The Wildly Preserved

My Wild Pantry

Part of the rhythm of seasonal living in my life, is enjoying The Wildly Preserved in the Winter months while waiting for fresh Spring Wild greens and Nature’s Wave to start rolling again.

In stark contrast to the availability of ANY produce at ANY time of year at the commercial grocery stores, Nature’s Supermarket is highly seasonal and each phase of green gifts is short lived.  Therefore to preserve the harvest for year round use the wild harvest needs to be: canned, salted, pickled, fermented, frozen or dried at the height of their energy.

 

Roasted Dandelion roots, Pine Cambium ground into flour, Purslane Pickle….

Preserving wild food that you foraged for yourself is highly rewarding, financially beneficial and a great way to always have a pantry or freezer full of wild nutrition!

Wild food is something I am passionate about and preserving the Wild harvest is worth all the time and energy it takes to do. There is something kinda magical about opening a jar of Autumn Olive Berry jam on a snowy day in January to spread on a slice of Acorn Sourdough bread baked fresh from your frozen acorn stores…sending wild fruit leather in a care package, eating Milkweed shoot pickles with a Burdock hamburger, melting frozen wild butter rolls into hot pasta, roasting October’s Chestnuts in Christmas stuffing, or baking a frittata with last Spring’s Poke leaves….

This video is a short tour of my wild pantry and freezer…

The Wild Preserved Harvest.

Preserved to Herb Around in Winter

Wild simple syrups make an awesome base for wild sodas or for pouring over pancakes

Saving some of the Herbing Around of Summer for the Winter months is another trick I’ve learned.  After harvesting fresh berries in July and August and wild fruits in September I freeze or dehydrate them to process later into jams, syrups, fruit leather when I have more time.  I just made syrups of my frozen wild Blackberries, High Bush Cranberries, Autumn Olive berries and then proceeded to take that sweet syrup and mix with the high pectin of my canned Crabapple sauce to make delicious fruit leathers.

 

Saving the work of destemming the bags and bags of dried leaves and flowers till Winter is another way to use time wisely.  After drying bundles of wild leaves and flowers I put these bundles into labeled paper bags to store till I have time to destem them and store permanently in jars for wild comfort and healing teas

Drying bundles of Monarda fistulosa didyma – fragrant Bee Balm

Two wild apprentices destemming Goldenrod to store

Other methods of preservation are:

Canning

Linda Runyon a famous forager who lived off the land for 13 years canned hundreds of jars of wild edible plants over a campfire and stored them in her underground ‘refrigerator’.  I can’t even imagine!  She had to provide for her family for the entire winter with only wild edibles preserved.  Here is an excerpt from her book, “Eat the Trees”.

“Back in the 1970s, I had moved my family away from hectic, urban living to the peaceful and beautiful Adirondack area of upstate New York. One summer I happily foraged and harvested many wild edibles I found all around me. I gathered enough nutritious bounty that summer to prepare and can 420 mason and atlas jars of food in the form of pickles, wild berry jams and jellies, cattail inner piths, milkweed buds, and other edibles that were suitable for canning. I had already collected that many jars for that purpose, so all I needed to get were new lids. When I was done with that process I stored the jars in my handy, insulated, 9 foot refrigerator pit that we had dug on our property. That many jars filled the entire storehouse. I calculated that between those cans and additional wild foods I’d harvested, dried, and stored, we’d have an ample supply of food to last us through the winter and into spring. By then it would be time to harvest the early wild edible leaves, buds and blossoms that would herald the arrival of new wild food–my favorite time of the year.”

Pickling/Fermenting

Pickling is another food preservation method that requires soaking food in a mixture of vinegar, spices, and salt. Pickled food undergoes a fermentation process which maintains the texture of the food. Kimchi, salsas, wild sauerkrauts, kefirs, pickles are so easy to do and powerful gut medicine.

 

Meads made with roots, flowers, and wild leaves better with age.

So good for a healthy gut!

Drying

Dehydration can be done using low heat in an oven, a dehydrator or even using the warm sun.  Linda Runyon used to dry her plant matter on the hat shelf in the back seat of her car.  I have a 7 tiered dehydrator that I use for drying fruit leather and edible mushrooms.

Salting

Salt curing is yet another food preservation method.  Salt inhibits  the growth of food-borne pathogens by drawing-out moisture in food through osmosis. Since harmful bacteria, fungi, and other pathogenic organisms are deactivated, food stays preserved for months.”  I am still experimenting with this and am excited about the possibilities of keeping wild greens fresh in a salty solution.

Freezing

My husband is half Greek the first gift he gave to me as a newlywed was a Greek cookbook. I have many wonderful greek recipes that his mother passed on to me. Here Jason is foraging for tender wild Grape leaves.

Freezing preserves and keeps food safe by preventing the growth of micro-organisms that can cause spoilage. Wild vegetables (shoots, buds, seed pods, the meatier part of a plant’s life cycle) requires blanching before they can be frozen. The blanching process stops the enzymatic degradation of the food resulting in loss of flavor, color, and textures. In addition, blanching helps retard the loss of vitamins.

Do you see the green flower buds at the top of this Milkweed stalk? That is the ‘broccoli’ stage. Get them when they are all green for the best pea like texture.

Milkweed flower buds picked, cleaned and ready to be blanched (boiled) and then patted dry before freezing.

Frozen Milkweed buds ready to bag up for Winter storage

 

Milkweed Flower Bud Casserole w/ Feta Cheese

The Wild Apothecary

Wild medicines are powerful and they can be preserved with alcohol, glycerins, vinegars and water ratios to extract various healing constituents.  Creating these medicines as soon as the plant is harvested and then shaking them daily in a dark closet till they have infused enough to decant and store for future use.  This little storage area below my stairs is an empowering sight.  I am so grateful for the wise gifts provided by our Creator that grow all around us.

A-Z tinctures wild crafted and made into medicine the same day.

My Wild Blessing Cookbook

Recipes for all things wild will be in my upcoming Wild Blessings Cookbook and many of them can be found here on my website under Resources – Cooking.  I am so excited about this project and hope to have it available for sale next Fall.  All my international wild menus will be brought to life for ease of imitating and tweaking to your liking.  I will take you in to the fields to forage and then back home to clean, garble, prepare and cook into a wild food feast.  The secret to desirability is all in preparation!

A Winter Wild Feast

Our wild food breakfast feast in January from the Wildly Preserved: Burdock Bacon (INCREDIBLE), Poke and Milkweed bud Frittata, Autumn Olive Berry Scones, BeautyBerry cream cheese apple dip, Goldenrod Orange Juice and Dandelion Root Coffee.

As I type this blog it is March 11 and I am eyeing the baby Spring greens that are springing up at my feet and new ideas of how to add fresh wild greens to our diet are making my stomach growl!  Of course, I will be intentional to preserve many wild gifts in each stage of it’s life cycle.

If you are interested in learning how to surf Nature’s Wave with me and store up the bounty… then join me at my private Wild Blessings w/ Holly Drake facebook group. Every Tuesday from 11-12 EST I teach a Wild Blessings Class called, Teaching Tuesdays.  Each class is kept at that private FB group indefinitely so you can watch at your convenience.

Wild Blessings Abound!

Holly

“We look to You to give us our food in due season, You give to us we gather it up, You open Your hand and we are satisfied.”  Psalms 104:27,28

 

Befriending Plants – The Presence of Pine

Sheltering among the graceful Pines.

Have you truly felt a Pine forest’s presence?  It is other worldly.  Not just because of it’s pungent uplifting Evergreen aroma…there is something ephemeral yet lasting to be experienced in the embrace of these trees.

Years ago, Skipper and I were trudging along the ridge above Peaceful Acres in a bitterly cold January storm, the cruel wind ripped at any exposed flesh and forced us to keep moving.  Skipper, in his collie fur coat, led the way as we instinctively went for cover into the enclosure of a Pine forest.  Almost the instant we stepped foot into the forest the howling winds seemed muted and the Pine needles in the crowns towering above stopped the freezing rain as if in it’s tracks.  It felt surreal.  The forest floor was cushioned with fallen dry conifer needles silencing our steps.  I remember feeling safe and curious all at once.

Heading out with long handled clippers, saw, axe, my truck and my dog in search of Pine bounty.

Ever since that day I began actively befriending Pine and have been fascinated by it’s plethora of wild gifts for food, medicine, shelter and beauty.  Allow me to introduce to you a giant in the plant kingdom that God has provided to empower you with it’s presence and it’s offerings.

 

The Scripture I have chosen to introduce you to Pine is Psalm 111:2-4

“Great are the works of the Lord, they are studied by all who delight in them. 

Splendid and majestic are His ways,  

He has made His wonders to be REMEMBERED!”  

Pine is splendid and majestic and wonderful and memorable.  Pour yourself a mug of hot Pine needle tea and let’s delight in this green friend together.

Who is Pine?

There are over 200 species of Pines, most are edible and all are useful.   All Pines are evergreens, keeping their beautiful needled greenery all year round. They are also referred to as Conifers, because they are cone bearing. The family name is Pineacea. There are softwood pines and hardwood pines.  The soft pines have needles that are found in groups of five on twigs.  Their wood is low in density.  Hard pines are more dense and have needles in groups of two or tree per bundle. White Pine, or Pinus strobis, is the tree I will be featuring in this blog, it is a soft pine and has five needles in each bundle along their twigs and they look like little brooms!

What does Pine Look Like?

Pine trees can grow to enormous heights of up to 250 feet and live up to 500 years. The branches grow around the trunk in a whorl and this can even be seen on the twigs whirling around each branch.   In a pine forest many of the lower whorls break off as a tree grows taller, perhaps due to the lack of sunshine with the shading of the crowns in a tightly packed forest.

Pine Cones – The Pine cone contains the reproductive structures. Most conifers (or cone bearing trees) have female and male pine cones on the same tree, with the female cones up higher in the tree and the male cones lower.  The armored scales of a woody female pine cone protect the ‘babies’ or the seeds inside.  These armored scales will open on warm days just long enough to fertilize the seeds and then remain closed for up to two years until the seeds are mature and ready to fly on their papery wings far away from the parent plant to begin new life.  Some species of Pine require intense heat to open up their tightly closed cones and some even wait for a forest fire to begin this process of rebirth. The heaviest cone grows on the Coulter Pine cone weighing up to 10 pounds each cone! The longest Pine cone is the Jeffrey Pine with a length of up to 2 feet.  Both of these trees grow on the west coast of North America.

Female pine cones, opened scales to drop seeds.

The male cones don’t really look like pine cones…they are not as woody as the female cones and they create an enormous amount of yellow pollen that gets released in the Spring rising in the wind in hopes to pollinate the female cones bearing the seed.

Needles – The needles of evergreen conifers are actually their leaves.  Although, Evergreens are constantly shedding their needles to the forest floor, they keep regrowing them so they are everGREEN.   Various species of Pines bundle their needles in fascicles of 2,3 or 5 needles per bundle with each bundle securely attached to the twig.  Spruce needles and Fir needles grow individually from the twig.  Their needles are easy to tell apart in that the Spruce needles are 4 sided and when you roll a Spruce needle between your fingers they spin easily.  Fir needles are 2 sided and flat and will not roll between your fingers.  Another clue is that Spruce needles tend to be sharp and pointy while Fir needles are a bit softer.  Cedar is also an evergreen conifer and it’s ‘leaves’ look rather scaley when examined.

I brewed up a jar of Spruce, Pine and Cedar needles to have a taste test. I love them all but they are distinctly different from each other. Try it!

What is Pine’s origin and history?

English merchant and warship masts were made out of Pine.  Learn how the 1720 Mast Act was like a declaration of war to the colonists.

“The pine tree is rooted in American history.  The Eastern White Pine more than any other tree species had a profound effect on the course of events in the New World beginning four centuries ago. At one time the most sought after and valuable tree in the world, it’s wood built the fledgling United States. It was the driving engine of the early American economy and the foundation of it’s trade relationships.   It’s place in American History in a tale not often told.”  This story is absolutely fascinating and one you will want to watch to learn more.  Here is the link: Eastern White Pine – The Tree Rooted in American History

By the 17th century Pine was the most sought after tree in the world.

What do You Do?

Edible 

The whole Pine is edible from the roots to the needles. However Ponderosa Pine, Australian or the Norfolk Pine, the Lodgepole Pine and the Yew Pine are toxic to humans so always be sure to know what species you are dealing with before ingesting.  Fortunately, most Pines are edible.  If you live near a Pine forest you have an endless supply of food and medicine and useful offerings as well.

Max looking over our harvest of Pine twigs and needles.

Needles – You can harvest Pine needles year round but I recently learned that green Pine needles are highest in vitamin C in the Winter so I’ve decided to collect and dry Pine as an annual Winter activity.  After drying the needles store them in glass jars, never plastic. Pine needles are most commonly ‘eaten’ as Pine needle tea infused in hot water.  These needles can be consumed fresh or dried with the latter being a more intense flavor.  Boil the water first, fill a jar with cut pine needles (to expose cell walls for best absorption) and pour the boiling water over the filled jar, cap and steep for 10 minutes or more.  (Be sure to put a metal knife or fork into the jar so the metal will conduct the heat and keep the mason jar from breaking when the boiling water is added)   Some people simmer the needles in a pot of water and that is just as viable as long as you don’t boil the water with the needles in it thus deactivating the vitamin C.  Using a sieve you can strain out the Pine infusion for a hot tea, add local honey for it’s medicinal value if you want a sweeter flavor. I like it plain.  It has a refreshing flavor and knowing how high it is in vitamin C is a huge plus.

Brewing Pine needle tea

With the Pine infused water you can make Pine syrup, Pine popsicles, Pine Jelly, Pine fruit leather… Simply follow instructions for making any of these recipes using Pine water.

I took the Pine infused tea, sweetened it a tad with local honey and froze the liquid in tree shaped silicone molds. I set the timer for 45 minutes at which point I stuck Pine twigs in each tree for a popsicle stick. Having fun with Pine.

“Balsamic Vinegar” Another one of my favorite ways to get the benefits of the minerals and vitamins found in Pine is to infuse the needles in Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Braggs, be sure it has the ‘mother’ in it).  Cap with a plastic lid and let it steep and infuse for 5,6 weeks, pour off and use this Balsamic Vinegar in salad dressing recipes.

Seeds – Pine seeds, or Pine nuts are edible but not all are tasty, the Pinon Pine are meaty and delicious and high in protein.  They are wonderful in salads, pesto, and any way you would eat a nut.  If harvesting from the wild,  just take the papery helicopter wing off first.

Pine Scones, pine nuts, pine flour ground from Pine’s cambium layer

Male Catkins

Cones – The male cones (Catkins) are purportedly edible but I have never tried them.  It is suggested that they be boiled and seasoned to make them palatable.  They are high in nutrition so it is now on my bucket list to try them this Spring.   My friend Susie Terp reports, “Last spring I collected the catkins. If you collect them early you can eat them and they’re tasty, I salted and roasted them. Later as they are close to “opening” to release the pollen if you pick them early and put them in a warm place, the heat will cause them to “open” and release the pollen. Be aware that once the catkins open they are not fit for eating, it’s like eating twigs.”

Pollen – Pine Pollen is a heavy yellow grain that profusely billows from Pine trees in the Spring.  This ‘yellow gold’  is considered a Super Food being highly valued for it’s vitamin content and hormonally rich constituents.  Natural testosterone!  Put a sack or a pillow case over a pollen laden Pine branch and shake to collect.  The pollen can be eaten in flour mixtures and batters or sprinkled in food to ‘up the nutrition’.  My friend Karon keeps her stores of Pine pollen in pint jars in the freezer for she discovered that it molds quickly if not frozen. I am so looking forward to experimenting with Pine pollen this Spring!

Pine Pollen can cause severe allergic reactions to some people but curiously, this same pollen can also be the cure.

Inner Bark – Cambium is classified as an emergency food.  The cambium is where the trees nutrients are transported up from the roots and into the leaves, it is the living part of the tree packed with digestible starches, vitamins, minerals, sugars and some fibers.  In between the outer thick protective bark and the inner wood is this thin living layer of Cambium only a few millimeters thick.   Linda Runyon suggested,  “The best time to collect Pine cambium is when the warmth hits the air, late Spring…..Truly very soft and EASY to peel out in the warm spring….Branches are very much easier then the big trunk…I actually brought bows into the cabin and warmed them up for easy peel out of the cambium, which needs heat to flow the sap”

Always honor the sustainable harvest by taking downed branches or if harvesting from a living Pine tree, remove only a small amount from under the outer bark on one side of the tree.  Never girding the tree for girding all the way around is the death of any tree.  BUT if there is a clear cutting nearby take advantage of the timber that is left behind. Keep your eyes open for bounty even in the midst of loss.

I cut a Pine bough into workable pieces to more easily strip the cambium layer. I since discovered that the best time to do this activity is in the warmth of Spring when the Cambium layer is slippery and easier to harvest.

Dehydrate the strips of Cambium for use all year.  Other trees that are generally safe to harvest cambium from are Birch, Willow, Spruce, Fir and Maple.

Cambium Inner bark can be dried and ground into a powder and used in making bread. During days of scarcity powdered Pine cambium was often mixed with oatmeal or added to wheat flour to extend stores for making bread.  It has a piney flavor and makes a fairly passable flour.  In general though when an herb is powdered it loses some of it’s power. I suggest keeping the dried cambium strips in a mason jar and then powdering into flour as needed using a food processor (vita mixer…) And always store dried things in a glass mason jar, never plastic.

My Pine Cambium Flour scones with Pinon Pine nuts. I loved them, Jason thought they tasted like a 2 x 4….

Chewing Gum…Native Americans chewed on the Pine cambium so I had the inspiration of adding the sweet Pine syrup that I had made to these strips.  I let them dry and now they are my favorite ‘chewing gum’.

Cambium Chips, season the fresh strips of cambium and fry in oil in an iron skillet. This I have not tried.  It sounds suspect but knowing how high the Pine cambium is in nutrients and calories I intend to try it AND I’ve read of people using the Pine cambium as a substitute for ‘pulled pork’.  I really can’t imagine that but I’ll try it and let you know…

As you can see, a Pine forest or just a Pine tree is an inexhaustible food source.

Medicinal

Pine is not only edible but it is highly medicinal.  Here is a short list of Pine’s many healing properties: antimicrobial, anti neuralgic, anti rheumatic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant, stimulant, vermifuge, diuretic, restorative, antihypertensive….

I made a tincture with the Pine needles, bark, cambium all well chopped and to this I poured Everclear to infuse and steeped for 8 weeks. Powerful medicine.

Pine is famous for it’s respiratory system support.  Diffusing Pine essential oil will help congestion and aid in sleep as well.  My husband is just recovering from a sinus infection and diffusing Pine next to our bed has been the turning point in his healing.  A few drops of Pine essential oil in steam tent can also be a powerful healing tool.

When you can’t walk in a Pine forest the next best thing is to diffuse Pine essential oil. Young Living has a lot of evergreen oils that they distill. Lately, diffusing Pine EO at night has not only helped Jason’s congestion but my sleeplessness.

‘Pine Brothers’ cough drops can still be purchased but they are easy to make yourself. The Pine resin is antiseptic and can be put directly on a wound or mixed with olive oil to make a healing salve.  The Pine resin is also valuable for kidney and bladder health.

Adding Pine twigs to bath water will ease nervousness and ease muscle pain, you can make a Pine liniment for aching muscles as well.

I made these bath salts with: Epsom salts, sea salt, bentonite clay, baking soda, Pine needles and twigs and 10 drops of Young Living Pine essential oil. It makes me feel relaxed just thinking of the power of a bath like this! Don’t put bath salts in the tub until YOU are in it so all the goodness goes into YOU and not evaporate into air.

Pine Pollen is offensive to many with allergies and asthma but it is also the antidote if taken internally.  Here is a testimonial from my friend Karon Henick
Pine Pollen testimonial – Karon Henick
“I have been gathering pine pollen for several years. We collect around here around Easter time. In the past my husband has had a terrible sinus infection during December and January—every year!! I finally talked him into taking the pine pollen. (1/4 tsp daily). He did only 2 things different this past year. 1) he started taking 1 TBS of elderberry syrup and 2) 1/4 tsp pine pollen. He has not had a sinus infection or even a little sniffle all year. He is sold! He never misses his dose of pine pollen now.”

Useful/ Practical/ Functional

Pine’s legendary usefulness makes it one of the most sought after trees in the world.

Pine wood – The lumber is used for construction, furniture, flooring, Pine coffins.  The wood is soft, flexible and durable and easy to work with.  When pioneers moved West, they would plant Pine on their land to use for building Pine boxes (coffins) which was much easier than the hardwoods. Rope from the inner bark.  As a firewood, it is not preferable to burn indoors because the soot that it creates in chimneys is flammable but makes great fire wood for camp fires.

Pine needles – Pine needles are considered insecticidal and throughout history were useful for stuffing mattresses and pillows to keep lice and fleas away.  Pine needles also make a great mulch particularly for plants that like acidic soil.  I put it around the bases of my blueberry bushes.  I don’t have chickens but if I did I have read that Pine needles make great bedding for barn animals. I use a plethora of nature scraps for packing material when I’m sending care packages to loved ones, Pine, Spruce or Fir needles all work great to cushion the contents and add that evergreen magical aroma!  Dye made from the needles is tan or green and reddish yellow from the cones….

Free mulch, free bedding, free aromatic crunches for a walk in a Pine forest

Pine sap – is used to make glue and caulking or boiled down to make turpentine and tar, it is even what rosin for violin bows is made out of.  I have not experimented with the sap but found this really cool blog that shows practical uses for this, yet another, Pine offering. Check it out.

Sticky riches

Beautiful/Whimsical

Pine needle baskets, wreathes, decorations made from the needles and the cones are so much fun to be creative with.  Pine trees don’t drop cones every year so when they do be sure to gather them to repurpose them into something that brings you and others joy.

 

Evergreen wreath made by my friend Sandi Henry – Pine cones, Milkweed seed pods, Sumac bobs, Caspian wisps…. Beauty free in nature’s stores

A Personal Pine Memory

In 1935, my grandparents, Otto and Helen Endres, started a boys camp in Northern Minnesota.  Camp Chippewa is still operating today. Camp is nestled in a magnificent Pine forest between Cass Lake and Buck Lake.  Pop as a naturalist, knew every plant and mushroom in “These Thy Woods” and avidly shared his passion for nature not only with the campers but with his grandchildren.  Pop and Ahma’s cabin, Trail’s End, was on the far end of a pristine towering Red and White Pine forest.  As a very little girl I would seek out Pop to show him my nature treasures with socks and pockets stuffed with acorns, pine cones, pebbles, and even live minnows.  Wandering along the path to Trails End far below the magnificent Pine cathedral one could smell not only the Pines but the smells wafting from Ahma’s kitchen and the smell of smoke curling out of the chimney.  Glimpses of the sparkling waters of Buck flashed blue in the distance and Ahma always filled any tree stump with her Pansies to brighten the path to her home.  Every year for Paul Bunyan Day, the campers planted Pine saplings and upon returning as a camper each Summer would check on ‘their tree’ growth.  Some of these trees are enormous today.  Our family kept up this tradition and now my own granddaughters plant Pines and Firs each summer.   I credit Pop with my love for nature and my passion to share it with others.  I am blessed to be the steward of many of Pop’s nature books now that he is no longer with us.  I think he would be amazed at how far this wild child of his has taken this passion!

This mature forest of Red and White Pines is a memory from my earliest childhood as these towering magnificent giants held the needled path to my grandparents cabin, Trail’s End on the shores of Buck Lake.  Giant friends.

Thank you for joining me as I bragged on my friend Pinus strobus.  I hope you have an ever growing delight in this stately beautiful and generous tree.  Continue your own Pine Bucket list and share with me your adventures and your stories with Pine.

“Great are the works of the Lord, they are studied by all who delight in them. 

Splendid and majestic are His ways,  

He has made His wonders to be REMEMBERED!”   Psalm 111:2-4

Wild Blessings Abound!

Holly

I’ve provided a Pine Crossword Puzzle below as a fun way to help you remember but the best way to remember is by doing.

 

I teach once a week on my private Wild Blessings FB group, last week was my talk on Pine. Here is a top down view of all the Pine Show -n-Tell treasures I shared in our Teaching Tuesday class. If you want to join this free class, just comment below and I’ll get back with you.

Pine Paths leading to Trails End and schnatterganzing with Ahma and Pop.

Looking up at the towering red and white Pines from Buck lake shore

Wild Food Recipe Secrets

Substituting wild edible plants for your favorite cookbook ingredients

Many have asked me where I find recipes for my wild menus, especially after they have enjoyed foraging, cooking and eating a delicious wild meal on our spacious front porch! I tell them that it is SIMPLE and not at all complicated. Choose a recipe from any cookbook and make it wildly yours.

Creating a wild dish is merely a matter of ADDITION and eventually with practice…SUBSTITUTION.

Eating a Wild Mexican Food Feast together after having foraged for the food and cooked it together in my kitchen. Everything was wildly delicious!

Addition & Substitution

To begin cooking with wild edible plants simply ADD something wild to your favorite recipe; it can be as simple as garnishing with edible flowers to jazz up your presentation or adding Chickweed leaves to your basil pesto for it’s nutritional value…

Learn by doing.   As you learn about each wild edible plant start looking for them in healthful locations nearby, begin harvesting them and preparing them into your menus!

As confidence is gained through personal experience you can begin SUBSTITUTING wild plants in place of the cultivated veggies.  If a recipe calls for cucumbers try using Cattail shoots instead.  Or if a recipe calls for garlic, Ramps are the perfect substitute…. It’s simple really…common sensical, just as you learned to shop for fresh produce at the grocery store you can do the same in nature and have fun in the process!

First Go Shopping

Shopping together in God’s Green Shopping Centers

Then Garble (sort, trim, quality control) your groceries to prepare or preserve for later

If this were your groceries what would you cook for dinner?

Learn with me

In my Forage to Feast events and instructional videos, I give detailed instructions on what part of each plant is edible, when is the prime harvesting time and wild tips for delicious preparation.  Preparation is the key to being wildly successful.   A plant may be edible but not palatable if it isn’t prepared well! But THAT is the topic of another blog!

I am here to help you learn from my years of trial and error and wild successes how to become a wild forager and cook!

Wild Substitutions A-B-C’s

Here is a short illustrated list of common vegetables and possible Wild Substitutions to spark your imagination!

Asparagus = Milkweed stalks (early Spring and supple, less than 10″ tall)

Just like asparagus Milkweed early Spring shoots has a tender meristematic growing tip and the lower part that connects to the root is inedible and tough. This picture shows the inedible tough part on the left (to be composted) the early Milkweed leaves on the right (only tender young tiny Milkweed leaves are edible) and in the middle is our ‘asparagus’ I prepared it al dente and poured over a Bernaise sauce for dinner.

Broccoli = Milkweed flower buds not only look like broccoli but taste like them

Milkweed Flower Bud Casserole w/ Feta Cheese

Carrots = Queen Anne’s Lace first year roots, Burdock roots

The only thing not wild in this delicious lunch is the rice and cherry tomatoes. Sweet and Sour Burdock root….be sure to dig up a first year root or the Spring of the second year root then decoct till tender.

Celery = Dandelion crowns, Thistle stalks (deprickled)

Dandelion crown (celery substitute) wild cheese casserole; Ramps for garlic and Morels for mushrooms.

Cheese = Milkweed seed pods (larger than an inch and before the seeds turn beige)

Milkweed at the ‘cheese’ stage has a sweet flavor and the consistency of a mozzarella cheese stick. Use these cheesy surprises however you would use cheese.

Chips = Queen Anne’s Lace flowers, Broadleaf Plantain ‘Kale’ Chips

Plantago major (broadleaf Plantain) fat leaves make wonderful seasoned ‘kale’ chips, season and bake till crisp.

Coffee = Dandelion Root roasted, Chicory root roasted

Cucumber = Cattail (early shoots), Borage flowers

Cattail shoots in the Spring taste exactly like CUCUMBERS!! I use them for my Greek wild food feasts as Tzatziki sauce.

Corn on the cob = Cattail (green female flower heads)

The Cattail is the Supermarket of the Swamp! The ‘Corn of the Cob’ stage is the female green flowers that when pollinated by the golden male pollen (above it) turns brown like a hot dog. I love to boil these green cobs with a portion of the stem to hold as you eat it buttered and salted like corn on the cob. It tastes like artichokes to me.

Flour = Amaranth seeds, or grinding dried edible leaves into green powder, Cattail roots, Yucca Root

Acorn flour bread, Chestnut butter, Autumn Olive Berry cream cheese dip for apples for a wild lunch.

Garlic = Ramps, Garlic Mustard

Ramps are such a delicacy, the bulbs and the green leaves taste like a sweet garlic. Make Ramp butter to freeze in molds to enjoy all year long.

Green Beans = Burdock stems, Milkweed shoots

Milkweed Early Spring Shoots Buttered and Salted

Hamburger = Burdock roots

Burdock root is a delicacy in Asia, it is called Gobo root. It can be purchased at Whole Foods or just dig it up yourself. I have used this root to make taco meat, pepperoni, hamburgers, stir fries even mushrooms…the secret is in preparation.

Jams and Jellies = Beauty Berry, Autumn Olive Berry, Blackberry…

Wild jams, jellies, fruit leathers and gummies…

Lemon = Japanese Knotweed, Sumac, Sheep Sorrel, Oxalis…

Young lemony Knotweed shoots waiting to be sliced for storage in my freezer

Lettuce = Chickweed, Violet leaves, Dandelion leaves, Wood Sorrel

Wild edible greens and flowers to make a completely wild and wonderful salad.

Mushrooms = Chicken of the Woods, Morels, Puffballs…

Noodles = Yucca flowers

Yucca flowers have an amazing texture and when boiled for a few minutes in salted water have the texture of a noodle. Last Summer at one of my wild food feasts we made Yucca Noddle Alfredo!

Okra = Milkweed pods sliced, parboiled and fried in seasoned corn flour

At our Wild BBQ we had Autumn Olive Berry BBQ sauce and breaded Milkweed seed pods (at the potato stage) as amazing OKRA! It was incredible!

Onion = Wild Alium

Wild Onions are the first things up the late Winter, early Spring. Use them like chives or dig up their white bulbs for more of an oniony flavor.

Peas = Dandelion flower buds (before they open the first time), Evening Primrose flower buds

Pickles = Milkweed shoots, Purslane shoots,

Purslane is such an amazing gift from God! Nutrient dense and high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. This succulent makes fantastic pickles!

Potatoes = Milkweed seed pods (early, when they are about an inch long, firm and green), Jerusalem Artichoke roots

The Potato Stage – These tiny potatoes are the beginning of the Milkweed seed pod, harvest them when they are one inch long and quite firm. Any longer and they morph into the ‘cheese’ stage. Cook them whole, or slice and cook in bacon grease as hashbrowns.

Nuts = Hickory nuts, Black Walnuts, Chestnuts, Beechnuts, Butternuts, Acorns

Back from foraging in early October with Chestnut Oak acorns, White Oak acorns, Crabapples… Feeling blessed!

Soda = any wild flower or flavorful root or berry plus fermentation

Lacto bacilli a bacteria that protects Winter roots can be used to create a ferment and a fizzy soda. I like using Burdock, Ginger and Dandelion roots for this, just feed them sugar and wait.

Spinach = any number of wild edible leaves but my favorite substitutions for Spinach are: Lambsquarter, Nettle or Poke

Savory Dandelion blossom fritters on a bed of sautéed Dandelion leaves

Sugar / Syrup = Meadowsweet (sugar), wild berries (jams), tapping Sugar Maples for Maple syrup

 

I collect and freeze Elderberry umbels to make Elderberry syrup in the Winter.

Teas Hot or Cold = Flavorful wild leaves dried and stored to infuse, Berries or roots to decoct and sweeten..

Pine Needle tea, Birch tea, Beebalm tea, Goldenrod punch, Beauty Berry water kefir all chilled and ready for my wild food feast.

Water = tap an edible tree, Hickory, Birch, Maple to get fresh water

Boiling on the stove top….for hours. Clear Maple sap tasty like pure water with a twinge of sweetness to it. The brown liquid in the glass jug jar in front is the final boiled down syrup.

Wine = Sumac berries, Dandelion Blossoms, Elderflowers, Blackberries….so many options for making meads and wines

Wild Meads brewing: Sumac, Elderberry, Sassafras…

Follow Nature’s Wave

Follow nature’s wave with the seasons and eat fresh the wild offerings within each season.   As you get more experience with identifying, harvesting, preparing and cooking these wild green gifts begin making up your own recipes by incorporating wild edible plants into your favorite recipes.  Your family will never know! (maybe) and you will be having fun, eating healthier nutrient dense foods, and saving money.  That is a good deal!  A God deal!

So…what do YOU see?

So back to the picture I posted at the beginning of this post.  The Dandelion groceries spread on my table….  I asked what you would cook for dinner if these were your groceries.  Do you have a better idea now?

Dandelion harvest, garbled (sorted and cleaned). Roots to be roasted and powdered for coffee, leaves for salads or stir fries, crowns for celery and casseroles, flower buds for peas, blossoms for fritters or wine…. Versatile, supremely nutritious and delicious…DANDELION one of our best green gifts.

If you want to use my favorite recipes, I will be providing them in my upcoming E-Book

Wild Blessings – From Forage to Feast

In future blogs I will be helping you rediscover ways to use God’s green gifts in your wild pantry: wild seasonings, wild thickeners, wild teas, wild flours, wild fermentation and I will teach you how to preserve your wild harvest year round.

So much nutritional abundance to be discovered FREE for the knowing, the picking and the preparing.

Wild Blessings are abounding!! I am here to help you reclaim your wild heritage, knowledge that our ancestors knew and kept them alive and well.

“We look to You to give us our food, in due season,

You give to us we gather it up,

You open Your hand we are satisfied,

You send forth your Spirit and we are created and

You renew the face of the ground.”

Psalms 104 :27-30

 

Wild Blessings Video of Adventures

A year of surfing nature’s wave, eating wild, learning, teaching, playing, loving one another, reclaiming once common sense, and delighting in Creation and the One who made it all.  I created this video as my gift to my Wild Blessings students in 2018 and hope to compile one from the many wild adventures since… but for now sit back and enjoy vicariously.  Perhaps you’ll join me in 2021 to surf Nature’s Wave together and to eat of her bounty.

https://www.facebook.com/hollydrakewildblessings/videos/10205921112384382/

Since the pandemic I offer Wild Blessings upon request only.  Specifics are on my Event page.

 

Befriending Plants: Magnificent Mullein

Mullein offerings

I am a connector!  Introducing others to our Creator’s world of plant wonders is my passion. The common Mullein is anything but mundane, it looms as a GIANT in the green world and is one of my favorites.

Each of my Befriending Plants classes begins with a personal question related to the plant we would meet that day. On one occasion the question was, “Who do you know that stands tall in your mind that you look up to and why?” Saving my ‘giant among men’ story till last we enjoyed hearing each other’s hero stories.

My oldest son Brian was a giant to me. He grew to be a tremendous influence, not only on his friends, but on our family as well. His wise and insightful advice caused me to rethink my position on many issues in life and I grew as a person just from interacting with him. But I lost my “giant” and his loving counsel at a young age and I miss him immensely.

Who are the giants in your life?  How did they impact you?

At our weekly Befriending Plants class at the infamous Todd Mercantile, I never know from week to week what plant will be featured. It is always a plant that is ‘in season’ as Nature’s wave rolls by with it’s dizzying pace. This particular week the Lord led me to teach on Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus.

Why Mullein Became My Plant of Choice

In search of Hawthorn flowers I hiked up my mountain to a near by Hawthorn grove but sadly had missed this short window of Crateagus’ flowery offering. Determined, I looked around to see what else was ‘for sale’ in God’s pharmacy and food stores. The Hawthorn grove is adjacent to a recently clear cut forest that spans for several miles on the East side of our mountain. It had been a green cathedral of towering hardwoods of Poplars, Beech, Birch, Maples, the understory was rich with Ramps, Trilliums, Fern, Wild Ginger, Black and Blue Cohosh, Violets, Bloodroot for starters. An exquisitely  magical place that often drew me to spend time there among these giants – reflecting, observing and resting.

My green cathedral before being clear cut

First year Mullein basal rosettes popping up where the forest had been

Max looking out at the mountain view that the trees used to obscure. Hidden blessings in all devastation.

Because it is heartbreaking to see the twisted remains and sheared trunks I rarely visit this sacred spot. But THIS morning I was astonished to see an acre or more of Verbascum thapsus, Common Mullein’s sage green fuzzy basal rosettes carpeting the earth. I was in awe. It intrigued me to think that in the 18 years I had hiked these woods never once had I seen a Mullein plant and wondered why they would showed up now in the deforested warzone….(stay tuned for the answer to this mystery)

Kacey Brown, a wonderful and wild apprentice helped me gather the first year Mullein leaves! We were ecstatic!

Mullein, clearly would be the spotlighted plant this week’s class.  I thought of all the teas I had brewed, oils and tinctures infused and the fun out of the box experiences with this dear green friend over the years.  It would be a joy to elaborate on it’s many medicinal gifts, it’s stunning beauty, and share some of my adventures.

Who is Mullein?

Mullein is a magnificent plant. It’s towering stature, whimsical flowering stalk, soft grayish green fuzzy leaves are a show stopper. They stand out among the green wallpaper with dignity and grace.

Common Mullein’s botanical name is Verbascum thapsus.  It’s many nicknames reveal some of it’s lore and usefulness: Velvet plant, Hag’s Taper, Roman Torch, Candlewick plant, Adam’s Flannel, Shepherd Club, Quaker’s Rouge

Where are You From?

Originally from Europe and Asia, Mullein species have spread all over North America. The Family is Scophulariaceaea which is the Snapdragon family.

What do You Look Like?

A second year Mullein stalk beginning to shoot up to new heights. Spiderwort flowers look stunning next to the sage green velvety Mullein leaves

Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning it completes it’s life cycle in 2 years. The first year it collects energy and nutrients from the soil to create a beautiful rosette of sage green fuzzy leaves. The second year the energy stored in it’s roots pushes upwards a remarkable flowering stalk that sometimes reaches great heights 8-12 feet. Ascending this tall stalk the fuzzy woolen leaves clasp the stalk becoming more erect like bunny ears as they climb to the top.

What do You Do?

Except for making a tea from the leaves or the flowers, Mullein is most famous for it’s medicinal and practical virtues.  To just skim the surface of it’s medicinal powers: Mullein relaxes  and soothes lungs, calms asthma, magically alleviates dry coughs, strengthens bladder muscles, the root helps alleviate back pain, infused Mullein flower oil relieves earaches, fomentations of the leaves tightens and cools tissues of hemorrhoids..

Spending Time Together – Plant Preparations: tea (flowers), nourishing herbal infusion (leaves), decoction (roots), tincture (all parts), fomentation (leaves), infused oil (flowers), smoke (leaves)

Each flower as it is pollinated closes and develops several hundred tiny peppery seeds within it’s enclosure. As the seed pods harden and dry these seeds feed the birds and insects all throughout the winter. There are millions of seeds per plant.

The whole plant is highly useful and helpful in a variety of ways. All through history Mullein has been appreciated and used for a variety of it’s healing properties to practical uses as in: torch lights, insulation, fishing tricks, insect repellant, candlewicks and even warding off evil spirits!

 

Mullein seed stalks filled with millions of peppery seeds.

Mullein Leaves

Mullein leaves are oval shaped and can grow in size from 6-15 inches in the first year plant, in the second year a stalk grows up from the center of the rosette to great heights.  The leaves along the stem are alternate, growing smaller as they ascend the stalk, they clasp the stem in such a way as to channel rain water to the roots.

The Doctrine of Signatures is a belief that the Creator has knit hints into the fiber and structure of each plant as to it’s usefulness. A walnut, for example, looks like a brain and it is in fact a nutritious key food for brain health.   It is a useful game to utilize our sensory perception to make thoughtful guesses as to the hidden treasures and gifts of each plant. For a supernatural view of each plant use a jeweler’s loupe to zoom in close to observe what few get to witness and become intimate with the leaves, the flowers, the seed pods, the tiny unique seeds of life…and also stand back to just observe the plant as a whole.  These observations can become ‘bones for a poem’ or a story you write about each green friend, this type of inspection inspires plant drawings as well.

Observing closely the thickly woven hairy leaves, the hairs remind us of the cilia in our lungs giving a solid hint to Mullein’s renown ability to address respiratory health. In particular, it is extremely effective to soothe a dry hacking cough. A tea made from the carefully dried leaves is excellent for respiratory support. Mullein tea was significant in keeping my parents sleeping in the same room because it wondrously took away my mother’s incessant dry hacking cough that had annoyed her and my father for years! It has a delicate taste and is a powerful soothing tea.  Mullein is not known for being an edible plant except for this medicinal and pleasant tasty tea that is high in calcium and magnesium.  I like to have at least a gallon of Mullein leaves dried for Winter use and have shared it with many friends who have had respiratory challenges over the years.

Herbalist, Ryan Drum talks about the resin that Mullein exudes when a leaf is torn from the stalk having a vanilla scent and his experimentation with making a vanilla like extract from this phenomenon. That is definitely on my Mullein bucket list for herbing around!  Mullein infusion or tea made from the leaves has a faint vanilla flavor to it as well.

Other historical and practical uses for Mullein leaves…Mullein’s nickname, Quaker’s Rouge, is so named for it’s prickly leaves used as a rubefacient irritating the cheeks of women to provide a ‘natural’ healthy blush.

“Candlewick plant”  refers to the old practice of using the dried down of mullein leaves and stems to make lamp wicks. I have never tried this but it is on my bucket list as well.

Some foragers call Mullein ‘nature’s toilet paper’ but I am certain they never tried this for it is anything but comfortable or soothing with the irritating hairs of the leaves.  However, colonists and American Indians did use Mullein leaves to line their shoes and absorb moisture. I’ve even heard of the larger elliptical leaves being used for diapers.  There is a demulcent (soothing) effect in Mullein leaves but those hairs are irritating.  Not sure how to use these healing leaves in this way but most likely poultices and fomentations are the way to go.  The leaves can be frozen whole to use for these purposes.

My favorite way to store the leaves is by drying them in small bundles till crisp and then storing in mason jars.

Mullein Flowers

When harvesting the flowers you have to beat the bees to them before they take the pollen! Thanks Eileen Woodmansee for sharing this incredible photo with us! Pure magic!

Infuse the mullein flowers in olive oil for a powerful remedy for ear aches. Whether the infection is viral or bacterial, it works!

At the top of the Mullein spike is a raceme of yellow flowers about ¾” across and consists of five petals, five hairy green sepals, five stamens, and a pistil.  Mullein flower spike blooms during the Summer for about six weeks.  Only a few flowers are in bloom at a time.  Picking the inflorescent yellow flowers before they are pollinated is a memorable way to spend time with this majestic plant. Their anodyne (pain relieving) quality has been proved by scientific studies to be one of the most effective ear ache remedies.  Mullein flower infused oil is soothing for ears  and infusing these flower in honey makes for a soothing concoction for sore throats. Antiseptic in constituents these tiny flowers have powerful healing properties.  The flowers can be eaten in a salad or for decorating a cake and have been used for centuries to dye hair or fabrics yellow.

Look at this beauty! The root at this point is not viable for medicine, all the energy in the plant is being spent on flowers blooming, seed capsules forming and the goal of all plants…..reproduction with the seeds of life. Use first year Mullein roots for medicine.

Mullein Roots

Regarding the Doctrine of Signatures, it is no surprise that Mullein offers incredible healing powers for the muscular skeletal system because it’s second year towering tensile stalks are strong, straight and flexible. The wind can whip at crazying speeds and Verbascum thapsus just bends with it’s power and then straightens with ease.  It is Mullein’s tap root that is specific for addressing spinal alignment issues. I make a tincture out of the whole plant for this purpose including well macerated roots. Or you can decoct the root as a strong tea to ease back pain.  Herbalist Jim Macdonald shares an awesome personal story of how decocting the roots helped the painful dislocated disc in his spine to realign itself so he could continue his canoe trip. Check out his blog posted below to read more of Jim’s respect and experience with Mullein.

Another unusual use for Mullein root is it’s usefulness in strengthening the bladder muscles. Harvest the first year root in the Autumn and dry it, after drying grind it into a fine powder in a coffee grinder and fill #00 capsules with the powder.  Take two with each meal for six weeks.  This is also excellent for children with weak bladders who wet the bed or for seniors who are losing bladder control.

Mullein Seeds

The tiny peppery seeds have a narcotic relaxing effect, supposedly fisherman have better luck fishing by pouring a tea made from the seeds in their favorite fishing hole. This propurtedly inebriates the fish and makes them easier to catch.

Due to the rotenone in the seeds they can act as an insect repellant as well.  Many surmise that the Mullein stalks dipped in tallow and lit for torches also repelled pesky insects in the process of lighting a path.

You can always locate first year plants around the base of a retired Mullein seed skeleton!

Playful ideas: The seed stalks also make for beautiful dried flower arrangements as do the dried leaves. I posted a few pictures of crafting with Mullein below.  Some of my herbal apprentices have thrown long straight Mullein stalk as an herbal javelin!! And a magical thing to do with Mullein seed stalks on a snowy Winter day is to cut the stalk at the base and whirl around spreading the tiny black seeds like pepper in a circle on the white snow.

Reflecting on Giant Stories – Devotional on Mullein

My “giant” Brian was a young man who lived life to the full, sometimes in daring adventures. One day we received a call that he had been in an accident flying a wing suit in the mountains of Switzerland. My husband went to the Swiss hospital to be by his side while we wondered if he would come out of the coma and recover. On April 2, 2014, he left this earth to spend eternity with the God who cared for him, guided him, and captured his imagination and his heart. We look forward to joining him someday. You can read more about him here: https://www.jasondrake.com/brian-drake.

Some people are bigger than life.

Brian changed my life in more ways than I can count. Brian was a seeker of truth and taught others by the Socratic method of asking genuine questions, listening well and helping the rest of us to think along with him. So many of my rusty paradigms were shifted from time spent with Brian, reading the books he suggested, facing hard questions posed in a respectful way. Everything from natural healing, history, economics to Jesus Christ was rethought and brought into clearer focus because of his influence. Other’s felt similarly about him as well but I did not know the reach of Brian’s presence in the lives of others until after he was gone and the stories came pouring in.

As a professional BASE jumper, Brian lived in the French Alps for easy access to altitude.

The Mystery of the Seeds

In the weeks following his accident in the Swiss Alps I looked for comfort from my Creator, from His Word and His creation. One of the promises I held most dear is in Psalms “All of the children of My servants will continue and their seed will be established before Me.”   As we spread Brian’s ashes in a skydive over a drop zone in San Diego, God impressed on my raw heart that none of his ashes would fall to the desert floor in vain. Seeds of Love had been planted.

But the seeds are what captivated my attention because as I was geeking out researching more about Mullein on Google I read that they can sit dormant on the earth’s skin for up to 100 years. What brings them to life is devastation. Whether that be a fire or a clear cut, as in my story, they wait till they are needed to burst forth and bring healing to the denuded forest floor or the burned ground.

Jim MacDonald says, “The best way I know to get Mullein to grow where you live is to burn a brush pile and come back in a year!”

Mullein blankets the land where fire has cleared forests. In this, it appears as though the plant is invading the land, but after a year or two, new plant species emerge and diversity expands. Mullein acts as a kind of soothing balm that eases and covers with its leaves the devastation and disruption and helps regenerate new growth. ‘Mullein is also known to regenerate new growth in human lungs’ helping us breathe.

This reference to dormant seeds waiting for fire or devastation to sprout and bring forth healing was extremely meaningful for me and the timing of this teaching was incredible.

We all go through fires of adversity, life is hard, waiting is hard but knowing that we are not alone and that Life is coming and healing will be brought about in time…is an anchor for the weary soul.   Thought none of us would choose it – fires and pain can bring forth much good in it’s refining process.

3-2-1 Thank You

This teaching on Mullein corresponded in my life to the birthday of our eldest son Brian who died in 2014  in a BASE jumping accident in the Swiss Alps.

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, and He who formed you,

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.  

For I am the Lord your God, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1-3

Plant Poems

At the end of each Befriending Plants class I saved 10 minutes for my students to write a poem about their new green friend.  Here is one of the Verbascum thapsis (the common but not so common Mullein) that my friend Alaina wrote as a gift for me.

Verbascum thapsis

                                    – for Holly

                                             (Isaiah 43:1-4)

in the wasteland we sit

  seemingly barren, though not forgotten

tiny seeds of life

scattered across the snow

years of silent stillness

waiting in darkness

suddenly Light –

a spark of possibility

fierce fires of incubation

through devastation flourishing

Adam’s flannel rosette

promising strength, soothing

reaching towards the heaven

its own sunny beacon

bending but unbreaking

offering hope for our battered souls.

 

So now it’s your turn. You have just been introduced to someone who could change the quality of your life!  It’s time for you to develop your own adventures with this generous green friend, or perhaps you have known Mullein for a long time….either way I want to hear from you and enjoy more about Mullein through your stories.  Please comment below!  Wild Blessings abound!

Love,

Holly

For continued study – suggested references

http://ryandrum.com/threeherbs1.htm#mullein

https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/mullein/#mullein-flowers

https://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html

 

Dried Mullein basal rosette of velvety sage leaves are beautiful for decoration

Holly’s Mullein Action List – a summary of the many things you can do to spend time getting to know Mullein better

My friend Martha created this beautiful Seedscape and used a dried dark brown Mullein stalk for the earth below.

Dried Mullein leaves in the Thanksgiving table centerpiece. So beautiful!

Now that you know what a powerful green ally Mullein is for your respiratory system, immune boosting, spinal alignment, kidney strengthening…I hope you take the time to harvest your own stash and add Verbascum’s many offerings to your healing arsenal. Wild Blessings abound!

Wow, I just found Laura Weant’s poem on Mullein, I had to share it with you!  So good!

Mullein –  Laura Weant

slow and steady

born in fire, you don’t burn out quickly

you take your sweet, soft time

from rosette to towering stalk

you bring us light; you help us breathe

you take away our pain.

you lubricate; boost our immune system

mullein, verbascum thapsis –

make us flexible as you

make us patient, a self-starter,

and when our fire comes, make us a light-bringer, too