Sunday, July 28, 2013

Remedies in the Wild

Remedies in the Wild

..another post I will add to as time goes on.  :)


This is supposed to work really well for Poison Ivy.  It also helps relieve bee and wasp stings and mosquito bites.  If you start to develop areas of irritation from Poison Ivy, gently rub the liquid from the plant on the areas.  It's said to even prevent the rash from appearing if you use this on exposed areas beforehand.  I have never had a Poison Ivy reaction, so I can't tell you how well it works myself.  If you have tried this, let me know.  This is one of those "nice to know" things in case you are out hiking and realize you just got yourself into a patch of Poison Ivy.  It actually contains active ingredients found in Preparation H., fungicide and anti-inflammatory.

According to "Wildman" Steve Brill, it is also good for "warts, bruises, and fungal skin infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm.  It's also helpful for nettle stings, minor burns, cuts, eczema, acne, sores, and any skin irritations."  For article...(click here)

His article also says "There are many ways to capture Jewelweed's medicinal properties: The fresh plant lasts a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 1960s foraging guru and author Ewell Gibbons reported the Jewelweed tincture he extracted in alcohol went moldy, but I've soaked fresh Jewelweed in commercial witch hazel extract for a few weeks, and the extract of the two herbs works well and doesn't perish.

You can also make Jewelweed ointment by simmering a small amount of Jewelweed in light vegetable oil (any vegetable oil except olive oil, which burns) 10-15 minutes. Use only a small handful of Jewelweed stems per quart of oil, or bubbles of Jewelweed juice will form in the ointment and go moldy. Strain out the herb, add a handful of beeswax to thicken it, and heat until melted. Take out a spoonful and let it cool to test the thickness, and add more oil or beeswax as needed. Add the contents of one oil-soluble vitamin E capsule, a natural preservative, and let it cool. Refrigerated, it lasts for months."

You may remember these plants as a kid.  I like to pop the seed pods when they are tense and ready to pop, and the seeds pop out all over the place.  I called them "poppers" when I was a kid.  By the way, the seeds are edible

Seed pods, close to popping...


This is supposed to work well on burns, like you would use Aloe Vera.  Just break open a leaf and rub (gently of course) the liquid on the burn area.  I will have to try this next time I burn myself. I'm a klutz, so it's inevitable.  ;)  It's also said to relieve sores on the skin and snake and insect bites and stings.  There is a lot of information about medicinal values of Purslane, and I'd like to get into more detail later.  Native Americans have used it for things like earaches, diarrhea, burns, and bruises. 

This tends to grow wild in gardens and other disturbed areas and is usually pulled out as a weed, but these are edible also.  (See my Wild Edibles post.)  It's very good for you, full of vitamins and far more omega 3 fatty acids than other plants.

Three-Leaf Goldthread/Canker Root 

(Coptis groenlandica/Coptis trifolia)

Note the three part leaves. 

The flowers show up better in this photo but Canada Mayflowers 
are mixed in with them (larger rounded leaves).

The whole plant is edible but bitter.  It's said to work well for mouth sores.  I even heard Les Stroud on Survivorman mention that they are very good for that.

According to this web site (click here):
Goldenthread is a very bitter tasting herb that was formerly highly valued and widely used in North America by the native Indians and white settlers alike, though it is little used in modern herbalism. It was employed mainly to treat any soreness in the mouth. The dried roots, stems and leaves are antiphlogistic, highly astringent, sedative, stomachic, tonic. The plant is valued as a local application in the treatment of thrush in children. It is also used in the treatment of ulcerated mouths and as a gargle for sore throats or mouths. It is said to be useful in the treatment of dyspepsia and helpful in combating the drink habit. The plant contains the alkaloid 'berberine', which is a mild sedative, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. The root is collected in the autumn and dried for later use. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chive Vinegar, Violet Vinegar

Chive Vinegar, Violet Vinegar

Want to try something different that is easy to make?  Just pour white vinegar (or vinegar you prefer) over a jar full of Violet flowers or Chive flowers, and you will have a pretty pink to purple vinegar.  It makes a nice addition to a gift basket.  It can be used in salad dressings, potato salad, or anything you normally use vinegar in.  I read somewhere that the Violet Vinegar has a peppery taste, but I haven't actually tasted that one yet.  It sure is pretty though.  The Chive Vinegar, well, tastes like Chive.  ;)  I like that one very much.

Let it sit for a few days.  (Some people let it sit for a couple of weeks.)  Then, strain.  If you store it in a jar with a metal lid, put a piece of waxed paper between it and the vinegar as it will corrode metal. 

Chive flowers in vinegar.

Chive Vinegar.

I used it in a simple Sweet and Sour Sauce 
that I make sometimes.  It turned out very 
tasty with a hint of Chive flavor.  

Here is the recipe in case you want to try it:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
2-1/2 Tbsp ketchup
1/4 tsp salt
Bring to a boil and stir this mixture:  
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp cold water.  Stir until thick and translucent.  Add pineapple if desired. 


Violet flowers.

This was after just a few hours
 of adding the vinegar.

I'd like to try other flower vinegars.  Not sure which to do yet.    I'd also try using Rice Vinegar that I have.  You can check out my Edible Garden Flowers post. (click here)   I actually posted about the vinegar on there but decided to do this separate post also. Let me know if you try other kinds and what you think.  You can leave a comment below without signing in.

Thanks for checking out my blog!  :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Milkweed, Common

Milkweed, Common

 Opening flowers. 

You may be surprised to know there are many kinds of Milkweed, but this post is on the Common Milkweed.  If you are unfamiliar, you will want to learn how to identify them. 
I was skeptical about these at first but was pleasantly surprised.  How can a plant with that yucky, white, sticky,  latex-like stuff inside taste good?  They do!  For me though, this will mostly stay a survival food or rare treat as Monarch butterflies use them for nurseries and food, so I personally don't want to take that away from them if not necessary.  If you find a large patch, it's fine to take some.  Of course, no matter what you are harvesting, you don't want to deplete the whole plant source. 

Milkweed Shoots

Small tender shoots, up to about 8 inches tall, and young leaves are tasty.  Later in the season, the top few inches are still tender until the plant gets a couple feet tall.  These can be boiled, steamed, fried. 

Flower Buds

The flower buds, before the flowers open, can be eaten raw, boiled, or battered.  They can be added to soups, stir-fry, casseroles, etc.  They can be used in many different recipes.  I boiled some (and then topped it with butter and salt) and battered some.  When I try something new, I like to try it on its own first.  :)

 Flower buds

I used the recipe that I used in the fried Dandelion post: 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt.  I would have liked the battered ones better if I had flattened them out a bit more and fried them more crispy, but they were still good.

Boiled flower buds, top of plate, and battered ones. 

I found this web site about making Milkweed Capers from flower buds.  (click here)

Milkweed Pods

A few of these were a little big and tough, but 
most of these were nice and tender when cooked. 

Reminds me of a fish inside.  Looks like scales.  :)
Nice and white and soft inside.

Immature seed pods are edible.  When they get bigger, they get tough.  The best ones are under 3 inches or so.  You can boil them until tender or fry them in a little butter or oil.  I tried them both ways.  The boiled ones were pretty good, but I didn't like them sauteed in butter so much; and I normally love things prepared like that.  I still prefer young Milkweed greens to the pods.  When picking the pods, if the insides look dry, they are too old.  They should be soft and white with no brown.  The whole pod is edible, including the silk and seeds.  Some people boil them for a few minutes and then stuff them with other things.  Some say they taste like asparagus or okra.  I'm not sure how to describe the taste.  You will have to try them for yourself.  :)  The silk can be boiled with rice and is said to look like mozzarella cheese in the rice.

When I first try something new, I like to try them plain to
really get a good idea of the taste.  I think these would be 
very good in recipes.  These were boiled/steamed.

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