Browsing the archives for the wild carrot tag.


Wild Edibles Walk at Schenley Oval

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Wild Edibles Walk Schenley Park, August, 2014. Photo credit: Jennifer Verala

Wild Edibles Walk Schenley Park, August, 2014. Photo credit: Jennifer Verala

Our first evening wild edibles walk was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came. We took our time walking the one kilometer loop, stopping to discuss nearly 20 edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. We also discussed how to make tinctures, vinegars, oils and salves, how to identify, harvest and use the plants and some of our favorite ways to prepare them to eat.  Our next walks are planned for the end of Sept and into October. The dates haven’t been announced yet but stay tuned!

Some of the plants we discussed this evening included:

  • plantain - both wide leaf plantain (Plantago major) and narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata.) We talked about using plantain as an edible and medicinally, and how to gather the seeds.
  • dandelion
  • burdock - plenty of old burdock with lots of sticky burs, and an abundance of young first year plants whose roots and leaf stalks are great to harvest right now.
  • Pokeberry - This dark poison berry is also abundant now. It can be used as an ink or dye.
  • photo127Oak Tree/Acorn
  • Mulberry Tree
  • Hawthorn berries/haws
  • Motherwort
  • Golden Rod (what people often think they’re allergic to, but the pollen travels by insect, not wind. It is used medicinally to combat allergies.)
  • Ragweed (what people are actually allergic to - this inconspicuous plant with green flowers has wind-born pollen and is what many people with fall allergies are allergic to.)
  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Dryad’s Saddle Mushroom - usually thought of as a spring mushroom, makes a reappearance again in late summer and fall.
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Broad Leaf Dock, leaves and seeds
  • Red Clover
  • White Clover
  • Wood Sorrel

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us tonight, and to Jen Verala for snapping some great photos of the walk! (If anyone else has photos they want to share with me and the Food Under Foot family, send them to Melissa@FoodUnderFoot.com. I will credit you! Dave forgot to take photos.)

Thanks!

Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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Wild Carrots and a Macrobiotic Meal

Recipes
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Macrobiotic inspired meal with side of wild carrots

Macrobiotic inspired meal with side of wild carrots

When I lived in Maine I attended a macrobiotic cooking class. We would meet at the woman’s house (I think her name was Susan) and she would prepare a macrobiotic meal for us, while explaining what she was doing and the philosophy behind macrobiotics. Then we would all eat the meal together at the end.

She would often pick the vegetables straight from her garden - bring them in, chop them up and cook them right there, fresh as can be. One time she made a carrot dish for us, with baby carrots from her garden. She chopped the greens up as well and tossed them right into the saute. It was delicious.

Normally I don’t use wild carrots. Obviously they do have a close resemblance to their deadly family member poison hemlock (and water hemlock), both very common in this area. And though I have identified all three and feel secure in my identification, I’ve read that wild carrots just aren’t worth it. So occasionally I will pull them up and inhale the wonderful smell of carrot, and then longingly toss it aside.

Our yard is full of wild carrot this year. Wild carrot is distinguished from poison hemlock by the little hairs found up its stalk. It also smells strongly of carrot and does not have the purple mottled stalk of its deadly relative. I decided to include it in this week’s share of our Community Supported Foraging (our wild food csa.) So of course I had some myself.

Wild carrots, also called Queen Anne’s Lace, is Daucus carota, which you may recognize is the exact species of cultivated carrot. They are exactly the same plant, differentiated only in the subspecies. By the time the carrots are wild, they are white rather than orange and are much smaller (though the greens are still full and lush.) Some people are sensitive to these greens and can have a rash reaction on their skin. The greens are edible, however, just as cultivated carrot greens are.

I also like to include a recipe for each new edible in the share. Because the carrot part of the wild carrot are relatively small, I decided to include the greens in the dish. I lightly sauteed the carrots, greens and some mint from my garden in olive oil, with a little tamari and water at the end to steam. I turned off the heat and added chopped chives and garnished it with chive flower petals at the end.

Making this dish inspired me to cook some brown rice and tofu, and enjoy a delicious macrobiotic type meal reminiscent of my days in Maine (20 years ago!) And I must say: I enjoyed this wild carrot dish more than I enjoy cultivated carrots! Cultivated carrots are too sweet and mushy. These wild carrots don’t have the sweetness and they are tougher, but that only adds to them, not detracts, in my opinion.

If you are sure about your identification of wild carrot, I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

Recipe: Wild Carrot and Mint

Stir fried wild carrot roots and leaves with mint. Topped with chive flower.

Stir fried wild carrot roots and leaves with mint. Topped with chive flower.

  • wild carrot root and greens, chopped (I used all the roots in the share - they’re so small, but only half the greens.)
  • one stalk mint, leaves removed and chopped
  • one chopped chive or onion grass
  • chive flower (or red clover flower, petals pulled out) to garnish
  • olive oil
  • tamari

In olive oil, saute chopped wild carrots roots for about five minutes. Then add chopped carrot greens and saute until wilted. Finally add chopped mint at very end, sauteing just a bit, adding tamari and a splash of water to steam.

Turn off heat and stir in chopped onion grass.

Remove from heat and garnish with pulled petals from red clover or chive blossom.

(Suggestion: you can also saute some red clover blossoms right into this dish, and then garnish with a fresh one at the end.)

~ 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:

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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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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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Great Walk Today!

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Thanks so much to everyone who joined us on our wild edibles walk today on Pittsburgh’s south side! We couldn’t find the camera before we left for the walk (we have since found it and I put some great photos of the St. John’s Wort - which I knew I saw growing out of the rocks on the way to the walk - on facebook!) However, I will embellish this post with pictures of the plants we saw today that I have taken before. You’ll find the St. John’s Wort at the end…and also check it out on facebook if you’re on there.

Mulberries (Morus)

Mulberries (Morus)

We had a great time collecting mulberries! White ones, purple ones, red ones! I wish I had a picture of the girls sitting on the sheet filling their containers with berries and eating as many (or more!) than they dropped in their cups! Here’s an old picture of Dave and Ella collecting mulberries from a great tree on Polish Hill.

Dave and Ella collecting mulberries 4 years ago on Polish Hill.

Dave and Ella collecting mulberries 4 years ago on Polish Hill.

We also saw:

  • Burdock (Arctium lappa) The root is known as Gobo in Japan. Eat the root raw, cooked or juiced. Can also eat the flower stalks and leaf stalks like celery. (See our Burdock page for picture and full description)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) All parts of this plant are edible: roots, leaves, flower. Flower petals go nicely into batters (like pancake batter or cookie batter.) Roasted root makes a good coffee substitute, along with roasted chicory root and roasted burdock root. (See our Dandelion page for pictures and full description)
  • White Clover (Trifolium repens) A mild but nutritious green, add to smoothies or salads. Can also use red clover (which is often dried and used as tea), we didn’t see red clover today.
  • Thin Leafed Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) - Fairy bandaids! Chew and place on bee stings (and other stings/bites) to take the pain away. Can eat as a green, mild tasting can be blended into smoothies or juices. I recently made a salve which worked wonders on a poison oak rash.
  • Plantago Lanceolate (Thin Leaf Plantain)

    Plantago Lanceolate (Thin Leaf Plantain)

  • Broad Leafed Plantain (Plantago major) Same uses as above. This also has seeds in the fall which can be collected and used in oatmeal, breads, flours, and as a substitute for psyllium seeds, which are also a Plantago.
  • Japanese Knotwood (Polygonum cuspidatum) Eaten in early spring when shoots are tender, but the stalks can probably still be juiced. Lemony. Very good source of Resveratrol (especially the roots) and has been used to treat Lyme Disease.
  • Lambs quarters (Chenopodium alba) High in protein, high in calcium, one of my favorite edibles. “Wild Spinach”, is closely related to quinoa. I use it in smoothies and any place I would use spinach.
  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Garlicky tasting invasive weed, makes a great pesto!
  • Garlic Mustard

    Garlic Mustard

  • Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) Recently the root has been used as a cure for Lyme Disease
  • Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) Used in Chinese Medicine, can make moxa from this dried herb. Also used in dream pillows to enhance dreams.
  • mugwort1

  • Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) When fruit turns red in fall, use dried as a lemon-tasting spice, or steep in cold water for a lemon-water or sweeten for a lemonade-like drink. High in vitamin C.
  • Mulberries (Morus species)
  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace(Daucus carota) Root smells like carrot, and there is a red petal in the middle of a lacy white flower, which distinguishes it from its deadly relatives Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock. Still, we make it a rule not to eat wild carrots (though edible) to avoid a deadly mistake.

We also saw two poisonous plants and a common allergen:

  • Crown vetch (Securigera varia, or Coronilla varia,) Contains nitroglycerides and is dangerous for horses and other non-ruminants, such as people
  • A wild foxglove Also dangerous to the heart
  • Ragweed - A common allergen

Don’t forget: if you sign up for our newsletter (right, green box) you’ll get FIVE FREE EBOOKS about 5 common wild edibles! They are full of color pictures and great recipes.

And now…here are the pics of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum):

St. John's Wort growing out of a rock wall on Pittsburgh's South Side

St. John's Wort growing out of a rock wall on Pittsburgh's South Side

The flower buds of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort) stain maroon when squeezed.

The flower buds of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort) stain maroon when squeezed.

Thanks so much to everyone for coming!

Please make sure you sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know when our next walk will be.

~ Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot

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Walking With The SCA

General Posts, Identification
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We had a great time going on a wild edibles walk with students of Pittsburgh’s SCA (Student Conservation Association.)
We knew we wouldn’t find any along the south side river trail, so we brought along some beautiful sky-blue chicory, which is in bloom all along the roadsides and all over the city these days.
We sampled herbal tea which had chicory in it, and discussed it’s use as a coffee substitute (drying and roasting the roots.)

(You can read more about chicory in my article in Natural News here.)

We did have some great finds along the south side trail that day, including:

  • Dandelion
    dandelion leaf rosette

    dandelion leaf rosette

  • Burdock
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Purslane - delicious succulent plant, high in omega fatty acids
    Purslane - High in Omega Fatty Acids

    Purslane - High in Omega Fatty Acids

  • Lamb’s Quarters - delicious “wild spinach” (please sign up for our newsletter (top right) for lots more info about lambs quarters!)
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Mugwort
  • Staghorn Sumac (which we all sampled the sumac lemonade we had made for them, see previous post.)
    Staghorn Sumac - we soaked the red clusters in water for a lemony drink

    Staghorn Sumac - we soaked the red clusters in water for a lemony drink

  • Poisonous Crown Vetch - the variety Penngift was made in Pennsylvania, to plant along the highway to prevent soil erosion…with limited results. The soil continues to erode, and while cows and other ruminant can safely eat the plant, which is high in nitroglyceride, it is poisonous to horses and other non-ruminants. It spreads very easily as well.
  • Wild Carrot - which, though edible, we do not eat because of it’s similar appearance to the very deadly Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock
    Queen Anne's Lace/Wild Carrot

    Queen Anne's Lace/Wild Carrot

  • Mullein - an herb which benefits the lungs, and often smoked by Native Americans for that purpose
    First Year Mullein basal rosette

    First Year Mullein basal rosette

  • St. John’s Wort - an herb used to treat depression
    St. John's Wort

    St. John's Wort

Here are some pictures of what the kids and adults of the SCA:

walking and talking with folks of the SCA

walking and talking with folks of the SCA

Pittsburgh Student Conservation Association

Pittsburgh Student Conservation Association

Finding Garlic Mustard Under The Trees

Finding Garlic Mustard Under The Trees


Reviewing what we'd identified

Reviewing what we'd identified

If you’d like more information about scheduling a wild edible walk for your group, please visit our wild event page. Or you can call Melissa at (412) 381-0116, or email to Melissa@FoodUnderFoot.com.

Thanks!
~ Melissa Sokulski, Herbalist
Food Under Foot

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Seasons Change To Summer…

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Look-Alikes, Medicinal, Poisonous or Toxic, Tincture
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I just love watching what happens to the plants around me as the seasons change!

Here in Pittsburgh, it is getting HOT, summer is here.

With it bring a whole new crop of wild edibles, herbal remedies, and poisonous plants to watch:

Here is the St. John’s Wort, (Hypericum perforatum) now if full bloom. In the picture I am demonstrating that if you crush a bud in your fingers, you get a dark red pigment, which is the Hypericin - one of the active ingredients in St. John’s Wort.

st. john's wort

st. john's wort

Now is the time to harvest St. John’s Wort to make oils or tinctures. The oil is great to soothe sore muscles, ease jangled nerves, and treat sunburns. The tincture of St. John’s wort is used as an anti-viral, and also an anti-depressant. In fact, in European countries like Germany, St. John’s wort is used to treat depression more commonly than the prescribed medications like Prosac, which are used more in this country.

Here is Queen Anne’s Lace, or Wild Carrot:

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

Even though the greens of carrots are full of nutrition, and the root of this plant has a distinctly carrot-like smell, we do not eat this plant at all! That is because it so closely resembles the deadly poisonous Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock, that we do not feel it is worth the risk of making a mistake. We tell everyone who comes on our walks that it is our policy NOT TO EAT wild carrot, and we strongly suggest they do the same.

Here is a poison plant: Pokeweed. It’s berries are not fully ripe yet, they will get dark purple/black when ripe. Pokeweed is eaten (mostly down south) when it is just shooting from the ground in early spring. Now it is TOXIC, and the berries are highly poisonous. It is used, however, as a dye:

pokeweed

pokeweed

Here is one of our favorites, yummy plantain (Plantago major). We love to use the green leaves of this plant in smoothies, chopped in salads, and marinated and dehydrated into yummy crisps. Here you see the stalks. In the fall (once they turn brown) we will collect the seeds of plantain and use them just like psyllium seeds (which is from another Plantago: Plantago psyllium and Plantago ovata, both of which grown in the middle east.)

Plantain

Plantain

We’ll use these seeds just as we would use psyllium seeds: as a thickener for puddings and sauces, and also added to oatmeals and breads. In Chinese medicine, the seeds are used to treat urinary tract infections.

We’ll have more on our virtual summer wild edible walk tomorrow…please stay tuned!!

~ Melissa

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Poison: Water Hemlock

General Posts, Identification, Look-Alikes, Poisonous or Toxic
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Or should I say: Extremely Poison: Water Hemlock.

poison: water hemlock

poison: water hemlock

Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) literally has me trembling. This (and it’s cousin, Poison Hemlock, or Conium maculatum) are the reason we advise all on our walks (especially children) NOT to eat the edible Wild Carrot, or Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota). Look how much the flower looks like Queen Anne’s Lace:

poison: water hemlock flower

poison: water hemlock flower

Wild Carrot Flower and Leaves, picture from Wiki, Gnu Free Licensing

Wild Carrot Flower and Leaves, picture from Wiki, Gnu Free Licensing


Water Hemlock is DEADLY
and the risk of confusing the two is just not worth it.

We found Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) growing all through Schenely Park in Pittsburgh. The leaves are quite different from that of Wild Carrot:

poison: water hemlock leaves

poison: water hemlock leaves

…so they are not impossible to tell apart. Still, if one were just learning, or not paying attention, or didn’t know something deadly so closely resembled something edible, they might make a mistake.

So again, this is why we advise people not to eat Wild Carrots (it’s too risky a mistake), and why we don’t eat them ourselves.

Hemlocks don’t smell like carrots the way wild carrots do, and that is another way to tell them apart. Again, it’s not that they look/are exactly the same, it’s just they are close enough, and grow in overlapping places and the risk is just too high.

According to the book Edible Wild Plants, this plant’s toxic alkaloids can cause nervousness, trembling (it causes me trembling just to look at it!), reduced heartbeat, coma, and respiratory failure/death.

Have fun and please stay safe,
~ Melissa
Food Under Foot

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