Browsing the archives for the dandelion tag.


The Dandelion-A-Day Project

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I am convinced that I can find a dandelion flowering every day of the calender year. Even in my northern climate of Pittsburgh, PA, even when it’s snowing. Last year I challenged myself to find a dandelion in flower every month of the year: that was so easy as to be ridiculous.

Yesterday I was out walking in Frick park, trees mostly bare, landscape brown, and still I found this:

November 20 Dandelion, Frick Park

November 20 Dandelion, Frick Park

And today on the south side trail along the Monongahela river:

November 21 Dandelion, South Side River Trail

November 21 Dandelion, South Side River Trail

And dandelions aren’t the only flowers you’ll find blooming in winter: you’ll see chickweed (Stellaria media) in flower and deadnettles (Lamium purpurea) flowers, even in January and February: they LOVE cold weather and snow does not stop them!

deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

More winter foraging tips to come!!

~ Melissa

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Wild Edibles Abound in Mid-December

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It’s mid December in Western Pennsylvania and no snow on the ground. Though it has flurried a couple of times nothing has stuck. It may drop below freezing at night, but during the day it is in the 40s and 50s and there are many wild edibles all around. So many nutritious greens to add to soups and salads!

I took these photos on a walk around the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brookline. Besides these edibles I’ve seen lots of deadnettles and garlic mustard all around.

Dandelion in bloom mid-December

Dandelion in bloom mid-December

Lots and lots of mallow everywhere

Lots and lots of mallow everywhere

It's hard to get a good photo of the wispy onion grass

It's hard to get a good photo of the wispy onion grass

Deliciously sour and fabulously healthy sorrel...one of the ingredients in the anti-cancer herbal formula Essiac.

Deliciously sour and fabulously healthy sorrel...one of the ingredients in the anti-cancer herbal formula Essiac.

The oyster mushrooms were found with my friend Trish just outside Pittsburgh, in Bellevue. They are delicious! More tomorrow on identifying oyster mushrooms.

Harvesting oyster mushrooms with Trish

Harvesting oyster mushrooms with Trish

Happy harvesting!

~ Melissa

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Week 19: New This week: Hawthorn Berries and Dandelion Greens

CSF Newsletters
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This week’s share includes:

  • Hawthorn berries, or Haws * NEW
  • Dandelion Greens *NEW
  • Staghorn Sumac
  • Lady’s Thumb
  • Quickweed
  • Lambs Quarters

hawthorn berries, or haws

hawthorn berries, or haws

There are a few things about hawthorn berries (haws)

  1. They are delicious, you can eat them raw
  2. Do NOT eat the seeds! They contain cyanide plus a sugar which in your digestive tract combine and can be very toxic
  3. They contain a lot of pectin naturally, so much so that people say you do not need to add pectin when making  jelly (I have not yet been successful at making  jelly of any sort, mainly because I can’t bring myself to add so much sugar, so I am just passing along info)
  4. They are very good for the heart (when considered medicinally.) You can dry the berries (seeds and all) and for later use as a tea (just strain the seeds/hawthorns before drinking, of course.)

Dandelion greens - I can not believe we have not yet included these! But we haven’t, so here they are. They are quite bitter, but they were big and beautiful and irresistible.

You can dry the greens for later use as a tea. The bitterness of the tea is good for digestion, and as always, dandelions are very beneficial for the liver. If you want to eat them fresh, I do have a recipe for you, Taming the Lion.  Basically you toss dandelion greens, walnuts and strawberries with maple syrup or agave (as the dressing.) It is delicious.

Dandelion Greens and Strawberry Salad

Dandelion Greens, Strawberry and Walnut Salad

If you decide to make hawthorn jelly, as I may, instead of using regular water I am going to use staghorn sumac water, which will give the hawthorn berries a much needed tart bite. This is what I did when I cooked the elderberries from last share and it was delicious. You make the sumac water but adding sumac to water and mixing it with a wooden spoon, pressing into the sumac as you do to release the sourness into the water. Then strain this water over the haws and bring to a boil. Boil about half an hour, adding sugar or sweetener. This alone makes a delicious drink. If you add enough sugar you can make jelly.

If, instead of using water altogether (sumac or otherwise) you use vinegar as the base, you can make a shrub. Shrubs are old-timey drinks made by boiling fruit and sugar in vinegar. It is a way to preserve fruit and was drunk medicinally or for pleasure, usually by mixing with soda water/seltzer, water or alcohol. I think I am going to try that with either the haws or some crabapples. I will report back.

Lady’s thumb, quickweed and lambsquarters are greens with different pleasant (not bitter) tastes and textures. Give them a try and see what you might do with them. Salads, soups, or subbing for spinach are all good. You can blanch and freeze extra greens or dry and use them later in the year. Here is an article about the nutritional boost drying greens into your own veggie powder for later use.

Enjoy this week’s share!!!

Love,

Melissa

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Flower Fritters

Recipes
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Before going raw, I made some scrumptious flower fritters with red clover blossoms and dandelion flowers. They were incredibly easy to make. They were inspired by my friend Vanessa who told me she’d made some with dandelion flowers: just mix egg, flour and milk for batter, dip the flowers and fry. Then drizzle with maple syrup.

I used coconut milk and buckwheat flour (to make them gluten-free and dairy-free), fried them in olive oil and voila: pure yumminess!

Red Clover and Dandelion Flower Fritters

Red Clover and Dandelion Flower Fritters

Recipe: Flower Fritters

Batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (you can use any milk)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (you can use any flour)

Mix ingredients together.

You’ll also need:

  • red clover blossoms
  • dandelion flowers (you can do one or the other or both)
  • olive oil
  • maple syrup

Dip flowers into batter, covering the flower with batter.

In a small pan (or pot) with olive oil, drop battered flowers. Flip when browned (this only takes a couple minutes.)

Remove onto cloth or paper towels to drain excess oil.

Serve drizzled with maple syrup.

Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!

~ Melissa

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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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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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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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Enjoying Dandelion Wine

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Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

It’s just past the solstice, the darkest part of the year, time to remember the freshness of spring by opening a bottle of dandelion wine!

Remember back in May?

We put up a few bottles of wine after gathering a gallon of dandelion flowers…

Dandelion Flowers for Wine

Dandelion Flowers for Wine

We steeped the flowers and simmered the tea with cloves, oranges, lemons, and raisins…

To add to wine

To add to wine

It fermented for weeks until it was ready to be bottled.

And now, to welcome back the light and remember the spring, we opened the wine…huzzah! It is delicious (if you like super sweet wine ;-) )

Cheers!

We will definitely make more again next year.

~View the Original Post on Making Dandelion Wine

And now today, December 26, we were walking around the neighborhood and what did we see?? Dandelion flowers in bloom!

Dandelion in bloom December 26 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dandelion in bloom December 26 in Pittsburgh, PA.

More on what else we saw to follow. Hint: lots of edibles!!

‘Til then,

Happy Foraging!

Melissa Sokulski from Food Under Foot

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