Purslane Identification

Purslane Identification

Learn more about purslane and other common wild edibles at my upcoming web event, Eat Your Weeds! Registration closes Friday, July 27th at 12pm, so reserve a spot today!

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a common plant of open, sunny areas, such as gardens, yards, and roadsides. It’s not picky about its habitat— you can find it growing in gravel, sidewalk cracks, disturbed soil, and other “waste places.” It is commonly found across the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and all the southern Canadian provinces. 

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Elderflower: Three Variations

Elderflower: Three Variations

Midsummer is when a great variety of flowers are at the height of bloom. It is traditionally thought that many medicinal herbs reach their peak during this time, infused by the powers of the sun. Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) is one such plant. Though the berries are arguably the more popular product, the flowers themselves have numerous health benefits. And we don't have to wait until fall to pick them! Below are three recipes that feature this beautiful and healthful blossom.

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Spruce Tip Infusions

Spruce Tip Infusions

Spruce tips (Picea spp.) are an awesome spring-time treat! The new growth of the tree, they are tender, bright green, and pack a citrusy punch. The flavor is really surprising; it seems more like something you would find in a tropical climate than in the cold north. However, it doesn't last long— as the needles grow older, they harden and develop their characteristic resinous taste. They are probably out of season in most areas right now, but if you live in a colder climate (like me!), chances are you can still find tips that are young enough to pick.

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White Pine Vinegar

White Pine Vinegar

Infusing vinegar is an easy, safe, and fun way to preserve foraged items for future use. It also draws flavor from materials that you couldn't otherwise eat, perhaps because they are too tough or fibrous. Pine needles are a perfect example! You probably wouldn't want to eat them straight off the tree, but the citrusy, resinous flavor is an excellent addition to salad dressings, drinks, marinades, soups, and more. Furthermore, pine needles are high in vitamins A and C, and prevent and treat coughs and colds. But before we get into the infusion process, let's learn how to identify and find pine trees.

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Yew: The Hedgerow Poisoner

Yew: The Hedgerow Poisoner

Yew (Taxus spp.) is a good example of why eating samples of unknown plants is not always a safe practice. This shrub is commonly planted in front of houses, apartments, and businesses; however, nearly every part of the plant is extremely toxic. Just a few berries can lead to serious poisoning or even death. But don't let that scare you away from wild edibles! Yew is easy to differentiate from edible evergreens, as long as you pay attention to key identification features.

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