Browsing the archives for the purslane tag.


Week 16: Chicken Mushroom!

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chicken mushroom, Laetiporus sulfureus

chicken mushroom, Laetiporus sulfureus

This week it finally rained! So we scoured the woods and found enough chicken mushroom for all of us to have a wonderful meal! (This plus another bloom about this size.) Hip hip hooray! It is always so nice to find edible wild mushrooms to share.

Chicken mushroom is considered a safe mushroom, in that there are no poison look alikes…but you need to know what you are looking for! It is a polypore, which means it is a “shelf” mushroom (looks more like a shelf than an umbrella - the “classic” mushroom shape), it grows from wood (often dead wood), and it does NOT have gills on the underside, instead it has tiny pores (hence the name, “polypore”.) Chicken mushroom is bright yellow/orange, and the underside of Laetiporus sulfureus is yellow. There is another variety of chicken mushroom - Laetiporus cinncinatus - whose underside is white. This *IS* another bright yellow mushroom which grows on wood, but it has GILLS on the underside: The Jack O’Lantern. The Jack O’Lantern is poisonous (it makes you sick, though is not usually deadly). So make sure if you’re out in the woods you check the underside: NO GILLS!

Chicken mushrooms must be cooked before eating!!

You have so much this week you can really experiment. I like it sliced and sauteed in butter. I usually add water as well so it doesn’t dry out. After that…it’s up to you! I just eat it, maybe put it on top of a salad or eat as a side dish. you can use the cooked chicken mushroom in place of cooked chicken in chicken salad. Here is what Steve Brill writes about chicken mushroom, including links to a few recipes at the bottom of the page. My Vegan Chicken-Mushroom Fricassee was delicious if you wanted to try that!

Here is what is in your share this week:

  • chicken mushroom
  • cornelian cherries
  • purslane
  • sumac
  • wild grape leaves (we had a request for more of these! They are really fun to work with!)
  • peppermint - thanks to massage therapist extraordinaire and CSF member Claire who donated mint to the share this week!! Thank you Claire!!

Some of our share laid out this week: staghorn sumac, chicken mushroom, wild grape leaves

Some of our share laid out this week: staghorn sumac, chicken mushroom, wild grape leaves

Did you enjoy the cornelian cherries last week? Did you let them get ripe (soft and sweet?) As with last week they should ripen within a day or two. They ripen off the tree, so keep them out of the fridge and they should soften right up. Once ripe go ahead and put them in the fridge (keeps the fruit flies away! I have a cloth over mine as they ripen on the counter.) They can be eaten plain, raw (which is what our family did), or you can make something yummy with them, like a cornelian cherry and apple cobbler! Here’s a great page with info on the cornelian cherry (which is not really a cherry at all, but a member of the dogwood family.) Remember to be careful of the hard pit inside the fruit.

cornelian cherries

cornelian cherries

We had a request for more grape leaves, so more you got! Have you been making stuffed grape leaves? (The tutorial on rolling grape leaves.) Last time I made them I steamed them instead of sauteeing…very good as well!

If you want to do something with the sumac besides sumac lemonade, you can dry it and make a lemony spice from it. Strip the berries off the central stalk and lay them out on a tray. If you have a dehydrator you can use it, or you can air dry it (or put it in the stove on low heat until dry.) Once it’s dry grind it in a blender or coffee grinder and store in glass jars. Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend used on veggies and meats. The main ingredient is sumac. Here is a recipe for za’atar.

Thanks again Claire for the mint!!!

Enjoy your share this week!!!

Love and chicken mushrooms,

Melissa

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Lucky Number 13 CSF Share

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Lucky Number 13 with garlic flowers

Lucky Number 13 with garlic flowers

With the heat comes hot and spicy and that’s what we have for you with this week’s share: peppergrass and garlic flowers! Hotcha!! Also a green from south and central America that tends to appear when the land is hot and dry: amaranth. A bit more bitter than lambs quarters, but used similarly. You may know amaranth for it’s seeds but today we will enjoy its nutritious green leaves.

We were out there for many hours over many days in many parks hunting for mushrooms but it was so dry that we came up dry. :-( But with the past couple days of rain we are hoping to be luckier next week! We do have a great share for you this week, though, which includes:

  • Wild Garlic Flowers (or maybe they were volunteers, either way they are delicious!) *NEW
  • Amaranth Greens *NEW
  • Peppergrass *NEW
  • Lambs Quarters
  • Purslane
  • Staghorn Sumac
  • Yellow Dock Seed

It has been HOT and DRY in Western PA! Amaranth Greens are a wonderful little plant from Central and South America which offers vibrant greens during desert drought…a time when most spring greens are done and the heat has turned what’s left tough and bitter, that’s when to find Amaranth.

Amaranth Greens

Amaranth Greens

You may recognize Amaranth as a grain (gluten-free grain) which is known for having lots of nutrition and protein. Indeed this is true and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be able to collect enough seeds to add those to your share. Right now though the green is what you want, bright and green while most other greens are wilted and gone. (Gone are the days of too many nettles, too much chickweed, an overflow of garlic mustard…*sigh*).

Some people call this wild edible “pigweed” (though some refer to Lambs quarters as “pigweed”, so that can be tricky. Use it just as you would use Lambs Quarters, though, which is to say just as you would use spinach, kale, chard, or any green like that.

Garlic Flowers

Garlic Flowers

What a find these garlic flowers were! On my friend’s property in Gibsonia, out back behind her compost heap, there we were, Dave and I, hungrily surveying her field of garlic. “You can have them,” she said from behind us, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! Cutting the garlic flower off at this point actually helps the bulb (root) get bigger, so maybe in a few weeks we’ll go back for those! But for now you can use these garlic flowers (which look a lot like garlic bulbs) in soups or stir-fries. They are very garlicky! Enjoy!

peppergrass

peppergrass

The peppergrass is very spicy, give it a little nibble. I usually eat the seed pods but you can also eat the leaves. You probably just want to use a little of this to season/add zing to a soup or salad. You can also dry it and use it as a dried spice.

Sumac tree in bloom with foliage - not how it looks right now!

Staghorn sumac

The staghorn sumac has been awesome! We’ve been filling a pitcher (or large jar) with water, putting the sumac blossoms in (just as is…we’ll give them a quick rinse and pop them in the water), cover, put the water in the fridge and you’ll have tart delicious water that is full of vitamin C and refreshment (especially on a hot hot day). Make sure not to let these gorgeous red clusters go unused…they really are great. I haven’t been sweetening my drink, but Ella has been putting a dash of maple syrup into hers. You can keep adding water to top it off and in the fridge it will keep for quite a few days.

To make a stronger/faster brew: cover sumac with cold water in a large jar, put the cap on, place in the sun for a couple hours (making “sun tea”), then refrigerate. Enjoy when nice and cold. Yum!

Your share still contains plenty of the succulent, omega-3-rich purslane, which of course is awesome. The stalks are getting somewhat thick and tough on some of these, though, so if you are using for salad you may want to pull the leaves off and compost the stalks. Or maybe they make a great grilled veg, stalks and all - experiment! (and let me know - we have no grill!)

Lambs Quarters is still and will always be delicious. Again, the stalk is getting thick, I have been using the leaves only at this point. I’ve been putting them in smoothies, salads, and chopping them into just about every cooked thing I make. The other day I made this gluten-free zucchini lasagna.  For the filling I crumbled tofu (in place of ricotta), added chopped onions, chopped lambs quarters, dried rosemary, dried thyme, dried basil and salt. See? It goes everywhere!

Gluten-free zucchini lasagne, which has lambs quarters because I like to add it to everything.

Gluten-free zucchini lasagne, which has lambs quarters in it because I like to add LQ to everything.

If you are a bread baker I hope you are adding at least a little yellow dock seed to your bread, just because. (Because you have it and it’s full of protein and nutrients!) I add it to biscuits. I made some zucchini bread and I forgot to add it but when I make it again I will add some so the mish mash of gluten-free flours in the batter: I grind buckwheat, millet, g-f oats, chickpeas, etc. all into flour in place of wheat flour. I do this in my vitamix, but you can also use a coffee grinder. And remember to try the delicious onion and cheese biscuits!

You can also put it into oatmeal. Here’s a great recipe for gluten-free whole grain oatmeal: (amounts vary by how much you want to make/how many people you have eating!)

Overnight: Soak 1/4 cup Quinoa and 1/4 cup Millet (and/or brown rice or forbidden black rice - yum!)

In the morning:

Add rinsed soaked quinoa, millet and rice to 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats.

Add any wild seeds such as plantain, yellow dock, amaranth.

Optional: Add sweet fruits and dried fruits like banana, raisins, goji berries. I like to cook these right in. After it’s done cooking I add fresh fruit like grated apple or chopped peaches.

Cover with water plus about 2 inches more water.

Bring to boil, turn to simmer and stir so bottom does not burn. You may add more water as necessary when cooking. I like mine with lots of water cooked a long time (the grains will thicken even if you add lots of water, just be patient and cook it long enough.) It should be done in 20 minutes but I will cook mine longer.

Serve with maple syrup and milk (can use vegan milk like cashew milk.) If I’ve added bananas, raisins and goji berries I usually do NOT add maple syrup because it will taste very sweet to me already.

We got the idea for this recipe after eating a very delicious whole grain oatmeal at The Teahouse in Santa Fe. Here is their recipe…they have since replaced the wheat berries with millet to make it gluten-free. You’ll see that we have adapted the recipe a bit. But I can’t wait to get my hands on some forbidden rice to try it with that! It was so good in Santa Fe.

Enjoy your share, stay cool, and I hope you are doing fun and amazing things with all your fun and amazing new foods!!

Love,

Melissa

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Week 12 Community Supported Foraging

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Chicken mushroom/Sulfur Shelf

Chicken mushroom/Sulfur Shelf

What an exciting share we have for you this week!! (Do I say that every week??)

Even though it has been dryer than dry here in Western PA, Dave and his eagle eyes spotted some young fresh chicken mushroom for you! We also have some other amazing things this week:

  • Chicken Mushroom *NEW
  • Sassafras saplings *NEW
  • Staghorn Sumac *NEW
  • Purslane
  • Lambs Quarters
  • Day Lily Buds

Holy Amazing Batman!! (Yes, the new batman movie was filmed in Pittsburgh! Warning - this links to a violent/intense trailer…Batman isn’t the lovable character he once was! But Hines Ward is in this trailer.)

Like most wild mushrooms, The Chicken Mushroom MUST BE COOKED BEFORE EATING!!

In general, you can use it in place of chicken in any recipe. I like to chop it, saute it in butter, and eat it with eggs. Or make “chicken salad” with it, by taking the chopped cooked pieces of the mushroom as I would chopped cooked chicken, and mix with mayonnaise, celery, onion, and mustard.

Here is a recipe for Chicken Mushroom Satay from The 3 Foragers that I am extremely eager to try!

Always remember to use caution when trying any new food, but especially mushrooms (they have complex proteins that may be entirely new for your body to digest). Sample a little (cooked!!) at first and make sure you feel ok. This is always a good rule to follow for any new food.

Wildman Steve Brill also has some great information and recipes for Chicken Mushroom, check him out. Here is his video about chicken mushroom - very informative!

Sassafras sapling

Sassafras sapling

The sassafras sapling makes a delicious tea - just boiled in water. You can boil the whole small sapling: roots, stem, leaves and all.  You can decide whether you want to sweeten it with honey or not.

red berry cluster of staghorn sumac

red berry cluster of staghorn sumac

The last new ingredient, staghorn sumac, also makes an excellent drink. Just soak the entire “blossom” in cold water overnight, and you will have a lemony, vitamin C-rich drink akin to lemonade. Again, you may want to sweeten it or enjoy as is.  Here I take you through how to make this sumac-ade,  step by step. You can also dry the red “berries” and then use them as a lemony spice (used in Middle Eastern cooking.)

The purslane and lambsquarters give you excellent greens to work with again this week. Again we must thank Erin for the amazing purslane! Her urban homestead is for sale!! If you want to have too much purslane to know what to do with - and end up calling me to get some ;-) Check out their incredibly beautiful property, right across the street from Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery.

The lambs quarters stalk is getting thick, so I recommend just using the leaves at this point. They can be eaten raw or cooked - use just like spinach.

And this may be your last week for day lily buds, so enjoy them fully! If you’ve had your fill for now, simply dehydrate the buds and use them later in soups. It’s what they do in Asia and it adds a great flavor!

Sauteed chicken mushroom and day lily buds with onions and garlic over basmati rice

Sauteed chicken mushroom and day lily buds with onions and garlic over basmati rice

This morning I sauteed the chicken mushroom in a little butter, then added onion and garlic and a handful of day lily buds (which only need a quick saute), some gluten-free tamari and mirin and served over a bed of brown basmati rice. Yummmm!

Lots of love,

Melissa

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Week 11 Community Supported Foraging

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I hope you had a wonderful week off!

We spent the time in Santa Fe, and I was amazed to find the same edible weeds in the southwest as here in Pittsburgh: purlane, dandelion, red clover, daisies, lambsquarters. Wow!

But now that we are back east we have a wonderful share for you this week, which includes:

  • purslane
  • day lily buds
  • black raspberries - yum! *NEW
  • plantain leaves
  • plantain lavender salve
  • chicory leaves
  • yellow dock seed flour

Let’s start with what’s new this week: Black raspberries! I don’t think I need to tell you what to do with these: YUM!

black raspberries

black raspberries

We have lots more purslane for you this week thanks to urban organic gardener Erin’s wonderful generosity and abundance of gorgeous purslane! Make sure you eat it all and get a boost from its plentiful omega 3 fatty acids. I love to add it to a tomato feta salad. It makes a great addition to any salad or smoothie.

We also have a couple special things for you this week: plantain lavender salve (to soothed skin, perfect to use on itchy bug bites or rashes like poison ivy, or burned or painful skin) and ready-to-use yellow dock seed flour!

plantain salve and yellow dock seed flour

plantain salve and yellow dock seed flour

The salve is a blend of extra virgin olive oil and plantain leaves, heated to melt some grated beeswax, and then with lavender essential oil added as it cools.

making plantain salve

making plantain salve

The yellow dock seeds are just like week 10’s share, only this time we ground it into flour for you. So now you just add it to any bread, biscuit, cookie, muffin or pancake recipe! Make sure you try these gluten free yellow dock biscuits I made a couple weeks ago…they were delicious!

yellow dock seed (left and surrounding) and yellow dock seed flour (right.)

yellow dock seed (left and surrounding) and yellow dock seed flour (right.)

Gluten Free Yellow Dock Seed Onion Jalapeno Cheese Biscuits

Gluten Free Yellow Dock Seed Onion Jalapeno Cheese Biscuits

We also have some greens for you this week: chicory greens, which are quite bitter, and plantain greens, which are bland/slightly sweet. These can be chopped and added to soup or salad, or cooked. You can also of course make more salve or oil from the plantain.

Finally the day lily buds again, which I truly love sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic. They can be added to any soup or stir fry as well.

Enjoy your share this week!

Love,

Melissa

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CSF week 9

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Another great share this week full of yummy goodness!!

In this week’s share you have:

  • cattail stalks
  • cattail flowers
  • mulberries
  • serviceberries (also known as Juneberries)
  • purslane
  • salad mix with mallow, wood sorrel, quickweed and violet leaves
  • plantain

Dave harvesting Cattails in Enon Valley, PA

Dave harvesting Cattails in Enon Valley, PA

You may remember cattail stalks from week 2. What you want to do with these is peel away the outer layers of leaves until you have only the soft white inside. This you can eat raw, steamed, sauteed in butter, grilled or roasted.  Do you remember seeing Leah’s gorgeous picture of the meal with roasted cattails stalks?

This week you also have the cattail flowers. Most are still in a sheath of leaves, which you can leave on while you cook them. If you feel inside the sheath you’ll feel two distinct cattails. The above one is the male, which will be covered with yellow pollen once they emerge from the sheath. This pollen can also be collected and is edible and full of protein. I usually cut the flower stalk in two so they fit into my pot. I add a little bit of water and cook them in boiling water, like corn, for just a few minutes.

Then I removed from water, peel away the leaves, add butter and salt and enjoy. They are VERY good! The male ones are darker and “meatier,” but I usually cook and eat both parts.

Eventually the top flower withers and it is the bottom female flower that grows into the big cattail that we are used to seeing.

young cattail flower with both male (above) and female (below) still intact

young cattail flower with both male (above) and female (below) still intact

steamed cattail flowers with butter and salt. The meatier male flowers are darker.

steamed cattail flowers with butter and salt. The meatier male flowers are darker.

Also new to your share this week: purslane.

Many of you are probably familiar with purslane. It is a succulent and abundant garden weed which is rich in omega fatty acids included omega 3, usually found in foods like fish and flax seeds. Here is an article I wrote for Natural News about how wonderful purlane is for your health and how it is used medicinally.

purslane

purslane

Purslane can be eaten raw: added to smoothies or salads, or incorporated into cooking (soups and stir fries.) It makes a delicious salad by itself with a little tomato, lemon, feta cheese, salt and pepper.

We have more delicious mulberries and serviceberries for you this week! They are ripe and wonderful right now…if you can get out there and find some trees and enjoy!  Here is another article I wrote for Natural News about the benefits of mulberries.

We have a wild greens mix this week! Violets, Quickweed, Mallow and Sour Grass (Wood Sorrel).

Wild Greens Mix: Mallow, Quickweed, Wood Sorrel, Violet leaves

Wild Greens Mix: Mallow, Quickweed, Wood Sorrel, Violet leaves

You can add this to salad, eat it AS the salad, or cook with it: add to soups, stir fry, or any place where you would normally use spinach or other green.

common mallow leaves (and a few flowers)

common mallow leaves (and a few flowers)

quickweed

quickweed

Plantain is in your share again this week. If you haven’t made an oil out of it and you have/are prone to any kind of skin condition (including mosquito bites!!) I encourage you to do this. This includes psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy, any itchy rash (including chicken pox) or itchy skin condition, bee stings, mosquito bites.

To make the oil simply blend the plantain with olive oil. Or just chop it into small pieces and add to olive oil. Leave it in a warm place for a few days (shouldn’t be too hard!) and it should be ready to use. After a couple weeks (if not sooner) strain the plantain out so the oil doesn’t get moldy. Save the oil and apply it to your skin or bug bite. You will be instantly soothed.

If you don’t want to do that you can still eat the plantain (or even dry it.) Use it in salad, as tea, as a cooked green or even in place of kale for “kale chips” (coated and dehydrated kale makes a delicious crunchy treat!) The week 6 newsletter will give you the recipe.

Enjoy your wild share this week!!

wood sorrel leaf

wood sorrel leaf

Love and wood sorrel leaves,

Melissa

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Great Walk in Beaver

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Thank you so much to all the people who joined us in Beaver for our wild edibles walk!

Our group assembling in front of Three Rivers Yoga Beaver

Our group assembling in front of Three Rivers Yoga Beaver

Thanks, too, to Andrea of Three Rivers Yoga Beaver for being such a wonderful host and making us feel so welcome! It was so nice seeing old friends and new faces. We hope to go back there this fall and do another walk, or perhaps a workshop making and sampling some edible creations! Stay tuned!

We found some great edibles on the walk: (for more info on any of these plants, use the search box on this blog - you’ll find tons of information!)

  • Plantain - leaves are edible, as are the seeds, which can be used just like psyllium seeds (which are from another variety of Plantago…P. psyllium or P. ovata. The one pictured is P. major.) Leaves can also be crushed and placed on bites, stings, cuts or rashes (”Fairy Band-aids”.) Here is how to make plantain oil.
    Plantain, Plantago major

    Plantain, Plantago major


    Plantain seeds, use as you would psyllium seeds

    Plantain seeds, use as you would psyllium seeds

  • Purslane - this succulent edible plant has appreciable amounts of omega 3 fatty acids (like fish oil and flax seed oil)
    purslane

    purslane

  • Dandelion - see our Dandelion page for lots of information on dandelions!
  • Lambs Quarters - also known as wild spinach, this relative of quinoa is high in protein and has more calcium than kale
    Lambs Quarters - Chenopodium album

    Lambs Quarters - Chenopodium album

  • Burdock - see our Burdock page for more information on Burdock
  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace…which although is edible we do not eat due to its close resemblance to its deadly relatives: Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock.
    Wild Carrot Flowers

    Wild Carrot Flowers

    Wild Carrot Root - smells like a carrot!

    Wild Carrot Root - smells like a carrot!

  • Poke Weed - only edible in the early spring, when it first shoots from the ground, though herbalists use tiny amounts of the tinctured root and/or berries to treat cancer. (The root and berries are generally considered poisonous.) The berries are used as a dye for fabric.
  • Acorns/Oak Tree - many acorns are bitter, because they are high in tannins. Boil the nut meats in water, refreshing the water as it turns brown until it no longer does. Now you can dry the acorns and eat them whole or grind them into flour, which is how the Native Americans used them.
    Acorns in a White Oak Tree

    Acorns in a White Oak Tree

  • Sumac, with which we love to make a lemony drink, but steeping the red fruits in cold water overnight.
    Sumac

    Sumac

  • We also discussed the differences between Red Clover and Crown Vetch (one edible, one poisonous)

Two of our favorite books on wild edibles are:

If you would like our five free ebooks, please make sure to sign up for the newsletter on this website (right margin.)

Please stay in touch by signing up for our newsletter and ebooks.

Also, make sure you visit our sister site: Birch Center for Health, for more information on our Pittsburgh Acupuncture Center, and great information about alternative health and wellness.

You can also find us on facebook - please join us!

Food Under Foot on Facebook

Birch Center on Facebook

Oh yes! We mentioned the Vitamix - the Blender we love to use! As readers of Food Under Foot, you are able to get free shipping when you order your vitamix right from the company! To see more about this blender and get your shipping code, just visit our blender recommendation page.

Thanks again!

Melissa and David Sokulski

Food Under Foot
Birch Center for Health

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Save Money and Enhance Health with Wild Foods

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Organic greens like spinach or kale can be pricey at the grocery store or farmers market. Add a pint of fresh berries and an omega 3 supplement like flax or fish oil, and your grocery bill rises further still. Throw in some fresh tropical fruit, organic nuts and wild mushrooms and it’s difficult to afford to eat healthy whole foods these days. Yet all of these foods are available at your doorstep for free, even if you live in the city.

Wild foods are abundant all around us now, in summer and fall. Wild greens like lambs quarters (Chenopodium alba) can be substituted for spinach in any recipe or salad, eaten cooked or raw. This green has a mild flavor all season, never turning bitter like dandelion greens. It is high in protein and has more calcium than kale. A good field guide such as Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman, can help with positive identification.

Lambs Quarters

Lambs Quarters

Growing through the cracks of city sidewalks and popping up in empty planters is another green which is in abundance now: purslane (Portulaca oleracea). This succulent green has appreciable amounts of omega 3
fatty acid, which is the same beneficial oil as in fish and flax oil supplements. Add wild purslane to a salad or smoothie daily to get your dose of omega threes.

Wild Purslane

Purslane

In many places of the country blackberry brambles are considered an invasive weed. Right now their thorny branches are covered with large juicy berries. American Paw paw trees contain tropical fruit native to this country,
and grow as far north as Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. These fruits look like champagne mangoes yet their flesh tastes like banana custard and is closely related to the cherimoya.

Paw Paw Tree and Fruit

Paw Paw Tree and Fruit

In the midwest and northeast black walnuts and hickory nuts are getting ready to fall from the trees in great abundance. These can be gathered, hulled and dried to be cracked and eaten year round. All across the country
acorns are falling from oak trees yet few people realize that acorns are edible. Many of them are bitter from the high concentration of tanins, but these can be easily boiled away. Crack the shell to remove the acorn meat, then boil, changing the water as it turns brown until it no longer does. The nuts can be dried in the oven and ground into flour as the Native Americans did. If one has access to a creek or spring, simply tie the acorns in a cloth and set in the running water. In a day or two the bitter tanins will have washed away and the nuts can then be dried in a dehydrator.

Acorns in White Oak Tree

Acorns in White Oak Tree


While gathering acorns check the base of the oak tree for a wild mushroom called Hen of the Woods. This delicious edible mushroom is sold in specialty stores. It is also known by its Japanese name Maitake and is used to treat cancer and enhance health. Tea and supplement from this mushroom is also sold at stores. Growing on the ground are the yellow chanterelle mushrooms, another expensive find at specialty stores. These mushrooms are distinguished from the poisonous Jack O’Lantern because chanterelle grow singly from the ground and found in larger groups, while the Jack O’Lantern grows in clusters on wood. Before eating any wild mushroom, identification should be verified in person rather than from a field guide. Check the North American Mycological Society for a mushroom group near you. If you are in Western Pennsylvania, definitely check out The Western PA Mushroom Club.
Chanterelle mushroom growing in grassy lawn

Chanterelle mushroom growing in grassy lawn


This is only a sampling of the delicious healthy food that grows wild all around. Wild food is high in nutrition and cannot be priced out of reach or otherwise restricted. It is worthwhile to learn to identify these and other plants to take control of our budgets and health.

Be Well!

Melissa Sokulski, Acupuncturist, Herbalist
Food Under Foot
Birch Center for Health

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Backyard Edibles: The Food Under My Feet

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Peaches

Peaches

In my small urban backyard which is only twenty feet by sixty feet, I am able to identify and collect over 80 edible plants, especially if I walk down my street and make use of other plants in the neighborhood.

Most of these plants are literally wild and grow there by chance. Others I have transplanted to the yard, and they now return year after year. Some, like Japanese Knotweed, are quite invasive and I am happy they are not in my yard, but I can easily harvest them around the neighborhood. And some food, fruit bushes and trees like peach, fig, blueberry and blackberry, I have planted.

The following is a list of wild plants, separated into categories, of what grows in my tiny yard (and these are only the things I identify and use! There are plenty of other plants which I don’t know or do not know how to use hanging out as well.)

Totally Wild in My Yarddandelionflowers

1. Dandelion
2. Yellow Dock
3. Chickweed
4. Lambs Quarters
5. Amaranth
6. Quickweed
7. Lady’s Thumbprint
8. Garlic Mustard
9. Broad Leaved Plantain
10. Narrow Leaved Plantain
11. Red Clover
12. White Clover
13. Sorrel
14. Wood Sorrel
15. Shephard’s Purse
16. Cress (Peppercress)
17. Purslane
18. Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace (though we don’t use this as a rule, because of its resemblance to hemlock)

Transplanted to my yard, but considered a wild plant

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms

1. Nettles
2. Comfrey
3. Blackberries
4. Black Raspberry
5. Oyster Mushrooms
6. Lemon Balm
7. Violets

In my neighborhood, an easy walk from my front door

1. Burdock
2. Black Walnut
3. Acorns
4. Japanese Knotweed
5. Chicory
6. Mulberries
7. Wild Cherries, Tart and Sweet
8. Maple (Maple Syrup, if I were to tap them)
9. Cleavers
10. Thistles
11. Sumac
12. Wild Grapes

Plants I use only as medicine (most of the plants above are medicinal as well as edible, but the following I use only as medicine or herbs)

Feverfew...This one's in a pot, there is more in the yard

Feverfew...This one's in a pot, there is more in the yard

1. Mugwort
2. Mullein
3. St. John’s Wort
4. Motherwort
5. Catnip
6. Feverfew

Food Plants Which I Have Added To My Yard

1. Grapes/Grape Leaves
2. Fig
3. Strawberries
4. Peach Tree
5. Plum Tree
6. Cherry Tree
7. Kale (3 Varieties)
8. Beets
9. Carrots
10. Radishes
11. Tomatoes
12. Arugula
13. Spinach
14. Zucchini
15. Broccoli
16. Collard Greens
17. Chard
18. Fennel
19. Cucumbers
20. Pepper
21. Asian Pear Trees…3 trees/varieties
22. Blueberries

Edible Flowers

Calendula Flowers

Calendula Flowers

1. Calendula
2. Nasturtiums
3. Borage
4. Day Lily
5. Squash Flowers
6. Violets
7. Pansy
8. Sunflowers (Seeds)

Cultivated Herbs (if not mentioned above)

1. Basil
2. Rosemary
3. Thyme
4. Lemon Thyme
5. Peppermint
6. Spearmint
7. Apple Mint
8. Oregano
9. Sage
10. Cilantro
11. Dill
12. Parsley
13. Chives

What do you have in your yard?

Enjoy the harvest!

Melissa

Birch Center for Health
Food Under Foot

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