Wise Woman Herbal Ezine

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  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 10:37 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Green blessings of abundance to each of you on this fine solstice day!

    We celebrate the longest day. We acknowledge the growing dark. The sun king dies. Millions of tree leaves stretch to the sun. What has been planted and tended now develops and ripens.

    We wish you could come to the farm to play with the baby goats. There are wonderful classes this weekend – A Day with the Trees on Saturday and Hands-on Great Remedies on Sunday – and there is still room for you to join the goats and us. 

    And if you can’t, here are some photos of our new babies to delight your heart.

    I will be teaching at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors the weekend after that (July 1) and hope you can join me for a special weed walk. We’ll participate in talking stick, learn how to commune with the plants, talk about green blessings and even pick a wild salad for our dinner with wonderful art and permaculture folks. 

    Meanwhile, the wild cherry tree is throwing cherries at us. Seriously. Come on! Let’s pick (and eat!) some. 

    Watch out for the nettle. It is large and lush and flowering profusely. Too late to harvest now. But we keep a patch that we cut monthly for soup, so we always have some edible (non-flowering) nettle on hand.

    The second week of July is the time to kick back and relax with the goats, your inner goddess, and green blessings. Green Witches play together for four days of sisterhood, singing, and fun. This event includes a special trip to Gretchen Gould’s Herb Hill, where we will harvest St. John’s/Joan’s wort flowers and many other medicinal plants and turn them into medicine. There are still a few places left if you are thinking of joining us. 

    Of course, we will be making wild salads at all these events. It is summer solstice, after all! Here are a few of the many plants we are enjoying in our solstice salad. 

    Green blessings are absolutely everywhere.


  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 3:18 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Wild Salad

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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 3:06 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Poke Sallet

    Poke Sallet, I am told, is an old French word which means “cooked green.”

    Poke sallet is a fleeting pleasure, for the poke greens must be very young – not much more than shoots – to be safe to eat.

    You can see that the shoots I have picked are not much taller than my hand span.

    Preparation is simple: I cut the poke shoots into bite-sized pieces and put them in a saucepan.

    Meanwhile, the teakettle is put on to boil. When it boils, I pour boiling water over the cut poke shoots in the sauce pan and put that on the fire and bring it to a boil and discard the water, which contains substances that inflame and irritate the entire digestive system.

    I do this three times – discarding the water each time– before I am content to finish cooking the poke greens to the desired tenderness. It is traditional to serve Poke Sallet with bacon fat or “drippin’s.”


    ~ Wild Salad ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:59 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Daylily Leeks

    All daylilies are edible, but not all lilies are safe to eat. Although I use the abundant and common (throughout the northeast) orange-flowered ones in this recipe, any color day-lily will do, wild or  cultivated.

    Daylilies make so much of themselves that they often crowd themselves out. Harvesting some of the stalks at the beginning of the growing season will improve the health of the plants and may increase the size of the flowers.

    Here are a bunch of daylily shoots ready to prepare. They certainly look a lot like leeks, a close relation, but their taste is much sweeter and only a wee bit spicy.

    Cut the daylily shoots as if they were leeks. The thin slices can be added to salads for textural crunch and sweetness, or lightly sautéed (like the cattail shoots) and served as a side dish.

    Many recipes call for using the daylily roots rather than the shoots. While they do taste good, I rarely eat the roots. They are hard to dig up; while it is simplicity itself to break off shoots.  And, I find the roots far too laxative for my system. Sensitive folks may even feel some loosening in their stool from eating the shoots.

    ~ Poke ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Hops Asparagus

    Hops shares a family with Cannabis, and like its sister, has separate male and female vines. Herbalists use the unfertilized female flowers, which are loaded with resin. No matter what your hops vine is though, the shoots are edible, and taste a lot like asparagus. I can usually harvest enough new shoots for a tasty treat every two weeks throughout May and June.

    Here is a nice bundle of hops shoots. I have harvested them by breaking them off the stalk. Like asparagus, the tough stalk is too fibrous for my taste. I just like to eat the tender growing tip, about 3-5 inches.

    Poisonous plants can grow in among the edible ones, so keep your eyes open. Here are several shoots of bind weed (wild morning glory) mixed in with the hops.  It wouldn’t kill me to eat bind weed but it wouldn’t be pleasant.

    I saute the hops shoots in half butter and half olive oil for about ten minutes or until tender, adding a splash of tamari as I serve them.

    ~ Daylily ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:48 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Cattail Side Dish

    Part, 2

    Then slice the white center into thin rounds. The green parts of the leaves that are tender are edible and may be included.

    Heat a fat of your choice – bacon fat, butter, olive oil – in a skillet. Add the cattail slices when the fat is hot and lower the heat.

    When the slices are soft and some are a little brown, they are ready to eat.

     Serve your cattail slices as a side dish over rice or beans or any vegetable. Although they look a lot like onion, they don’t taste spicy at all. The taste is rather bland and a little sweet. And very easy to enjoy.

    ~ Hops Asparagus ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

     Cattail Side Dish

    Part 1

    One of the oldest surviving family of plants is the Typhaceae, the cattails. Euell Gibbons dubbed them the “natural supermarket.” The Boy Scouts claim to be able to make “anything” from cattails. Though tough and fibrous, all parts of the plant are edible. And the leaves can be woven into bags, baskets, and mats, which can be used for clothing and shelter. 

    If you look online, you will find dozens of recipes for cattail dishes, many focusing on the roots, which are starchy and potato-like. Because there is far less cattail in my area than there was even twenty years ago, I treat it like a mildly endangered plant and avoid disturbing or harvesting the root.

    Instead, I pull the shoot, leaving the firmly-anchored root in place. Here is a bunch of cattail shoots ready to be prepared for our meal.

    The first step is to cut off most of the leaves. Then treat the cattail shoot like a leek, slitting the heavy green layers so they can be peeled away leaving the sweet white center.

    ~ Cattails, part 2 ~

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:35 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Green greetings to you all.

    It’s almost the end of the merry month of May, the month when the fairies come out to play. The moment the fairy gate opened, the fairies beckoned to the leaf buds, and the leaves unfurled. Then the fairies stirred the roots, and shoots shot up. The fairies danced, and mushroomed bulged from the earth. The fairies sang, and flowers in all the colors of the rainbow bloomed.

    Late May is a great time for adding wild plants to your salad. There’s lots of chickweed and dandelion, garlic mustard and violet leaves, five-finger ivy and wild mint to bring green blessing to your salad bowl.

    It’s a wonderful time to experiment with new wild foods, too. I believe that eating wild foods is vital to optimum health. Wild foods give us healthy doses of soil bacteria and other micro-organisms that make the gut optimally healthy, and this translates into less diabetes and fewer chronic diseases. Wild foods are usually richer in minerals and anti-oxidants, reducing muscular and skeletal aches and pains and protecting us against cancer. Wild foods make our cells fall in love again. We are re-wilded when we eat wild food, even one bite. And we are rewired into the Earth matrix when we eat wild food regularly.

    Here are some shoots of early summer – cattail, daylily, hops, and poke – to experiment with.

    Have reservations about eating wild foods on your own? Join us for the Green Witch Holiday.  We pick wild salad every day, and eat lots of other wild things, including mushrooms. In addition, we spend an entire day making herbal remedies at Herb Hill with Gretchen Gould, purveyor of fine infused oils. Do join us.

    Green blessings are everywhere, and many of them are delicious.


    ~ Cattails, part 1 ~

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:06 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Steven Foster and Susun Weed 2017

    Friends in the green for forty years. I love you Steven.

    Our First Wild Salad of 2017

    With the help of the live-in apprentices, the live-out apprentices made their first wild salad Easter weekend. It contains lettuce, garlic mustard leaves, cronewort shoots including rhizomes, creeping jenny in bloom, wild chives, wild madder tender tips, dandelion leaves cut finely, periwinkle blossoms (no more than 2 per person per day), and forsythia flowers.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:46 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Goat Walk

    The fence protects my baby hawthorn (Thank you Eagle Song!) from the depredations of the goats (and the deer). That is why it is twice as big this year as last year. Way to grow hawthorn! (To be continued.) Meanwhile, I am swooning over the fresh hawthorn berry vinegar Rebecca gave me (Thank you Rebecca) and anticipate the day when I will have fresh hawthorn berries of my own.

    Looking down into the mullein mandala is a favorite meditation. I find the pattern soothing, like mullein is soothing to respiratory tissues. Find mullein mandalas by looking for the dead stalks of last years plants sticking up (or falling over in some cases). There is still time to make tincture of the leaves to counter coughs next winter.

    This basket of dandelions greeted me when I got to FireOmEarth the beginning of April. Lorna whipped up a simple pesto of the leaves with garlic, olive oil, and salt. Delicious. We soaked the stalks in cold water to make a digestive remedy. And we washed up the roots and made them into a delicious spring tonic: Dandelion Root Vinegar.

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