This week’s share:
- 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
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
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
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)
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)
- 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
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!
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