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My first wild harvests- the gifts of Nature!

Mar 29, 2010

Spring to me is not only planting peas, and starting indoor seedlings, it is a time of wonderful wild foods and useful plant products.
Last week, I picked the first nettle of the season, and had burdock (store bought but organic)on hand so I made a nettle and burdock quick saute'. Stinging nettle looses its sting if it is dried, or dipped into boiling water for a few seconds. If you are making it to eat,not dry, you do this water treatment quickly, and then refresh immediately under cold water and squeeze out the extra liquid. Chop it into a medium course cut. If it is very young (like under 4"tall), then the stems are tender enough to eat, if not, strip the leaves off the stems, and compost the stems. Take the burdock root, scrub and wash under cold water, then cut in thin oblong pieces.
Add butter or a good organic oil to a saute pan, and you can start cooking the burdock first (you can also add onion and/or garlic too),about five minutes over medium heat stirring frequently. When it has softened a little, add the nettle until is is just tender (not more than a few minutes). Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and serve.
I also have been harvesting chickweed for salads, oils for ointments and creams. Last but not the least, I have been harvesting pine sap to make a drawling salve. We had many pine trees damaged in the last heavy snow and wind storm,so many are leaking the sap. I hate the damage to the trees, but I thank them for their gift. And this week it is time to make dandelion liquor!
By the way, those lovely parsnips that Rodger harvested would be great with the nettles and burdock! Green Blessings! Susan

Hey you local Burlington county NJ people, where are you? We have a pod going here in Beverly and would like to hear from you. I have land if you need a place to garden too!


Hi Susan What is a drawling salve and what is it used for? Glenn
I probably spelled it wrong, but when I was little and we had a splinter that was hard to get out, my Mom would put on some of this "black salve", and it would make the splinter come out. It is also effective for some anti-biotic action too. I have to look up the recipe for proportions, but it is a mixture of bee's wax, an organic oil, like almond or even extra virgin olive oil and the pine sap. When I get ready to make it, I will share the recipe. I think it is Rosemary Gladstar's site that I found the recipe. Hope that helps, Happy Gardening, Susan
When ? was little my parents used that black drawing ointment as a cure all for everything. Having my own children ? have looked everywhere for it and could never find it, so if you had a recipe ? would be very happy if you posted it.
Could you also post that recipe pls ? know Michelle on this group has just made some herself would be good to compare recipes.
It looks like I lost the recipe before I posted it so here we go again. The recipe is from Susun Weeds "Healing Wise" herbal, available through Ash Tree Press. I highly recommend this herbal especially for beginners, but also any experienced herbalist who is not familiar with Susun's work really would want this book in their library. Materials needed: Pair of clean scissors 1 clean quart canning jar I liter of good quality 100 proof,( if possible) vodka, or brandy* The peel of one organic lemon 1 cup of organic cane sugar, 1/2 cup of organic agave nectar, or one cup of rice syrup** A field of dandelions in full bloom in a non contaminated area with owner's permission, if applicable! Cut ONLY the yellow parts of the dandelions right into the quart jar, until the jar is filled (you can gently push down a little and add a few more if you wish). Then add the sweetener, lemon peel and fill the jar with vodka. Don't worry about bugs or "germs, the alcohol will kill anything that can hurt you and you strain before drinking. Put the lid on tight and shake the jar to mix everything together. Keep the jar in a cool, dark place, and give it a shake every once in a while. Liquor is ready in six weeks, but it ages well. I have a two year old batch I haven't even strained and it is delicious. To Serve: Pour over crushed ice with a twist of lemon. A refreshing afternoon cocktail or a nice finish to a meal. And, doing things in moderation, this is also a liver tonic! HAPPY DANDELION PICKING! Susan * if you use anything but vodka, it effects the flavor, but if you are a brandy drinker, you might like to make it with brandy. ** you can adjust the amount of sweetener to taste. I rarely eat sweetened foods, so I use less sugar - about a 1/2 cup, so adjust according to taste, but you won't need MORE than recommended.
Hi Susan Just to clarify. By the yellow parts, do you mean you are just using the yellow flowers only. Glenn
I actually mean just the yellow parts of the flower - no green or white- will make the liquor bitter, that is why it is essential to snip with scissors rather than "pick" the flower. Susan
I missed that,I was going to"just pick the flower head", but you mean cut the yellow off the head. The immature seed head(flower petal-compact mass of small stemless flowers), only the yellow part. You are so busy with all this, how do you find time to blog? Do not missunderstand, I am gracful for your input. Just do not know when you have time to sleep. Joel
I have class tonight but I will be getting the recipe out tomorrow because I need to make a batch, so I will share it with you all then. I would rather be doing it today , but homework comes first! It is a rainy windy day here but tomorrow starts a string of beautiful weather and I would rather be outside than in, but I have a couple of herbal things indoors that need attention, so I just will have to get started early!
I finally got my batch made yesterday and so know I have time to share the proportions of pine sap, beeswax and oil.This is adapted from Rosalee de la Foret, a contributor to Herb Mentor. So here we go: First, any pots and equipment you use for making creams,salves etc, should be separate from any of your cooking stuff. It is hard to get all the wax and oils removed and might effect the flavor of your food. Second, always remember to use non reactive cookware- stainless steel, glass and ceramic products, as other kind may have undesirable chemical reactions. Have ready clean, 1oz balm jars- or larger if you are just making it for yourself- ready to pour the final ingredient into, as it starts to harden quickly. I got about 12 fluid ounces (volume measurement of product) when I finished. So it is 2 ounces (all these are Weight measurements, NOT volume!) of pine sap, a little more if you have lots of bark mixed in. 1 ounce of bee's wax 4 ounces (remember weight, although it comes out almost the same as a volume measurement) of high quality oil -extra virgin olive oil is fine. You can also use one of your infused oils -such as plantain or chickweed, that have some of the same healing properties. First, melt the wax, over very low heat, if you can control your heat well, or just want to play it safe, you can use a double boiler. Add the sap next and melt it, stirring occasionally, coaxing the pieces of sap to melt. You will see the impurities separating as you heat. When all the sap is incorporated, then add the oil. and mix in thoroughly, just warming it slightly. When oil is ready, quickly strain the mixture into another clean, non-reactive pan, then put the strained mixture of the oil, sap and wax into the final containers. You will see it start to set almost as soon as it is poured. It works on drawling out splinters, on cuts, rashes,dry skin, and even sore muscles. I is green in color, but works like that black stuff our parents (or in some cases your grandparents) used for everything. Our pines took a big hit this year with the heavy snows and winds. So I was lucky to have so much access to sap, and the many different pine cones for craft projects. It is too bad so many beautiful evergreen branches came down in the wrong season, I would have had great homemade wreaths for the winer holidays! Today, it is plantain and dandelion hunting, and the elusive hope that this is the year the morels finally show back up in my yard! Green Blessings,Susan
Susan, Thanks for your wonderful blog and awesome information. Happy Friday Jeannie
Hi Jeanne, and the new batch of elderberry syrup is ready too! Hope you get to play outside today, I am planting the rest of the onions and some violas, and anything else that keeps me outside, and away from paperwork - although I am going to have to at least do some homework. Welcome aboard! Your information and knowledge will be appreciated by everyone! Green Blessings! Susan
This is NOT an adertising site!!! I highly resent getting an email to my personal account, with a direct link to this Torento florist shop. Please do NOT do it again. It has NOTHING to do with subject of wild flowers or foods. Thank you, Susan
Please forgive the typos in the preceeding post. S

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