Browsing the archives for the Tincture category.


Frick Park Walk

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Poisonous or Toxic, Raw, Tincture
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Our first walk of the year was so much fun! We had great weather and lots of enthusiastic people. We identified at least 12 wild edibles (including Dryad’s Saddle, an edible mushroom that everyone got to take home.) Unfortunately we didn’t find morels…but join us on Saturday for our Earth Day walks and who knows what we’ll find!

discussing wild edibles at a wild edibles walk in Frick Park

discussing wild edibles at a wild edibles walk in Frick Park

We found and discussed:

Dandelion

dandelion flowers

dandelion flowers

Plantain

Plantain

Plantain

Chickweed

close up of chickweed

close up of chickweed

Japanese knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Dryad’s Saddle

Dryad's Saddle

Dryad's Saddle

Purple Archangel (Purple deadnettle)

Lamium purpureum, purple deadnettle

Lamium purpureum, purple deadnettle

Violet

violet

violet

Broad Leaf Dock
Burdock

Burdock

Burdock

Nettles

stinging nettles

stinging nettles

Cleavers
Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

May Apple

We discussed making:

Our next walks are this Saturday at the Frick Park Environmental Center for their family-friendly, free, Earth Day Celebration! The festival is Saturday April 21, 2012  from 11:30 to 4, and we will lead two walks at 1 pm and 2 pm.

Hope to see you there!

~ Melissa

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We’re back! CSF, Walks and Wild Ally

General Posts, Herb, Poisonous or Toxic, Raw, Tincture
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nettles

nettles

We’re back!

As you probably noticed, we have not posted in a while…even though spring has come so early and wild edibles have been bursting forth from the ground! That’s because our computer broke (boo!) and then when we finally got a new one it would not let me do blog posts (I finally realized I had to upload and work through Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, though I have no idea why.)

So now we’re back and like spring we are bursting with excitement and lots of information!

First: our CSF (Community Supported Foraging) is about to get up and running! Our first pickup will be Thursday April 5, ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! How exciting! We realized if we waited until May to begin we would probably miss morels, fiddleheads and all sorts of early spring treats.

Don’t fret if you missed the boat on the CSF for this year (we only offered 10 shares for our flagship year)…we are still offering wild produce locally through Green Circle Farm’s weekly produce list. (And we may even offer our very own “list” soon, we’ll see how it goes with the CSF and Green Circle Farm.)

Our friend Erika at Green Circle Farm offers a weekly abundance of all sorts of things: raw milk, raw butter, grass fed beef and other sustainably raised animals, free range eggs, produce from the Pittsburgh Public Market, she even had wild ramps this week available (and not even from us!) Visit her website to be added to her list (you get a weekly email, place your order by a certain date and then pick up at one of various locations around Pittsburgh.)

Also, we will have a weekly newsletter for the CSF-ers with info about the wild plants and recipes, and we will post those newsletters here on our blog. So you’ll get lots of yummy recipes and tidbits of info of what to do with all the amazing food and medicine popping up right under your feet all season long.

Second: WALKS!

We have heard you loud and clear: you want walks and more walks this year. We are working on our schedule, and it even includes a MOREL HUNTING WALK this year!! Oh yes we did! I hope you will all join us. The full schedule will be up soon but I will let you know this: we will be offering two walks again at Frick Park’s Earth Day celebration this year. The date is Saturday, April 21, 2012 and our walks are at 1 pm and 2 pm. Be there!! This is a super fun, free, family-friendly celebration of nature at the Frick Environmental Center on Beechwood Blvd in Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh) PA. The festival itself is from 11:30 to 4. You will be overwhelmed (in a good way) with fun and music and arts and crafts and food and walks and more!

Third, now is the best time of year to get started on a Wild Ally!!! Did you do one last year? Pick another one for this year! An ally is a wild edible plant that you study, learn from and enjoy intensely over the course of the season. I have created a workbook of exercises for you to do with your ally. I really find this is the best way to get to know (and love) wild edible plants (and medicines!) Our workbook is STILL pay-what-you-choose, so make sure you grab one today!

As you have probably noticed, wild plants are up early and in great abundance this year! I was out yesterday and in addition to all the nettles, deadnettle, garlic mustard, onion grass, wintercress, chickweed, and dandelion that are out, I saw fiddleheads, Japanese knotweed shoots, burdock and have heard the murmurs of early morel mushrooms in the wind.

Let’s get this party started!

Coming up in this blog (I have so much for you…trying to get caught up!)

  • What to do with all this (yummy) Japanese Knotweed
  • CSF Newsletter “0″: making a Ginger Bug starter for wild sodas
  • Walk schedule, including our all new Morel Hunting Walk
  • “I smelled ‘em before I saw ‘em….Nettles”
  • And so much more!! So stay tuned my friends!

Walk with care and don’t forget to look up sometimes; there are some amazing birds out there!

Love and nettle stings,

Melissa Sokulski of Food Under Foot

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Making Burdock Root Tincture

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Medicinal, Tincture
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As promised in the previous post, here is how I made my own burdock root tincture.

Look for a first year burdock plant. This time of year it will still be green, large leaves in a basal rosette on the ground. You’ll likely find them next to the dead second year plants, which are brown and covered with burrs.

Burdock

Burdock

Below you’ll find one of the burdock roots we were able to get from the ground. Burdock has a long thick tap root, it’s nearly impossible to get the whole thing out, but do as best as you can.

Burdock Root

Burdock Root

After I washed all the dirt off, I peeled and chopped the root, below:

Peeled and Chopped Burdock Root

Peeled and Chopped Burdock Root

I put some of the chopped roots on drying racks to dry (I actually used my dehydrator, but you can air dry them as well, in a dark, airy place), and the rest I put into a glass jar and covered with 100 proof vodka, to tincture:

Burdock Root in a Jar, Covered with 100 Proof Vodka to Tincture

Burdock Root in a Jar, Covered with 100 Proof Vodka to Tincture

I could have covered it and put it away for six weeks, but instead I made use of my Vitamix (a high speed blender), and blended it all together. This way, I’ll be able to use the tincture faster:

Burdock Root and Alcohol Blended in the Vitamix

Burdock Root and Alcohol Blended in the Vitamix

I labeled it with the date, what was inside (Burdock Root) and what the solvent was (100 proof vodka). Two weeks later I poured off some of it, filtering it through a paint straining bag purchased at Home Depot (2 bags for $3). You can also use cheese cloth or other cotton cloth napkin to filter. You save the liquid (that is your tincture) and compost the plant matter. I poured off enough to fill a 2 oz dropper bottle, the rest is still in the jar in a dark cabinet.

Let us know what you do with Burdock. I’ll soon post a pictorial of how I made the delicious fermented vegetables with cabbage and burdock root. Now is a great time of year to harvest the burdock root. If you’re unsure how to identify it or what to do with it, make sure you sign up for our 5 free ebooks (the green box in the margin to your right.) The first book is on Burdock, so you’ll receive a ton of information right away after signing up.

Have fun, stay safe!
~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.
Food Under Foot

Also please visit our sister blog, full of information on general health and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Burdock, The Finest Blood Cleanser

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Medicinal, Tincture
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Autumn is an excellent time of year to harvest burdock root.

Burdock Leaves without Flower Stalk. These Roots Can Be Harvested Now.

Burdock Leaves without Flower Stalk. These Roots Can Be Harvested Now.


If you haven’t received our eBook all about Burdock, including how to identify and harvest burdock, and recipes and projects using burdock, please sign up for our free newsletter on the right margin.

Aside from being an excellent vegetable (called Gobo in Japan), burdock root is used medicinally to cleanse the blood.

Some reasons that blood may need to be “cleansed” include:

  • parasites
  • toxins from cigarette smoke or pollution
  • toxins from alcohol or junk food
  • bacteria or viruses, including chronic viruses from things such as Lyme’s disease
  • heavy metal exposure, like mercury, lead, or arsenic

This time of year you’ll find burdock, a biennial plant, in both phases: one being the brown dead plant covered with burrs that stick to your clothes (do not harvest these roots, they are dead - pictured below), and a plant with a rosette of green leaves, still close to the ground, with no flower or seed stalk. This is the first year plant, and it is from this plant you want to harvest the roots (shown above).

Second Year (Dead) Burdock Plant Displaying Burrs/Seeds

Second Year (Dead) Burdock Plant Displaying Burrs/Seeds

We harvested some burdock root the other day, and prepared it three ways:

  • dried for use as a tea
  • Sliced Burdock Root Drying on a Dehydrator Tray

    Sliced Burdock Root Drying on a Dehydrator Tray

  • tinctured in alcohol
  • Sliced Burdock Root Steeping in 100 Proof Vodka, Before Blending

    Sliced Burdock Root Steeping in 100 Proof Vodka, Before Blending

  • fermented with cabbage in cultured vegetables (also known as sauerkraut.)
  • Shredded Burdock Root, Cabbage, and Seaweed Fermenting on the Counter

    Shredded Burdock Root, Cabbage, and Seaweed Fermenting on the Counter

Over the next few days, I’ll post step-by-step pictorials of how I made the above remedies. The sauerkraut is absolutely delicious! The recipe is in our free e-book, so please sign up (green box to the right) if you haven’t yet!

Happy Harvesting!

~ Melissa

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Seasons Change To Summer…

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Look-Alikes, Medicinal, Poisonous or Toxic, Tincture
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I just love watching what happens to the plants around me as the seasons change!

Here in Pittsburgh, it is getting HOT, summer is here.

With it bring a whole new crop of wild edibles, herbal remedies, and poisonous plants to watch:

Here is the St. John’s Wort, (Hypericum perforatum) now if full bloom. In the picture I am demonstrating that if you crush a bud in your fingers, you get a dark red pigment, which is the Hypericin - one of the active ingredients in St. John’s Wort.

st. john's wort

st. john's wort

Now is the time to harvest St. John’s Wort to make oils or tinctures. The oil is great to soothe sore muscles, ease jangled nerves, and treat sunburns. The tincture of St. John’s wort is used as an anti-viral, and also an anti-depressant. In fact, in European countries like Germany, St. John’s wort is used to treat depression more commonly than the prescribed medications like Prosac, which are used more in this country.

Here is Queen Anne’s Lace, or Wild Carrot:

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Even though the greens of carrots are full of nutrition, and the root of this plant has a distinctly carrot-like smell, we do not eat this plant at all! That is because it so closely resembles the deadly poisonous Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock, that we do not feel it is worth the risk of making a mistake. We tell everyone who comes on our walks that it is our policy NOT TO EAT wild carrot, and we strongly suggest they do the same.

Here is a poison plant: Pokeweed. It’s berries are not fully ripe yet, they will get dark purple/black when ripe. Pokeweed is eaten (mostly down south) when it is just shooting from the ground in early spring. Now it is TOXIC, and the berries are highly poisonous. It is used, however, as a dye:

pokeweed

pokeweed

Here is one of our favorites, yummy plantain (Plantago major). We love to use the green leaves of this plant in smoothies, chopped in salads, and marinated and dehydrated into yummy crisps. Here you see the stalks. In the fall (once they turn brown) we will collect the seeds of plantain and use them just like psyllium seeds (which is from another Plantago: Plantago psyllium and Plantago ovata, both of which grown in the middle east.)

Plantain

Plantain

We’ll use these seeds just as we would use psyllium seeds: as a thickener for puddings and sauces, and also added to oatmeals and breads. In Chinese medicine, the seeds are used to treat urinary tract infections.

We’ll have more on our virtual summer wild edible walk tomorrow…please stay tuned!!

~ Melissa

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Look-Alikes. Coltsfoot or Dandelion?

Look-Alikes, Medicinal, Tincture
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This blog is not about dandelions, but a Look-Alike.   We were out on a hike in Schenely Park in Pittsburgh yesterday and some of the kids on the hike saw these flowers and thought they were dandelions.   I looked and saw  some beautiful Coltsfoot in bloom!

Coltsfoot, picture by Kristie Lindblom

Coltsfoot, picture by Kristie Lindblom

Though the flowers are similar - yellow sun-like blossom - you’ll notice the leaves on coltsfoot are very different

Read The Rest of This Post »

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Dandelion Season

General Posts, Medicinal, Tincture
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dandelion leaves with bud

dandelion leaves with bud

It’s dandelion season!

Now is the perfect time to harvest the leaves and roots of dandelions. The leaves will be delicious: not yet bitter, which they become when the flowers are out.

If you look carefully right in the center of the dandelion leaves above, you will see a tiny flower bud waiting to emerge. In another day or two it will be even bigger, but still not on its stalk. These buds are a delicacy you can never find in stores! You must harvest these on your own, then add them to salads or stir fries for a treat.

Now is also a good time to harvest the roots. You can dry the roots for tea, roast them for a rich coffee substitute, or chop the fresh root and leaves and put them in a jar, then fill the jar again with 80 or 100 proof vodka to make a tincture. Just let the plants steep in the alcohol for 6 weeks, drain and save the alcohol (this is your tincture), and compost the plant. Dandelion tincture is often taken to cleanse the liver; 10-30 drops a day is a typical dose.

dried dandelion roots

dried dandelion roots (I chopped them into small pieces before I dried them)

If dandelions are in full bloom where you live, you still have a chance to harvest roots in the fall, after the flowers are gone. But now you can rejoice in the beautiful yellow glow of dandelions! You can use the blossoms for dandelion wine, dandelion fritters, or steep in apple cider vinegar for a fresh tasting seasoning.

dandelion flowers

dandelion flowers

Jason made a great dish from dandelion greens last night…his post will soon follow. And we’ll have many more dandelion posts, illustrating many of the ways to use them that I mentioned above, so please come back soon.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the fresh spring weather and golden dandelions!

~ Melissa

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