Valuable Knowledge About Wild Plants And How To Use Them brought to you by Flora McLeod
What are those yellow flowers that have sprouted up all over trails and roadways? The Dandelion. I am always happy to see this nutrition packed plant/herb. Yes the same ones found also growing on your lawns with their ‘faces’ pointed toward the sun. Did you know, every part of this ‘weed’ can be eaten? The young leaves are great steamed or brewed into tea, the roots dried make a coffee like beverage and the flowers make a tasty syrup. Dandelion has long been used for its liver detoxing properties. They remind us to spring clean not only in the house but within ourselves.
A Mourning Cloak butterfly (one of the few that hibernates for the winter) dances over the meadow and lands on a deep green plant known as Stinging Nettle. This is another powerhouse with high levels of iron, calcium and other minerals. It is wonderful as a steamed green or brewed as a tea. Nettle is not as sociable as the others, for it has stinging hairs, therefore gloves are a must! Drying or steaming rids this plant of it’s stingers. The taste and high nutritional value are worth the effort!
Plantain, a healing herb, has soothed many crying children. Parents in the know quickly pick a leaf, chew it a few times, then apply the soft mass to scrapes, scratches, stings and insect bites. The young leaves of this low growing herb can also be eaten steamed or in salads. There is documentation of Plantain being used as a first aide treatment during war time. It is another plant that can be found growing in among the grass at the park or in your own back yard.
I have fond memories as a child of being sent into a field with a bucket to pick a silvery green plant called Lamb’s Quarters. My siblings and I were taught how to identify and pick this abundant plant by our father. Mom would cook them like spinach and season them with vinegar, butter, salt and pepper. So delicious and a great way to teach children about nature. I still enjoy eating them and know I am getting a boost of calcium, iron and vitamins.
There are many more wild plants that can be used as a herb and/or used in the kitchen. Greens are of great benefit to the body as they help eliminate toxins and also help generate energy. Some wilds are great for seasoning food such as Shepard’s Purse. Others are multi use, like Purslane, that not only is high in minerals, but the stems can be made into tangy pickles or the seeds ground into a nutritious flour. Others can be made into cold beverages on a hot day. And just think, most of these are ‘weeds’ in the garden and they are free!
Many studies point to the therapeutic benefits of being in nature and of picking some of your own food or medicine. As the well known quote says “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” Who knows, you might even run into an elf or a hobbit.
We love the idea of picking your own wild plants to use them in the kitchen!
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Have a good day 🙂