (add a bit more wax to the pot).
Shelf life of salve when stored in a cool place -> 1-3 years.
I decided to take a very mini trip around the mall and see what I could find. Eh, the Roses are mostly gone and the few that are there are all dried up. In fact, because of the weird weather and the late start of the season, I've noticed that many of the plants have remained small and then gone into flower OR are late in producing flowers. Borage, for example, usually is tall and gangly, but this year she's tiny, almost as if I could've planted her in a flower box and she'd have been just fine.
Behind the mall, same deal. Didn't spot that much Dandelion, some Sow Thistles were hanging out, and a small patch of infant Lamb's Quarter caught my eye. I harvested but a tiny bit, as there wasn't even a fistful to be had--- not like the Lamb's Q I harvested later that evening, when I went for a jog and found some seriously good-sized ones growing beside a fence on someone's lawn. I was able to collect a good fistful, in fact, one would probably call it a good bunch! I added the leaves to a pesto, of course :)
Back to the mall: Noticed the Garlic Mustard was quite dried up and spotted a few escaped baby Hosta plants, from which I pilfered a few leaves (yep, for pesto).
Going a little further along, I spotted several Mugworts and said hello.
When I saw some Milkweed, I got off my bike and walked slowly along an adjoining alleyway. I got some Milkweed flowers and immature buds (pesto!), as well as some Dock leaves (soup!). I noticed some nice Burdock plants but didn't feel called to take the stems and steam 'em like celery.
Nope, didn't seem to be too much happening this time around.
Today: I went to Bellefield. My intention was really to collect some Red Clover because I use her during my periods and wanted to have a good bunch to last me 'til next year.
I walked up the path and spotted Nettle, ALL with seeds. Oh no! What happened to my attempts of chopping off the seeds last month? Had they grown so much? Seemed so, but I decided to harvest them for....pesto :)
When I climbed over the bridge and turned right to the field, wow. Unlike last year when I was still collecting Red Clover flowers in early autumn, many of the plants were plumb burned, black, gone, dead. It took me about an hour to collect a bunch, and many were small and pink in color instead of the usual pinky-purple hue. I felt like a bee going to plant to plant, and whenever I spotted a bug on a blossom (including a bee), I knew that was a good one to take.
As I was picking up the blossoms, I was also noticing the many variety of plants in this 1 field (see pics below :) ):
I didn't notice any Jewel weed or Blue Vervain as I had last year, might see them later on.
Interestingly, I don't think they will be making condos on this field. I had noticed on my bike sprees to work that a part of the fence had been ripped out. Now the fence was repaired and the grass outside it scorched, but no longer just bare earth. Good news for the plants and for me! :))
After 2 hours out in the field, I zipped along to the mall to get a few things, then back home to find lots of insect friends had accompanied me home. I left the bags out on the balcony for a few hours so some of them could escape/leave, then made a St John's wort oil and a double tincture of Motherwort.
Kept the larger Motherwort leaves to dry and use in future soups and also spread the Plantain to dry for future infusions (try 3 trays over full!). I spread the Red Clover blossoms onto paper on my table and Oh my! so many bugs! That's OK, because they all disappeared when the cooler evening weather came...announcing a weekend of rain and more rain.
That's the thing with foraging, gotta get the timing with Mother Nature spot on!
I'm happy to say that Milkweed and Nettle got all washed up and are ready to be cooked and blended into a pesto with some Lamb's Quarter, Chickweed, and Basil of course.
Hope you're enjoying the bounties of summer, sunshine, cuz the weather is warm and toasty fine :)
PS. NOOOOOOOOO! The bugs were still there the next morning, tons of slugs, all moving slowly across the kitchen wall, the kitchen floor, the kitchen chairs, onto my bike helmet and bag I had left on the chair...what a mess! There's a now 3rd element to consider when foraging (after the 1- collecting/harvesting and 2- spreading to dry/chopping for wildcrafting recipes): the bugs!! It was just Red Clover, bugs know better than to be hanging around on Nettle, Yarrow or Motherwort ;)
PSS. Here's that double recipe for Motherwort. All you do is chop the top 1/3 of the flowering tops with scissors, place in a mason jar and add your already made Motherwort tincture from a previous year. Make sure all herb is coated, put on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks, before straining and storing in amber bottles. Note that using a piece of plastic wrap over the lid will prevent the lid from corroding/rusting. Your formula is now doubly strong, so use wisely the next time around for period cramps, palpitations and anxiety (try halving the usual dose of 30 drops).
I have a confession to make. It's a little...secret. A fault of mine, I suppose.
Here goes...I always seem to underestimate how long it will really take me when I'm out gardening!!
(sarcastically) Oh, I know, terrible.
I thought that I didn't have much gardening left to do. Suddenly, when I found myself stepping on dirt on my kitchen floor, with more earth on my kitchen island, I could see it was a low-earth (as opposed to "high-tide") gardening day.
While Sweet William got a pruning and was left to stay in the pot to come back next year (she's a biennial and her flowers are sweet, like a sugar substitute---you want to grow her, I tell you!), Yarrow also got a pruning but her leaves were left to dry. I tinkered with making another tincture with her leaves, but the real medicine is in her flowers. Yarrow is also a biennial, I'm sure of it. Well, at least in my pot she is!
I hauled up the whole plants of Marshmallow and Mallow (mine is the sylvestris type). The root is what's used as medicine, really to soothe inflamed intestines with their mucilaginous quality, but also to repair a leaky gut with their vulnerary ability. I use both the same way AND I use the whole plant, including stem, leaf and root.
I chopped the stem from the root, then chopped leaf and stem with the pruners into small bits. Easier to store that way. I then gave a good washing to the roots, then chopped them into bits as well. All are on mesh sheets of my dehydrator, air drying.
Some do use a scrub brush (zero water) on roots, but I'm not keen on the method. I've done that before, and let me tell you that tea tasted like it had dirt in it! Yeah sure, I know about the benefits of soil-based probiotics. But this is different. It's a root that gets decocted, then drunk. Think the friendly guys have gone bye-bye with all that boiling!
I pruned Comfrey, they are both doing very well in their tall homes, thanks very much for asking. Nettles in both pots had mold on the top surface of the earth. When I went to remove it, I also noticed my not-so-friendly friends, aka fungus gnats. I put diatomaceous earth on the surface and placed both plants outside. I may just leave them to overwinter. I have another pot with some Nettle that is just fine.
Wouldn't you know, but I even made a tincture. No of course I wasn't planning to! But guess who I found when I was pulling up Mugwort, root and all? Sheep Sorrel! Whowhee! You remember I was talking about her intricate root system in a previous post? Yep, she sure decided to send runners everywhere, and I even got a few leaves for tomorrow's steamed-veggie-bowl lunch!
Mugwort Root & Sheep Sorrel Tincture
Dig up roots in the fall. Remove as much earth as you can, then use water to wash off the rest of the earth. Chop roots into small pieces using pruners or scissors. Fill a mason jar to the top with the roots. How much roots you have will determine what size jar you use. Pour 80-100% proof (alcohol content: 40-50%) to the top, place on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain and store in dark amber bottles.
Do note that Sheep Sorrel contains oxalates, so shouldn't be used for those with kidney stones.
Why would you use this tincture?
I could smell the thujone in the Mugwort chopping up those roots. Yahoo! There's medicine in that there bottle, as Mr. Wilson might perchance say ;)
Funny, but true, I also sowed seeds, despite that the winter weather is coming. 4 containers of Chickweed, to be exact! I mentioned in a previous post Chickweed's affinity for mopping up fat: she dissolves fatty tumors and plaque in blood vessels, plus she's an appetite suppressant, so great for weight loss. She's another blood purifier, helping to flush toxins from the body, as well as helping to reduce swollen glands. You can also use Chickweed to help with asthma and pneumonia, to help lubricate joints and to deal with chronic cystitis.
Yep, you can tell that my love for her means I'll soon be putting love to pen when I write about her in a future article :)
I also sowed some Cleaver and Echinacea. I wanted to plant the more potent variety of Echinacea, which would be angustifolia, but she seems finicky to grow, so I went with purpurea. Hey, I'm just happy if she'll come along, because growing in a pot is quite confining compared to the big open garden ;)
Echinacea is one that many people know of being most useful for colds and infections.
Cleavers is less known, but is an excellent herb for helping with lymphatic issues, including swollen glands and edema. You can also cook cleavers like you would spinach and her roasted seeds make a coffee substitute. Well, she is in the same family as coffee.
Now my gardening tasks are really reduced: 'mum is still outside, but I think I will giver her to my neighbor to put in garden as she is a perennial. I have 2 baskets of Nasturtium still flowering and enjoying the cooler weather, so will wait for her to make more seeds. Otherwise: that's it! My big chore is to remove the earth from the empty pots and store it in bags, then place pots and earth in the shed. A messy job, I know.
Foraging awaits! Look for my adventures next time, sunshine :) And enjoy that fall weather, ya hear ;)
Hollyhock/Marshmallow/Mallow for Leaky Gut, Benefits of Chickweed, Comfrey & Cleavers + Vanilla Extract & Stevia Glycerin Recipes
September 22, the first day of fall. How did you end up spending this day to mark the new season?
I spent yesterday and today gardening. I thought about going foraging for Red Clover and some Rose Hips, but gardening tasks awaited!
I don't know if you have a garden, but I spent hours today with just my little balcony garden! Seems like there is always something to do in the garden. I'm sure when I have my own garden, I'll easily spend the whole day fussing about in it :)
Here were just a few of my gardening tasks:
I bought two tall planters and repotted my Comfrey plants to bring them in during the colder months.
Comfrey has had a bad rap recently---banned in Canada in health food stores at the time of this writing, but you can still buy seeds and grow her yourself. And you want to, because her leaves and flowers have great medicine: she is a vulnerary par excellence, both internally and externally. That means sprains, strains, broken bones as well as inflamed intestinal bits benefit from her healing action.
Parts not to use: root. Since she does contain PAs (pyrroazaline alkaloids), you can use her leaves before she flowers and when she is in in flower. It's common to harvest comfrey, usually the top 1/3 of the plant, when she is in flower. You CAN use comfrey for EXTERNAL APPLICATION after she has flowered. I'll probably write more about her healing actions in another diary post.
I noticed several yellow bugs on Mallow, and hauled up leaf, stem, root and all! The mallow I have growing is malva sylvestris, but there is also Common Mallow, or malva neglecta. The flower, leaf, stem & root of either one can be used like Marshmallow root to make a tea which helps to heal inflamed mucous membranes.
Naturopaths encourage the use of Marshmallow tea to help heal leaky gut, but you can use Mallow as well. Hollyhock root can also be used similarly.
To make this tea, you have to decoct it. That means you use 1 ounce herb + 4 cups water. Place in a ceramic or glass pot, covered. Let come to a boil, then simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink tea!
I had several Sheep Sorrel plants growing in a pot and I first chopped off all the greens ---which I'll steam and eat tomorrow---then hauled up the roots. As I mentioned in a previous diary post, Sorrel roots are used in the famous Essiac Tea, but you can make a decoction and drink the tea like that, too.
I bought an Aloe Vera from the health food store yesterday and she was in sore need of a repotting! They were marketing her as a great food to use, and while that's true (and much, MUCH better to use her fresh than when bottled with citric acid, which is not a friendly ingredient to the kidneys), many people know Aloe Vera for her healing properties, especially for burns and sunburns. Of course, you can also use her to help with cuts, sores and other skin abrasions.
I had previously bought another Aloe Vera plant from Walmart. I know, I know, definitely not the best place to be buying plants. I haven't used any of her medicine, in fact, two of her leaves seem to be drying up and dying. I did repot both Aloe Veras, and we'll see how they fair growing inside now that cooler days loom ahead.
I pruned the leaves from Purslane and put the stalks in the compost. Yum! Omega 3-rich food for tomorrow's lunch! Purslane is frost tender, you bet. She's a succulent, definitely a desert plant. Even growing her inside during the cold months, she'll growing readily, then feel it's too cold, and die. I had to plant Purslane seeds 3X this year because the cold winter seemed to linger and linger. We even had snow in April, sniff sniff. What happened to April showers bring May flowers? Harrumph, snow showers = a very short gardening season, so appreciate what you can ;)
Out of all my plants that I had repotted this year, Oregano was the sole one that never got any attention. Until today. And boy, was she root-bound. Since I've been figuring out what plants I will be bringing inside to grow during the winter months, I thought I'd have Oregano, Thyme and Marjoram all growing in one big pot together. But, nuh-uh, Oregano needed all the space to herself in just one pot! I placed Thyme and Marjoram in another pot together, but I may just add them with Sage if I run out of room. Only so much space in my apartment, and while there is a lovely sunny patio door, only so many plants can crowd around to enjoy the light!
Yesterday saw Nettle growing in 3 pots getting a pruning. They are all growing so well since I moved them to the front balcony where they get the afternoon sun. I think they were frying in the heat being on the back balcony with the morning and mid-day sun. Nettles are in the mint family, and I have found in my experience that part-sun seems to suit the Mint family better than full sun.
Yesterday (and the weekend, too) saw me pruning Lemon Balm. Oh, Lemon Balm! I was supposed to make Lemon Balm candy with your fresh leaves but I forgot! I dried you in the dehydrator to enjoy your spicy, lemony goodness in tea and to add to my soups...Ah well, I have a bit of fresh Lemon Balm that I harvested just today, so I may try that candy recipe yet!
Yes, that was another one of "gardening tasks" today: taking out the dried herbs from the dehydrator and placing them in paper bags and jars to keep for future days. That's the other part of gardening and foraging: first you harvest, then you have to cut them into smaller bits, OR clean the roots, OR remove the leaves from the stems, then dry them onto racks in the dehydrator or on newspaper or parchment paper, OR you make medicine, like tinctures, oils and vinegars.
My friend noticed that I was drying some herbs on flyers I received in the mail and asked if I was worried about the ink from the flyers going into the herbs. Oops, I never thought about that! Time to make the switch to soy-based parchment paper!
I had plants on every single step coming up the front balcony.
Gone. All gone.
Instead, just before coming up the stairs are 3 plants to greet you: Chrysanthemum, that good old fall favorite, which I will use her flowers to make a perfume; Yarrow, first year still in leaf, and I'm pretty sure she acts like a biennial plant because of the Canadian climate; and Mallow, tons of flowers and so far seemingly aphid/bug free. I added in two friendly straw farmers to welcome the fall season: Farmer Wilson and Farmer Asoka! :))
Speaking of that Chrysanthemum plant, oh-my-goodness. Yes, I used dashes to separate the words for emphasis, but I could have used periods instead to muster in that frustration and work I experienced trying to get her out of the purse. Yes, I had a Chrysanthemum plant growing in a hot orange purse, a showy color to greet you as you came up the driveway. Well, mum certainly has big roots and she was root bound growing in that small space, I can tell ya. Not only root bound, it seemed her roots were stuck into the fabric lining and there was a hole in the bottom of the purse that she was trying to escape a leg, er, root, out of.
Trying not to hurt/damage her while getting this mass of soil and roots out of a purse was a daunting experience: dare I use shears to cut the purse open? Dare I use a purse as a planter again? Should I just leave mum in the purse or continue slowing using one hand to pull up on her roots while holding and pulling in the opposite direction on the bottom of the purse?
She finally gave, thank god, and I threw the purse out. Small plants would be OK growing in a purse, I suppose, but a plant with a shallow root system, perhaps like Chickweed. Mum was most certainly happy when I put her in a huge pot to let her continue growing her flowers, which are still in bud form and seem to just be waiting for that opportunity to flower. Can't wait, mum!
Chickweed, speaking of, I ordered more seeds. Tincture of Chickweed is supposed to be great to help with cysts of any kind, including ovarian cysts and fibroids. You can also add her to green smoothies and green juices, make pesto with her and even drink her tea. Oh yes, being high in saponins, her tea is great to help mop up fat and is a boon to weight loss! She's also high in minerals and is super easy to grow, plus she tastes like a mild salad green. I have 2 pots growing with Chickweed, but decided to order more seeds as she also loves the shade. Yes, great plant for those shady areas AND she makes great ground cover. Just win-win-win all around. Did I mention you can also cook her like spinach? Great to use in quiches and such! Yum!
I also ordered Cleavers because all the Cleavers (or Clivers) seeds I sowed never took. Not one. I blame the weather, of course, because not only was there snow in April still, June was an exceptionally wet month. Summer didn't finally show up until July. Plus, many of my other seeds that I sowed also didn't grow in. Cleaver tincture is great to work on the lymphatic system, helping to detox the body of toxins and also helpful for any lymphatic swelling, including edema and water retention. She can be quite aggressive in growing, just like the mint family, but no worries if you have her contained in a pot, as I will be.
I also ordered some Stevia seeds, which are pricey, but oh-so-worth it. I've been buying my Stevia plants from the non-organic flower market every year, but wanted to have some on hand when needed. Stevia is an annual, you see, although she does grow remarkably well indoors during the winter. She really likes sun, a lot of sun and full sun. I buy a Stevia plant in June and by the next year around the spring, even though she's been growing well all the time during the winter months and now the sunny spring weather has come, she starts to not look so good and dies off.
Even in a pot, she does really well. Because her leaves are not organic, here is what I do when I first get Stevia (and what you can do, too): first, I take off her larger leaves. She's like mint in that there will always be a set of 2 smaller leaves that grow where 2 larger leaves are growing. I take off the larger leaves, then, when these smaller leaves have grown into bigger leaves, I take these off too. I compost all of these leaves (I don't use them).
I place Stevia in a big pot, with organic soil, and fertilize her 1-2 X a week with an organic kelp/fish oil solution. Full sun of course, as I mentioned. When the 3rd set of leaves are large (with 2 baby leaves growing underneath), I now harvest and use those leaves and all future leaves then on. I dry the leaves and then use them to make infusions.
The standard to make an infusion is 1 oz + 4 cups boiled water in a 1-liter mason jar. Lid and screw cap on, then sit let 4 hours (or up to 8 hours), strain and use. Leftover refrigerated 2-3 days. Stevia can get bitter when left to infuse for so long, so I've used her after steeping for 30 minutes to 2 hours. I don't weigh my herbs when making infusions or decoctions, but I'm sure I've used more than 1 ounce to make a really strong infusion.
With this Stevia liquid, I then use her to sweeten tea, and in my cake, muffin, bread, jello, jelly and candy recipes.
Another way to use Stevia is to make a glycerite. If you've ever purchased vanilla, you'll notice that vanilla is often sold with alcohol as an ingredient. Why? Because this is just a vanilla tincture! You can actually make your own more cheaply than buying the store-bought version:
Easy-Peasy Vanilla Extract Recipe
Use fresh vanilla beans, slightly packed in a mason jar and pour 50% alcohol to cover. Lid and screw cap on, let it infuse for 6 weeks. Strain and keep the tincture/extract in a dark colored bottle.
The size of mason jar you use depends how much vanilla beans you have. I'm figuring you'll be using a tiny jar, because even fresh vanilla are rather pricey :)
If you don't care for the alcohol, you can make vanilla glycerite, which is sold as vanilla glycerin. Same process as above:
Easy-Peasy Vanilla Glycerite Recipe
Use fresh vanilla beans, slightly packed in a mason jar. Add in food grade glycerin to the top. Put on lid and screw cap and let sit for 6 weeks. Strain and store the glycerite in a dark, amber bottle.
OK, but what about Stevia glycerite? Same thing:
Stevia Glycerite Recipe
Place fresh Stevia leaves, slightly packed, in a mason jar. Choice of jar (250/500/1000ml) depends on how many leaves you have. Pour food grade glycerin over leaves to top of jar, put on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain (a nut milk bag works nicely for this, but you could use a sieve too) and store stevia glycerin in a dark amber bottle.
Now use the Stevia glycerin to sweeten tea and when making desserts. I find using glycerin this way to be better for making no-bake desserts because most muffin and cake recipes require a lot of sweetener (which is why using stevia infusion is a better choice!).
FYI: Some people don't like the taste of Stevia whatever way you use her, which is why she is often sold as an extraction (they extract the sweet principle in her, usually Reb. A), by herself and often with another sweetener. The other sweetener is also a low glycemic/low calorie sweetener, such as rice maltodextrin, erythritol, monk fruit, xylitol or a combination of these.
I'm thinking of a friend right now as I write this, because he always knows there is stevia in whatever goody he is eating and he always makes that I-can't-stand-it-taste! Doesn't matter the type of stevia or if she's paired with another sweetener. A stevia lover, he is not. To each their own!
I personally love Stevia: love seeing her growing, love being with her and pruning her leaves, love just seeing her. She has a sweet energy that is definitely imparted in her leaves, and I'm most happy to know her and benefit from her sweetness in my goodies :)
Weather looks bright and sunny, so I'm hoping to get in a bit of foraging tomorrow. Looking to get some Red Clover blossoms and whatever other herbs are interested in sharing with me their medicine or food.
Fall is upon us, and there will be ample time to collect roots, whenever the opportunity strikes. Which reminds me, since I am writing an article on Mugwort, that her ROOT is considered an excellent stomachic---that means if you have digestive issues, you might want to be taking a tincture of her before your meals OR drinking in a cup of her root tea (you'll need to decoct it and by the way, she is bitter).
Enjoy the many sunny days of fall ahead, sunshine :)
So they mowed the lawn at work. Ack, just bare flat grass, nothing else to be seen. Well, hiding in the "shadows," where the lawn mower missed, are a few plants, mainly wood sorrel and some hop clover. Yep, on closer inspection, pretty much wood sorrel. Good for a nibble, but might throw it into my mean green paté. More on that later.
Green crab apples are usable to make jelly! Oh yes, I was reading about it on FB, in a group called Foragers Unite. I've made crabapple jelly before using red, ripe apples, but never the unripe ones. Apparently, you're to use at least 50% apples with the unripe crab apples. Well, thata make sense, because I'm figurin' them crabapples ain't too sweet!
As usual, the recipe also calls to add sugar at the end, but I think you might be a bit too traditional, L-A-D-Y! I'd recommend using stevia to sweeten instead and using either chia seeds or gelatin to give it a thick texture. Well, I guess I'll find out when I get to makin' it, but I'll have to get me some red apples first ;)
Ho-ho! I see green crabapple J-E-L-L-Y in my future!
Makes me so fired up to try new and exciting recipes!!
On a more sour note, I realized why I haven't really been out foraging: rain, rain and more rain! They were saying on the weather channel that there's been more than the average amount of rain for this month...(sarcastically)
No kidding! One day sunny, one day rain. Or part sun, then rain. Or a thunderstorm. Or a sun shower. Like today. Sunny, not cloudy, soon to be raining (again!) tonight. Yeah, I don't see foraging happening...Grrrr.
Anyway, yesterday I made a little trip on the bike to the mall but for once I didn't feel like foraging. Doesn't happen too often, but the only thing I collected was a small ziploc bag's worth of lamb's quarter leaves. Yep, that there family (as Mr. Wilson would say) is sure gettin' on real well!
And wouldn't ya know, who did I encounter but a mysterious lil guy (maybe it was a gal?). A black-spotted, orange critter, munchin' on a withered leaf, this critter had a friend with him beside the capsella (Shephard's purse) patch. Yep, this was right behind the mall, in the same place as the lamb's quarter family. Right behind the plants, which are housed in concrete raised beds, is a large fence that has several backyards. Backyards = people growing food probably, and this critter, while he looks like a labybird/ladybug, is really a potato beetle larva.
Uh-oh, that spells trouble. Apparently, these guys and gals are real big eaters! And not just for potatas, but eggplants, peppers and tomatas, too. And they reproduce. A lot. And they have developed quite the resistance to insecticides. You can read more about them on the Wiki here or here and check out a few organic tips here and here (including using ladybugs to help manage them). Nope, never seen any growing in my weedy balcony garden ;P
Oh yeah, getting back to those lamb's quarter leaves that I collected.
What did I do with them? Actually, I haven't used those particular leaves just yet, but I did use some other ones from my balcony garden to make...
Ta-dah, a paté! I suppose you could call it a pesto, although pesto usually has oil in it and my recipe has none.
I made today's using green beans, wild carrot leaves, a touch of dandelion leaves and Shephard's purse seeds (spicy, zippy taste so good pepper substitute) with some seeds and miso. Shoulda taken off the wild carrot leaves from the stems as it was a touch fibrous, but really, really good on flax crackers.
Yesterday I made a mean green pesto with avocado and chickweed and a touch of lamb's quarter.
And the other day I made one with nettle and borage leaves. Oh yes, those borage leaves can be mighty hairy! But steam them for 1-2 minutes, and they soften up just fine!
Nah-uh, not gonna share recipes because I'm writin' them up and gonna put them into ebooks! I have tons of recipes and it's just a matter of time to get them into books. I'm going to do little ebooks because I find when you have so many recipes in one big recipe book...Well, I mean have you ever made all the recipes in just 1 recipe book?
I never have.
And most recipe books don't have pics so you don't even know what you're makin'! I usually end up adapting most of the recipes in books, anyway, because they usually have some unsavory ingredient or other in them, like sugar or unnecessary oil. Or eggs. Or meat. Or corn, soy, gluten, salt, yeast, dairy, or...ya know, like it says at the top of this website page ;)
Pretty much the theme of this website :))
Yeppers, I go through phases. Before it was all about green smoothies, then it was green juices. Then it got cold and it was all about green soups. Then summer came again and it was all about wild green edible salads. Then back to soups, but this time with wild green edibles. Now the warmer weather is back and it's mean green pesto time! Well, ya shoulda figured by now that the theme is GREEN!! Green is so much more than the "new beef." Green is HOT, green is ALWAYS in every spring, summer and (to a certain extent) fall! All diets agree on one food group: veggies! And greens are low cal, low glycemic, promote weight loss, plus offer up a host of minerals and vitamins (including protein such as dark-rich greened spinach and kale)---everything the body needs!
And on that note, I'm signing off hoping for sunny foragin' weather... :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: