Monday 12 August 2013

Nature's Pantry: July 29 - August 11

My fella loves picking blackberries, and has been bringing home at least a couple of quarts (and often more) every day. Between the berries and produce from the farm market, that I haven't had much opportunity to do extra foraging the past couple of weeks, but I have gathered a few things:

We are continuing to gather Queen Anne's lace, using the roots in many of our fresh dishes that call for carrots.  Many of the plants are going to seed now.  As soon as the seeds dry, I'll be gathering them too.

I got one last cutting of fireweed this weekend.  I read recently that fireweed leaves can be used in tea too, so I'll be saving the leaves as well as the blossoms from this most recent picking in order to give it a try.

I was so busy gathering other things that I just about missed the yarrow this year, but did find some late plants on our last drive over to the west coast.  I'm glad I found it. 

Yarrow's an extremely useful plant; an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. I made a tincture from the flowers I gathered, which I will use to treat headache, and as an astringent to ease the itch and pain of bug bites and wasp stings.  Yarrow leaves can be chewed to relieve toothache.  A tisane (herbal tea) of dried yarrow can be drunk to relieve fever, treat menstrual symptoms, to lower blood pressure, and to treat coughs and colds.  Poultices can be made from the whole plant or from a powder of dried yarrow tops for use in treating cuts and wounds. 

Goldenrod is beginning to bloom.  Much of it is still in bud but I did find enough to gather a first batch. 

Goldenrod makes a beautiful, decorative dried flower.  The flowers can also be used to make a yellow dye, and the leaves can be used to make an herbal tea.  First Nations used goldenrod tea to treat bruises, urinary disorders, and intestinal complaints.  A tea made of just the flowers was used to treat colic. 

Dandelions continue to bloom so last week I gathered a big bucket of flowers and removed all the green parts, saving only the petals to make this dandelion jelly from Rock Farmer.  We haven't tried it yet, but it certainly brightens up the pantry shelves!

The seeds are starting to fall from the big leaf maple trees in our area and their leaves are already taking on the colours of autumn.  As I child, I loved throwing the"helicopters" up in the air to watch them whirl their way back down.  This is still a game I play with the littles in my life.  Now, I gather these beautiful winged seeds for use in crafts.  Look for a project on my blog soon.

Have you been foraging for food or medicinal plants or craft materials? 

If you are just beginning to forage you may be wondering how to dry your herbs.  Chris of Joybilee Farm recently shared excellent information on how to dry herbs for food, teas, and medicine.  You can find her blog post here.

I'd love to see what you've been gathering.  Please stop by my Facebook page or Twitter feed to share your finds.

Related posts:
Nature's Pantry
Nature's Pantry, July 21
Nature's Pantry, July 22 - 28