Summer is here! After a good spell of rain, the sunny weather has returned. And with it, many plant friends are making their appearance or growing bigger and stronger!
Wood Sorrel. This little one is easy to identify as she has 3 heart-shaped leaves and looks like clover. Her flower is white or yellow. She is high in oxalic acid, which means she's better to cook before consuming. HOWEVER spinach is also high in oxalic acid and we do add that to the salad bowl, hm? So yes, you can add some Wood Sorrel leaves and flowers to salads! Her taste is pleasantly lemony tart. In fact, if you happen to be gardening or are out and about and you're feeling thirsty, you can munch on a few leaves to quench your thirst.
I've made Wood Sorrel Lemonade in the past and I will probably make it again this summer. I'll share that recipe when I've gathered up a good bunch of leaves and have dried them 1st---so look for that recipe later on! :) For now, you can read more about her HERE. <--- FYI, this is an EXCELLENT site about wild weeds, with pics and their edible and medicinal value :)
Yellow Dock. I've spoken about Yellow (or Curly) Dock in a post before. Here is a good-sized plant. Note the dark green, curly leaves that are an identifying feature. Often there are red spots on the leaves, as she too is high in oxalic acid. Like spinach, she is a good source of iron and you definitely want to be picking her leaves and drying them for infusions, or using them fresh or dried and adding them to the soup or stew pot. I've juiced her leaves for green juices and added her leaves to the blender for green smoothies (you can strip off the leaves of the stems as you would for kale if you find the stems too fibrous OR steam the leaves first and then add to the blender). In the fall, those green seeds turn to brown and you can use them as a coffee substitute (delish!) or grind them down and use as flour in quick bread recipes (also delish!). More on that when we get to the fall season---for now, let us enjoy the summer!!! :)
Purple Loosestrife. She's considered an "invasive weed," being a plant that was introduced from Europe and went wild. The link I'm sharing where you can look at pics of her is from a site in Ontario, Canada. There are other pics of "invasive weeds"---which have edible and medicinal value on the site (NOT HOGWEED HOWEVER). Note that "weeds" = free edible food and medicine!! And the the word "invasive" means there is LOTS of that "weed," so you don't have to feel bad about collecting your fair share for food or medicine.
Loosestrife is considered an invasive weed in other areas, not just Ontario, FYI.
The leaves are edible and I juice them, add them to the blender for green smoothies and throw them into the soup pot. You can also make an infusion from the flowering tops for diarrhea, dysentery and heavy menstrual bleeding. Read more HERE.
Self-Heal. Also called called All-Heal, I've just gotten used to calling her by her latin name, Prunella. This is a TINY plant, so scooch down and look for purple flowers among the grass on lawns (although I have seen her growing in a clearing in the woods, tallest I've seen so far!). While the leaves are edible and can be added to salads or thrown into the soup pot, I always pick the flowers and 2 leaves right beside the flower and dry them for infusions. Prunella is called All-Heal as she is considered an alterative, which means she treats several conditions and is a general tonic for all body systems.
In TCM, she is considered a cold plant excellent for inflammatory conditions. She works primarily on the liver and gallbladder. You can even buy prunella mixed with honey (often sugar as well) in Asian markets. I like to use Prunella infusions to help flush the lymphatic system ---> great for detox, moving the lymph and helping with weight loss. I often add Prunella as a herb to assist others herbs in a formula.
There are a few other plants that I didn't take a pic of but that I noticed growing at work: Dame Rocket and Queen Anne's Lace. Dame Rocket is also called Sweet Rocket which has pink flowers and there's also Yellow Rocket with yellow flowers. They have a bitter taste and while both leaves and flowers can be added to salads, I use the leaves in soups and stews (dried or fresh) and add the fresh leaves to veggie green smoothies (like greens, cukes, tomatoes, etc. kinda like a V-8). Both rockets are in the cabbage family and you should know that her flowers have FOUR petals and LOOK like Phlox, BUT Phlox has FIVE flowers. Phlox flowers are edible (phlox paniculata), FYI, and you can add them to fruit salads. <---You can see pics of the flowers when you click on the links :)
I'll talk about Queen Anne's Lace in a future post as she in the carrot family and there are some look alikes that can be poisonous.
For now, I'll leave you to good weather and happy sun-shiney days...and Roses, lots of Roses! I got about 2 trays full in the dehydrator and the smell of Roses filling the air with her sweet scent was more than enough to put a smile on my face!!
I'm sure yours is happily smiling too, sunshine, so keep up that bright sunny energy, ya hear! :)
Though I awoke early enough to go for a good foraging jaunt, I also awoke to... my period. Since the first day of my period is always the heaviest, requiring a tampon change every 2 hours, foraging would have to be curtailed to a place close to home or postponed until tomorrow.
After taking 3 sips of a Blue Vervain + Red Clover infusion, the bitter taste made me feel instantly irritated (a liver sign) and then I felt extremely tired, so much that I fell asleep during my meditation! Blue Vervain is a nervine, after all, I told myself. Later that evening, however, after taking a few sips, this time my lips felt swollen and hot. Uh oh, another reaction to Blue Vervain, this time worse! I've never had any type of reaction with Red Clover, so I knew it was the Vervain. And that means, she's definitely NOT the herb of choice for me!
That's OK, because one forms an alliance with certain plants. Vervain is therefore most certainly a plant for whom I can enjoy her beauty, but not her taste :)
And speaking of Vervain, and where I found her growing, I decided to pay a short visit to Bellefield once again.
After parking my bike, I started up the path and saw a squirrel darting about close to the trees. Something told me to stop and wait.
So I did :)
I then walked over and immediately spotted Motherwort, indeed the same Motherwort plant who had graciously donated her seeds last year when I had been looking for some. She had literally pulled me over with her energy last year, while this year her energy was a lot subtler.
I could see why, because unlike last year, she was pretty much spent. Her tips had a few fluffy white-pink flowers, but the rest of her was deep with brownish seeds.
Aaaah, she had called me over to invite me to partake of her seeds once again! At first, I didn't understand, and had taken a few of her leaves, which I dry and add to the soup pot during the colder months. Her leaves have the save medicine (aka health benefits) as the rest of her, but in a milder form. That means you can add a handful of leaves to the soup pot, but no more or you'll feel her circulatory/emmenagogue effects.
I then proceeded to prune off those prickly bits embedded with seeds, snapped a few pics of my dear, sweet friend, said a hearty thank-you and went off to visit the field.
Unlike last week when I was in search of Goldenrod, I barely even glanced at them this time around. Instead, I was scanning the area for Dock seeds, as I've really enjoyed making a coffee substitute with them on the past 2 occasions.
I found a number of Dock plants with brown seeds, which is when you want to harvest them. Often, the leaves are brown and there are MANY critters hiding among the seeds, spiders being the most common and "plentiful" in my experience. This time, there were a couple of earwigs and only a few spiders.
There's basically 2 ways to remove the seeds from the stalk: 1- run your hand UP the stalk and remove as many seeds as you can and put the seeds into a paper bag OR 2- cut off the stalk and hold it IN the paper bag and then run your hand to remove the seeds, which will fall into the paper bag. You can also cut off the stalks, store them in a paper bag and then remove them when you get home. Up to you!
Since the plant is spent, don't feel bad if the stalk seems to snap off near the ground or if it seems you've uprooted the plant. You haven't! Dock plants have long yellow tap roots, and being a perennial, they'll all be sure to be coming up the following year :)
At first, I started using the second method of cutting the stalks off, holding each stalk in the paper bag and then running my hand up the stalk so that the seeds would fall into the bag. I found this way too time consuming and wasn't at all worried about getting every last seed. In fact, I wouldn't mind at all if there more Dock plants next year! So I switched to the first method and started running my hand up the stalks and removing the seeds that way. Of course, some of the seeds would fall to the ground, and that was just fine by me! Actually, I found the seeds to be a bit "old" somehow and wasn't sure that I would use this batch for flour.
Oh yes, didn't you know that ground Dock seeds make an excellent gluten-free flour? They do!! They have a bitter taste, sort of like Teff, and I find the two pair really well together. I've seen a few recipes for Dock crackers using 1 cup Dock seed flour and 1 cup any other flour. Add enough water to make a dough, then flatten dough onto cookie sheet thinly. Bake and eat. Here's a link with the full info :)
Myself, I had thought to make cookies and muffins and other quick breads with the seeds, except that body has not been into grains lately. I tried grinding Dock seeds just by themselves, then added a stevia blend and taste tested. Terrible!! Which is why half regular flour and half Dock seed flour is a much better ratio. Hm, perhaps coconut or almond flour might meld well with the Dock seed flour? Not sure, would have to try. Seems like it'll be experimentation time in the kitchen :)
As a coffee substitute, I used about 1/4 cup ground seeds to 4 cups water, then simmered it for 10 minutes before straining. Yep, I don't own a coffee machine or French press, but I was actually thinking about getting one after trying Dock coffee! I sweetened with a stevia blend and some almond milk and it was delish :) The only caveat that I noticed was the seeds seemed to be like oats in that they sucked up a lot of the water. I was able to make myself one cup of "coffee," and when I went back for another half cup, there was only about 1/4 cup left.
I haven't dried roasting them first and then grinding and making coffee, but that is something I could try. So easy to do, too: just use place seeds in a dry frying pan, put heat on medium-high, and keep moving seeds until roasted, about 1 minute. You can also put the heat on medium if you're worried you might burn the seeds, it'll just take a bit longer for the pan to heat up and toast them.
There's actually a lot of other wild foods that can be used to make coffee substitutes, sometimes the root and sometimes the seeds are used. Dandelion root and Chicory root (both bitter and usually roasted first) are common ones. Another one that I like to use is Rehmannia. She's a Chinese medicine herb excellent for yin deficiency and to strengthen kidney functioning and she is a MAJOR herb in TCM.
There's actually 2 types of Rehmannia, one cooked in wine 9 times (that's the one I mentioned above) and one that is unprocessed (builds blood). She's often paired with other herbs in a formula, such as with Dong Quai/Angelica and gelatin to build blood OR with Peony root and Goji berries to build yin.
I have tried Rehmannia all on her own (well, with Licorice root), as a decoction, and she tastes amazing! I then added almond milk and maybe a touch of stevia for extra sweetness, and really yummy! Rehmannia has a sweet taste, but "dark" like coffee. I really like adding in White Peony root (there is a red one), Goji berries, Bupleurum root and whole Licorice root decocted with the Rehmannia. It comes out very sweet, not the same as just plain Rehmannia, but really delish and nourishing :)
Back to the field: interestingly, the area where they had mowed the plants close the water was now "sporting" some small Nettle plants. Aah, Nettle! She has big roots and she's in the Mint family, can't be getting of rid of her with a mowing anytime soon!
Of course I brought my gloves and stopped to pick a good amount. I wasn't sure whether I was going to use her for my next pesto recipe, as I am out of fresh greens, or for future infusions. None of them had seeds, so they were viable for tea.
I decided to walk down the path and check on the other Nettle patches to see how I would use Nettle.
Uh oh, mowed down!
Not sure when they did that, crossed my mind if it might have been due to some strange lady picking flowers (um, me), except last week I didn't pass by the Nettle patch.
There was 1 trampled plant that had been left and while I contemplated taking her leaves, I thought better not. There were a few plants that hadn't been touched and I took my pruner to cut them short of their seeds. I didn't bother to take the leaves as they seemed old.
Hm, not much Nettle here and walking a bit further down, the other patch had been completely destroyed. Well, they'll be back! And perhaps back in time to get another harvest before the winter comes :)
I spotted Sumac and said hello, but didn't feel inclined to take any berries. While being high in Vitamin C, the astringent nature of them are akin to Lemon and Lime, and my sensitive teeth have not been enjoying those either lately.
I popped back to the field, collected some more Dock seeds, as well as a few Red Clover flowers, then stopped to see Tansy. I decided to take both her flowers and leaves, as she had offered them to me last time, and there are still tons of bugs on the Cuke plants.
And that reminds me that I also, um, displaced a lady bug! While it wasn't my intention, I did collect a few more Red Clover blossoms (not that much, about a dehydrator tray and a half, because they had pummeled the left side of the field where the burned Red Clover was growing). And while I was doing that, I spotted a lady bug and popped leaf and bug into paper bag! When I arrived home, I showed lady bug a really good eating place, placing her right on a buggy leaf. She seemed to be right at home and started eating away :)
I tried this with another lady bug but she flew away ;) I added a lady bug to my garden because this morning I noticed one sleeping on a Cuke leaf. I thought, of course, what I need are lady bugs! The Cukes, to be honest, seem to be drying up, but I'll wait and see a bit longer. Perhaps those lady bugs can remedy the situation as they are voracious eaters!
I added some Radish, Coriander, Dill and Parsley seeds to a few pots in the hopes of having a fall harvest. If the Cuke plants don't make it, then I will sow more Radish seeds. There were tons left on the store shelves, tsk tsk! Not sure why people don't eat more Radishes, but they are excellent to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, as well as helping to mop up fat and aid with weight loss....
Back to the field: I went and explored an area of the field that I haven't ever before. It was an area that was pretty much bare because they had previously dredged up all the plants. Weeds beings weeds, there were some prime weeds that had started to repopulate the space, Red Clover being one of them. While no flowers yet, the leaves were fine looking, some with chevrons and some without. I collected a fair amount, to dry and add to the soup pot come the fall and winter months :)
I then walked to an area close to where the field was enclosed by a fence.
Ah yes, that is whom I thought might be growing there.
In fact, when I had walked along on the other side of the fence the last time I had visited Bellefield, I had noticed Lamb's Q growing there but was unable to harvest her because of that fence.
But now, there I was and there she was, this tall plant that came up to my waist and that had thick green stems streaked with purple.
Yep, purple = oxalic acid, so you know I'm going to be cooking her before pureeing her into a pesto!
YAY! I was happy to have found some fresh greens for my pesto, in fact, there were 2 other Lamb's Q plants growing nearby, one as large as the first one and the second a bit smaller.
I confess that I stripped them all naked, but being an invasive weed--- where on the other side of the street there was a disturbed area with what looked like tons of Lamb's Q--- I didn't feel too bad.
I did thank the plants for their food and energy, and on walking back the way I came, I noticed some other infant Lamb's Qs had also started to take up residence and started repopulating the bare earth alongisde the Clover.
See, enough magic for everyone to go around :)
I wasn't much up to taking pics, not sure if it was the plants or me (probably me), but I did take a few. In fact, I noticed a few Evening Primrose plants (one was really big, about the size of Burdock minor), and some Jewelweed growing right close to the water.
After leaving the field, I decided to have a look-see behind the mall.
Yep, the city usually does that during the summer and all the plants were gone.
I hadn't really been foraging there much, there were mainly Sow Thistles growing there and I haven't felt like juicing.
I then slowly rode along an alleyway close by, noticed a few Dock plants, but nothing that sparked me to stop.
I passed by the Rose bushes before heading home. It will soon be Rose Hip harvest time! Time to collect the hips to make some vitamin-C rich cream for my face :) Might make some jelly or jello, will see.
I cooked the Chokecherries I collected from work, then mashed them with my hands before straining the liquid using a nut milk bag. Tomorrow it will be Chokecherry jello time, where I'll add in some sweet juice to the gelatin to counteract the sourness from the Chokecherries.
Alrighty m'dear sunshine, you have been right-side sunny up these past several days and I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of your burning brightness on the next foraging adventure :)
One Backyard: Edible & Medicinal Clovers,Dock, Fleabane, Hawkweed, Plantain, Prunella, Sorrel, Strawberry Leaf & Violets --- Clover Perfume, Massage Oil, Herbal Vinegar & Sorrel Lemonade Recipes
When you see a lawn, do you think, oh that's someone's backyard, just some grass there? Or do you look closer and see a plethora of plants, waiting to share their energy/food and medicine?
So here are some pics I took at work. See the variety of living plants in just a small plot of land :) Here we go:
White Clover, triofolium repens. Gather the blossoms on a dry day when there hasn't been any rain. You can make a standard infusion with them, although she isn't as medicinal as Red Clover (useful to help with menstrual cramps). Instead, where she shines is in her scent:
To Make White Clover Perfume:
---> Place the flowers slightly packed into a small mason jar (250ml/1cup or 500ml/2 cups works just fine). Add oil to cover the flowers (olive oil or grape seed oil is fine), then use a thin bamboo skewer or the handle of a wooden spoon to make sure flowers are coated. Add more oil to the top of the jar, put on lid and screw cap and let sit in the cupboard for six weeks. Strain out oil by placing a coffee filter into a sieve to catch any tiny pieces. If you like and there are still flowers around, you can make this perfume oil have a stronger scent by repeating the process: add fresh flowers to a mason jar + your infused oil. Cap off with additional olive/grape seed oil to the top, then wait another six weeks. Place the oil into small vials with a roll on (a small sieve can help get the oil in the bottle, as can a pipette), then label and use for yourself or give as gifts. Optionally, you can add in a few essential oils of your choice that you think might work nicely with the delicate scent of White Clover (vanilla is one that comes to mind :) ). Enjoy!!
If you're wondering if I have some White Clover oil infusing right now, the answer is...YEP! I've used this same simple technique of infusing one flower into oil with Lavender and Rose petals...I love the delicate scent and so have others :)
Too much work for all that?? I hear ya. Better yet, just pluck the blossoms and add to the top of salads to make 'em pretty. Smell nice, taste is OK too :)
Good ol' Dandelion, taraxacum officianalis. What do you do with the leaves? Yep, I juice 'em! I replace about 1/4 of my other greens with Dandelions, add them to the juicer with some apples or melon and I'm good to go in the morning! They're chock full of minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, and they've got that magic I'm-so-hardy appeal that's sure to be shared with you too :)
I add the leaves, fresh or dried, to soups and stews, and I use the dried leaves to make a wild green powder, which you can then add to smoothies and baked goods for extra nutrition. Even better, add the powder with some other greens that you've dried and powdered and make your own wild greens protein powder. Sure, feel free to add in hemp, rice protein, pea protein, etc. to the green powder.
Oh, yeah, to turn the leaves from dried to a powder? Best to use a high speed blender. Works every time. Then store the powder in a glass air tight container. A mason jar works fine too :)
Wood Sorrel, oxalis stricta (note that there are other varieties). The flowers have come up yet in this photo, but they will and they'll be yellow. How to use? Not being a stem kinda gal, I remove the leaves and toss into the soup or stew pot. Note the word oxalis, as she does contain oxalic crystals which can irritate some people. Cooking neutralizes them, however.
Since she tastes kind of on the lemony side of things, think LEMONADE.
To Make Wood Sorrel Lemonade:
--->Get a bunch of Wood Sorrel, with flowers or without and let them dry. Then make a standard 2 cup infusion. Strain and add in 2 cups water, plus the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, as you prefer. Add stevia to taste, if desired. Great served cold on a hot summer's day.
Oh yeah, and if you're ever out and about and feeling parched, munching on a few leaves helps to quench your thirst :) Good ol' common garden Sorrel :)
Wild Strawberry, fragaria vesca. Leaves are great to add to soups and stews, fresh, frozen or dried. Can also add fresh leaves to salads. Use dried leaves and make a standard infusion for diarrhea (drink throughout the day).
Red Clover, trifolium pratense. These are just the leaves, however the flowers are out and about as of the month of June. They'll still be around by July, sometimes even as late as August and early September. Note the characteristic chevron that appears on all 3 leaves. Usually, the rule of thumb is leaves of 3, let it be. But this is clearly an exception to the rule, and the striking pattern makes Red Clover easy to identify.
The leaves can be used fresh, frozen or dried and added to soups and stews. Fine to add to salads, too. She's also a good one to add to a herbal vinegar, as is Strawberry Leaf, Self-Heal, Plantain, Dandelion leaf, Stinging Nettle, Mugwort...pretty much any wild edible green is fine.
To Make a Herbal Vinegar:
---> Chop your choice of wild green edibles with scissors into small pieces, then place into a mason jar. The size of the jar will depend upon how much greens you have (I'd say a 500ml/2 cup jar would be a good size, 1 liter if you have a lot). Pour apple cider vinegar with mother to cover the herbs, stir with the handle of a wooden spoon to ensure all gets covered with the vinegar, then add more vinegar to the top. Place a small piece of cling wrap to cover the lid, then put on the lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks in the cupboard. Strain out the liquid using a fine mesh sieve and store in a glass container of your choice. Great to use over salads or in any dressing/sauce/recipe where vinegar is called for :)
Self-Heal or All-heal, prunella vulgaris. I love drying her and using her for tea (I do mean a standard infusion). Great to flush toxins out of the lymphatic system and for water retention (e.g. during periods). She's a low growing plant, doesn't grow very high. And those labia-looking petals fall out when you go to pluck up the flower, so do be gentle.
Note the fine hairs where the flowers are situated? You won't see them with the naked eye, but a close up camera or magnifying glass are both good tools to have in the field with you. You can add the leaves to soups, stews and salads, although they isn't much to them. Fine to add to a herbal vinegar for extra minerals, vitamins and nutrition.
Plantain, plantago major. Ah, the boo-boo plant. Where there's one, there's more. And more's the better. Any time you got a boo-boo, like an insect bite, sting or scrape, chew the leaves up (yes, in your mouth, called a spit poultice) and place over the wound. Replace when it dries out. Just great to get rid of itching and you'll notice the wound heals much faster had you not used trust ol' Plantain. I'd keep this plant around the garden if I were you and make sure to find her if you're ever out in the field and need some boo-boo remedy.
Of course, you can also make a salve with her leaves and pair her with healing Comfrey (a few salve recipes here). And she also makes a great massage oil, helpful with St John's Wort and even Goldenrod (the flowering tops of both those plants). Massage oil is good for relaxation, but also helps with sprains, strains, sore muscles and even nerve damage.
To Make Relax Me Massage Oil:
---> Simply chop 2 parts St John's Wort (flowering top) with 1 part chopped Goldenrod (flowering top) and 1 part Plantain leaves. Place in a mason jar (a 500ml or 1 liter mason is a good size here) and add olive oil to cover the herbs. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon to ensure oil covers all herb. Add more oil to the top of the jar, put on lid and screw cap, and let sit 6 weeks in the cupboard. Strain out the oil using a sieve (best if you place a coffee filter in the sieve first to catch tiny particles) into clean dark amber jars. Label and use on sore, stiff and achy muscles.
Just an FYI: St John's comes out in the summer while Goldenrod comes out later, late August and September. Feel free to make an infused oil with the Plantain and St John's, then make another infused oil with the Goldenrod and add the 2 oils together. OR, you can just make an oil with Plantain + St John's OR just St John's by herself. Up to you. Aren't you glad there are options and choices?!
Last good tidbit about Plantain: yep, edible, you can add fresh, dried or frozen to soups and stews. Small leaves are good in salads, larger ones can be juiced or even added to smoothies. Dried, she makes an excellent tea to remove boo-boos on the inside, aka, helpful to heal inflamed intestines such as leaky gut. I'd drink the tea daily with other herbs like Violet leaf, Marshmallow root and Slippery elm if you have leaky gut.
Violet, viola (sp.). There are several types of Violets, but they all taste mildly of wintergreen. The ones that I've seen where I live (up in the Northeast) have had either white or purple flowers, except for Johnny-jump-ups, which are tricolor. The leaves are usually heart-shaped, but sometimes they are more rounded. Some varieties have hairy leaves and stems.
Due to their mucilaginous quality, a few fresh leaves (and flowers) can be added to salads. Fresh or dried ones can be added to soups and stews, where that mucilage will be a welcome boon to soothe irritated intestines. If you have leaky gut, I'd add a good bunch of leaves when making soup, or even add some fresh ones to your morning smoothie (their mucilaginous quality doesn't make them so nice for green juices). Dried, the leaves make an excellent healing infusion. To the infusion, you can add Plantain and (chopped or powdered) Marshmallow root, plus mint for some extra cooling power. Drink throughout the day to help heal leaky gut.
Yellow Dock (the tall one in the middle), rumex crispus. I find that Dock leaves remind me of Spinach and both are good sources of iron. I prefer to dry the leaves and then add them to soups and stews come colder weather time, but they are great steamed on their own or added to smoothies and green juices.
Just like Plantain, where there's one there's usually more, and the seeds on 1 plant are plentiful! Last year there were perhaps 2 plants in the backyard and there are now about 1/2 a dozen :)
The root is a bright yellow when you dig her up in the fall, and that taproot can be quite long. A bit of digging required, yep, but the good news is that the root is even higher in iron than the leaves and has been used to help with iron deficiency. I'll talk more about the root later on in the fall (and also about the brown seeds which are edible and can be used like flour) :)
The pics above are of different kinds of rockets, plants that are in the mustard or Brassica family. 4-flowers are usually a sign of a mustard family plant...and the smell? Mmm, like sweet, heavenly perfume! When the flowers are spent, long seed pods with tiny seeds are left (yep, you can open the pods and use them like mustard seeds, even make your own homemade mustard if you can gather enough of them).
Leaves and flowers are edible, fine to add to salads, fresh, frozen or dried leaves to soups and stews. And if you're making yourself a veggie juice or smoothie, you can most certainly add in some leaves to the brew!
From L to R: Daisy Fleabane (erigeron philadelphicus), Forget-me-not (myosotis (sp)) and Orange Hawkweed (pilosella aurantiacum).
Daisy Fleabane. The leaves are edibles, although their hairiness may make them less than thrilling in salads. Better to add the leaves to the soup/stew pot and put them through the juicer.
Forget-me-not flowers make beautiful splashes of blue in the garden and since they grow in mats, they can be great to fill up those bare and empty spaces. The flowers (although bland and small) are edible and can be tossed into the salad bowl or soup/stew pot or used to decorate muffins and cupcakes.
Hawkweed or Mouse-ear. Flowers edible raw in salads, leaves are hairy, best to add to the juicer or to the soup/stew pot. The dried flowers and leaves can be made into an infusion and used as an emmenagogue, cholagogue, diaphoretic, expectorant and diuretic.
And finally, the Buttercup, NOT EDIBLE. Here's a good read about it and why holding a Buttercup under your chin will reflect a lovely shade of yellow (nope, nothing to do with whether you're a Butter lover or not).
See you next time, Sunshine :)
More rain. You'd think it was the month of April and not June! But alas it is and there's been no rain yesterday or today. Which meant an opportunity to get some foraging done!
Things were still just slightly wet, and I noticed the plants at work hadn't grown much. I collected the usual dandelion and violet leaves, got a few big strawberry leaves and several plantain and wood sorrel leaves this time around. White clover flowers were blooming and I picked a few heads. I also took some red clover leaves (the ones with the chevron on them) and some white clover leaves (no chevron, just 3 green leaves!). This is the one time where that rule of "leaves of 3 let it be" does not apply! Leaves and flowers can be eaten in salad or thrown in soup or even dried for tea.
In fact, one of my favorite teas is red clover tea. It tastes almost like orange pekoe tea when I add almond milk and stevia. Just love making a strong infusion when I have my period and drinking 4 liters of her all day long! Yes, red clover is an excellent emmenagogue, high in phyto-estrogens. Anti-spasmodic too.
And finally, a few new additions: prunella and dock!
Yes, prunella is also called All-Heal or Self-heal, but her latin name just sticks in my mind. She is supposed to be used to cure any ailment, hence her name, but I know and use her better as an excellent lymph mover. Moving the lymph means helping to drain any kind of lymphatic congestion in the body (e.g. swollen glands, boils, abscesses, edema) and also to help with weight loss. You can get prunella mixed with sugar or honey sold as tea from Asian markets, but I just buy her whole (for tea). I can get a shopping bag full for $10, but prunella, that lil sweetie (emphasis on the "lil") she's most probably growing right in your backyard. She grows wild in fields and wood clearings, too. You can eat her leaves and tiny purple flowers, if you like, or even throw her flowering tops into soup. Well, I told you I throw most things in my cauldron, didn't I?
I took but a few dock leaves as there were only a couple of plants. Later on the green seeds will turn brown (in the fall), but I know of a field where there are tons of docks to be had ---and tons of spiders, too :O
Speaking of fields, there's one I pass by to get to work and it's been mowed! Doesn't seem to be that many plants growing, more like grass, but it's hard to tell when you're whizzing along on a bike :) Anyway, might get a chance later on in the season...
Speaking of that field where the docks are growing, I should pass by on a dry day this week. I saw several milkweed pods and flowers while out for a walk today, and that same field has many milkweed plants and sumac growing, or at least it did last year.
Ooh, fun foraging adventures await!
Now if this rain can just abate...I'll be in foraging business! FREE food for one!
Curiosity Got The Cat: