Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Land's Bounty

               DISCAIMER!  I am not a professional on plant identifcation!  These are simply my experiences and I can not be responsible for your choices.   Please make informed choices and do your research before eating any thing from the wild.   Be sure of what you are doing!

        No the garden is not producing yet, ours still has a couple weeks before we get any produce from it.  This year our garden is very slim. But next year we will have a much bigger garden that I’m sure will grow each year.  But even though we haven’t planted much the land has provided us with an abundance of good food.  We have been eating nettle, poke, sassafras, fish, elk, goat and blackberries.  We have had several meals that consisted of food we gathered or Super D hunted.   One such meal consisted of ground elk, boiled poke, and sassafras tea.  Everything we’ve gathered from the land we did our research for to know how to pick it, how to prepare it, and the benefits of it. 

Poke is a plant that grows in this part of the country, most consider it a weed.  It is NOT safe to eat raw.  It will make you sick.   Some do not consider is a safe plant to eat at all.  You will want to do your own research to make your own choices.  Here’s how we prepare and eat it.  We pick the smaller leaves as this plant can grow very tall.  It cooks down to almost half it’s original amount like spinach so pick twice as much as  you think you need.  Then get out a big pot fill with water and get it boiling.  Add the poke and cook for about 5 mins.  Make sure you drain off the water.  From all I read the poison that can make you sick is boiled out of the plant when you cook it. Most sites even say to drain the water and boil it twice.  We haven’t been boiling it twice and no one has gotten sick from it.  When it is full grown it has berries that are not edible!  The stem and berries turn a reddish purple color.  Poke pictured below.

Sassafras is a tree that at one time was used for tea and to make root beer.  The FDA has since outlawed it’s use for root beer.  They claim it contains a dangerous compound but upon further investigation they tested this compound alone on rats in extordinary amounts and found it did harm.  We decided that it was not a threat to us. We have picked the leaves to make tea.  Super D calls it root beer tea and really likes it.  (This man has never drank tea willingly until we moved here)  It does slightly have a root beer taste but not as sweet.  We even dug up some of the root and made our own homemade root beer.  It is very good!    We have Sassafras trees growing all over the border of our property. 

Small seedling trees that pop up close to bigger trees.

Roots I dug up.

Root shavings that we boiled to make our homemade root beer.

               Stinging Nettle is also considered a weed by some.  It is also an herb.  From what I’ve learned it is more nutritional than spinach!   This grows so very plentiful in by the rivers here.  It seems to like sandy areas to grow.  It is a plant that the locals and most avoid as when you brush up against it it has tiny little needles that stick to you and sting like crazy!  It’s also been called fire weed for this reason.  It has a powerful sting.  But if you pick it with gloves very carefully and boil it the chemical that causes the sting is broken down.  Nettle can be added to soups and cooked to other recipes.  I also pick it to dry and use as an herb in teas and infusions.  Sorry I don't have any pictures of Nettle yet.  Will work on that to add. :)
          There are many other herbs that grow around here but these are the ones I’ve learned about so far.  As I learn more I’ll share it!              We just got a book on mushrooms for a new adventure. 

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