Posts tagged plant
Basic Herbal Preparations with Motherwort

Learning a few different herbal preparation methods goes a long way in making them more accessible. While teas and tinctures can be costly when bought at a store, harvesting and preparing your own is cheap or free. And you get the added bonus of working directly with the plant!

In the article below, I explain some basic herbal preparations using the plant motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) as an example. (These preparation methods also apply to other plants, of course.) I also quickly go over identification features and medicinal properties of motherwort, but I encourage you to follow the links provided and learn more!

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Seasonal Recipe Ideas for Summer

Summer is here and the vegetation is bountiful! In the Twin Cities area, several greens are at their prime, including lamb’s quarters, amaranth, and purslane. Flowering herbs are also at an ideal stage for picking, and berry season is just starting to kick off. With so many wild edibles abounding in yards, parks, and gardens, now is the perfect time to harvest to your heart’s content! However, you should strive to use everything that you harvest, instead of forgetting about it and letting it rot in your fridge (which I have definitely been guilty of!) Having a list of recipes or go-to dishes makes it much easier to churn through your wild harvests, and enjoy the gifts of nature’s garden!

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At Home Tree Tapping-- Part Three

The weather is warming up in the Twin Cities, and tree tapping season will soon be over! Here is part three of a video series about tapping maple trees at home for the sap. This one is about end-of-season clean-up. Part one covers putting the tap in the tree, and part two goes over what to do with the sap. I will not be explaining how to boil down sap for maple syrup. Though it's a great practice that I encourage everyone to try at least once, this video series is designed for people who don't have the time or equipment to make syrup. Plus, maple sap is a great product in its own right!

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At Home Tree Tapping-- Part Two

It's tree tapping season in the Twin Cities! Here is part two of a video series about tapping maple trees at home for the sap. This one is about what to do with the sap. Part one covers putting the tap in the tree; and part three will go over end-of-season clean-up. I will not be explaining how to boil down sap for maple syrup. Though it's a great practice that I encourage everyone to try at least once, this video series is designed for people who don't have the time or equipment to make syrup. Plus, maple sap is a great product in its own right!

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Common Edible Plants of Cities

There are so many awesome edible plants growing in cities! Unfortunately, I can’t write about all of them, so I decided to narrow the list down to ten. Only ten! It was so hard to choose. I opted for diversity. This list includes a variety of plant forms— some herbs, some trees, some shrubs. It also has various plant parts— greens, flowers, fruits, seeds, and even sap! Finally, these plants are eaten in myriad ways— raw, cooked, made into tea, or infused. But they should all be easily found in most cities, and they are all delicious!

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At Home Tree Tapping-- Part One

It's still cold and snowy where I live in Minneapolis, but tree tapping season is right around the corner! (And currently taking place in some parts of the country.) Here is part one of a video series about tapping maple trees at home for the sap. This one is about putting the tap in the tree; part two will explain what to do with the sap; and part three will cover end-of-season clean-up. I will not be explaining how to boil down sap for maple syrup. Though it's a great practice that I encourage everyone to try at least once, this video series is designed for people who don't have the time or equipment to make syrup. Plus, maple sap is a great product in its own right!

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Juniper: An Aromatic Evergreen

As a child growing up in urban Milwaukee, family walks on Sunday afternoons were routine. I remember going by rows of neatly trimmed juniper bushes, and my father stopping us all as he picked a few leaves, crushed them between his fingers, put them to his nose, and inhaled. We were made to follow suit. The smell was strong but pleasant— resinous, slightly citrusy, and stimulating. To this day, I can’t resist picking small amounts of juniper and inhaling the invigorating scent.

Obviously I didn’t know this as a child, but those distinctive smells are essential oils, and they often signal important medicinal qualities, such as fighting infections in wounds and treating coughs, colds, or fevers. In fact, I didn’t even know that the plant was called juniper, much less realize that it was edible and medicinal. But that uplifting smell always stuck with me; and once you smell it, I’m sure it will for you, too!

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Identifying Plants in Winter

Wintertime in the north is often seen as barren: birds fly south, animals go into hibernation, plants die or drop their leaves and go dormant. The landscape often looks grey, empty, and bleak. However, for the adventurous naturalist, winter can be as great a time of learning and discovery as other seasons. It is possible to practice plant identification in the winter; in fact, I encourage it! Learning to recognize plants year-round is a valuable skill that helps improve your foraging practice. To that end, I have created a short guide on getting started with winter plant identification! Unfortunately I can’t provide a comprehensive manual to identifying every single plant you’ll find in winter, but I can provide general guidelines and recommend resources to learn more.

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