More Home-side Foraging Escapades. . .

More Home-side Foraging Escapades. . .

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It’s Friday, and I’m exhausted. . . Thursday was my sort-of do-nothing day as I processed two trays of peppergrass, fluffed and condensed some of the trays from Monday’s foraging run, figured out where to put a tray of squat, wide-mouth mason jars we’d been given, and then at the barn, doing more foraging around the sand patch used as an open exercise area for Ashley’s horse. We came home with quite a bit of lamb’s quarters, a bit more pineapple weed, a bit of common mallow – roots intact (medicinally useful), and a small bit of dandelion and pigweed (amaranth).

yard posterThis morning I needed to try to attack our lawn patch! We have recently learned about cudweed or fillago, (after making this year’s poster, click to read it on the right) and some of it’s uses as a medicinal tea or poultice, and it’s growing everywhere on our little patch! Prickly lettuce, dandelion, pineapple weed, mustard weed, and broadleaf plantain also needed picking. I picked the prickly lettuce across the entire patch, same with the mustard weed and pineapple weed and plantain, but when it came time for the cudweed, that bogged me down heavily! It grows in single-stranded plants, so you’re yanking up each individual strand! When I got the area done in front of our tiny fence, I realized I’d better stop there, do the dandelion, then bring out the weedwacker for that section of the lawn patch and do the rest tomorrow. I was partway through finishing up the front of the fence when the landlord drove past. We have an agreement with the Maintenance dept of the gated community, that I need to keep in front of the fence tidy, and can do as I please behind it, so I took advantage of that today.

All that bending over and squatting meant I needed to take a break over lunch, then it was back outside to rinse last night’s and this morning’s hauls and get them laid out. A tray of partially crushed nettle was dry enough to fully crush and I got that into the tea business’s nettle storage tub. That freed up a tray for use in what I was about to rinse. Partially dry trays of curly dock leaf were able to be condensed, freeing up a second tray. Then I spent 2 hours rinsing a fair bit of lamb’s quarters, prickly lettuce, and everything else we’d gathered recently. Most of it going onto much smaller trays. I later was able to condense a couple drying catnip trays to put smaller tray contents onto instead before coming in the house.

The hanging herb dryer now has two trays of drying catnip, 2 trays of prickly lettuce, a couple trays of lamb’s quarters, and two other trays of other things. We are supposed to get a slim chance of rain today, so I piled everything that didn’t fit into the herb dryer, under the umbrella.

There are several trays under the umbrella that should be crushable tomorrow.

While I was working on the front patch, I got to share about foraging and the benefits of pineapple weed and cudweed, with a lady who lives on my lane. That was cool!

My Foraging NotebookMore foraging notebooks are on order for the upcoming fairs this month on the 14th and 28th.

I’ve now finished a snack of almonds, storebought crackers, and homemade Canada Thistle Bud Cheese Dip with the crackers. I’m thinking the next time I make that dip, I may throw in some ground peppergrass. Lunch was my Pacific Northwest Tortilla with mustard, pork, onions and cheese inside. Breakfast was the same tortillas with peanut butter and jam spread on them. If my son wasn’t so strict about usage of his Caesar salad dressing, we could easily have a wild salad for dinner tonight, but my son won’t have any other dressing but that, and the recipe I use to make it is one that for some reason, he doesn’t think would do well tossed in a salad. . . not sure why, but that’s his opinion. I’m missing the dried cranberries and applesauce, or he’ll accept a wild salad with a dollop of applesauce, almonds and cranberries.

All of that last paragraph to show that our foraging does more than just wild teas or medicines, but also does food. Many other foragers out there focus on the food aspect more than the medicine and most we run into personally, never think of making teas out of what they get from the wild. Every now and then I need to remember the food side of what we do, and made pine needle powder Thursday afternoon, after which I was reading up on various ways you can use conifers in food, such as cookies, ice cream, sauces and syrups, stir fries, cooking oils and vinegars, fermented soda’s, etc. Considering conifer needles are high in vitamin C, and that vitamin is more necessary today than people may have understood in the past, it is wise to consider how to incorporate such things into an average weekly diet. Not merely to save a buck at the store these days, but also to just plain eat better and by extension, be healthier for it. I’m already considering relegating black pepper to medicinal use only, and going with peppergrass as the table-top meal sprinkle. Peppergrass is a member of the mustard family, with all the benefits that come with that family of herbs. It was known at one time as Poor Man’s Pepper, back when black pepper was costly to import.

Soon I need to get back up here, return to the barn, and potentially do more “weeding” around the exercise sand patch, bringing up still more lamb’s quarters, mallow, maybe dandelion, purslane, etc. Another horse boarder has a ton of purslane growing in her horse’s paddock that I am invited to go grab. There’s so much there that I don’t know what I’d do with it all. I know how to puree and freeze, make chimmichurri and pesto, eat it raw alone or in salads. . . I don’t own a juicer, so making purslane juice would be via the boiling/crushing method on the stove to make a purslane juice concentrate, but I suppose I could do that. . . hmmm. . .

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