Wild Food

//Wild Food

A Tasty Weed for Eating: Chickweed

By |June 21st, 2012|

Chickweed is a tasty nutritious weed. Many of the weeds in our garden are food that I include them in my meals and let some of them grow as real food in my garden. Those green leafy weeds like pig weeddandelion leaves, chickweed, nettleslambs quarters are actually nutritious.

‘Little star in the mist’ is the translation of this weed’s scientific name, Stellaria Media, though “chickweed” is the most common name. It’s no surprise it’s called chickweed since chickens love it so much!

Chickweed is Edible, Free and Tasty Too!
Chickweed is surprisingly delicious in salads,  I use my scissors to cut it before I dig it up so that the rest of my vegetables can easily grow.

 Chickweed for Health:

  • Chickweed has been used for indigestion and for coughs, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, stomach ulcers and as a “blood cleanser”.
  • Is a tonic, diuretic, demulcent, expectorant, and mildly laxative.
  • Is often an ingredient in herbal weight loss preparations.
  • Relieves itching and inflammation.
  • Sometimes used topically to alleviate itching from insect bites.
  • Can be used as a cream for rashes and eczema, easing itching and inflammation. As it is soothing and moisturising for the skin, it is an ingredient in some skin care products.

    Note: There has been very little scientific research done on this wonderful weed to validate its effectiveness for medicinal uses.

Folklore Uses for Chickweed:

  • Chickweed is used as a tonic, diuretic, demulcent, expectorant and mild laxative.
  • Chickweed water is an ‘old wives’ remedy for obesity.
  • It is often an ingredient in herbal weight loss pills.
  • Chickweed is soothing and moisturising for the skin, and is an ingredient in some skin care products.
  • It has been used for indigestion, for coughs, rheumatoid arthritis and stomach ulcers.

Nutritious Chickweed:
It is rich in minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium, silicon, copper and iron). Also, contains vitamins A, B and C, flavonoids, carboxylic acids, PABA and omega-6 fatty acid.

Chickweed Caution
Chickweed contains nitrates, which can be harmful in large quantities.  Also, there are poisonous weeds that look a little like chickweed.

Two ways to avoid chickweed look-alikes:

1. Chickweed doesn’t have milky sap.
2. Chickweed has one line of hairs on its stem that changes sides with each pair of leaves.

Chickens like this weed so much which is why it is called chickweed!

Chickweed Trivia

  • When it is going to rain, the chickweed leaves fold up.
  • Chickweed originated in Europe; now it can be found all over the world, even in Greenland and the Arctic Circle.
  • Chickweed likes to sleep in, so its blossoms don’t open until late morning.

Free Chickweed is Tasty:

Chickweed is great in salads especially as an addition to other greens like lettuce and arugula and it grows profusely in my garden. I take scissors out and cut it before I did it up to let the rest of my vegetables grow. No worries about there being a shortage.

Add it to salads or sandwiches instead of lettuce
Chickweed grows almost everywhere! It is very easy to pull up as it grows in clumps of bright green with tiny white flowers. I simply add them to my salads and occasionally to soups, steamed vegetables and stews.

OK, now you know about a weed that you can eat. So get out there and harvest this free food. While you are at it, harvest some more free food such as pig weed, dandelion leaves, nettles and lambs quarters.

Here is a yummy salad I made with the chickweed I harvested. I used half of the above for this salad.

Dandelion Root Coffee

By |June 11th, 2012|

dandelion coffee

  1. Find dandelions which should be easy. The best plants are at least two years old because big roots are the best. Autumn is a good time to harvest as they have been storing nutrition in the roots all summer.
  2. Dig up dandelion roots using a narrow trowel or you can use a shovel to loosen the roots. If there is not enough in your lawn, go to a country place where weed killers are not used. Best not to go to city parks as they often do use weed killers.
  3. Soak the roots in water to loosen the soil. […]

Dandelion Tea

By |June 11th, 2012|

dandelion tea

You can easily make a dandelion with dried leaves from the plants which are full of nutrition.

Ingredients:

Dried dandelion greens
Water
Lemon
Honey

Directions:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add 2 Tbsp dried dandelion leaves per cup of boiled water.
  3. Cover and it steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp. of lemon water and honey to taste.
  5. Enjoy your cup of tea.

Dandelion Flower Health Benefits

By |June 4th, 2012|

In the west, we consider dandelions to be weeds, but in many societies, this beautiful flower is considered an important medicinal herb. It also tastes great!

The following list of benefits is only for the yellow flowers.  The root and the leaves have even stronger properties and are more fully researched.

Possible Health Benefits:

1.  Source of antioxidants.

2. Relieve pain from headaches,  backaches,  and menstrual cramps

3. Relieve stomach  cramps.

4.  Relieves depression.

5. A chemical compound known as helenin  may be the cure for those with a problem of reduced vision in the dark.

6.  Flowers also contain Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 which are also good the eyes.

7.  In 1956, Chauvin demonstrated the antibacterial effects of dandelion pollen, which may validate the centuries old use of dandelion flowers in Korean folk medicine to prevent boils, skin infections, tuberculosis, and edema and promote blood circulation.

Interesting Facts and Trivia:

  • Botanical name is taraxacum officinale
  • Was brought to the United States originally from Europe and Asia, and was transported for its health benefits.
  • In French they are called pissenlit – literally ‘bedpissers’, an homage to the plant’s diuretic properties.
  • Other names of this plant are:  Blow Ball Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Pissabed Priest’s-crown, Puff Ball,  Pu Gong Ying,  Pu-kung-ying,  Swine Snout, Telltime, White Endive, Wild Endive
  • The syrup is sweet, yet tangy, with strong herbal, honey-pollen, and citrus notes.

Make into an herbal tea by steeping several in hot water.
Homemade wine can also be made from the flowers I hear.

What Diana does with the flowers:

Recipes:
Dandelion Flower Pancakes
Dandelion Flower Syrup
Dandelion Flower Cordial

When there are dandelions around first thing in the spring it is time for a Spring Cleanse

Spring Cleanse

10 Dandelion Root Health Benefits

By |June 4th, 2012|

The dandelion Root is a very economical herb considering that it is a weed that most of us dig and get rid of! I have been eating it for years.

Dandelion is a great spring tonic for our bodies; it helps the transition from winter to the warmer season, by nourishing and balancing the blood so it will flow better and keep us cooler in the summer season.

10 Health Benefits of Dandelion Root:

  1. Widely recognized as a liver tonic as it nourishes the liver.
  2. Because of its high iron and zinc content, dandelion root is often used as a treatment for anemia.
  3. Has mild laxative properties and is often used to help maintain regularity.
  4. Recognized as a great blood builder and for the liver.
  5. Aids skin problems as well as detoxify poisons and toxic waste in the body. […]

Dandelion Flower Cordial

By |June 3rd, 2012|

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 Tbsp dandelion syrup
1 slice of lemon

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Drink.
Learn about all the benefits of Dandelion Flowers
Here is another great recipe for dandelion flowers:  Dandelion Flower Cornmeal Pancakes

Dandelion Flower Syrup

By |June 3rd, 2012|

This is a great treat from your weeds and it is so easy to make.

Pick your dandelions before mowing the lawn or digging them up for dandelion coffee. Or go out into the country and pick them in the wild away from pollution. Never use ones that have been sprayed with weed killer. My hands get all yellow from the picking.

Dandelion Flower Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup of dandelion flowers
1 cup water
1 cup honey
3 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Wash the flowers and spin dry them like you would lettuce.
  2. Cut their base to detach the yellow petals from the green leaves; you only want the petals as the green part is bitter. You can do this by hand but it is faster with a knife.
  3. Place the flowers in a pot with 1 cup of water; I use filter water.
  4. Mix well until all petals are covered.
  5. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Then simmer on very low heat for 25 minutes.*
  7. Strain the liquid from the flowers into a second pot.
  8. Add honey and stir till melted.
  9. Now mix in lemon juice.
  10. Let cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator; the honey acts as a preservative.

* OR Out in a jar and put in the fridge overnight to steep like tea, bringing the flavours out of the flowers.

Make Dandelion Flower Cordial for a refreshing beverage.

Check out Dandelion Flower Cornmeal Pancakes

When we see dandelions in the spring it is time for a Spring Cleanse

Eat, Pray, Love…WEEDS

By |July 25th, 2011|

dandelion weeds

What do you do with weeds?

EAT as many weeds as you can stomach. 

PRAY they don’t take over your lawn or garden. 

LOVE them?

Weeds are some of the most powerful, vigorous, and nourishing plants on the earth.
Wouldn’t we all like to “grow like a weed’?

Eat Weeds:

If you bother to walk out to your lawn or garden;  you can probably find enough weeds to solve many of your health problems.

  • Dandelion leaves for example have much more nutrition than any of  the lettuces you can buy in the supermarket and most of the other greens also.  It’s at a great price too….FREE! […]

Dandelion Flower Cornmeal Pancakes

By |June 3rd, 2011|

This recipe really is my version of pancakes as you will notice that it has no milk or eggs in it.  I developed it when I was unable to eat eggs or milk at all due to food sensitivities.  Interestingly whenever I make these pancakes no one seems to notice the lack of these two ingredients.

This is perhaps one of the only recipes that have wheat flour in it at this moment. I apologise if this doesn’t work with you. I am working on a wheatless version.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup Soft White Whole wheat flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour or soy flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cups water
1/4 cups dandelion syrup
1/2 cup dandelion flowers (yellow part only)
Almond oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients together.
  2. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients.
  3. Pour water into the center.
  4. Mix together with a large wooden spoon.
  5. Mix only until moistened – taking care not to over mix (small lumps are normal).
  6. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the batter into a hot oiled frying pan.
  7. Fry on medium heat.
  8. Turn when bubbles form on top and brown the other side.
  9. Serve with dandelion syrup.

Other recipes with dandelion flowers:

Dandelion Syrup

Dandelion Flower Cordial

SASKATOON CRUMBLE

By |August 17th, 2010|

As you will know by reading my article The Best Berry, Saskatoons are my favorite and I am happy to eat them just as they are.  For fun I do enjoy a crumble or pie so here is the yummy crumble recipe.

SASKATOON BERRY BASE […]

Saskatoons are the Best Berries!

By |August 2nd, 2010|

Saskatoons are my favourite berry and I go out picking them as soon as they are ripe. I freeze lots of them to last the whole winter. If you cannot pick them; you will often find them in farmer's markets.