Violets are Delicious

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education for The Western Reserve Herb Society unit of The Herb Society of America

violet bouquetOne of the loveliest flowers of spring is the Viola odorata or as it is commonly referred to, the “Sweet violet.” Violets have been used in herbal healing remedies for centuries, in fact St. Hildegard of Bingen, the famous 12th century German mystic and healer, was said to have made a healing salve of violet juice, olive oil, and goat tallow for its use as a possible anti-bacterial.

I use violets whenever I can for their healing virtues, and they are also an absolutely delicious ingredient in salads, drinks, and desserts. Back in the day, violet flowers, and leaves mixed into salads were one of my favorite spring remedies for pre-menstrual melancholy. When chopped liberally into extra virgin olive oil with some fresh comfrey leaves, they make a poultice that can…

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Make Your Own Paints from Local Rocks: Watercolors, Oils, and Egg Tempera from the Land!

The Druid's Garden

Local Iron Oxide taken from a mineral spring, crushed, ground, sifted and made into paint! Local Iron Oxide taken from a mineral spring, crushed, ground, sifted and made into paint!

When I walk along the landscape here, I am greeted with the deep oranges and yellow oxides of our soils laden with heavy amounts of clay and iron.  These colors are reflected each time I dig into the subsoil, and as I drive through the countryside where mountains were cut through for roads. In other places, I might be greeted with reds, blues, or greens, all reflected in the geology of the land. Each region carries its own colors, and you can find the palate of the land in every stream bed.  Even an hour drive in any direction puts one in a new geological region–and this changes the colors of the stones and the soil.   You might think about these colors like a language–each landscape has its own language that you can learn to…

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On The Hunt For Wild Edible Spring Mushrooms (New Video!)

Greetings!

Before I share this week’s new video with you, I wanted to let you know that there are only 3 days left to enroll for Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  Whether you’re interested in foraging mushrooms for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, this online course covers the most important lessons to get you started and to keep you going!

Foraging has led to profound impacts on my life (e.g., better health, deeper nature connection, lasting friendships with other nature enthusiasts), and I’d love for you to experience the same.

To learn more about the online course, you can follow this link:  Foraging Wild Mushrooms Online Course

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

After months of low-to-no activity put forth by the fungal kingdom, it’s nice to finally observe a variety of familiar spring mushrooms appearing like clockwork. All it takes is a bit of rain and warmth to turn even the most fungally-barren tree stump into a treasure trove of mushrooms overnight.

I recently spent some time in a tulip tree grove in search of mid-spring fungi and thought I’d film the experience.  If you’re interested in seeing which mushrooms made it into the frying pan that fruitful day, check out the brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching… and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushooms — Online Course Registration Opens Next Week!

Greetings!

I’m extremely excited to announce that registration for my upcoming online course will be open next week on Monday, May 6th.

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is a four-season course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, this online course covers the most important lessons to get you started and to keep you going!

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 65 brand new videos that cover all the essentials when it comes to foraging wild mushrooms, including mushroom ecology; mushroom biology; common edible mushrooms; medicinal mushrooms; poisonous mushrooms; cooking techniques; medicine-making; and more.

Upon registration, you can watch the videos at your own pace and you will have access to the course forever.

Please note that Foraging Wild Mushrooms will only be open for registration for one week only, from midnight on May 6th to Monday, May 13th.  After May 13th, registration will be closed.

If you’re interested in signing up for Foraging Wild Mushrooms, mark your calendar for Monday, May 6th and visit this link.

I’ve derived so much enjoyment foraging wild food and medicine from the fungal kingdom over the years, and I’d love to help you experience the same life-changing thrills too!

I hope to see you on Monday, May 6th!
-Adam Haritan

Dandelion, A Common Spring Garden Herb

Good Witches Homestead

Taraxacum officinale

Also, Known As:

  • Blow Ball
  • Cankerwort
  • Dandelion
  • Lion’s Tooth
  • Pissabed
  • Priest’s-crown
  • Puff Ball
  • Pu Gong Ying
  • Pu-kung-ying
  • Swine Snout
  • Telltime
  • White Endive
  • Wild Endive

The dandelion is a common garden herb, with easily recognized flowers. During the spring season, the leaves and the root of the dandelion begin to produce mannitol, which is a substance utilized in the treatment of conditions such as hypertension and a weakened heart in continental Europe – where it is often prescribed by herbalist for patients with these conditions. An herbal dandelion tea made using the roots and the leaves of the herb are good to take from about the mid of March to about mid-May in the treatment of such conditions. Prepare the herbal dandelion tea in this way, first, boil a quart of water in a pot, slowly reduce the heat and then add 2 tbsp. of cleaned and chopped fresh…

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Dandelions with Bacon or Ham Recipe

A Hundred Years Ago

Each Spring a primordial urge pulls me out of the house –paring knife and bowl in hand– to the weedy natural area at the far edge of my yard. Luscious green dandelion plants peek through the brown leaf-covered grass. The winter has been long and hard, and I desperately need to renew myself. The tender foraged greens are my spring tonic (as they were for my parents and grandparents).

People traditionally ate a very limited selection of foods during the late winter months, and often they were nutrient-deprived by April. Their bodies told them they needed the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants provided by the emerging dandelion leaves.

Since I’m a dandelion connoisseur (Is it possible to be a connoisseur of weeds?) , I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Dandelion with Ham or Bacon.

I made the ham version. The ham bits nicely balanced the slight bitterness of…

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Drinking in Spring: Red Flowering Currant Elixir — Gather Victoria

Right now in my back garden, a Red Flowering Currant Bush (Ribes sanguineum) is in full radiant bloom. Her drooping clusters of “soul-piercing pink flowers” are sending out an entrancing floral, fruity and spicy perfume. Which is probably one reason ethnobotanist and author Abe Lloyd describes the blossoms as “capable of transforming winter sodden pessimists…

via Drinking in Spring: Red Flowering Currant Elixir — Gather Victoria

Here Are 9 Wild Edible Mushrooms You Can Forage This Spring!

Greetings!

Before I introduce the new video, I want to let you know that I’ll be an instructor at the upcoming Blue Hills Forager’s Gathering along with Samuel Thayer and Melissa Price (Forager’s Harvest) and Ellen Zachos (Backyard Forager).  This event will take place the weekend of May 17-19th in Bruce, Wisconsin.

The Blue Hills Forager’s Gathering will focus on gathering and preparing meals from food we forage together during the weekend classes and walks, and people of all skill levels are welcome to attend.

If you’re interested in learning more about gathering and preparing wild edibles — all while spending time with an incredible group of nature enthusiasts! — you can find out more information here:

Blue Hills Forager’s Gathering

And now on to this week’s brand new video.

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who’s excited that spring is finally here.  There’s something about budding trees, budding plants, and budding mushrooms that brings immense pleasure to those of us very accustomed to months of cold and darkness.

To celebrate the birth of another growing season, I thought I’d film a list of 9 wild mushrooms that you can forage during the spring months.  These mushrooms are edible, they’re tasty, and they might soon be popping up in your neck of the woods.

Some of these species can be quite elusive, and if you want to learn some tips on where to find them, check out the brand new video!

In addition to fungi, spring ephemeral wildflowers are blooming!  Pictured here is a rare species that’s among the first to flower near my home, and it’s a plant I look forward to seeing every spring.  Have you seen Snow Trillium?  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more!

Thanks for reading and watching… and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Baked Eggs with Wild Garlic

Wylde and Green

This is a perfect Sunday morning breakfast, when you have the time to really sit down and enjoy it, and also the time to walk off the 1000 calories it is bound to have!

Spring is wild garlic season and this recipe really brings out the best of the flavor whilst still maintaining a delicacy. If you can’t get hold of any wild garlic the you can supplement for chard, and add chives and spring onions for the little kick.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100g wild garlic, thick stalks removed and finely shredded
  • 5 tbsp double cream
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 100g gruyere, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 sourdough bread, toasted, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Heat a knob of butter in a small, oven-proof frying pan and cook the chard with a splash of water, cook to wilt.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and stir…

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WILDCRAFTING: GETTING TO THE ROOT OF OUR ETHOS

Good Witches Homestead

Botany & Wildcrafting Course by Herbal Academy

We use the terms “wildcrafted” and “wild-harvested” when describing products. Specifically, this term refers to the aromatics – the essential oil scent blends that transport you to another place, another time and bring the mountains into your home.

Wildcrafting is not some trendy thing. In fact, humans have been wildcrafting since we could walk. The term, however, is new to our industry and to the vocabulary of consumers. Let’s explore what wildcrafting means to us.

Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting things in the wild for our use. Whether that comes in the form of decorative art (think bones, branches, grasses), wild foods (think mushrooms, berries, nuts), medicinal herbs, or aromatics, wildcrafting is done for pleasure, necessity and tradition by some peoples and to our great benefit.

In our case, we harvest aromatic ingredients to scent our bath, body and home products. Wildcrafting helps us absorb the beauty of nature…

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