Posts

Showing posts from May, 2011

Alaskan Tinfoil (skunk cabbage)

Image
When strolling through the woods one day in spring and glancing off to the more swampy area you may notice these rather large leaves a foot or more wide. Your curiosity gets the best of you and upon closer examination when you get a whiff of this monster you will scratch your head and think, must be a skunk nearby. Well,,,literally under foot.
On the last rainy (really rainy) wild edible walk at the state park, one of the kids asked why we had them. John said they were his umbrellas. They did make cute hats that keep the rain off. Then he went on to say that the Alaskan call it "Alaskan tinfoil". They use it instead of tinfoil when cooking their "hobo dinners."* You would think it would burn up before the job was done or give it a bad taste?
Well, we had two industrious young men on the hike that decided to test out the theory and emailed us with their results.
He wrote: "It worked. We tried it on Sunday and I didn't taste anything weird but you have to m…

Chickweed

Image
Talk about a tender green to add to your salad bowl in spring. This one takes the cake. We had it the other day along with our lettuce. Some of the properties and uses of chickweed are:
Internal useInternally, chickweed is used for rheumatism as well as chest infections. When liquidized it is included with other herbs and vegetables as a tonic juice.It is also used in salads and cooked as a vegetable.External useIt is a superb herb to use for itchy skin as well as eczema, acne, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, psoriasis, inflammation, ulcers, vaginitis, boils, abscesses, allergies and other skin problems.It is useful in treating wounds. It speeds up the healing process.It has an anti-itching effect.Its excellent healing action makes it a must in any healing cream. (and it is one of the ingredients in the healing salve I make) Those little pods hanging from the plant on the right will bloom into tiny white flowers.

Nettles

Image
Okay, allergy season and its ugly side affects have hit. John is the target. I seem to have escaped the curse all my life. Anyway I thought I might check out some natural helps for him.
A few posts on the net came up with nettle tincture and echinacea tincture. I flew to my herb room to the tincture cabinet and what do ya know. I had the wherewithall to make those two tinctures last fall.
A tincture is an infusion of an herb in vodka or brandy or other high alcohol contents. This is a simplistic definition but it fits with how simple it is to do. I basically forgot about mine and didn't strain the herb out till now. And that is perfectly fine. And they last oodles of years.

You can take a dropper full of it under your tongue or in a little water. I need to see what the dose is more specifically so I can be a bit more scientific, but I do rely on intuition sometimes. Gasp!

I only used a small amount of the echinacea as that can work the opposite way. And today I am just using the ne…

Wild Leek Festival

Image
Here they are! Isn't this a good picture of the different stages of prepare?

John went out in the morning and harvested the Leeks. As you can see, he pulled the bulb and all.
I hauled out the big cast-iron pan and put in some oil and butter. Turned the heat on and when the butter melted added the cut up bulb. Cooked them to a caramelized state.

Took them out of the pan and then cooked the greens. Added my secret seasoning ( soy sauce) and cooked a little longer. Then I combined them all.
They got eaten up right quick.

This year we had 25 people join us. Potluck was great. One attender used leeks in a Chinese steamed bread she made. Yumm.

All in all a great day with great people. And it's good to know that people had the benefits of those highly nutritious wild veggies.

violet ice-cubes

Image
So, we're having a party this weekend. Actually our annual wild leek (ramp) festival. I fear the rain is going to make a wet day of it but we don't need to succumb to the gloom eh?

I'm making violet flower ice-cubes to brighten up the punch bowl.
Just go pick the flowers off the violets (not your African violet in the house). Both of these pictured grow on my lawn and have the heart shaped leaves. The leaves, stems and flowers are all edible and not offensive in taste. So when those ice-cubes melt just have a munch on the flower.

If you use distilled water it will tend to be a clearer ice-cube. Oh and you could also freeze a tiny leaf or two for some variety.

Dandelion Coffee

Image
This is my very scientific experiment on making dandelion coffee. Would be nice if others tried it and shared their experiences.

I measured out 1/2oz. of the root. Since I didn't chop up the root before I dried it, I hammered the chunks in a plastic bag.








Then I put the roots in a pan along with 2 1/4 cups ( I allowed that extra 1/4 cup for evaporation) of water and brought that to a boil. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.






I added some cream and sweetener to the finished product and took a sip. ..... um..........well, number one there is no substitute for coffee. Let's call it a root beverage. It has a slightly bitter after taste that will possibly appeal to my husband. You know, it could grow on you. And knowing dandelion, it could very well take root. Try it and see how you like it.

If you can join them eat em dandelions

Image
Well well, we are back and hopefully on track. Wild Edible walks at the state park are starting up again and we plan to be adding more to the blog now that we had our little break. Break shmeak, more like life happens.

So I was wandering the garden boxes and planning and of course, sure as the rising sun, the dandelion lay smirking at me. All sprawled out with every place to go.

It didn't see my smile though as I went for shovel and digger. It's roots are very holdy ony so I needed to dig around and loosen and then try to pull slowly straight up. Got a couple out intact but really I'm not worried. They will return for the second harvest.

Harvest???? Yup, I plan on putting them to some productive work. If you're gonna live here you are gonna help out says I.

First thing I did was wash them up good. Tossed them into a bucket of water to help get the dirt off. Then I scrubbed them with a little brush and cut the crown and leaves off.
And since we are still heating the ho…