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Articles tagged with: wildcrafting

30 June 2016

Snacking on Summer Sorrel

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

wood sorrel 2Walking in the woods on a hot afternoon or working in the garden, I often find myself nibbling on wood sorrel for thirst-quenching refreshment. This widespread, wild edible is familiar to many—some call it “sour grass” or refer to the tiny fruits as “sorrel pickles”. Children seem particularly fond of foraging and eating those little “pickles”.

Wood sorrel, or Oxalis spp., is particularly abundant in Appalachia and the lemony flavor of the leaves and fruits make it a wonderful trail-side snack or a tasty addition to your wild salads. Although it resembles clover, the cluster of three, heart-shaped “sweetheart” leaves, five-petal, yellow flowers and tiny, cucumber-like seedpods readily identify wood sorrel.

23 February 2016

Peppercress: An early spring edible

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Have you seen peppercress yet?

2015.3 darrodils 600 x 450The appearance of daffodils and crocus is certainly one of the lovely heralds of spring. Right around this time, my heart also flutters at my first glimpse of peppercress, poking between the cracks in the pavement or peeking out at the edge of my gardens. In the liminal time between the burrowed, reclusive months of winter and the resurgence of the green, peppercress’ tiny white flowers seem so appropriate: fragile, yet determined. I feel hopeful.

Peppercress is one of the first of the wild edibles to reveal herself to us after the dormant season. She’s a member of a very large and distinguished family—brassicacae, formerly known as cruciferae—that includes distant relatives such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, collards and cauliflower, as well as closer kin, like mustard greens.

10 April 2015

Wildcrafting Tips

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

imm out 2015 6 536 cropped lo resWildcrafting is fun and exciting, a bit like a treasure hunt. You'll come home with lots of fresh, edible and medicinal treasures from your bioregion. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Start with a few easily recognized plants, and get to know new plants slowly.

2. Study the poisonous plants that grow in your area, and always know whether the plant you're harvesting has any poisonous look-alikes.

3. Always be sure you have identified a plant correctly, either through the use of a field guide or an experienced harvester.

03 March 2015

Wild Green Garlic Medicine

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

cw facebook profileHungry for a bite of green medicine? One of the most potent wild edibles of the cool season is actually wild garlic, a common volunteer in lawns and gardens. Wild garlic belongs to the same genus, Allium, as both garlic and onion, known for their medicinal benefits--from boosting immunity to tonifying the heart and circulatory system.

Tromping along my favorite walking path, I usually stop to marvel when I reach the cool spot along the path’s edge where the garden meets the woods--poking up through the dead leaves, are oodles of tangled clumps of wild garlic! I grab some of the savory greens to munch on as I walk. If I have a bag handy, I break off a large handful or two to bring back to the kitchen with me.

03 July 2014

Jewelweed

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

jewelweed flower

I just returned from a special journey back to my hometown, introducing my son for the first time to my old stomping grounds. When we went through the local Arboretum up there, I fondly recalled to him how, as a girl, I first met a particularly enchanting plant ally: jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

In an Arboretum nature walk for children, the leader entranced me by submerging a translucent, serrated-edged jewelweed leaf in water, glistening silver like a mermaid underwater. And then removing it to show how the water droplets beaded up, like little “jewels” glittering in the sun! I still love to catch sight of her shimmering at the edges of ponds and streams after a light summer rain.

Adding to the fun were the distinctively spotted, brilliant orange cornucopia-shaped flowers that come out in the late summer. Turns out, their common name is “touch-me-not”, since the ripe flower seems rather ticklish and will shoot out spirals of seedpods when pinched or prodded—much to our delight!

02 May 2014

Sweet Ox-eye Daisy

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

cw cropped hatAfter the dormant months of winter, springtime is so sweet—made even sweeter by the appearance of that delightful lady, the oxeye daisy. I feel elated this time of year when I catch sight of her curvy, dark green leaves.

It was her flower — a beautiful, large yellow center surrounded by spreading white petals — that first drew me to her. Then I came to recognize the unique shape of her leaves. Oxeye daisy has toothed leaves like dandelion, but each of the little lobes are distinctly rounded and spoon-shaped.

 

13 March 2014

Wild Salad Time

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

WildSaladHarvestedbyandforClass

Wild salad time already? Yes, with Spring Equinox right around the corner, the chickweed is already starting to sprout up! When I see her lush, green leaves I feel excited. It’s like seeing a beloved friend return, offering abundance and nourishment, in so many ways.
 
Wild salads are what inspired my interest in herbal medicine and nutrition in the first place. I wanted to be able to look around my yard and know what to eat. It reinforced my connection to the land on which I dwell and, over the years, wild edibles have added to my relationship to the divine as well. I find that the sacred and our bodies are one and the same; the experience of harvesting and eating these gifts of the Earth is deeply nourishing—physically, and spiritually.

18 November 2013

Poke Root

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

PokeRootLate fall is the best time to harvest roots. One of my apothecary favorites is a low-dose botanical - the root of the Poke plant. Often considered toxic, I discovered that in the South poke root has traditionally been used in tiny doses as an immune stimulant. This powerful plant actually has a wide range of medicinal uses -- but you have to treat it with respect or risk unpleasant side effects (see below).

Herbs can rival the effectiveness of antibiotics, and they're generally much gentler on the body. Some folks turn to goldenseal for this purpose, but it is an endangered species. Poke, on the other hand, is a weed -- the problem is not having too little of it, but too much. And for most purposes, poke is at least as good, if not better.