Browsing the archives for the violet tag.

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Week 6 Wild Food CSA

CSF Newsletters, Raw, Recipes

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



  • 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.


CSF Week 1 Newsletter

CSF Newsletters, General Posts, Recipes

Week 1's share. Absent from photo: cleavers.

Week 1's share. Absent from photo: cleavers.

Welcome to week 1 of the Community Supported Foraging!

I am posting the newsletter on the blog so that if you are following (or foraging) along you can read about the suggestions and recipes of what is current wild and available.

Also, we may be able to make more shares available at some point so this way you can follow along and see if you would like to join in.

We had a couple surprises in this week’s share: young dryad’s saddle mushroom, which turns out to be delicious when it is young and tender like the ones we found and creeping charlie or ground ivy, which we found in abundance at Wild Red’s Gardens, who have graciously offered to let us forage there.

I am so happy to be able to include edible wild mushrooms in this week’s share. To me that makes the share extra fun! An important note about wild mushrooms:

Dryad's saddle

Dryad's saddle


in other words:




Ella serving some dryad's saddle, sauteed in butter

Ella serving dryad's saddle, sauteed in butter

I recommend when first trying a new mushroom to simply saute it in butter, making sure you like the flavor, before adding it to a dish. Dryad’s saddle is tender and delicious this early in the season, but later it will get tough and bitter. I’d never enjoyed its taste until finding these young ones in the woods. At this stage, they rival morels. They are in fact known in some circles as “The morel hunter’s consolation prize.”

In this week’s share:

  • Dryad’s saddle mushroom(fresh)
  • dried reishi mushrooms
  • stinging nettles
  • broad dock leaves
  • cleavers
  • Japanese knotweed stalks
  • purple archangel (purple deadnettle)
  • violet flowers
  • onion grass
  • creeping charlie/ground ivy
  • garlic mustard

Read The Rest of This Post »


Backyard Edibles: The Food Under My Feet

General Posts



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!


Birch Center for Health
Food Under Foot


Camping and Wild Edibles

General Posts

Tree Spirit

Tree Spirit

We have lots of campers here at Food Under Foot! Hello to you all! Thanks so much for your emails. We love camping, too, and camping is a fantastic time to find and use wild edibles.

There are some things to be aware of: not all parks want you to pick plants, so find out the rules at each park. Some parks do not mind if you pick invasive weeds like garlic mustard, burdock, nettles, Japanese Knotweed (etc) and will even spray or pull these themselves, so it’s worthwhile to ask. We’ve come across parks where they don’t want you to pick any plants (but mushrooms were ok there), to others who will say weeds such as the ones mentioned above are ok.

We also never pick endangered or protected plants like Trillium, Ferns, or Goldenseal.

When we do harvest plants to eat we only pick what we will eat immediately, so as not to overpick or waste anything. When we are harvesting something like garlic mustard or burdock root from places where they tell you it’s ok (sometimes they’ll be thrilled!) we sometimes do pick more to dry or use later.

Lately we have found the best wild edibles camping! Chickweed, violets, lambs quarters and garlic mustard make wonderful salads. We usually bring a bottle of salad dressing, but really these wild edibles are so fresh and delicious you could eat them plain!

Salad of Violet and Garlic mustard leaves and flowers

Salad of Violet and Garlic mustard leaves and flowers

These flavorful edibles also make a good trailside nibble if you get hungry on a hike. Also wild berries will be in season soon…those are always fun to nibble while camping!

Other wild edibles such as morel and other edible mushrooms and nettles are excellent sauteed, and can be eaten over rice or pasta.

Melissa sauteing morels on a camp stove at a recent camping trip to Mingo Creek County Park, PA for Morel Madness

Melissa sauteing morels on a camp stove at a recent camping trip to Mingo Creek County Park, PA for Morel Madness

Roots such as burdock are excellent cooked into soups or with rice, giving a rich earthy flavor.

Some wild edibles you can find while camping are great as medicines, too. If you get stung by a bee look for plantain (some call it fairy bandaid) to chew and place on the sting.

If you get stung by nettles, you’ll likely find burdock or yellow dock leaves nearby…chew those and apply to the nettle sting.

Poison Ivy? Go back into the woods and look for jewelweed, crush and apply this plant to your itchy rash. Plantain will also work to take the itch away.

Wild edibles are full of nutrition and medicinal properties and are excellent to use while camping!

We’ll be sure to bring you more camping adventures as the season progresses (we’re going again later this week!) Make sure you let us know about your camping wild culinary adventures as well!

~ Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot
Birch Center for Health


Wild Edible Walk, Burdock

General Posts, Identification, video

Did you get your Free Burdock e-Book yet?  If not, please make sure you subscribe to our newsletter (right) and it will come right away (plus four more on the way!)

If you missed our Wild Edible Walk in Frick park on Saturday, here is a video footage of me, Melissa, talking about Burdock:

Here  are some other great pictures of what we encountered:







Please join us this Sunday, April 26 at 11 am for our next walk, on Pittsburgh’s south side, down by the river. For more information, check our wild events page or call (412) 381-0116.

See you soon!