Browsing the archives for the burdock tag.


Great Walks This Weekend!

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We had wonderful walks this past Saturday and Sunday at Frick Park in Pittsburgh - thanks to everyone who attended!

Although we did not find morels, we found plenty of Dryad Saddle (also called Pheasant Back):

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

We also identified and discussed many wild edible and medicinal plants over the past two days including:

  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  • Mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris
  • Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca
  • Mulberry, Morus
  • Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium alba
  • Garlic Mustard, Alliaria pettiolata
  • Onion Grass
  • Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
  • Violet, Viola
  • Chickweed, Stellaria media
  • Nettles, Urtica dioica
  • Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea
  • Cleavers, Galium aparine
  • Plantain, Plantago major
  • Burdock, Arctium lappa
  • Broad-leaf Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  • Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum

chickweed

chickweed

We identified some poisonous plants:

  • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  • Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans

We also discussed how to find and identify elm and tulip poplar trees (which helps in searching for morels.)

We are working on the dates for more 2014 walks and workshops…they will be posted soon.

Hope to see you!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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18 Reasons Not To Be Impatient About Your Garden

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Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

I LOVE this time of year.

I have my garden in…but nothing is up yet. In fact, the tomatoes, peppers, basil and zucchini are still seedlings growing inside, the temperature outside is not consistently warm enough. And of the things I have planted: lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, only the merest of sprouts have come up. But I am not sad or impatient. Here’s why:

The WILD garden is filled with bounty right now! While my garden edibles won’t be ready for at least a month for the earliest things, NATURE is providing me with hardy greens of a variety of flavors, a variety of veggie stalks, and gorgeous gourmet mushrooms! Here are some of the things I’ve been enjoying the past week from Nature’s Garden, which is full of glorious abundance:

  1. Stinging Nettles, Urtica dioica, they’re up and in my smoothies and soups!
  2. nettles

    nettles

  3. Japanese Knotweed Stalks, deliciously tart, great for steaming, juicing and nibbling as a trailside treat
  4. Deadnettles, flowering now, this gorgeous flower is going in the smoothies and stir fries
  5. deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

    deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

  6. Chickweed, love it in salad
  7. Garlic Mustard, flowering already! In salads and pesto
  8. Fiddleheads, use care not to overharvest this springtime delicacy!
  9. Ramps, again, please use care not to overharvest!
  10. ramps

    ramps

  11. Onion Grass, aka Wild Chives/Garlic/Onion, use as you would chives
  12. Burdock Leaf Stalks, boil, steam, stir fry or add to soup
  13. Burdock Roots, juice, use in coleslaw and sour kraut, or stir fry
  14. Dandelion Leaves, bitter yet delicious and great as a liver cleanse
  15. Dandelion Flowers - I have a batch of dandelion wine brewing!
  16. Dandelion Root, dry for tea or dry roast and use as a coffee substitute
  17. Mint, is popping up
  18. Asparagus - If you’ve found a patch of wild asparagus you are in luck right now!
  19. Hairy Bittercress, this was one of the first things up! Tastes a bit like radishes, adds bite to your salad
  20. Morel Mushrooms, depending on where you live these have been up for a week or two or just due to come up. Yum!
  21. morel mushroom

    morel mushroom

  22. Dryad Saddle Mushrooms, if you find these with/instead of morels you’re in for a treat! Young dryads saddles are delightfully delicious.
  23. Dryad's saddle

    Dryad's saddle

I mean, really, who could ask for more?

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Week 6 Wild Food CSA

CSF Newsletters, Raw, Recipes
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In your share this week:

  • plantain leaves
  • burdock roots and stalks
  • red clover flowers
  • nettles
  • violet leaves
  • lemon balm
  • creeping charlie

Plantain leaves are excellent to eat (raw in salad or in soups or stir-fried). I also love to coat them with a special dressing and dehydrate them a la kale chips. If you get our newsletter you have seen this recipe for plantain crisps, but I will also include it below.

Plantain is also a wonderful medicinal plant. The leaves are used fresh from the yard, crushed and applied to bee stings, nettle stings, or bug bites. You can also make an oil by chopping the leaves (or cutting into small pieces with scissors) and covering them with olive oil. Let it steep for a couple weeks then strain the leaves out saving the oil. This oil is excellent to take the itch away from bug/misquito bites and even poison ivy! It is safe to use on children and animals as well. To make the oil faster, place chopped plantain and oil in the blender and blend well, strain and it is ready to use. You can also gently heat the plantain and oil in a crock pot (on low) or oven with a pilot light for a couple days. Sometimes leaving the plantain in the oil too long will cause mold, so I like the faster methods of blending or lightly heating!

To make a salve, just take the strained plantain oil, gently heat on the stove (double boiler) or in a crock pot) and add some grated beeswax. Stir until beeswax melts, remove from heat and pour into a container with a wide mouth (so you can reach into it.) I also like to add lavender essential oil as it cools. Lavender is also helpful to take away redness and itching. When it cools it will become harder. Depending on how much beeswax you add is how hard it will get. I usually just add a little so it’s not too hard. (I like to scoop it up and apply liberally to poison ivy rashes!)

Recipe: Plantain Crisps:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaking makes them softer
  • water to cover cashew, use sparingly in blender and add more as needed. You want a fairly thick sauce.
  • onion, 1 Tbsp, chopped
  • garlic, 1 clove
  • lemon, juiced or 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • tamari, 2 Tbsp or salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

In a blender place cashews, water, onion, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, tamari or salt, and nutritional yeast (optional.) Blend until creamy.  Pour over plantain leaves (or kale leaves) and massage until fully covered. Place on dehydrator tray and dehydrate on 115 until crispy (about 6 hours.) If you don’t have a dehydrator you can use your oven on a low temperature until dried and crispy. It will probably take less than an hour in the oven.

Burdock Root, also known as Wild Gobo

Burdock root is a very popular vegetable in Japan, where it is known as gobo.  If you get the newsletter you’ll have received an entire ebook on Burdock! (If you don’t get the newsletter just sign up in the green box on the right, it’s free and filled with awesome information!) Burdock root is a tonic which brings great strength. The roots can be juiced, eaten raw, cooked in soups or stews, or sliced and dried for tea or roasted (and then ground) for a coffee substitute.

Here are some links to this blog for things I have done with burdock:

Recipe: Burdock Juice

Zesty, Lemony Burdock Juice (recipe below)

Zesty, Lemony Burdock Juice

Ingredients:

juiceingredients

  • 3 apples
  • 3 inches burdock root
  • 1/4 lemon, including peel
  • ginger root

Run all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy!

Here is a recipe for Kinpira Gobo, a traditional Japanese dish.  In this dish, you peel and cut the burdock root into strips, and saute it (often with carrot cut similarly), and season with tamari, mirin (a sweet Japanese wine), sake and sesame seeds.

Last week I battered and friend the red clover blossom, and it was delicious! To keep it dairy and gluten-free, I used an egg, coconut milk and buckwheat flour for the batter. I simply dipped clover blossoms (and dandelion blossoms) in, and fried in olive oil. Then I drizzled the fritters with maple syrup and enjoyed!

Red clover blossom and dandelion fritters

Red clover blossom and dandelion fritters

I have been using the violet greens and flowers in salads and on sandwiches.

This week I plan to dry some nettles to have as tea, and also I’ve been enjoying the nettles in a simple potato soup:

Recipe: Red Lentil, Potato, Nettle Soup

Red lentil, potato, nettle soup

Red lentil, potato, nettle soup

  • potatoes, chopped
  • nettles, blanched (in the soup water) and chopped, then re-added to soup at end
  • onions, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • red lentils
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water

Heat the water until boiling and add nettles to blanch (removes sting). Remove nettles and chop, saving the broth for the soup.

Add red lentils, potatoes, onions, garlic and boil until potatoes and lentils are soft.

Add salt and pepper, return chopped nettles to soup.

Ideas for lemon balm:

  • Add to smoothie
  • dry for tea
  • steep in honey for a delicious flavored honey

Creeping Charlie makes its return from week one. This is a mint found commonly in yards and gardens. It has a refreshing sharp minty taste. It can be dried for use as tea, added to smoothies or added to dishes (like tabouli) or rice for a minty bite.

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Week 5 of Community Supported Foraging

CSF Newsletters, General Posts
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This week’s share:

  • morels
  • garlic mustard
  • red clover flowers and leaves (new this week!)
  • violet leaves and flowers (violet leaves are new!)
  • black locust flowers (new this week!)
  • apple mint (new this week!)
  • lemon balm
  • burdock stalks
  • nettles
  • chickweed

Blooming Black Locust Tree

Blooming Black Locust Tree

Yeeehaaa!  The sweet smell of flowers is in the air. You may have noticed the black locust trees in bloom - either by sight or smell. These delicious flowers are the only part of the tree that is edible. They smell magnificent and taste like honey. I enjoy them as a snack as is (raw) and added to a smoothie. One Food Under Foot follower emailed to tell me she enjoys them tempura style! My favorite fermented soda ever was made with black locust flowers! See newsletter 3 for info on making the ginger bug starter. Then pour boiling water over the locust flowers, add some sugar, when it cools to room temperature strain and add some of the ginger bug starter. Cover and let sit a couple days for a fizzy fermented healthy beverage.

Black Locust Flowers

Black Locust Flowers

Red Clover flowers and leaves are also new this week! I never realized how amazing red clover flowers smell until I had them all the table dividing them into shares this week. Wow - yum!

Dividing Red Clover Flowers into 9 Shares

Dividing Red Clover Flowers into 9 Shares

These are gorgeous large blooms! One thing you’ll notice about these flowers are the oval leaves underneath the flower in sets of three. There is a look-alike to clover (which is not yet blooming, but it will be soon) called Crown Vetch and you definitely do not want to eat it! Crown Vetch contains high amounts of nitro-compounds that can cause heart attacks. Not only is it unsafe for humans but for horses as well (ruminants such as cows can safely eat it). Crown Vetch was planted all along Pennsylvania highways and is extremely common and invasive. Vetch leaves are very different from clover, however. Clover leaves occur in sets of three, vetch leaves are in pairs: 15 to 25 pairs of oblong leaflets. The picture below shows white crown vetch, which could be mistaken for white clover, but there is also purple, which is similar in color to red clover.

White Crown Vetch (Poison)

White Crown Vetch (Poison)

Ideas for Red Clover include:

  • Raw in Salads
  • Saute in stir fry
  • tempura style!
  • pull petals out and add to cookie or pancake batter
  • smoothies (of course)
  • soup
  • dried - blossoms can be dried and used to make a tea which balances hormones (mainly women)
  • dried - blossoms can be dried and ground into flour (mix with regular flour in recipes…adds protein!)
  • fermented soda - see week 3 newsletter for information on making a ginger bug starter. Then add the starter to sweetened red clover tea to make a naturally fermented soda.

Violet Leaves are new also, though you have gotten the flowers before. This little mix is great in salads or smoothies. Violet leaves and flowers are both very high in vitamin C.

violet flowers and leaves - high in vitamin C

violet flowers and leaves - high in vitamin C

I believe apple mint is new to your share as well. Doesn’t it smell just like apples? Mmmmm. You can dry this mint to save and have later as tea, or make tea with it now or add to salads or dishes which call for mint. It’s great in smoothies! I love adding apple mint to smoothies almost as much as I love adding lemon balm (also in your share) along with other greens such as chickweed.

This may be the last week for morels! We have been out there looking high and low for you, every chance we get! Phew! Many people have reported this is a slow year for morels but we have done ok. Just multiply what you have gotten in your share ten times - not too bad! I hope you have enjoyed them! And who knows…maybe it’s been “slow” because they are not even fully out yet - it’s only the beginning of May! We will still be out there scoping the forests and hills for morels until at least mid-May, so hope is not lost for a banner amount in your share! *Remember to always cook wild mushrooms before eating!*

We found this awesome morel today...it is in the shares!

We found this awesome morel today...it is in the shares!

Some tips for this week’s share:

  • try using garlic mustard leaves in place of lettuce on sandwiches and burgers
  • if garlic mustard or any green gets wilty, soaking in ice water revives (thanks Rhonda!)
  • If you find yourself with too many greens, remember you can dry them or freeze them
  • a great way to save garlic mustard is turning it to pesto and freezing the pesto in ice cube trays
  • you don’t need to peel the burdock stalks if you cook them: just boil them and they will get soft and the bitterness goes away
  • remember to always cook wild mushrooms before eating!

Here are links to some recipes we’ve posted previously using things that are in your share. (All recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free!)

And remember you can search our blog (search box upper left) or  check back to previous newsletters for ideas.

Enjoy this week’s share!!

~ Melissa Sokulski

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CSF Week 4 - Burdock Leaf Stalks and Morels

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This morel is in someone's share this week!

This morel is in someone's share this week!

Welcome to Week 4 of the CSF!

New this week: Burdock leaf stalks, onion grass bulbs, catnip and lemon balm.

In your share this week:

  • Burdock Leaf Stalks
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Purple Dead Nettle
  • Onion Grass with Bulbs
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Chickweed
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Nettles
  • Morels

What a fun share we have for you this week!

We’ve been out hiking the hills and forests of Western PA and we do indeed have more morel mushrooms for you this week! Remember to always cook morels and all wild mushrooms before you eat them! I have been enjoying morels sauteed in butter with onions and eaten with eggs, or in fried rice. In fact, I made some wonderful fried rice with morels, nettles and cat tails the other day - yum!

The Burdock Leaf Stalks are new this week. (They look like huge stalks of celery.) They taste very bitter if you eat them raw due to their outer skin. However, I found by boiling them in water (I added salt to the water) for 20 minutes (then throw away that water), they are no longer bitter and they are no longer stringy. (If not cooked enough they are pretty tough.) You don’t even need to peel them! If you’d like to try them raw I recommend peeling them - it is just the outer skin that is bitter.

I made a delicious dish with a good sauce by cooking the stalks:

  1. Wash stalks
  2. chop them into small pieces, about 1 -2 inches (smaller than in the picture below…I made it a couple times and I liked it better when the stalks were a little smaller than shown.)
  3. put them in a pan and cover with water
  4. simmer with lid 20 minutes
  5. save stalks, throw out water

Then:

  1. Melt butter into that same pan (you can use olive oil to make vegan)
  2. Added 2 Tbsp of buckwheat flour (I used buckwheat so it’s gluten free, you can use whatever flour you like)
  3. Mix over medium heat
  4. Add a little water and mix the flour in evenly, keep adding water slowly and mixing until it becomes a thick sauce
  5. Add salt and pepper (and Parmesan cheese if you want, optional.)
  6. Once sauce is done add burdock stalks back in and stir until coated.
  7. Serve with the sauce.

Burdock Stalks with Sauce

Burdock Stalks with Sauce

This week we also finally made homemade nettle pasta again! We had run out of eggs so we just omitted them and made vegan pasta instead. I added a little water to the steamed nettles while blending them, and then mixed (by kneading) the nettle/water mixture into buckwheat flour (again so it was gluten free, you can use regular flour if you wish.) It came out great!

100_3402

Catnip is an herb which is beloved by cats as well as people! You will find this soft-to-the-touch mint in your share this week. As a tea (you can boil it fresh or dry it first, then steep) it acts as a muscle relaxant and induces relaxation and sleep. I have mine hanging to dry in my doorway and my cats are going CRAZY today!

catnip (far right) hanging to dry nest to 3 bundles of already dried thyme

catnip (far right) hanging to dry nest to 3 bundles of already dried thyme

The Lemon Balm is also a mint, this one very lemony. I like to add the leaves to tea (fresh leaves or dried) and salads. I think lemon balm also makes a delicious pesto. Try slicing the leaves and floating on top of a lemongrass soup after it’s done cooking. Very delicious.

This week we found a gorgeous field of onion grass (at Wild Red’s Gardens in Morningside.) You’ll find we harvested the whole plant this time: bulb as well as green.  You can cook the bulbs as you would any onion bulb or shallot. Use the greens as you would chives. They can also be dried if you find yourself with an abundance!

You’ve seen all the other wild edibles before…check back to previous newsletters for ideas. I have been using garlic mustard leaves on sandwiches (in place of lettuce) and I love it!

Please remember to send me any pictures and recipes that you make with your wild edibles…I’d love to pass them along to the rest of the share!

Enjoy your share this week!

~ Melissa

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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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Burdock Burrs: More Than Meets The Eye

General Posts, Herb, Medicinal
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Burdock Burrs

Burdock Burrs

So. Here is a dead burdock plant (Arctium lappa). You can’t dig the roots on this one. If you walk too close the burrs stick to you and getting them off can be a pain.

But is there more here than meets the eye?

In fact there is (but you probably knew I’d say that!)

Inside the burrs are the burdock seeds. This is why the burdocks stick to anything that walks by: to spread its seed around. You’ll likely pick off those burrs sometime later, deposit the seeds there and voila, the plant has traveled. Those seeds will take root and a new burdock plant will grow.

And the seeds themselves? Useful, of course! In Chinese medicine the seeds are known as Niu Bang Zi and are boiled into a tea. They treat constipation and also help bring out a rash if someone is coming down with something like measles or mumps. This progresses the disease along to help speed healing.

One trick to making burdock seed tea: use the whole burr. Don’t open the burr to get the seeds out unless you are wearing protective eye wear like goggles. Don’t get me wrong: the burr opens very easily, but those velcro-like outer burrs break off and float through the air…I know from experience this winds up in a trip to the ER (or a very nice/patient eye doctor who will see you in her/his office at any hour.) It isn’t worth it. Just bundle the burrs up in a cloth tea bag and boil the whole thing in water for 20 - 30 minutes.

So just because a plant looks/is dead doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot going on!

Happy Foraging - even in winter!

~ Melissa Sokulski, Food Under Foot

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Winter Foraging

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It was December 26 when I took these pictures around my neighborhood here in Pittsburgh PA. The ground is still not frozen and plants like dandelion, chickweed and purple dead nettle are actually flowering! Goldenrod, too…you’ll see the pictures below.

It would be easy to make green salads from all these edibles…a survivalist certainly would not starve! Greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and even have good amounts of protein.

Here are some of the edibles we found walking around today:

Deliciously mustardy bitter cress. This was all around the neighborhood. It is great in salads or even in stir-fries, and there is plenty.

Bittercress...deliciously mustardy, great in salads and growing abundantly!

Bittercress...deliciously mustardy, great in salads and growing abundantly!

Below is purple dead nettle, Lamium purpureum. An edible plant not related to nettle, it gets its common name because the leaves look a bit like nettle but the plant does not sting (hence “dead”.)

Purple dead nettle - with flowers! In December! Not related to nettles, but sort of looks like it. Does not sting, hence the name.

Purple dead nettle - with flowers! In December! Not related to nettles, but sort of looks like it. Does not sting, hence the name.

Here you will find a flowering dandelion! There were a bunch around the neighborhood, along with lots of gorgeous green leaves. This one next to another basal rosette of bittercress.

Flowering dandelion plant, next to a flowering bittercress.

Flowering dandelion plant, next to a flowering bittercress.

Garlic mustard…you’ll find this throughout winter, along with the onion grass, below.

Garlic mustard

Garlic mustard

Onion grass

Onion grass

Looking for something heartier? You can still dig burdock root as long as the ground isn’t frozen and you can find basal rosettes of burdock leaves:

Burdock leaves...the ground is still not frozen so the root can be dug.

Burdock leaves...the ground is still not frozen so the root can be dug.

Add the flowers of these goldenrod - along with the yellow dandelion flowers, purple red clover and dead nettle flowers, white chickweed and bitter cress flowers that we saw today - to your salad and your family will think you’ve traveled to spring and back!

Goldenrod, flowering!

Goldenrod, flowering!

There was more…should I overwhelm you or save it for tomorrow’s post? Mallow, clover, plantain, chickweed…

‘Til tomorrow…happy foraging!

Melissa Sokulski from Food Under Foot

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