Friday, April 19, 2013

Don't kill those "weeds"!

Do a random search for foraging and you will find more and more sites, blogs, and books popping up every day written by folks relearning and sharing the bounty of the wild.
Now I know, when you hear the word "foraging", images come to mind of folks dressed in woodsy gear traipsing deep into the forests searching for rare mushrooms or strange plants. I'm not saying this doesn't happen. Because it does. And it's awesome. But you don't have to go into the woods to find a wealth of food. It is growing right under your nose. The wild is everywhere! Even in the city sidewalks.

After all, Mother Nature knows that just what we need following a long winter is a good cleansing. She provides just that through the first plants that push up through the cool soil.

Here are just a few of the plants seen growing here on the farm and all over the area in the past few weeks.

Eli's favorite, Field Speedwell (Veronica persica).
This lovely early bloomer makes a refreshing tea. Boil and steep 2 c. water, 1 handful of fresh, washed speedwell. Add honey or other herbs/spices to taste. The beautiful tiny blue flowers along with the rest of the plant can be used as an expectorant for coughs, digestive aid, and blood cleanser. Remove those toxins! Freshen that skin!

Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum), it's everywhere! 
Used in soups, salads, and teas this bad boy can be eaten cooked or raw. The leaves, flowers and stem are all edible. It is high in iron and fiber and is a great detoxifier, astringent, and diuretic. Did I say detox???

Spring Onions, tasty.
You'll find clumps of this stuff growing among your grass. It's usually taller and it has a thin, rounded hollow stalk. Sometimes the ends curl up like the ones in the photo. The best way to identify these fellas is to smell them. If it smells like onions, it's onions! The best way to use them? Any way you would use chives.

And the ever popular, always healthy Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
You know these beauties. They are commonly seen being attacked by humans trying to rid them from their lawns, spreading people's wishes all over the land, or having their "heads popped off" by children of all ages. Very easy to identify. These plants are called dynamic accumulators for their ability to pull nutrients through their long, strong tap rots from deep in the soil. These nutrients are what give the plant its healthy punch. The list of health benefits from this crazy little lion plant range from liver support to diabetes, bone health, skin disorders, urinary problems, high blood pressure, anemia, weight loss, and much more! It is packed full of iron, fiber, vitamin C, protein and all sorts of other health words. It's amazing that all of us aren't out there digging it up right now and chowing down!
I dug up a bunch of this at the farm last week, brought it home, got out my biggest soup pot and made a giant batch. I made so much I got to share it with my friends.  It was raving good, we had it all finished by the next day! I loosely followed this recipe and must add that we all liked it better the second day. Be sure to use the whole plant, not just the greens. Remember those dynamic roots! 

We good folks here at the Farmacy have been busy harvesting tons of this glory and prepping it for use for our Community Supported Medicine members. Pretty soon, boxes will be arriving packed with fresh goodies made from our Dandelions and other natural wonders, just for you. 

Don't forget to sign up for your share today! 

Go for it! Step outside and pick some dinner! I dare you.

NOTES: Please be aware of any pesticides or any other chemicals that have been applied to the area before picking and ingesting any wild food. Also, never eat any wild food that you cannot identify with 100% accuracy. Check your field guides. Only eat small amounts of any food you are trying for the first time, in case of allergies.