In my last post, I said I would share with you what I sowed in my balcony garden. But I think that will wait, as I went on another mini-foraging adventure!
I was off to dance class, when I suddenly felt pulled by some plants growing in a small disturbed area close to the street. I veered off the sidewalk and followed the pull of the plant. I didn't realize her name at first, but I recognized her. I nodded and suddenly was swept away in the world of plant friends.
There, growing beside some cement blocks, was of course Dandelion. I spotted some Vetch, but no purple edible flowers had bloomed. Those flowers, by the way, make a roadside nibble and I've dried them and paired them with Lavender in sachets. I'll take some pics of her later on when she's in flower :)
I continued to look about and noticed a large Burdock plant, a tiny Plantain plant, and some Red Clover leaves.
When it comes to Burdock, a lot of people can identify the large leaves because they look like Rhubarb. But it's really those sticky, velcro seeds that are the tell-tale sign that she is a Burdock plant. And guess what? Sure enough, I had a few balls sticking to my pant leg after hunching down to pick up several handfuls of large Violet leaves!
Who else was growing in this tiny abandoned area?
I spotted some Thistles and Sow Thistles. I've juiced both of them before, and then added that green juice to the blender with fruits to make a wild, delish green smoothie! The Thistle isn't that bitter, but Sow Thistles are, as bitter as Dandelion. They look like Dandelion too. I'll post more pics during the summer. If you do juice them, just a few large leaves will do ;)
There was also a large vine growing there, a Grape Vine in fact. The leaves are edible and if you've ever had Greek food, then you may have eaten Dolmades, which are stuffed vine leaves. In other words, you can parboil the leaves for 2-5 minutes to soften them, then use them as wrap "bread." Feel free to add whatever you want on those leaves before rolling them into a wrap: tuna salad, hummus, lentil pate, curried rice or whatever catches your fancy!
I've eaten the Grapes, rather sour, as a trail side nibble and also made jello with them. I'll talk more about that later in the fall, when the Grapes are ready to eat :)
Ah, did you notice that I didn't tell you the name of the plant that called me to this area? Why, when I went back the way I came and passed her again, it was then her name came to me: Goldenrod!! In one of the areas where I go foraging, which I've called Buckthorn Woods because there are so many Buckthorn trees, there are tons and tons of Goldenrod plants that flower in late August. The yellow flowers are a gorgeous late summer sight signifying that autumn is on its way. There are many uses for Goldenrod, by the way, and for now suffice it to say that the leaves are edible. I cook them and add them to soups, stews and in pates. While you can freeze the leaves for future use, I've never done so (having only so much room in the freezer), but I have dried them and then added them to the soup pot with delish results :)
Note that Goldenrod has been blamed for causing seasonal allergies, which is NOT true. You can read more about that and her edible/medicinal uses Here.
By the way, the species that grows in Canada is known as Solidago Canadensis.
Walking up to the street to the dance studio, I spotted two other friends: baby Lamb's Quarter growing close to the sidewalk (which I was tempted to take as she tastes like spinach, but growing so close to traffic, it's NOT recommended) and the tallest Toadflax/Butter 'n' Eggs that I've seen to date, growing right beside a hedge.
I have read about using Toadflax as a diuretic herb, yet when I tried making an infusion with her, my body was NOT interested at all. I have read to use the leaves before she flowers and it was true that I used the leaves WHILE she was in flower, so that might have been an issue. Truthfully, I am not called to her (or rather, she has not called to me), but perhaps others have a better relationship with her than I have. I didn't take a picture of that particular plant, but I did take a pic of some smaller Toadflax growing behind the local mall.
Finally, I spotted a Peppergrass plant. The picture isn't the best, so check out these pics and read more about her Here. The young seedpods are heart-shaped and can be dried and used as a pepper substitute. The leaves are edible and can be tossed into the soup pot or into salads.
Lastly, I'm sharing with you a touch of virtual scent: a few flowers of Rose! I spotted a few buds and even a few opened flowers among several Rose bushes. It was a delightful sight that warmed my heart :)
I love Rose for so many reasons:
Well, that's all for now, sunshine! Now that June is here and summer is around the corner, keep it light, keep it bright :)
Came across a new plant while out for a jog: galinsoga parviflora , called Gallant Soldiers in Britain. Leaves and flowers are edible, can eat raw in salads, eat steamed, or add to soups and stews. I'm sure this is another green herb that could be dried and added to a wild greens powder.
How fun to discover new plants!!
Interestingly, when I saw her, I asked her name, and it came to me galinsoga. Strange, because when I've done that in the past, plants usually don't respond! But then I remembered I had most probably had a brief interaction with her last summer and it was a name my memory dredged up.
In any case, galinsoga is her latin name and I'm happy to have gotten better acquainted with her this year. Indeed, I'm going to be actively seeking her out and adding her to pestos AND drying her for future soups. YAY!
Also spotted some huge Lamb's Q growing right in the middle of these concrete raised beds in the middle of the road. In previous years, the city had planted flowers, but they had decided not to this year. Instead, good ol' weedy friends are growing there now. I was tempted to take Lamb's Q, but I know foraging plants close to the street is not recommended. I did take a sprig of Penny Cress, now all gone to seed, to plant next year. The seeds, just like Pepper Grass and Shepherd's Purse, can be ground and used as a pepper substitute
In the previous post, I had forgotten the name of 2 pea flowers, but while flipping through a foraging book for my area, came across the names: Yellow Vetchling or Yellow Flowered Pea and Everlasting Sweet Pea or Perennial Pea (pink colored). Toxicity is noted in large doses. I've tried a few while out and about as a trailside nibble. Not bad at all. Will have to look further and see what others have come across in terms of toxicity.
Have 2 unidentified plants to find out who they are: one looks like Flax, very distinct pattern of the leaves, but the flowers are so tiny. Another one I'm sure there were seeds in the compost, because I found her in almost all of my pots. Also distinct pattern of clusters of flowers growing on the central stem.
On further inspection, yes, it's definitely flax! I planted her in a flower box last year and some seeds must've remained in the soil. As for the other, not sure yet....but I did find another weedy friend that had made her home without an invitation: Lady's Thumb! While there are a few different persicarias in my area, Lady's Thumb has that easy-to identify splotch on the leaves. Of course she's edible and being high in oxalic acid, I naturally added her to the pot with other wild greens to make a most tasty pesto.
Yep, I've been making a pesto most days now. Last one I made had tons of Wood Sorrel and Common Sow Thistle. A bit much on the sour and bitter flavors, but that's OK. Tasted fine when eaten with sweet Carrot and Flax crackers, yummers!
Alrighty, darling sunshine dear, all for now...hope for more foraging adventures in the future, cuz the weather is sticky and hot!
Curiosity Got The Cat: