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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Terra-Cotta Candle Heaters?

Terra-Cotta Candle Heaters?
(updated)

(The 2-pot version at the bottom of my post
 here seemed to work a tiny bit better.  This one didn't 
work at all.)


I've seen these around the web a lot, specially on "survival" boards on Pinterest; so I thought I would give it a try.  They are supposed to enhance the heat of a candle/candles in a small room in an emergency or to save money.  I wasn't impressed at all.  Very disappointed actually.  I've tried it several ways now.  The first time, I didn't have as many washers and nuts.  I tried it again today, improving it, and got the same results.  I think there are better options like the emergency alcohol heater I did a blog on.  (click  here)  I tried it in my tiny bathroom, just 4 feet x 8 feet, and closed the door for an hour. I had a thermometer right next to it, and it didn't even budge.  If it did, it wasn't enough that I could even tell.  It felt good to hold my cold hands on the outside pot, but that was about it.  

The parts I used this time.


You simply put a bolt through the holes in the bottom of 3 Terra-Cotta pots.  First, put a washer on the bolt so it closes off the hole of the large pot.  Put the large pot on.  Then, put on a washer, two nuts, and then another washer. Then put the next pot on and repeat until you have 3 pots together. Then, I filled up the rest of the bolt with washers and nuts like the Kandleheeter advertisement shows.  (click here)  You want to fashion a stand or prop it on something around the candle. I used soup cans.

I tried it like this and then with the candle up higher.  
As you can see, I used soup cans to prop the pots on.
Note the thermometer on the left.


I also tried it with the candle up as high as I could put it.


I even tried 4 Tealights, same as using 4 candles, same results, nuttin'!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I also tried this 2-pot version (photos below) that I saw a video clip on.  (click here)  Again, I put it in my tiny 4 x 8 foot bathroom and closed the door for an hour with a thermometer right next to it.  It seemed to go up one degree.  Not much huh?  (Note, I wouldn't suggest using something like this to heat a small room on a regular basis like the guy in the video.  Most candles have carcinogens, so you shouldn't use them too much.  You would want to get soy candles, so I hear.)  My interest in these was for emergency situations.

Four Tealights.  You can use a tray like in the video clip as 
long as the pots aren't down too close around the candles.  
If they don't get enough oxygen, they go out.  
(I used cat food cans to prop the pots on.)

Put a smaller pot over the candles (this pot is 4 inches) 
blocking the hole in the bottom. 


 Put a larger pot over that one (this pot is 6 inches),  leaving the hole open.

That's it.

See how close the thermometer is? (Left side, on the other 
side of that frame so it wasn't directly affected by the 
flames to get an accurate temperature.)


Thank you for reading my blog!  Leave a comment below if you would like.  You don't have to sign in.
 Share your experiences if you tried one of these.   :)

Fish Antibiotics for EMERGENCY Situations


Fish Antibiotics for EMERGENCY Situations 


I'm hesitant to write about this because it's dangerous for everyone in the long run if people abuse antibiotics and take them when not necessary.  That is one of the ways "super bugs" form that are resistant to antibiotics.  Also, a person can become resistant to antibiotics if they take them too much, specially when they don't even need them.  Sometimes, if antibiotics aren't working well, the person has to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics.  They need to be reserved for when really necessary. 

At the same time, I think a person has a right to be prepared in case of a major emergency when it may be harder to get to the doctor or get the medicines they need.  ...or even if it's not safe to go to the doctor because a major epidemic is going around.  (Yep, it's possible and, honestly, I believe, probable someday in the near future.  Even my doctor was talking about it.)  So, please don't self-diagnose yourself as needing antibiotics.  I'm simply posting this information so that people can get some to store away for an emergency situation if they wish. Use your own discretion.  I'm not qualified to give medical advice to anyone on antibiotics. I'm just passing on information I've learned.  :)

Keep in mind too, many infections we get are viral, not bacterial; and antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.  Many people go to the doctor demanding antibiotics for an infection that antibiotics won't work against anyway.  Also, there are different antibiotics that are more effective for different things. 

I'm hoping that most of the people who read this, seeing as how it is a survival/preparedness blog, will use their heads and use this information wisely.  :)



Ok, here it is.  You can buy fish antibiotics (and bird antibiotics) legally without a prescription.  They are sold for fish, but they are the same meds used for people.  Some pet stores carry them in pill form; or you can get them on-line, like e-bay.


 Here are a couple of articles you may want to check out for more information:

Thanks for checking out my blog.  
Please fee free to leave a comment, suggestion, or tip below.  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dry Food Storage



Dry Food Storage
Using Oxygen absorbers and mylar.


Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.

There are many dry foods (low moisture and low oil content) that you can store long-term, many years, by using oxygen absorbers.  With the oxygen absorbers, I use the mylar bags.  Some people prefer #10 cans or food-grade buckets for storage.  Some use mylar bags inside buckets.  I prefer (for now at least) to just use the mylar bags and then store them in a large plastic tub to keep mice and other things from them.  It's a personal preference I guess.  For me, it was cheaper to just get the bags and store them in the tubs that I already had.  Mylar bags can be reused and resealed also.  I personally get them on e-bay, but there are many places you can buy them on-line or at food storage stores.  I live in a remote area "in the boonies," and I doubt there is any place in town here that has that sort of thing.  Note, many bakeries will give away (or sell cheap) food-grade buckets when they are done with them.  When I ask, they seem to be all out.  lol

When using oxygen absorbers, it's very important to not open the packet until you have your bags ready to seal! You want them in the bags of food and sealed within 15-30 minutes of opening them or they won't work well.  

There are arguments on whether or not 'hand warmers' work as well as oxygen absorbers; but I'm not convinced myself.  Besides, the oxygen absorbers are inexpensive; so I'd rather play it safe and get those.  

To seal the mylar bags, you can just use a regular clothes iron.  Set it on hot, cotton/wool setting.  The bags seal in just a few seconds.  Very easy to do.  I place the edge of the bag on a piece of wood and just run the iron over the edge.  It doesn't hurt the iron any, and the iron doesn't hurt the mylar.  If the bag isn't completely full, I still just seal the edge so that there is more room for the bag to be resealed later if I want.  Don't forget to label the bag and date it so you know what is in there.  :) 

I actually sealed this bag a month ago (dehydrated 
hash browns).  I just took the picture to show you how 
I do it.  See how the oxygen absorber has done its job 
and sucked in the bag like it was vacuum sealed?  :)



Some foods that are said to last indefinitely 
without any special packing are:
salt
sugar
honey (no additives)
cornstarch
baking soda
pure vanilla extract
white rice
hard liquor (can be used for different things)
corn syrup
pure maple syrup
distilled white vinegar.

(I would put some of these in a plastic bag for extra protection like the baking soda.)
   
There is a lot of different information out there about the shelf-life of foods.  I've also read articles about how many foods store a lot longer than first thought.  The cooler the temperature, the longer it will last.  Some of the foods that are said to last 30 years or more when kept at a temperature of around 70 with an oxygen absorber are wheat, white rice, pinto beans, rolled oats, pasta, potato flakes, non-fat powdered milk. (Brown rice doesn't store well because of the fatty acids.) Again, there is a lot of different information out there, but these do store well.  Dehydrated foods are also good for storing with oxygen absorbers. 

Here are a couple of articles about the shelf-life of many foods. 
Here is an article on oxygen absorbers. 

Not only is it a good idea to stock up some for emergencies; but with the rising prices going up and up and up, it can be a good idea to stock up for that reason too.  I like the oxygen absorbers because I can store some things away and just forget about it for a long time.  ;)  Of course I have other foods, like canned foods, that have to be rotated and used in a shorter amount of time.

Note, if you wish to store grains or legumes and not use oxygen absorbers, you may want to look into using food-grade diatomaceous earth.  You mix it in with the food, and it will take care of any bug problems that can arise.  It is organic, the fossilized remains of a type of algae.  If you want to sprout something, you would want to use this instead of an oxygen absorber.  Some people swear by bay leaves, but I'm not convinced about that from the things I've read.   

Update/Tip:  Why didn't I think of this before?!  If you get a bunch of mylar bags and can't fill them all at once, you can immediately seal some of the oxygen absorbers back in small mylar pouches in any quantity you want.  I cut a strip off the end of one of the mylar bags and used a kitty treat (mylar) bag to seal some in smaller quantities until I can get to them.  ;)
A kitty treat bag. 
 Juice pouches also come in mylar.

Oxygen absorbers sealed in smaller quantities.

 Please feel free to leave a comment, tip, or suggestion below.  :) 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Edible Mushrooms


This is another post that will be a work in progress as I will add to it now and then.  ...so check back.  :)

I'm in the northern US, so you may want to check to see if these grow in your area or not.  I'm not a mushroom expert.  I'm just sharing what I have learned and experienced myself.  I'm sure you've heard it before but "If in doubt, throw it out!" As with any new food like this, you should try a small amount at first to make sure you are not allergic or if you are sensitive to certain foods.

When it comes to wild edibles like mushrooms, I never trust just one web site's information.  I search several places to make sure I have the right mushroom and that it is indeed edible.  I look through different photos and compare.  I look for notes on look-alike mushrooms that are poisonous.  If they are a harder mushroom to identify, I will see what color spores they are supposed to have.  ...and, if I'm still not certain, I don't eat it.

Doing a spore print is easy.  Simply take the cap off and set it on a piece of paper or glass for several hours to overnight and see what color pattern it makes.  I try to use a color that isn't too dark or too light so that I can see the pattern whether the spores are dark or light.  Some people will use both white and dark paper.

Yes, we need to be careful and make sure we don't pick and eat anything poisonous; but on the other hand, I don't want to scare people away from foraging because there could be some very tasty things right outside their door. 

FYI, I found this nice article about identifying mushrooms that has drawings of the different identifying characteristics of mushrooms.  (click here)


Coral Mushroom


These can also be found in late summer to fall.  There are different varieties and the color varies some.  I found some of these nice white ones.  I've eaten others that are a little more tan and have more of a branch appearance than coral.  Do a search on-line and check out different pictures.  They are usually found under conifer trees.  They are said, in some people, to have a laxative effect or cause mild stomach upset.  I've never had any problem.  Just don't eat a bunch at once until you have tried them. 




I've had these brown ones, growing out of the ground, that were 
good; but the ones growing out of a tree tasted terrible, so it can vary.


Chicken of the Woods or Sulphur Shelf 

You can find these in the fall, and they are usually found on dead trees or growing up from tree roots.  Note, you shouldn't eat these if they are growing on a conifer tree (such as pine, tamarack, cedar, etc.)   If it is the Laetiporus Suphureus, it will have a yellow underside; and the inner part may be too tough to eat unless you boil it for a while.  If it is the Laetiporus Cincinatus, it will have a white underside and grows on underground roots of trees or from the base of trees; and the whole mushroom is good to eat, although both are fully edible.  You want to cook them thoroughly. 
Here is more information.  (click here)




Honey Mushrooms or Stumpers

Ok, this is one you have to be very careful about as there is another mushroom that looks very much like this one; so only try it if you are sure you have the right one.   A spore print is very helpful to identify this one.  They normally grow on or near old stumps or rotting wood in clusters and are brown.  I have some in my yard that are more of a grayish color too.  When identifying Honey Mushrooms, they have a "five o'clock shadow" or what looks like fine hairs or stubble on the cap that concentrate in the center.  Do a spore print.  They have white spores.  

I used to flour them before I fried them because they are slimy when wet; but when I tried sauteing them in butter the way I do Morels, oh my goodness!  So good.  I like to cook them well until they are almost crunchy.  ...but that's just me.  :)  To freeze them, boil for 5 minutes. 



Here are a few of my photos.



Look for the "5 o'clock shadow" in the center.


These ones are more grayish to me and in different part of 
my yard than the others, but they are also Honey Mushrooms. 







Nice BIG one.  :)


For more photos I took of these (and a poisonous one) .... (click here)


Lion's Mane


Also apparently known as the Bearded Tooth mushroom and the Pom Pom mushroom.  They are white to yellowish with age.  They grow on dead or dying hardwood, specially oak and beech.  You can find them in late summer and fall.  They are said to grow higher up on the trees. I actually found this one on a birch in the woods behind my house.  Cook slowly and, after some of the moisture is gone, add a little butter.  You can saute them and freeze them for later. They have a little bit of a seafood flavor.  I loved it.  Yum!  I've only ever seen this one and a couple of little ones by it.





Oyster Mushrooms


Oyster mushrooms are called that because of their appearance, not their taste.  They have a white to light gray/lilac spore print.  The gills are decurrent meaning they go down onto the base.  You will find them on dead trees or logs.  Some of the Oyster mushrooms can have a bit of a licorice scent.  The ones I picked didn't.  They can be dried, sauteed in butter and frozen, or blanched (add to boiling water, boil for 3 minutes, and then rinse with cold water) and frozen.



Oyster mushroom is a broad term for many different similar kinds, so I wanted to include plenty of links that you can check out for more information if you would like:

Mushroom Appreciation (click here)
Mushroom Expert   (click here)
Roger's Mushrooms   (click here)
Tom Volk's   (click here)


Pink Bottom Mushrooms

Also known as Meadow Mushroom and Horse Mushroom. 

I can't believe I just learned about these this summer, and they were in my own back yard!  I thought they were the same poisonous white ones that grow in my front yard; but if you turn them over, they are pink underneath and very tasty.  Actually, they start out light pink underneath and then turn a brighter pink and then turn a dark brown.  They taste kind of like the button mushrooms you buy in the store but more flavorful.  I did a spore print just to be sure I tried them.  They have a dark brown spore print.  (The poisonous white ones have a white spore print.)  I simply saute them in a little butter and sometimes scramble eggs with them. 


The cap.






Here is another site you can check out for details. (Click here.) 


Puffballs

I love puffballs but mainly because I find them in my yard in the fall and know other places to find them.  The taste is actually quite mild.  For beginning mushroomers, these are a pretty safe mushroom to start with unless you get careless.  Just make sure to slice them and check inside to make sure there is no evidence of gills or a stem forming (young poisonous mushroom).  Also, you want to eat them before they start to turn yellow or brown inside.  They should have a uniform appearance inside like a nice slice of bread. There are no poisonous puffballs.  There is a look-a-like "pigskin puffball" that is poisonous, but you can't mistake it as it is black inside.  It has an off appearance of a "pig skin" on the outside also.


You can cook with them many ways.  Some people even bake them into bread.  I simply fry them in a little butter and scramble eggs with them.  Yum!  I have some in my freezer now.  You can saute them and then freeze them or dehydrate them.    












I find a few different kinds.  There are the small white ones ("gem-studded"), some larger ones that look a little more yellow and get bigger, and some that grow directly on dead trees; but they are more rubbery and not really worth picking.  I finally found a couple of the "giant puffballs" this summer but they were too far gone already!  I was so disappointed!!!  I took some pictures though.


 No good.  Too far gone.  :(






Shaggy Mane

Also known as "Inky Cap" or "Lawyer's Wig," the Shaggy Mane, Coprinus Comatus, has a bullet-like shape when it comes up, before the cap opens, and is covered with delicate  white scales.  They are a favorite among mushroomers and easy to identify; but if you are new to Shaggys, they may be a littler harder to identify when they are first coming up from a couple of others; so wait until they start to mature.  When it matures, the mushroom's cap starts to turn into an inky black goo, starting at the bottom edge and then melting up.  They should be eaten within 4-6 hours of picking as they deteriorate fast or you can saute them and freeze them.  You can find them in late summer and fall and are often found in yards and along gravel roads.  They are very good in soups, stews, and sauces.  I like them sauteed and mixed in scrambled eggs myself.  :)  Shaggy Mane can rarely cause a mild reaction in some people when consumed with alcohol, so you may want to stay away from alcohol when eating them.  





Shaggy Mane turning to an inky goo.


  

I found an interesting time-lapse video clip on youtube of  Shaggy Manes growing and then turning to goo.  (click here)



If you are new to Shaggy Manes, here are a couple of mushrooms to look up and avoid:  "Alchol Inky", Coprinus Atramentarius.  These can cause a severe reaction when consumed with alcohol.  Here is a nice article with photos. (click here)



 Scaly Inky Cap, Coprinopsis variegata, should be avoided as it's known to cause stomach upset.  It has white  scales but not the overall white color of the Shaggy.  It has light brown scales as it starts to mature.  Here are some photos.  (click here)


Finally had a couple of Shaggy Manes pop up on my property this year, Parasol ones.  I don't remember seeing those before but here is a photo I took.  So tasty!!!  Just wish I could find more!  
Shaggy Mane, Parasol

Yum!!!


Slippery Jacks

As always, make sure you have the right mushroom and, if in doubt, throw it out.  I thought these were just ok, and I'll eat a couple in the fall; but it is nice to know what is edible in case you are in a survival situation.  These are normally found growing under pine trees.  I found these under my Tamarack tree.  You want to peel the skin off the cap as they can make you ummm go to the bathroom a lot, putting it delicately.  You should also cut the spores off on the bottom side of the cap (not sure why).  The spore print is brown. 


Here is the "mushroom expert" site to check for more information on these.  (Click here.)



More to come soon! 
Please feel free to comment below. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wild Edibles




Wild Edibles
I'll add to this post now and then, so check back.  :)  
It's a work in progress.

Please check several sources and photos to make sure you have the right plant.  If in doubt, just leave it alone.



I'm in the northern US.  Check to see if these 
grow in your area.  


Acorn (Flour)


See separate post... (click here)


Aniseroot, Licorice Root


The root and leaves are edible raw and said to be best in early spring.  When I break open a leaf, it smells like licorice.  That's how I originally found out what it was.  I tried looking up something like "wild licorice" and eventually found out it was Aniseroot.



"Native Americans employed sweet cicely and aniseroot as a treatment for a number of conditions. The most notable was as a soothing eyewash, necessitated by the prevalence of eye infections attributed to the frequent exposure to smoke.  The Chippewa and the Ojibwa chewed the root to relieve throat soreness. The colonists subsequently adopted the Osmorhiza plants as folk medicine for the treatment of coughs and for use as an expectorant." (source article)


I didn't think I would like the taste of the root, 
but it is actually good, very mild flavor.

Birch and Chaga

See separate post... (click here)


Bluebead Lily


I finally know the name of this one.  I find them in the woods in different places.  The young leaves, when up to a few inches tall, are edible and can be chopped in salads or boiled and then topped with butter and seasoned.  They are said to have a cucumber-like taste.  I didn't care for them myself.  They have beautiful blue berries (hence the name Bluebead) after the flower is gone but, alas, the berries are not edible. 



Update:  Here is a photo I got of the berries, just so you 
can see what they look like.  Not edible.  Very pretty though.



Chickweed


Chickweed in my veggie garden.


Chickweed is often found growing in your lawn and gardens, and it's a popular wild edible with a lot of people.  It grows low to the ground.  It's good for you, high in Vitamin C among other things.  It can be eaten raw or cooked, stem, leaves, flowers, and seeds and is quite tasty. It can be cooked like spinach (no more than 5 minutes as it is small).  It can be added to most anything you can add greens to, salads, soups, stews, sandwiches, etc.  (Mouse-Eared chickweed is hairy and has to be cooked.  I don't know if I've ever seen this kind.)

Clover


Young greens and flowers of Red and White Clover are edible raw or cooked.  They can be added to soups and salads.  It's more of a survival food than anything.  The flowers can be battered like you would Dandelion flowers.  The greens are best before they flower.  The root can be cooked and eaten.  The flowers can be used in tea, and dried flowers can be ground into flour.  Dried leaves are said to have a mild vanilla taste when used in baking. 





Update:  I also found Yellow Hop Clover in my veggie garden.

The leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible.  The flowers can be used to make tea.  The seeds can be eaten raw or toasted or even made into a flour.    


Cow Parsnip

See separate post... (click here)

Dock - Curly/Yellow, Broadleaf, etc.  

See separate post, including Dock Flour.. (click here)



Dwarf Ginseng



These are small plants with pretty flowers.  They have a round root that is edible raw or cooked.  The berries are also edible.  I'll see if I can get a photo of the berries later and try them. 




Evening Primrose


Like the name implies, the flowers open in the evening.  Similar to the Goatsbeard (Salsify) plant, the first year plants are just a rosette of leaves; and the root can be cooked and eaten in the first year.  The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked but best cooked, and the youngest leaves are best.  Raw, the leaves have a rough texture because of the tiny "hairs" on them.  The flowers are edible raw or cooked.  The seeds are edible and can be used in cooking like poppy seeds, and the young seed pods can be cooked too.  Supposedly, the stalk can be peeled and eaten; but it's very woody, so I'm not sure what that is about.  It's said this plant can cause throat irritation in some people, especially when raw; so, as with all plants that are new to you, start out with a small amount first.  There are medicinal properties to the plant as well, and you can find Evening Primrose supplements in some stores. I'd like to get into that more later, perhaps this winter when I'm stuck indoors.  ;) 

 Spring


I thought the leaves were ok, and the seed pods were a bit fibrous so I just chewed on them and spit out the rest.  Besides adding the flowers to salads now and then, I'd reserve this one as a "survival food". I didn't try the root yet.

Flowers and seed pods.



False Solomon's Seal

The young shoots (before the leaves open) are edible in spring, but they can be easily mistaken for other poisonous plants; so be sure to identify them previously and mark them before you eat them!  I dug a few (there were tons of them!) and planted them in my woods here and will try them next spring.  Take the leaves off as they are said to be bitter. 



Unopened flowers.  



Caution - I have a very well-known and respected book on foraging, and it says the False Solomon Seal root is edible; but since I took photos of it and dug a few roots, I have found sites saying it is poisonous.  ...so I'm not sure on this one.  I'd stay away from it just to be safe.  I wanted to mention this because, in some of my posts (like on the top of this one), I say to make sure to check several sources and photos; and this is a great example of that.  If you only check one source and it happens to be wrong, that could be trouble.  I'm confident to try something when I read information from several sources that say the same thing; but there is conflicting info out on this one, the root that is.  

The berries are edible.  I just tried them for the first time, and I like them very much.  Very sweet.  Some taste that seems familiar that I can't place.  I've seen notes about how they can start off tasting sweet but then have a bitter aftertaste, but I didn't get that.  I thought they were very good.  They turn red as they ripen and the leaves wither.  





Just a note, the False Solomon's Seal I photographed above were mixed in with Rose Twisted-Stalk, which look very similar.  I have some behind my house.  They have tiny pink flowers underneath when they are flowering. (I believe some of that is edible too but haven't done a post yet.)
(Rosy Twisted-Stalk)

Update: There are a lot of ripe False Solomon's Seal berries here right now (end of September) and I picked a bunch.  I find it easier to just break off the whole end with the berries and put them in a bag and then take them home and roll them off into a bowl.  The leafs wither away anyway and come back again the next year.  They are pretty juicy, so you will get juicy red fingers.  lol  I made some jam.  I really like it.  It has a wild hint to the taste (not sure how else to put it) that some might not like.  We are pretty spoiled these days in our tastes I think.  Most everything is tame tame tame.  I think it's unique and tasty.  :) 

Here is a site that has a few recipes.  (click here)



For reference:
Rosy Twisted Stalk berries.  Apparently edible but can be like 
a laxative in large quantities. (I have to look into this one more.)

False Solomon Seal berries, not edible.


Goatsbeard, Salsify


We have the Yellow Goatsbeard in this area.  There are purple ones also, but I haven't seen any of those.  They are also known as Oyster Plant, among other things, because some people think the root has a mild oyster flavor.  It's even known as Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon because the flowers close up in the middle of the day unless it is cloudy and they don't open at all. 

Roots can be eaten raw or cooked, including baked and boiled, best taken from a first-year plant that doesn't have a stalk yet.  They can be dried and powdered or dug in the fall and stored in winter in a root cellar. The best time to gather them is early spring or in the fall.  I cooked the roots, and they tasted ok.  



Young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked like you would asparagus or the young unopened flower buds and the stem they are on.  I tried the young unopened flowers and stems raw and cooked and like them both ways. 




In the fall, the flower turns into a ball of seeds like a Dandelion but much bigger.  You've probably seen them along the road or in dry flower arrangements. 




Horsetail
(Field Horsetail/Common Horsetail, Equisetum Arvense)




This is what they look like when they mature. 
The ones in the right upper corner still have the brown head.


Horsetail is ancient.  It has been found in fossils and was used by Native Americans for many things.  As far as survival goes, it's not one of the best finds, specially if you have limited access to water as it can have a mild diuretic effect; but I still wanted to mention them since it they are edible and have many health benefits if prepared properly.



I liked finding these when I was a kid, at least when they first came up.  I always thought of them as "rattlesnake tails."  Anyway, they drive me nuts now because they come up in the garden and, although they look cute at first, they turn into these bushy green weeds later and come up all over the place and are hard to get rid of.   





Cooked. I don't care for them.  I liked the hint of a mushroom taste, 

but they have a strong bitter or weed-like taste I don't like.




The young shoots are edible and the inner pulp of more mature plants when the tough outer sheath is taken off.  The young shoots kind of resemble asparagus a little.  Horsetail has an enzyme that depletes Vitamin B1 levels when eaten raw, so you want to cook it first or eat it in small quantities or take a Vitamin B supplement. It can be toxic to livestock in large amounts.   

Horsetail has many health benefits and is believed to be great for healthy bones, joints, connective tissues, and hair.  It works well to stop bleeding.   You can find it in health food stores.  A tea is made by steeping it in hot water or simmering for 15 minutes.  It can be dried and ground.  You can make Horsetail vinegar by letting it sit in apple cider vinegar for 4-6 weeks and then strain. 

"Horsetail has been used for centuries. Galen (Roman physician and philosopher approx. AD 129-199), used horsetail to aid arthritis, kidney and bladder problems as well as other ailments. This multi-purpose plant has numerous healing properties that include being an anti-hemorrhagic, antiseptic, antibiotic, an astringent, cardiac as well as a diuretic. Makes an excellent healing tea and cooked horsetail can be added to soups, stews or cooked in a stir-fry."  For source article.. (click here).

"Individuals suffering from diabetes, heart or kidney disorders, or gout should avoid taking horsetail as it may deplete potassium levels. Do not drink alcohol while taking horsetail. It should not be used by pregnant and breast-feeding women."  For source article.. (click here)



Horsetail tea 


This is another kind of Horsetail you may 
have played with as a kid. It has joints where 
they can be popped apart. 

Lambs Quarters

Lambs Quarters are quite common.  They come up all through my veggie garden.  It is actually cultivated in some parts of the world as a green, and we just pull it up and through it away.  This can be eaten raw or steamed.  Nice in a salad.  They actually don't have a lot of flavor raw, but steamed, wow!  They taste great!  I can't believe I've been tossing them as a weed all these years.  Quite stupid if you think about it.  lol  We pay for all these veggies in the stores and pull out perfectly good food and waste it.  Lambs Quarters are also very nutritious with loads of calcium, iron, vitamin C, Vitamin A, phosphorous, protein, etc.  They are said to be more healthy than Spinach!  They have a tell-tale powdery white look to some of the leaves.  As always, make sure you check several sources and photos on how to identify plants so you don't eat the wrong thing. I actually started a weed garden.   


 This is one of the plants I have been digging when I find it 
and putting it in my "weed garden".  Here is one blooming.

Maple
Seeds, inner bark, young leaves:

Maple seeds can be eaten raw, dried, or cooked.  You can also roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.  You can also add them to salads.  Dried ones can be powdered to add flavor to food or thicken sauces or soups.  Just open up the plump end (opposite the wing-like things) and pull out the seeds. They are best eaten when green but can also be eaten when they turn brown but will have more of a bitter taste.  Some maple seeds are more bitter than others.  If they are bitter, you can leach out the tannins.  Some say to boil out the tannins; but when I made acorn flour, (oak trees) I found it's actually better (and uses less energy) to do warm water baths.  Soak for an hour or so and then pour off the water and repeat if necessary.  This worked great when I made the acorn flour, and took the bitterness right out.  I haven't tried this with maple seeds, but I don't know why it wouldn't work the same.  Something to keep in mind to try anyway. 

Besides making Maple syrup, you can also eat the inner bark (raw, boiled or roasted) and young leaves (raw or cooked) as they emerge. 



Update, spring is here!  :)  I tried the Maple buds.  Blech...
 but not too bad.  I could see eating these in a survival situation unlike the 
Birch buds I tried.  Those were nasty!


These were small Maple seeds that I found in early 
summer but not yet big enough to harvest a lot 
of.  Nice survival food to know about though.  You can 
also eat the pods.  (Take the wings off.)


Update: I was hiking and found a huge maple tree down that was filled with Maple seeds, and couldn't resist harvesting a whole bag full.  I tried them toasted for the first time, and they were very tasty.  I can see how they would taste great sprinkled on a salad like Sunflower seeds.  Very good raw too.  It will take me a while go get through all of these!  lol




One side has the seed, and one is empty.


Milkweed, Common

See separate post... (click here)


Ox-Eye Daisy

There are the common daises you find around roadsides and in fields.  The flowers are edible, but I think the buds and just opening flowers are supposed to be best.  I will try these this summer.  I tried the flower buds, and they were good.  You can put the young flower buds in vinegar and make capers from them.  Also, young shoots and leaves are edible and are great in salads.  They taste a little peppery.  I tried them in a salad, and they were good.  Actually, some gourmet restaurants are said to use them in "gourmet salads".  The root can also be eaten raw in spring.

Young greens in early spring.

 Daisy flower buds.


Pine

See separate post... (click here)

Pineapple Weed/Wild Chamomile







Young flowers are edible raw and put in salads.  They can be used to make tea.  I like the taste of the flowers. You can also dry them for later use.  They smell like pineapple when crushed.  It tends to grow in poor soil in disturbed areas like driveways, my driveway.  lol  Apparently, you can rub the flowers and leaves on your skin to repel insects. 
Note, young Mayweed Chamomile looks similar but gets much bigger and doesn't have the pineapple smell when crushed the way the Pineapple Weed does; so don't get them confused. 


Purslane
It's almost July here, and these are just getting going. 
 I'll take more photos later in the summer.  They get  small yellow flowers.  
This is one I transplanted to me "weed garden". 


Purslane is another example of a plant that is highly regarded in some cultures but just thought of as a weed here.  I'm guilty of this, ripping it out of the veggie garden and trying to get rid of it; but like Arnold, it just keeps coming back.  lol  Well, I'm glad now; and I'm digging some up and putting it in a special place now, a "weed garden" of all things.  :)

The whole plant is edible raw or cooked.  It's even said that it can be used like you would an Aloe Vera plant by rubbing it on burns and bruises.  Purslane has healthy vitamins and 5 times the Omega-3 fatty acid of spinach and easier to catch than fish!  ;)  It can be steamed, stir-fried, throw in salads, etc. etc.  You can do a search on line and find recipes.
I found this short informative video (also with a recipe for Purslane Slaw). (click here)

Rose Hips






Rose hips are the fruit that develop after the blooms are done.  They grow and ripen and are said to be best if picked after the first frost.  They should be a bright red and/or orange color.  All rose hips are edible, but many people prefer the Rosa Rugosa hips (or Japanese Rose), saying they taste best.  I call these "wild roses" as I see them growing along roads all the time and have them growing wild in one of my gardens.  They are very high in vitamin C.  Rose hips can be eaten raw (a good survival food to know about) but you need to remove the seeds and fibers from inside as they can cause irritation.  I did this to a very large bowl full of them, and the fibers reminded me of  fiberglass. It made my skin a little itchy when I touched my neck, so I was careful not to touch other areas of my skin while taking the seeds out.   When cooking with rose hips, avoid using metal that is not stainless steel as it will destroy the vitamin C and can discolor the rose hips.  

According to Tipnut, "Women and children were encouraged to gather them during World War II when food supplies were low, the Vitamin C they provided were a much needed source of nutrition and was highly valued over the winter months."  Check out their site for some recipes.  (I posted one below, Roseberry Catsup.)  (click here)
They can be used in tea, jelly/jam, bread, soup, candy, pudding, pickles, etc., etc.  I'm very busy right now, so I froze most of mine for now.  This winter, I'll try making some other things with them.  I plan to dry some also.

 These are growing along Lake Superior (in the background).  
Rose Hip Tea

Steep 2 teaspoons of dried rose hips (or 1-2 tablespoons fresh) for 10-15 minutes.

Roseberry Catsup:
4 quarts ripe berries (red and ripe)
1 clove garlic
2 medium sized onions
1 cup water (or more if necessary)
Boil these ingredients until they are soft. Strain them. Add 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Tie in a bag and add:
1/2 TBS whole allspice
1/2 TBS mace
1/2 TBS whole cloves
1/2 TBS celery seed
2 inch stick cinnamon
Boil these ingredients quickly. Add 1 cup vinegar, cayenne, salt, if desired. Boil catsup 10 minutes longer. Bottle it at once. Seal the bottles with wax. The flavor of this catsup is excellent.

Here are just a couple more sites for recipes:
Wild Craft... (click here)
Home Cooking... (click here)


Update:  I finally got around to trying a few of the recipes:


The Candied Rose Hips - ok, 
even better with some cinnamon.  

Rose Hip Relish - Noooo!  Save yourself! Nasty.  
It was super thick so I added a bunch of water and blended
it a bit to make it more of a relish consistency, but it tasted nasty.  
Looks like refried beans and tomato paste.

Rose Hip Jam - personally not that crazy 
about it.  It's still nice to know about Rose Hips 
being edible if you get lost.






Smartweed



The flower, leaf, and stem can be eaten raw or cooked; but they are hot, so try a small piece. You can dry it and sprinkle it on food in place of pepper.  The flowers are white or pink or a combination of the two.  They like to grow in areas where they get a lot of water.  This was taken along Lake Superior, but they also grow in my veggie garden. 



Spring Beauty
(Claytonia virginica)


All of the plant is edible raw or cooked but the roots/corms are usually preferred cooked.  You can boil them and eat them like potatoes.  I tried one raw, and it was ok.  The word bland came to mind, but they are supposed to be better cooked.

Root/Corm

Peeled


For me, a lot of wild edibles I learn about is more for having the knowledge in case I ever need it, not because I plan to go out and eat a lot of them on a regular basis.  Even though these cover the forest floor here in some areas, I really don't want to dig a lot of them.  They are just too pretty, and the corm is relatively small.  ...but that's just me.  :)   

 Flowers just about to open..

Trout Lily


This is known by a lot of names, Dogtooth Violet, Adder's Tongue, Serpent's Tongue, Yellow fawn-lily, Yellow Snowdrop, etc.

You can easily identify them by their spotted leaves and yellow flowers.  The bulbs, leaves, and flowers of the Trout Lily are edible, raw or cooked. 


Note: It is said that Trout Lily can act as an emetic in some people (cause vomiting).  

I've never had a problem or known anyone to.  I would treat them like any new food that you could possibly be allergic to.  Just try a little first. 

These are all over my yard and woods in the spring.  I'm glad the leaves disappear after they are done blooming or they would be a nuisance in the gardens and lawn. 

Trout Lilies covering the forest floor. 




 Unopened flowers. 

 It's almost winter here and not a Trout Lily in sight, but I dug 
a few bulbs to show you.  They get bigger than this but it seems most are about 
this size.  I scraped the covering off the larger one to show you. 

Update:  Now that spring is finally here, I was able to see the 
bigger plants and get some nicer bulbs to take a photo of for you.  :) 
 I really like these.  Crunchy and tasty

One of my two cats.  >^..^<
  
I like to put the flowers in salads sometimes along with Violet flowers that bloom at the same time.  You can eat the leaves raw or cooked.  The leaves are best raw when they are small and first coming up.   I tried steaming the larger leaves once, but they didn't taste very good.  Still, if you were in a survival situation, they would be a God-send.  I don't dig the bulbs very often because they can be pretty deep (considering their small size) so  you want to find the biggest looking plants.  You might not want to expend the energy trying to dig up the bulbs in a survival situation.  Well, really, some are close to the surface when I'm digging in the garden; but they are tiny ones.  They remind me of watercress the way they have a nice crunch to them.  I like to add some to a salad sometimes along with some of the flowers. 

Violets 

Violets and a Trout Lily.

As I mentioned, Violet flowers are edible, all of the viola family.  (Note, African violets are not considered viola and are not edible.) They can be put in a salad or used to make jelly, tea, syrup, vinegar.  They make pretty purple vinegar (so do chive flowers). I sometimes pick these and the tiny purple, pink, and white ones to put in salads. 


Small wild white violets.


Marsh Marigolds


Also known as Cowslip, Mayflower, May blobs, Marybuds, Water blobs, Horse blobs, Bull's eyes, Meadow routs, Kingcups, Mollyblobs, Pollyblobs, Horse Bob, Water Blobs, Water Bubbles, Gollins.. Whew!  Probably more.  lol

All parts of the Marsh Marigold are edible, including the root, but should be boiled in 2-3 changes of water first.  The leaves can be used in recipes the way you would spinach.  The closed buds can be used like capers after properly prepared.  They are found in wet lands, marshy areas. 



My other cat.  >^..^<


Flower buds. 


This shows the roots.  I forgot to actually try the 
roots.  I planted this one back closer to my house. 






Looks like Spinach doesn't it?


Wood Sorrel


Yellow Wood Sorrel 
I see this mentioned a lot as a favorite "trail nibble".  I don't care for it, but a lot of people do; so try it and see for yourself.  To be fair, I've only tried the Yellow one as I haven't seen the others around here.  It can be used as a seasoning or to make tea.  It can be added to salads raw and used to compliment fish, etc.  

Wood Sorrel has oxalic acid, as do some of the other plants we eat, and shouldn't be eaten in excess; and people with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disease should avoid it.


See also Edible Wild Berries, Edible Mushrooms, Edible Landscaping, etc.


Please feel free to leave a comment, tip, or suggestion below.  :)