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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sun Chokes

Do you remember where you saw the wild sunflowers blooming in the summer?  Well I do!  I let them grow in my back yard and transferred some of the tubers to my garden.  They grow very tall so they make a good trellis for light weight plants that climb like peas.  Now in the winter it is time to treat yourself to the tubers that are right under the ground.  They look a little like deformed potatoes and can be fried like potatoes.  ( That is the way I like them best)  So if you miss having something to eat from the wild during the cold months dig some up!  I only dig a few each time as they are best

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Persimmon/Crab Apple Latte

When Scott and I went for a hike the other day we noticed there were tons of crab apple trees.  We know that they are kind of bitter so we weren't going to pick any but then we saw that there were over ripe ones ( squishy like applesauce in a handy carrying case :-)  Anyways, those were DELISH!  so we picked a bunch of them, added them to the bag of persimmons and came home.  This morning I made a wonderful, spicy persimmon, crab apple latte with cinnamon, cloves, red pepper.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Reading at the Phoenix Book End in Tulsa

Not sure which time slot I will be in at the moment but both Scott and I will be reading from our books, him from "These Stones" and me, from "Claire goes Foraging." November 14th.  Check their facebook page for updated times

Scott makes Passion Fruit Curd

We basically combined several recipes for this easy to make pudding

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I love the idea of painting small and getting something finished in just a day.  I also love any excuse to go walking in the woods and especially like it when I can grocery shop in the woods and at check out..... everything is FREE!  One of my favorite Oklahoma treasures that you won't find in the store, are persimmons.  This little painting is actually on my ebay auction this week along with some of it's brother and sister 6x6s.

To visit my ebay gallery

To visit my artist blog

Dang it... this isn't the one that is on auction but is one that is still available.  If I weren't so lazy I would go get it and take another photo... you can see it on the link to the gallery though.

Did you know.......?

Did you know that you can eat the leaves of both broccoli and sweet potato?  It is very common in African countries to eat the leaves of the sweet potato.  Who knew?  Like many of the root plants that are common in our diet, the leaves of them are not only edible but are often more nutritious than the root.  I have been eating these for several years now, right after I found out that I could have my garden plants doing double duty for me.  They can be eaten raw or used in soups and stews.  I usually chop them up very fine and take the big rib out of the broccoli.

Monday, October 5, 2015


 Drying some of the Lambsquarter seeds for winter use

Making chili and a last minute decision after finding sprouting violets decided to see how they taste.  Since I know that both the leaves and the flowers are edible, I think I can safely assume the sprouts are as well.  So browning the meat and then threw in some chopped leaves, sprouts and a bit of hot pepper too from the garden.

Making Passion Flower Curd

My husband is trying Jackie Dill's recipe for Passion Flower Curd.  It was delish!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Harvesting Lambsquarters for winter use.

I am getting ready to harvest the rest of my wonderful Lambsquarters to use later in the winter.  The leaves can be ground up to add to soups.  The seeds make a highly nutritious food staple for multiple uses in recipes. They can be harvested in the fall and ground into cereal or used as flour for bread. Similar to quinoa, lambsquarter seeds can be easily sprouted in one to two days. Add the sprouts to any meal to benefit from the rich nutrients.  Lambsquarter seeds also make great microgreens. They start out small and frail looking but given time grow into healthy plants with delicious flavor. My wild harvesting friends say to wait till the seeds turn a purplish color and sure enough I have one plant whose seeds have just turned a purplish red color so I will dry them now.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Foraging at the Tulsa Botanical Gardens

What a delightful day to take a walk.  We had a wonderful turn out for the foraging walk today.  We had great questions,  hopefully useful information shared and hopefully inspired a few people to take a closer look at their own back yards and discover the bounty of wild edibles.  One of the questions asked was " What websites might we check when researching wild edibles that grow around Oklahoma?"  Here is a great one with a trusted author.  Jackie Dill has been mentoring many of us through out the years.  From time to time you can of course, check Claire Goes Foraging for in season recipes, foraging walks etc too. 

Thanks to Lori and Margarette at the Botanical Garden, we all enjoyed a refreshing glass of sumac tea at the end of our short walk.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Foraging walk with Margee Aycock and Jess Fussell at Tulsa's Botanical Garden in September

Mark your calendars for Sept 19th from 10-11.  Jess Fussell and I will bring examples of plants that we might find on our walk and then we will embark on a wild plant scavenger hunt.  I will have copies of Claire Goes Foraging for sale at the event. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Make your own Ginger Beer and Kambucha

Did you know that you can make your own Kambucha and Ginger Beer?  They are both probiotic drinks that you can make yourself very easily.  I had to google a few recipes and then have been tweaking those to my own taste.  We don't need to be drinking very sweet drinks so we add only enough sugar for the yeast to create those wonderful fizzy bubbles we like so much.  The ginger beer isn't considered an alcoholic drink.  I suppose if you left it long enough maybe it would become so but it is a quick process that only takes a few days.  Ever since I learned how to make it, we have had it in the fridge all summer, and now it is joined by Kambucha.  I like the kambucha because I can experiment with left over fruit and garden goodies ( mint, ginger ) in the 2nd fermentation to get interesting flavors.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Letter to Tulsa World

Another point of view on : Summer herbicide treatments can control nutgrass, June 20.
Many of the same people who would be first in line to point the finger at those who destroy the diverse ecosystem of the rain forests are also first in line to destroy the diversity in their own back yards.
In a recent Tulsa World article, a master gardener answers the question of how to destroy nutgrass in our lawns.  I wonder if the better questions might have been, first, “Is nutgrass edible?” And then. upon finding that the both the tubers and the seeds are edible, the next questions might be, “What is the nutritional value of nut grass tubers/seeds and how might I incorporate them into a meal?
I wonder what would happen if we started to rethink how we see our lawns.  If we shift from the  ‘not a blade of grass out of place,’ mentality to one in which dandelion, purslane, lambsquarters, nutsedge, woodsorrel, poke, are allowed to freely grow, we might find that we don’t need to water our lawns, we don’t need the expense of poisons, ( runoff from which are a contributing factor to the destruction of fragile ecosystems in our waterways) (see Tulsa World June 4 article on Crow Creek), and as a bonus, we have on hand a constant source of free, non GMO, uncontaminated, nutritional food.
I encourage all of you to preserve what has been given to us.  Take a moment to google the nutritional value of the above plants.  You are going to be surprised.  Purslane, for instance supplies more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green and tops the charts in vitamin A.  It is free food and it grows in your own back yard!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Eat your enemy from

I got this entire list from



The War on Weeds - Eating Your Enemy

strangling weed
I have had a lifetime of gardening and farming where weeds are only considered in terms of eradication. I had looked at these plants as an unwanted scourge on the landscape. Recently, I have come to appreciate their potential value as a green manure crop or for composting, as long as they are cropped before seeding. I have realised that nature abhors a vacuum so it will produce a groundcover of weeds if a vacuum is created. These plants photosynthesise and recycle nutrients and as a result they can actually improve soils with added carbon and minerals when they die. I have also come to understand that many weeds can be seen as a signpost for nutritional deficiencies or environmental imbalance. The weed seeds can survive for up to seventy years in the soil and they germinate when “ideal” conditions present themselves. This may be dry conditions, compacted soils, wet conditions, soil acidity, salt, or a lack or excess of specific minerals. However, I have never considered these yield-stealing competitors as potential food. It was a huge paradigm shift to walk in my garden and observe, identify and accept these former foes as friends. In light of my new-found interest in green smoothies I have been researching “wild greens” and their nutritional and therapeutic value. It was a major shock to find that some of my despised enemies, weeds that are abundant in my garden and on our research farm, are in fact edible and in some cases delicious. Not only that, but many of them are decidedly therapeutic and have been used in herbal medicine for centuries (prior to becoming “the wrong plant in the wrong place”).
Important: ensure you know your weeds before consuming them from your garden.
Chickweed – what the chooks can teach us
This creeping, small leaved pest with a tiny white star shaped flower infests my paths and gardens and it apparently acquired its name because it is a favoured food for chickens. Many plants favoured by birds and animals are also beneficial for us and if other creatures are particularly keen on a particular plant we should probably investigate the food and therapeutic potential. I have often plucked huge dandelions from a clay bank leading to the chook house and have mused at the fact that the chooks seemed to favour these “weeds” over nutritious vegetable scaps from my garden. We will consider dandelions later but at this point we will look more closely at why chickens gobble up their namesake.
Chickweed is rich in minerals (including calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, silica and selenium) and it also contains particularly high levels of vitamin C and an important essential fatty acid called GLA. It must be remembered that these wild plants have never been hybridised, with the often associated, negative impact on nutrient uptake. Their reputation as a problem plant is often linked to their seeding efficiency. In this case, chickweed produces up to 15,000 seeds per plant and these seeds can survive for decades in the soil. The plant is constantly flowering so it becomes difficult to control. This pest-like capacity has nothing to do with the plant’s food potential. The leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten in salads, lightly steamed with other greens, steeped in hot water for ten minutes to make chickweed tea or, of course, they make a perfect additive to your green smoothies. Chickweed is a liver tonic, diuretic and an expectorant and it has been traditionally used to help clear congestion. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities and it is a herb that is commonly used in weight loss preparations. Many of the health claims attributed to chickweed seem linked to the abundant GLA component. Research has shown that GLA can clear congestion, control obesity, reduce inflammation, temper water retention and it can also serve as a liver tonic to reduce damage associated with alcohol.  The good news about chickweed is that it tastes great, costs nothing and it can so easily become part of the all-important “variety” that can magnify the health impact of green smoothies. It is critically important that you have accurately identified any weed before consumption as some weeds are toxic. One of the tell tale identifying features of chickweed is a ridge of tiny hairs that runs up one side of each stem and this line of hairs changes sides at each leaf juncture.
Purslane – a medicinal succulent
Most of us are familiar with the powerful health benefits linked to the leaves of succulents like aloe vera and yucca and many are discovering the taste treats from the antioxidant-packed harvests from dragon fruit. However, few are aware of the suite of benefits associated with a common weed called purslane. This is a member of the portulacaceae family and is also called wild portulaca and verdolaga. There are some vibrant coloured, prolifically flowering, hybridised portulaca but these do not contain the nutrition found in the wild variety. Hybridisation is often about selecting for one set of characteristics at the expense of another. In this case there are many more pretty flowers on the hybrids but the nutritional profile has dramatically changed.
Purslane comes from India and it was a favourite food of Mahatma Ghandi. It is also a sought-after component of Greek and Asian cuisines and it is even available in cans in some regions. This plant has only recently caught the attention of nutrition researchers but some of them are now claiming it to be the most nutritious of all green vegetables. This seems like a pretty big claim but it certainly caught my attention. I have been burning my purslane for years as, like all succulents, each leaf can grow a new plant, and I was not sure that composting would destroy this regenerative potential. I will be harvesting it for the table in future!
Purslane contains higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable, an amazing 350 mg per 100 grams. The vast majority of us are in need of omega 3 fats. These fats are the building blocks for the anti-inflammatory stage of our natural healing process. The healthy omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is 2:1 but the Australian average is an unhealthy 20:1. Omega 6 fats are the building blocks for inflammation and inflammation is linked to all degenerative diseases. We all need to reduce consumption of margarine, cooking oils, fast foods and feedlot beef and increase the amount of omega 3-rich foods in our diet. This free weed is more cost-effective than salmon!
Purslane also contains one of the highest levels of vitamin A (1350 IU’s per 100 grams) of all leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a powerful, vision-enhancing, antioxidant that is very protective of mucus membranes. One US study showed high doses of vitamin A were more effective than flu vaccinations. This fat-soluble protector stores in the body for up to three months with the potential of flu protection for that period.
Purslane is extraordinarily alkalising. In the NTS health workshops, we find that the vast majority of participants are acidic. Acidity breeds disease in plants, animals and humans, so the consumption of alkalising foods and the correction of mineral deficits (involving the alkalising minerals) is an essential health strategy. It is the luxury levels of the key alkalising cations, magnesium and potassium, in purslane that is driving the alkalizing effect. 100 grams of purslane contains 17% of the magnesium RDA and 13% of the potassium RDA. Purslane is also rich in iron (25% of RDA per 100 grams) and every 100 grams also supplies 35% of the RDA of vitamin C.
The recognition of the alkalizing benefits of purslane is not a new thing. King Henry the 8th was renowned for his excesses in all things including food and partners (and his treatment of those unfortunate wives). He suffered badly from the acidity-related disease, gout, and his favoured tool to counter the ravages of this painful disorder, was purslane.
Purslane features luxury levels of the two potent antioxidants, beta-cyanins and beta-xanthins, which have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties. It contains high levels of vitamin E and impressive levels of glutathione - a cell regulator, blood cleanser and prime liver detox agent.  Purslane also contains high levels of the sleep-promoting, antioxidant, hormone, melatonin. One wonders how such a special plant became a weed in our part of the world.
The leaves, stems and flowers of purslane are all edible and they can be stir fried, juiced, eaten in salads and included in curries. Once again they also make a nutritious inclusion in green smoothies.
Dandelion – the magic bullet weed
The botanical name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which literally means “official remedy for disorders”. It turns out to be an accurate description of a remarkable herb when we see that dandelion is one of the top six herbs in the Chinese herbal medical chest and has been ranked in the top ten in several other cultures. Even the 1984 USDA bulletin called “The Composition of Foods” listed dandelion in the top four green vegetables in terms of total nutritional value. It could also be seen as nature’s remedy for calcium deficient soils, as the dandelion grows where calcium is deficient. It accumulates calcium from deep in the soil and deposits this most important of all soil minerals in the top layer when it dies. The earthworm, with its calciferous glands, teams with the dandelion to serve as nature’s lime supply when man has neglected the task.

Dandelions feature the richest source of beta carotene of any green vegetable and they contain the third highest source of vitamin A (Haytowitz and Mathews). They are also a great source of fibre and protein and they are an exceptional source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin. The Russian chemist, Gerasimova, also found they contained a rich lode of trace elements. In fact, he suggested that this plant contained a unique balance of nutrients in ratios that perfectly suited the human organism. Hippocrates talked about food as medicine and yet we somehow let this amazing medicine slip to the rank of an unwanted weed.

Despite the impressive nutritional profile of this plant, it is the huge array of phyto-chemical constituents in dandelion that are the biggest contributors to the success of dandelion as a medicinal herb. In 1985, the researcher, C.Hobbes, analysed and reviewed these beneficial compounds. They include inulin (a prebiotic that stimulates probiotic gut organisms), and the memory enhancer, choline.  The potent flavonoids, apigenin and luteolin in dandelion are anti spasmodic, antioxidants that protect the liver and strengthen the heart. The high pectin content complexes metal irons and helps detox heavy metals. Several triterpenes are present which stimulate bile manufacture. One study reported a 100% increase in bile production with the use of dandelion leaves as a supplement and that figure was quadrupuled when the roots were used. This powerhouse herb also contains several sesquiterpene compounds that contribute to the bitterness of the plant and the related effect upon digestion, spleen, liver and gallbladder (think “Swedish Bitters”).

The dandelion research is compelling. Italian researchers found they could half the cholesterol level of those with liver ailments, when supplementing with dandelion. The Japanese filed a patent for the use of dried dandelion root as an anti-cancer agent. Romanian scientists found dandelion to be a more effective diuretic than two popular patented drugs and they also found that the high potassium levels could serve to lower blood pressure. In fact, dandelion can improve bone density, enhance liver and kidney function, aid weight loss, help control blood sugar levels and fight acne. The problem is that, unlike the other “weeds” we have considered to this point, dandelion does not have a great taste. In fact, it is decidedly bitter. It can still be used as a tangy salad green, like sorrel or radicchio, or it can be steamed or stir fried with other greens. However the easiest way to include the leaves, roots or flowers (all active) in your diet, is to include them in your green smoothie and the sweet fruit component will mask the bitter tang.
You could even make your own herbal tincture using either the roots or the leaf. This is not as difficult as it might sound. It simply involves chopping up the leaves or roots and placing them in a jar full of vodka diluted with 50% water. Seal the jar, shake it a few times and then leave it sitting on the shelf for a month and you have a dandelion tincture. One teaspoon, twice a day of the root tincture is reportedly a remarkable liver tonic and a similar dose of the leaf tincture supports optimal kidney function.
Wandering Jew – the creeping salad
wandering jew
I have an entire bank infested with Wandering Jew. I have laboriously removed it each month only to find that the creeping subterranean roots have refired their vegetation and returned my shrubbery to a weed patch, a couple of weeks later. When I began researching these incredible edibles I wandered into the garden, plucked a couple of leaves from the pest and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted at least as nice as any salad vegetable. A little Nutri-Salt™, olive oil and balsamic and it is delicious. My next query related to the nutritional value. It doesn’t have to contain much to better the salad staple, iceberg lettuce. This plant offers little more than a crunch in your green salad and if that iceberg is grown hydroponically then it offers crunch at a cost. Hydroponic lettuces are jam-packed with toxic nitrates and contain very little of anything else.
The edible wandering jew weed is not the same species as the popular house and garden plant. That white flowering species is from a genus called Trandescatia, and it is both inedible and toxic, while the blue flowering ‘weed” is called Commelina cyania or Native wandering Jew. It is also called “the scurvy plant” because early settlers in Australia ate this vitamin C rich plant to alleviate scurvy. This plant is native to the East coast of Australia and Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands and there has been no research conducted into the nutritional and phytochemical constituents. It is a bush food that was favoured by aboriginals for thousands of years but that is all we know. Rapid growing, chlorophyll- dense plants like this are often nutrient-rich but the fact that it is so pleasant flavoured is enough to encourage me to make this plant a regular inclusion in my green smoothies and salads.
Plantain – the prime fodder crop as a herbal healer
Plantain is a remarkable herb that somehow became a “weed”. A flurry of recent research has determined that this former pasture weed is, in fact, considerably more nutritious than ryegrass and clover. It is a mineral accumulator with a deep-feeding tap root that thrives best in rotational grazing situations (where it is less likely to be outcompeted by rye grass). The ‘originals’ grew in soils lacking phosphorus and potassium and this still applies to wild plantain. However, the hybrid pasture plants have been tuned to flourish in all conditions. The mineral-rich leaves offer other benefits beyond weight gain. The phytochemicals in this herb provide reduced incidence of dags and scouring and there is also a reduction in the parasite burden. The herbal benefits of this plant become much more profound when considered in relation to humans. Here are just some of those benefits:

The Top Ten Benefits Of Plantain
  1. Plantain is part of a group of around 100 plants that are termed “alteratives” in the science of herbal medicine. Alteratives correct ‘impure conditions of the blood and the eliminative tissues and organs”. These herbs cleanse the blood and tone the liver and kidneys. In the case of plantain, the roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can all achieve this purpose.

  2. Plantain is a very effective diuretic used to counter water retention and associated kidney and bladder problems. Diuretic herbs must usually be accompanied by a demulcant – another herb that coats and soothes the mucus membranes and protects the kidneys. Plantain is rare in that it is a demulcant and diuretic, in one.

  3. Plantain is a vulnerary, which means it is a herb that prevents tissue degeneration and arrests bleeding. These plants are commonly used to speed the healing of wounds. Like comfrey, it contains a substance called epidermal growth factor, which can be used to repair damaged tissue, treat bruises and heal broken bones. Unlike comfrey, plantain can be easily found around streets, playgrounds and sports grounds so it can be a handy first aid tool.

  4. Plantain can be used as an anti-venomous herb and its easy availability makes it an invaluable aid in the advent of a snake bite or insect bites on the farm or in the garden. It can ease the pain of poison ivy and other stinging plants and it is remarkably effective in the control of even the most stubborn itch.

  5. Plantain can be used to treat many skin disorders. Senchina evaluated 175 herbs in terms of their relative value in treating dermatitis and he placed plantain in the top ten in his list of the 25 most effective herbs for this purpose. Renowned herbalist, Christopher Hobbes, rates plantain as his number one topical herb for skin complaints followed by aloe vera, calendula, gotu kola, Oregon grape root, St Johns Wort (another “weed”), chamomile and lavender.

  6. Plantain tea or juice can be used to heal burns including sunburn and scalds. The celebrated USDA botanist, James Duke, notes that plantain is second only to aloe vera as a popular folk remedy for burns (although aloe has been better researched). Once again, this ‘weed’ is much more available than aloe so it has great first aid potential.

  7. Plantain eases the cough reflex and suppresses the production of mucous. It can be useful in asthma, bronchitis and hayfever and it can be an exceptional natural remedy to counter the common cold.

  8. Russian scientists have recently discovered that plantain can be useful for weight loss. The plant contains mucilage which serves as an appetite suppressant while also reducing the intestinal absorption of fat. If plantain is used as a regular ingredient in green smoothies, you can access this amazing suite of diverse benefits while also shedding some excess kilos.

  9. Plantain can serve as a treatment for digestive ailments. When taken internally as a tea or in green smoothies, this herb is an effective remedy for diarrhea, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other problems. Two teaspoons of seeds soaked in water will have a laxative effect similar to psyllium (to which plantain is related).

  10. Plantain is anthelminitic which means it can kill intestinal worms. This is how it reduces parasitic pressure in livestock when it is present as a pasture species.
Plantain was introduced to Australia and New Zealand by European settlers who valued the plant’s culinary and medicinal uses. The natives of both countries called the plant, ‘White Man’s Foot”, in reference to the fact that it appeared wherever the newcomers settled.
Plantain is a great addition to salads and stir fries and it can be steamed as a substitute for spinach. Harvest the young leaves before they get tough. This plant can be a wonderful green smoothie additive and you can make your own herbal tincture by combining the root, leaves and flowers in a mixture comprising 50% vodka and water. Leave on the shelf for a few weeks and you have a multi-purpose herbal tonic.
Plantain is a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C and beta carotene along with great levels of trace minerals, mined with that long tap root. The suite of protective phytonutrients found in this herb include allantoin (heals wounds and speeds cell regeneration) and acubin (a powerful anti-toxin).
Cobblers Pegs – More Than a Sticky Seed
cobblers peg
This weed (Bidens pilosa) thrives on parts of my property and it may well be linked to a lack of calcium and a poor calcium to magnesium ratio in the affected areas. The seeds latch on to clothing, fibre and fur and are difficult to dislodge. The plant is often called “farmers friend” in relation to this ‘tag along ‘seed, but these plants are hardly endearing when they contaminate wool, pets and clothing. Cobblers pegs are widely eaten as a food plant throughout Africa but in my opinion, they do not have a great taste due to the presence of a range of volatile chemicals. Their presence can be easily masked when they are a component of green smoothies or they can be boiled to improve the flavour. It is probably better to think of this weed as herbal medicine rather than a culinary delight. Traditionally, this herb has been most effective as a decoction. A decoction varies from a herbal tea in that it is produced from actually boiling the plant rather than simply adding it to boiled water. A strong decoction of this plant has been successfully used by herbalists to treat inflammation.
Cobblers pegs are rich in iron, zinc and calcium and the protective chemicals present include flavonoids, aurones and flavone glycosides. Recent Japanese research on this herb reveals that it is anti-microbial and it can be beneficial in the treatment of malaria, allergies, inflammation, diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Not a bad package for a despised, nuisance weed. It is important that you are careful about the location of the plants you choose to harvest as this plant has been found to be a cadmium accumulator. In fact, it can be specifically used to remove cadmium from contaminated soils. Cadmium is a common contaminant of soluble phosphate fertilisers and it remains in the soil for up to 1000 years. It is a good idea not to harvest cobblers pegs from soils with a history of heavy phosphate fertilising or from industrial or roadside locations where they may have been contaminated.
Yellow Dock /Curly Dock– Loving Your liver
yellow dock
The liver is the settling pond for contaminants in the environment and in our diet. In a world with tens of thousands of registered chemicals, this organ is often overworked and under nourished. Dr Sandra Cabot’s book, “The Liver Cleansing Diet”, remains the largest selling of all health books in Australia because most of us need to nurture our livers a little more. Alcohol and drugs (prescription and non prescription) also contribute to liver stress. There is a long herbal tradition involving treating and cleansing the liver and recent research confirms that certain herbs can be powerfully effective. The two most popular liver tonics can be accessed free of charge as they involve the common “weeds”, dandelion and yellow dock. The botanical name for both yellow dock and curly dock is Rumex crispus. The leaves have a tart, lemony flavour that is a delicious additive to salads. This plant (like many others) contains oxalic acid so it is not recommended to use large amounts of the leaf on a regular basis. The leaves are rich in iron and they contain a biochemical that also enhances the uptake of iron, so they are often used to address anemia. However, it is the tap root of this plant that is a revered digestive and liver tonic. The root is boiled to produce a bitter flavoured liquid that has exceptional therapeutic qualities. Alternatively, the root can be added at 5:1 with vodka to produce a powerful herbal tincture. The dock root enhances three key functions relative to digestion and liver health:
  1. One of the most important benefits of the yellow dock root relates to its capacity to enhance production of hydrochloric acid. Stomach acid is essential to break food down into particle sizes that can be fully utilised by the body. A tremendous number of people are under producing stomach acid with serious consequences. Aside from the associated digestive discomfort (which mirrors over production of acid and is often misdiagnosed), this deficiency is a digestive handicap which limits your access to the minerals in your food and, most importantly, it inhibits your capacity to utilise the protein in your food. The immune system is protein-dependant so there can be serious ramifications. Yellow dock root can restore acid production and address this malabsorption issue.

  2. Dock root also increases bile production from the liver and gallbladder and it serves as a mild laxative to remove bile after it has served its purpose. Increased bile production has also been linked to increased uptake of minerals in food. We can be eating highly mineralised food and dropping countless supplements but “we are what we absorb” and absorption is seriously compromised in the absence of both stomach acid and bile. This is why a chief symptom of low stomach acid is a lack of response from supplements.

  3. Dock root is a blood cleanser which removes toxins from the blood and lessens the load on the liver. Many liver detox regimes include yellow dock root for this reason. The liver tonic effect reduces problems associated with poor liver function like headaches, acne, irritability and mental lethargy.
Yellow dock root is also an anti-inflammatory and it can be used topically and internally for this purpose. The diuretic and laxative properties of dock root increase both elimination and urination and so can help with water retention, constipation and the removal of toxins from the body. Conditions like eczema and psoriasis can be addressed through this toxin removal. Yellow dock root is particularly high in bioflavonoids and it is the inflammation fighting capacity of these biochemicals that is responsible for the plant’s anti-arthritic benefits.
In Conclusion
Many so-called weeds can provide amazing sustenance and therapeutic benefits. An understanding of this potential is increasingly relevant in light of the likelihood of economic chaos in the near future. You can live for free on these easily found sources of food and you can also treat multiple remedies with this natural medicine. There are a few cautions if you become a wild food fossicker. If you are seeking out these herbs outside of your own garden, you need to be sure that they have not been sprayed with chemicals. This will usually be the case in a well groomed council park or garden, for example, but it is much less likely in more rugged woodlands and less tended areas. Roadsides can also be a problem if they receive regular herbicide treatments. If you have no choice, it would be a productive strategy to collect these plants from dubious sources and replant them in your garden. The next generation will be free from herbicides, dog urine or other contaminants. You can also source plantain seed from rural stores and plant this remarkable herb in your vegetable garden. I trust that this information may help you reclaim responsibility for your own health. This is a critically important step when we are mired in a symptom-treating health system where prescription medicine is now our fourth largest killer.
*Disclaimer: Information in this article is a guide only and you should seek professional medical advice prior to undertaking mineral supplementation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

foraged pesto

I was planning on making some pesto and on my way to the basil in the garden I noticed a few other things that I thought I might add to my pesto.  Top left to bottom right:
basil, garlic, smartweed
purslane, lambsquarters, wood sorrel, poke

I will not cook any of these EXCEPT the poke.  You must cook poke in boiling water and pour off the water before using.  Many people say to do this 2-3 times.

This mixture will add nutrients to an already delicious mix.... oh I also will add Parmesan cheese and a handful of whatever nuts I have on hand.  serve over pasta or create your own pasta from your favorite summer squash.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Poke, Lambsquarters, Sorrel Curry

Here is what I am making for dinner.  I already boiled the poke for a minute to wilt and then poured off the water.  In a separate pan I sauteed the onion, garlic and other greens.  I also added a bit of cauliflower and broccoli florets ad peanuts just for fun.  After sauteing for a minute I threw in the Poke and added a bunch of curry powder, fresh ginger, some hot chili sauce, coconut water, a sprinkle of sweetner, and voila!  dinner is served.

Foraging for the evening meal

To Bid

To Blog

This painting started out by using a master work as a jumping off point.  Originally this girl was in a cathedral or castle and holding something totally different.  Since I like being outside and in the woods, and I like foraging, I thought I would put her there as well.  She has been out gathering greens for tonight's supper.  Can you see the fiddle heads?  The dandelion leaves?  Anyways she is actually residing above the fireplace in my house but would be happy to move to yours... To bid, click above.  It will take you to my ebay auction and also give you access to my online Ebay Gallery, Store.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Recent Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David P. Crass on March 18, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This little book can be deceiving. With its soft focus, gentle paintings and its storyline, it initially came off, to me at least, as a book describing days gone by, a charming reminder of wonderful, simple joys some people had growing up. But it's really about looking at one's present day neighborhood and yard in a different manner than what most of us do, of seeing what may look like weeds as bits of a natural garden. It also includes recipes for using one's foragings as a salad. Reading this book left me with a question; can one can be nostalgic for the present day?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas C. Gronberg on January 13, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful, engaging, warm book with clear, helpful information about foraging and nutrition, including recipes. It would be most satisfying in printed format, which would do more justice to the paintings than an electronic format can do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Dill on January 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A wonderful book for children, well written and educational. For those wanting to share with their children the world of wildcrafting and foraging this is a book that will start you off in the right direction. Jackie Dill, Heritage Wildcrafter
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Monday, June 1, 2015

Too pretty!

It was too pretty today to pass up an opportunity to paint.  I took my dog for a walk down on the back 40 and then decided that the weather was perfect, the scenery was perfect, the birds were singing and so we hiked back to the car, went home, got painting supplies and hiked back down to paint.  A beautiful day to identify numerous wildflowers and paint them too!

Friday, May 29, 2015

A different way to see

I was out in the garden yesterday and picked lettuce and some spinach.  I noticed purslane growing in with the basil, sorrel and lambsquarters growing in with the lettuce and dandelion and poke scattered around as well.  I wish people would stop seeing this stuff as weeds and realize that they grow without any help from you, provide food during more than one season and plant themselves again for the following year.  Why would I dig or pull these things up?  I no longer do.  I bring the sorrel in to add to my mint tea and pestos, lambsquarters for anthing that uses greens including salads, purslane for fresh salads and poke for cooked greens and to freeze for the winter.  We need to start seeing things differently if we expect these valuable plants to survive corporate farming. My garden probably doesn't look as organized as those with out a weed and everything in its proper rows but I have decided to see it as useful and beautiful as it is. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This is what I like to hear. Get those kids outdoors and observing nature.

I met someone the other day who bought my little children's book on foraging.  She said she read it with her boys and the immediately asked her to take them out to forage and they did a little more research and found red bud pods that were brand new.  They brought them in and cooked them 3 different ways as an experiment.  That is exactly the kind of response that I was looking for.  That made me so happy! :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

What to do when it is a rainy day...

Today I completed the task of making a home made healing balm with plantain and comfrey soaked olive oil.  Added a little vanilla, cloves, coconut oil and bees wax and there ya go!  I added the vanilla and cloves as an afterthought and I am glad I did.  It not only feels good, it smells good too :-)

Also got a bit of oregano and wood ears out of the dehydrator and packed them away for later use as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A work of art from the garden

Did you know there are lots of flowers that you can eat?  Can you guess which ones I found to put in this salad?

If you guessed roses, you guessed right.  I think I threw in some dandelion petals too but you can't really see those.  De-lish!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mulberry Tree

Sometimes the question pops up... " Should I pick it, or should I paint it?"  That was the case the other day as I climbed the steps to our little tree house garage apt. to check out the mulberry tree.  They are nearing ripeness but still white.  In the mean time I had a flash back to when I was a young girl who loved to climb trees and sit in the tallest branches.  Soooo I decided to paint the tree instead.  It is almost finished but not quite.
Oh, and on my second day out I tasted the white mulberries and they were delicious.
Maybe now...
Would you like to bid on this painting?  It is on ebay right now for a few days
To bid

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wood Ears

A recent trip to the woods brought me several pounds of wood ears.  These are wonderful mushrooms that once cleaned and dried are easily stored in air tight bottles for winter soups.  Several pounds dried turned into a few ounces! 

I soak these for a while and clean them very carefully as they often have little worms or other bugs hiding at the base.  No problem.  Rinse them off, cut them in slices and dry in the dehydrator.  From what I understand they are better once they are dried and then re-hydrated later.  My research told me the Japanese highly prize this mushroom for soups.  I used mine all winter long that way.  Oh, if you have tons of mushrooms and are running out of ideas, my sister suggested that you grind the dried ones into a powder to add to almost any sauce or casserole.

This time of year you have to do a tick check upon arriving home around these parts.  Only one tick after 2 trips into the woods.  not bad.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Poke Sallet, Wood Ears and Honeysuckle

Yesterday I came across a ton... well maybe not a ton but several pounds of wood ear mushrooms.  I threw them in the dehydrator last night and have a nice bunch of dried mushrooms for winter soups ready to put in cans.  A trip to the alley behind my house brought in a nice haul of poke sallet.  While there I noticed a bunch of honeysuckle growing.  I think I will make another stab at honeysuckle jelly.  In the mean time a first cooking of poke w lots to freeze and some for supper too!

Honeysuckle, Rose Petal Jelly

I love Google.  I googled a recipe for honeysuckle jelly and decided to add a few rose petals for good measure and color.  I thought I had everything covered and went to get the pectin and mine was powdered and the recipe called for liquid so I did some very quick reading and my fingers are crossed that it will jell properly.  If not, I will do the old trick with cream cheese w jelly poured over it, served with crackers and just say, " I meant to do it." :-)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eating Flowers

Did you know that there are a lot of flowers that are edible?  The easy ones are veggies in your garden that have gone past their supposed usefulness and are headed to seed.  I have been picking turnip, arugula flowers this week for salads and greens.

Other flowers available right now in your yard, garden, tree are redbud blossoms, violets and even the pedals of dandelion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Paw Paw

I took a walk last night at the Gilcrease Museum and I am glad I did.  I have tried to plant native species of edible plants and trees at my own home and have a couple of paw paw trees.  They do not grow like a weed... they have been in the ground for several years now and have grown very little and have never, to my knowledge, produced a flower. Gilcrease Museum has a wonderful Native American and pioneer garden hidden at the end of a nature trail through the woods and past the ponds.  They have planted and labeled many native species that were used by early settlers and Native Americans.  Anyways I noticed some interesting deep violet/maroon flowers hanging from a tree and took a closer look.  They had a VERY UNUSUAL scent.  Almost like a vegetable smell.  Anyways they were beautiful and were reminiscent of flowers in the night shade family.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dandelion, Redbud, Mint tea

Easy ... get a handful of dandelion blossoms.  Take the green part off so you only have the yellow part.  a handful of redbud blossoms, some fresh mint and a slice of ginger.  I added one bag of green tea too but you don't have to.  Add boiling water and let it cool for about 5 minutes.  Strain off the blossoms, add ice and a little more water if you want for delicious iced tea.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Red Bud Flowers are edible and pretty!

There are lots and lots of edible flowers.  Some of the first to arrive in the spring and very plentiful, I might add, are those of the redbud tree.  I hear the pods produced later in the season are also edible and are similar to pea pods but I can't attest to that yet as I haven't tried them.  ( I will)   But in the mean time I will be adding the delicious flowers to brighten my salads.  Notice also the sprouts of the pea plant included in this pretty salad. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Local Book Sellers

Those of you who live in Tulsa and want to pick up a copy of Claire Goes Foraging for your young ones can find it at Decopolis, The Bookend at Phoenix, Grumpy's Garden, Trinity Book Store.  And the rest of you can always find it on Amazon or right here on my blog.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Edible and Available right now

There are several edible weeds growing in my back yard right now.  If you don't poison your yard, I bet you can find these in your yard too.  Personally, I don't like the flavor of all of these plants but you could certainly throw a handful in a soup or smoothy and never know the difference.  Can you identify any of these plants?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I knew I was always happier when there was dirt under my fingernails :-)

Apparently it is true.... there's some antidepressant stuff in the dirt but you have to get your hands dirty to get the full benefit.   :-)

Gathering Herbs

I was listing some paintings on Ebay today and ran across one of my favorites.  This painting was inspired by a walk in an ancient forest in Oklahoma and by a Waterhouse painting.  The painting was one done as I lead the class through the process of painting a portrait in my adult oil painting class.  Instead of putting my subject inside a building as Waterhouse did, I moved her outside, into the forest and gave her a job to do.  She has been out gathering spring greens and herbs.  If you want to visit her in my ebay gallery click here.