Geographical Variation in Nutritional Content of Baobab

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The baobab (Adansonia digitata, Malvaceae) tree is indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa and is an important source of food and economic generation. Leaves, fruit, and seeds are eaten, and timber, fodder, and fibers from the tree are marketed. With roles in traditional medicine, culture, and religions, it is widely considered a sacred tree and often allowed to thrive in agricultural lands. Baobab is known to be high in vitamin C and other nutrients. However, nutritional studies on baobab vary greatly by sourced material and analytical methods. In addition, data on nutrients from east and south African baobabs have not been previously reported. Therefore, the authors analyzed fruit pulp and seeds from 17 populations in east, south, and west African nations (Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi) to determine if the region of origin affects nutrient content.

Provenances were from 8-1114 meters above sea level with rainfall of 463-1125…

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New event scheduled! Old Growth Forest Hike & Spring Water Gathering

Greetings!

I am excited to announce that I will be leading the Old Growth Forest Hike & Spring Water Gathering during the weekend of August 25th and 26th at Cook Forest State Park.  And of course, I’d love for you to join us!

If you’ve never experienced the magnificence of Cook Forest, it truly is one of the most remarkable natural areas in Pennsylvania.  This particular ecosystem encompasses one of the last remaining old growth forests in the entire eastern United States, currently hosting 11 old growth areas that total over 2,300 acres.  One of these areas within the park, the Forest Cathedral, contains arguably the finest concentration of old growth trees in the northeastern United States.  This special area is home to dozens of old growth eastern white pine and hemlock trees, many over 300 years old and towering above 140 feet in height!

In this event, we will hike and explore the Forest Cathedral surrounded by Pennsylvania’s tallest and oldest trees while discussing:

  • Edible and medicinal plants
  • Edible and medicinal mushrooms
  • Tree identification, along with edible and medicinal uses
  • Medicine-making using wild plants and mushrooms
  • Natural history of the area

…and lots more!

For the second part of the event, we will visit a pristine spring to gather wild Pennsylvania water straight from the source.  As you may or may not know, I’ve been harvesting wild water from springs all over the country as part of my personal health strategy for several years, championing the idea that nature’s wild water can provide the perfect alternative to other conventional hydration strategies (tap water, bottled water, commercial filters, etc.).

During this second part of the event, we will discuss the benefits of drinking wild spring water, the importance of developing your own personalized water strategy, and locations of other fantastic springs.  You are encouraged to bring your own collection vessels so that you can harvest fresh, clean spring water following the event.

Interested?  Here are more details:

What: Old Growth Forest Hike & Spring Water Gathering
When: Saturday, August 25th OR Sunday, August 26th
Where: Cook Forest State Park, Western Pennsylvania
Time: 12:00 PM — 5:00 PM

The program is geared toward adults and will entail moderate hiking (about 1.5 miles).

Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space is limited and registration with payment in advance is required to secure your spot.

To purchase your ticket, and to learn more about the outing, please visit the following link and choose the appropriate session:

Old Growth Forest Hike & Spring Water Gathering

I’d love to see you there!
—Adam Haritan

Now’s The Time To Harvest This Great North American Superfood!

Greetings!

I’m excited to partner with Forager’s Harvest in Bruce, Wisconsin for an evening mushroom walk on Thursday, August 9th.  We’ll explore the area in search of summer mushrooms, as well as identify mushrooms that participants bring to the program.  If you’re in the Midwest this August 9th, I’d love to meet you!  More information can be found here.

Next, let’s talk about foods that are super…

When many people think of the word “superfood,” images of expensive powders, fancy juices, and exotic herbs come to mind.

When I think of the word “superfood,” images of local plants, backyard weeds, and brambly fruits come to mind.

As nature would have it, North America (and every habitable continent!) is replete with a cornucopia of superfoods manifested as wild fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

The wild blueberry is one common fruit that, despite its ubiquity, is certainly a superfood in every sense of the word.  Tasty, abundant, and brimming with health-promoting compounds, its value to both humans and wildlife cannot be overstated.

I recently spent some time in the company of a few wild blueberry shrubs and decided to document the experience.  If you’re interested in learning why I recommend the wild blueberry as a regular component of the human diet (and garden!), check out the brand new video!

Have you been finding any choice edible mushrooms lately?  Here’s a list of 8 edible fungi you’re likely to encounter during the warmest weeks of the year… especially after a good rainfall!

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

Adam Haritan

Mahonia & Lavender Oat Bars: Berry Delicious! — Gather Victoria

Mahonia & Lavender Oat Bars …

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You may not have heard of Mahonia berries but I know you’d love them – and they’re likely growing near you. Mahonia japonica and Mahonia bealei are both extremely common ornamental shrubs found in a wide variety of urban spaces – and in early July both are laden with deep blue dusky berries hanging in fat grape-like clusters.…

via Mahonia & Lavender Oat Bars: Berry Delicious! — Gather Victoria

The Wild Mushroom That Tastes Like Garlic

By Adam Haritan

Greetings!

One of the best parts about being a nature enthusiast is getting to meet other nature enthusiasts around the country.  Over the next few months, I’ll be giving talks and leading walks throughout the Northeast and I’d love to meet you!  Here’s the most recent schedule of upcoming events:

July 20-21:  Shelly Conrad – Gary Lincoff 2018 Memorial Foray in Davis, WV
July 26-29:  NEMF Mushroom Foray in Geneseo, NY
August 10-12:  Mushrooms as Food & Medicine in Bruce, WI
September 7-9:  Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club — Fungus Fest in Twin Lake, MI
September 9:  Wild Edibles Walk & Mushroom Outing in Owosso, MI
September 21-23:  Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Prairie du Chien, WI

For more information on these events, check out the Learn Your Land event calendar.

Moving forward, let’s talk about the garlic mushroom.  This edible fungus smells and tastes like garlic, and you can use it as a substitute for garlic in meals.

Strangely enough, this alliaceous mushroom hasn’t made its way into supermarkets, though fortunately it can be found growing profusely underneath coniferous and hardwood trees around the world.  Perhaps it’s even growing in your backyard.

To learn more about this marvelous little mushroom, check out the brand new video!

Speaking of marvelous species, wild orchids are at the top of the list.  This particular orchid is blooming right now, though if you’re interested in observing its flower, be prepared to get your feet wet.  Check out this recent Instagram post to learn more!

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

-Adam Haritan

The Forager’s: Foraging for Summertime Herbs

The Forager’s: Foraging For Summertime Herbs …

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Go beyond the confines of the garden and into the wild to find some of nature’s most valuable medicine.

Summer is the perfect time to stock up on nature’s healing gifts. But all too often we walk right by these treasures, not recognizing them as valuable plants. Learning how to identify and then use a variety of edible and medicinal plants in your region can open up a world of botanicals, not only providing you with access to important medicine but also helping you familiarize yourself with the wilderness that abounds.

Five Rules for Sustainable Foraging

Before you head out into the fields and forests to harvest plants, you need to know a bit about foraging ethics, as well as the dangers that certain plants can pose. In an environmentally fragile world, you want to proceed without taking from nature in ways that are harmful.

  1. Properly identify the plant

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Getting to Know Lyre-Leaf Sage

Getting to know Lyre-leaf Sage …

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Having fallen into disuse, this North American species is making a comeback thanks to some notable herbalists and a nod from the Herb Society of America.

Graceful, light-blue wildflowers border the roads and cover swaths of meadows in periwinkle, from the Mid-Atlantic to Missouri and from Florida to Texas. Known as “just a roadside weed” or invasive species, lyre-leaf sage has a lengthy history. A much-valued wild edible and medicinal plant of indigenous people, and a time-honored remedy in the southern folk traditions, this North American sage has been chosen by the Herb Society of America as the Notable Native Herb of 2018.

lyre leaf sage

Lyrata in the Garden

A beautiful, wild, flowering plant, lyre-leaf sage {Salvia lyrata} is part of the Lamiaceae {mint} family along with rosemary and oregano, and it’s closely related to garden sage {Salvia officinalsi}.

The only sage native to the United States, it has reportedly grown as…

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Wild Food Profile: Milkweed + Fried Milkweed Pod Recipe

Wild Food Profile …

The Druid's Garden

Monarch catepillar enjoying a milkweed feast--they know the good stuff when they see it! Monarch caterpillar enjoying a milkweed feast–they know the good stuff when they see it!

I love the summer months for foraging wild foods.  One of my very favorite wild foods is Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca).  Around here, the pods are just beginning to form–and its a great time to explore this delightful wild food.  They have a light vegetable taste, maybe something like a sugar snap pea–very tasty and delicious.  In fact, this is one of the best wild foods, allowing you to have four different harvests from the plant at four different times during the spring, summer, and early fall.

Ethical Harvesting and Nurturing Practice

With the excitement of harvesting from common milkweed, however, comes a serious responsibility.  New farming techniques over the last 20 years have eliminated many of the hedges that used to be full of milkweed.  Because of this issue, the monarchs have been in serious…

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Southwest Gardening: Sacred Mesquite ~Recipes

By Crooked Bear Organics

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Mesquite grows well in desert areas from the southwestern United States to the Andean regions of South America. Traditionally, native peoples of the Southwest depended on mesquite. It provided food, fuel, shelter, weapons, medicine, and cosmetics. As times changed, and as refined sugar and wheat flour became staples, the role of mesquite was diminished.

mesquite flour

Mesquite meal was once made by hand-grinding the plant’s seeds and pods on stones. Now modern milling techniques speed up the process, grinding the entire mesquite pod at once, including the protein-rich seed. This produces a meal that is highly nutritious as well as very flavorful. The meal ground from the pod contains 11 to 17 percent protein. High lysine content makes it the perfect addition to other grains that are low in this amino acid.

mesquiteflourfinal400

http://www.mesquiteflour.com/

Although desert dwellers used mesquite pods as a source of food for centuries, when you order and use this product…

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Blackberry and their Folk Traditions

By Elder Mountain Dreaming

Elder Mountain Dreaming @ gmail

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain –We have lots and lots of Blackberries bushes and hedges that grow all around Elder Mountain. We collect the fruit for eating, the leaves for an herbal tea winter remedy and the twigs for a folk smudge stick. I love blackberries in the mid to late summer and they are known to be a main source of summer nourishment for local bears. I thought I would research some Blackberry traditions and folklore so you can have access to use them in your Summer endeavors.

Edible and Medicinal, the blackberry has uses in both Native American lore and Western Europeans for centuries. It has a long history of healing female disorders and being used in spells for protection from ghosts and vampires. Used in syrups, teas and pies, blackberry leaves are cooling and the roots are astringent. Often used to treat sore throats, wounds and…

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