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Posted on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 8:09 a.m.

Wildcrafting: Local Foods - What is There for the Taking?

By Linda Diane Feldt

My puzzle was how to help people have a regular experience of wild foods and foraging, herbal medicine and nourishment. Classes are often at the wrong time of year, and I'm frankly really busy harvesting when it would be the best time to teach.

Twitter was the answer. I set up a twitter feed with the intent of publishing a short something on the topic every day. This also serves as an alert - the wild strawberries are ripe! - as well as a request - anyone have extra? And a little of what to do with whatever it is. I've already included a few relevant recipes, photos, and links.

So every few days I'll publish the last 10 tweets (or more) here. But feel free to follow me on twitter in addition.

Here are the tweets, some with a bit more elaboration.

Pig weed - a form of amaranth - may be a weed in your garden. Red near the base. Best to cook the leaves as a pot green. Calcium and more. Photo of pig weed and look for red stem near base.

Purslane - packed with nutrients, similar to fish oil and flax, great raw in salads, some like it cooked. Creeping in your garden. Eat it! Bee Balm, Bergamont, is flowering so easier to ID. Flower is almost round, almost clover like. Crush a leaf and smell - oregano like odor.

The sky blue flowers now abundant are likely Chicory. Most common use is the roots - roasted & ground for coffee subst. Roots high in inulin. Both spellings appear to be correct - Chicory and Chickory. The first photo shows Chicory in the front, that is Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) in the back.

chicory close.jpg
Grape and Virginia creeper vines often grow near poison ivy. "Leaflets three let them be" is good advice. PI takes many forms and disguises. Grape and Virginia creeper tendrils make a fun sour addition to a salad. The younger the better, cut into small pieces for a taste treat.

Yarrow bug repellent worked well in the woods. Lasts a short time tho. Yarrow flower tops in vodka, 6 wks, strain dilute w/ H2O, spray on.

About 30 people wandered through the wildcrafting class during Reskilling festival, 15 stayed, most new to actually eating wild foods. Fun

Further north not only is St. John’s Wort in perfect bloom but it is also everywhere. Saw more of that than almost any other flower.

Picking service berries and red raspberries from a canoe for later pie. Lots of them on the river.

Found wild strawberries North of A2. Th best treat. Wild chocolate mint for later tea and stir fry seasoning.

Still collecting wild chive, garlic, onion greens - chop and dry in low oven 200 degrees for 2 hours, turn off, leave overnight.

Plantain is easy to ID just now, it is in flower and then seed. Look in the grass, straight up stalks with tiniest white flowers, 4-6 inches. This photo has the narrow leafed plantain flower stalk just to the left of the more common broad leaf plantain. The narrow version has flowers just at the tip, the broad leaf variety has the flowers and seeds all the way dawn the flower stalk. Both are edible, as well as great to apply directly to bug bites,skin rashes, mild wounds, after chewing them a bit to get the juice going. Also great for canker sores and if you bit your lip or cheek. Just hold against the wound for 15-20 minutes at a time. Pain relief and healing.

Basics - dandelion leaves. Some are bitter, some are less. Add to salad or pot greens. High in vit A, calcium + minerals, liver nourisher.

Linda Diane Feldt is a local Holistic Health Practitioner and Herbalist. Her free Herbal Wisdom class will be offered for the 17th year through The People's Food Co-op, beginning in September. Classes will be announced here, and there are also sign up sheets at the Co-op.

Photo credits: All photos by Linda Diane Feldt


Laura Meisler

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 2:07 p.m.

Love the photos - they really help with plant identification. Looking forward to learning more!

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 : 12:45 p.m.

What a great way to use Twitter. I'm still trying to figure out if it's more useful or just a time drain. For things like this it makes great sense.