All new things in your yummy share this week!
- white clover leaves - soups, salad, stir fry
- white clover flowers - soup, salad, stir fry
- chicory leaves (bitter) - soup, salad, stir fry or dried
- comfrey leaves - external use, in “honor” of Ella breaking her arm this week, dry for a “tea” used as a wash or bath to heal broken bones. Can also make into an oil which helps heal.
- mulberries - white and purple - raw or cooked, yum
- serviceberries/juneberries - raw or cooked, yum
- chicory root - cut and dry for tea or roast and grind for coffee substitute
- mugwort - steep in vinegar for mineral-rich vinegar, steam as a green (eat with caution, some people are sensitive), dry for “magical” uses: dream pillow (will enhance dreams), carried dried herb when traveling for protection, burn as a “smudge” to clear energy, similar to sage
What a share this week! All new things! Berries!
The very bitter chicory leaves are excellent for your liver, and also help digestion. They compliment the sweet berries very well. They can also be dried to use later as tea. They look like dandelion leaves don’t they? You’ll notice there are little hairs on these leaves while dandelion leaves are totally hairless. These leaves also climb up the flower stalk which you’ll see in the picture below, whereas dandelion flowers always stay in their rosettes on the ground.
Two kinds of mulberries: white and purple, both are fully ripe! You’ll notice the white ones in general are sweet without the tartness of the purple. They can be eaten raw or cooked into desserts like pies.
The serviceberries (also called juneberries): the darker ones are more ripe. They can also be eaten raw or cooked into desserts. You’ll notice a delicious almond flavor in the tiny seeds.
The comfrey is included this week in honor of Ella, who broke her arm. The FDA recommends comfrey for external use only, due to a controversial alkaloid in the comfrey (the same one as in coltsfoot.) Even though comfrey has been used as long as food as been eaten and plants have been used as medicine, I feel I should pass along this information to you. There was a study where the alkaloid, when isolated and given to mice in large amounts, caused the mice to get liver cancer.
Comfrey - Symphytum officianale - is still used homeopathically to treat broken bones as a remedy called Symphytum. To use it externally it can be made into an oil by chopping it and steeping it in olive oil. After a couple weeks remove the comfrey from the oil so it won’t mold. The oil can then be rubbed over areas of broken bones, muscle pulls, tendon tears, it will even heal open sores. In fact it heals the skin so fast it is not recommended if there is infection (you don’t want the skin to heal over an infection. The infection should be treated first.)
Comfrey leaves can also be dried and then made into tea (or freshly made into tea), which can then be used as a soak over the area which needs healing. The dried herb can also be powdered and mixed into an oil like olive or coconut and rubbed on the area. Fresh leaves can also be bruised and placed directly over the area of a broken bone.
Chicory roots should be cleaned (not washed if air drying, but it’s ok to wash in water if you’re drying in a dehydrator or roasting in the oven) and chopped and then either dried for tea (excellent for the liver) or roasted and ground to use as a coffee subsitute.
I washed mine, sliced it, and put it in an oven on 250 for a couple hours, then I turned off the oven but left them in there over night. The next day I turned the oven back on and roasted on 250 - 300 until dried and brown (it took quite a few hours.) Next I will grind in a coffee grinder and brew into coffee.
Clover flowers and leaves can be used in salads, soups and stir-fries.
Mugwort, or Artemisia vulgaris, is a special herb. It can be eaten with caution - some people are sensitive to this plant and may even get reactions upon touching. In Asia it is used as a steamed veggie and also made into pasta (you may have seen mugwort soba noodles at the health food store or Asian markets.) It is mineral-rich so the leaves can be soaked in vinegar and then the vinegar can be used in recipes.
Mugwort can also be dried. If you hang it to dry in your bedroom don’t be surprised if you have wild dreams! Mugwort is often made into “dream pillows.” It enhances dreams. It can also be carried in pouches (or on the windshield of your car as I did when I traveled to and from Maine to Boston for acupuncture school in the 1990’s.) It protects travelers. I also love to dry it and then burn it as a smudge to clear the energy, similar to how sage is used (but this is local!)
Mugwort is one of the herbs commonly used in acupuncture and Chinese medicine for moxibustion: in which this herb is burned over specific points on the skin.
I hope you enjoy this week’s share!