In your share this week:
- plantain leaves
- burdock roots and stalks
- red clover flowers
- 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
- 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!
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
- potatoes, chopped
- nettles, blanched (in the soup water) and chopped, then re-added to soup at end
- onions, chopped
- garlic, chopped
- red lentils
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.