I give you EVERY seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and EVERY tree that has fruit with seed in it as well. They are ALL yours for food and medicine. ~ Genesis 1:29
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in today’s post I thought I’d share a few crazy “foodie” things that Vinny and I discovered on our property, and how we are using them.
The “Bad Boy” Trees
When I first saw all the black locust trees we had up near the front of the property, I was disappointed. Even though they also go by another, more sweeter name, “Acacia,” the word on the street about these plain looking trees with thorny branches is that they are bad. “Invasive” is the more exact word. Popping up quickly after you cut them down, shooting up baby trees from their roots. Well, while that’s true, for those who need a source of fast, renewable firewood – they are a DREAM tree! :-D And, black locust is one of the best wood to burn because of how long-lasting it is, too. What a gift is planted right here for us.
But that’s not all. The flowers are incredibly fragrant and delicious! They smell like grape candy, and taste like a sweet pea. We’ve been eating them raw in our salads and mixed in oatmeal. Apparently they make awesome fritters, jelly, and even wine. We haven’t tried those yet, but we did make a delightful cold soup with the flowers, blending them up with yogurt, almond milk, cattails (or cucumber) and some lemon juice & dill.
And this oh-so-sweet article (among many others on the subject): http://mimithorisson.com/2013/05/29/acacia-flower-fritters/
Unfortunately the flowers only last a week or two – so it’s a season in life you have to grab a hold of. Next year we may just have to throw an Acacia celebration here! (Perhaps we were always meant to eat, and celebrate, around many of these seasonal ‘gifts’ of nature?)
Cats Cats Cats!
I actually put that that three times in the title above for a reason. Because very recently we:
- Inherited my Mom’s *very* chatty indoor CAT. (Yay, us!) Such a perfect thing for tiny house people to have. :-o
- Caught & ate our first little CATfish from our pond. It was so delicious!!
- Pulled up and ate CATtail shoots. Also delicious!
Cattails are one of the best wild foods there is. Edible and useful during it’s many stages of life – there are tons of resources online about them. For one thing, the green tops (before they turn fuzzy), I have found excellent cooked and enjoyed like corn on the cob. And recently we plucked some out of the water (it is a clean water source where we have them), and peeled the leaves off the bottom section to get to the tender white “pith” shoot in the center. It is very refreshing raw – like a tender and seedless cucumber.
By the way, Vinny wants to make weaved baskets and mats with their long leaves, like the Native American’s did. When he someday sits in a rocker and has nothing else to do. ;-)
The Age of Valerian?
I find it strange that all the years I’ve been observing and studying wild edibles, I never noticed this plant before. But out here, and right now, it’s profusely everywhere – it’s very tall, skinny flowers stretching high for the sky. (Some have white flowers while some light pink) They are along the roadsides, in the hedgerows, and there’s even a whole field of it nearby!
I wonder if there’s a Divine-induced reason for it’s ubiquity right now?
Anyway, Valerian is a well-documented plant that has been, since ancient times, used primarily as a sleep inducer, and to soothe anxiety and even pain. (Interesting that these are big problems in our society now). We’ll have to wait until the late fall (when roots have the highest storehouse of benefits) to try and tincture the roots for this purpose. Meanwhile the leaves and flowers are said to give a similar, but much less potent affect when steeped as a tea.
While currently we don’t have any sleep or anxiety problems – I think it’s wise to dry the leaves soon, to at least have on hand.
But I’ll try to hide it from my cat though. When I brought the plant in and showed him the leaves – he went ballistic! I thought it odd – but then later read that Valerian has an opposite affect on cats! It reacts to them like catnip.
And rats too. Supposedly in the original story of the Pied Piper, he actually had valerian root in his pocket!
I guess I’ll try to avoid doing that, as I don’t want to attract rats.
Or zany cats.
But meanwhile, we are enjoying the discovery of wild, amazing, and useful plants in “Our Little Eden.”
I’m sure I’ll be back with more!
P.S. Because Valerian stems are stiff and hollow, they make fun party straws, too! :-O