Picture this: there we are in the Joshua tree desert, just walking along, when I notice a beautiful plant I know and love, and often buy from the grocery store: ground cherry! Well, I get excited and start eating a whole bunch, and Luke and his mom eat one cherry each. Lucas, in an attempt to bust my balls, goes: isn’t this a nightshade? Nightshades, a family of plants, have both very poisonous members, such as Bella Donna or bittersweet nightshade, but also very edible ones such as tomatoes and peppers. All of
A sudden I start to panic: am I sure of my identification? I’ve never seen this plant in the wild! We turn on the iPad Audubon app and lo and behold, Audubon calls this plant extremely poisonous. Fast forward ten minutes, and we are all on the side of the road with our fingers down our throats, forcing ourselves to puke up this supposedly toxic plant.
Well! Upon further research, Audubon was WRONG. Only the unripe fruit is poisonous, once yellow it is safe to eat. Thank god! But this was a good learning experience. Here are the things I discovered:
– I need to trust myself. I really do know my plants
– I need to slow the f down. I get excited about new things and don’t think through sometimes
– I need to be a thousand percent sure of my ID if I’m going to feed it to other people
– Audubon guides suck and give you misinformation
It was a whole roller coaster of an experience and I’m glad the outcome was what it was: the fruit out of our system, and it being edible in the first place. But nature is a powerful thing and though it provides, it can take away, too.
This was a really good lesson.
My parents got married in the backyard of the house where I grew up and where they still live. We have always played in a park out back, and though many things have changed about this park, two giant trees with big red berries in the fall have remained. I remember my uncle Mark hopping out of that tree during a round of hide-and-go-seek, and I remember asking my mom if I could eat those bright red fruit, and she said “no”. Fast forward 10 years, knowing a little bit more about botany than I did then, and these red fruit, now identified as pommes, are in fact from a very much edible crab apple tree. So I went out with my mama ad harvested a whole bunch, despite my mom’s fear of bees. We then dehydrated them. My sister hates them, I love them, and they will make a sweet source of carbs for our summer adventure, plus a solid food source in urban spaces.
Cool new archeological excavation found that bronze age families sat down for a delicious bowl of stinging nettle stew.
check out the article here!
Stinging nettle is highly nutrition, and useful. You can use fibres in the stalk to twist rope.
You can also eat the young leaves during the springtime, by drying them or cooking them to get rid of the hairs. It’s a plant incredibly high in iron, so really good for ya! It also helps clean up your blood in the spring time.
In the fall, after the plant has gone to seed, you can gather the leaves, which will be high in silica, and make tea that you can use as a conditioner.
And even better, it grows in every roadside ditch and in riparian areas.
Posted in crafts and skills, Nature, Neat Links
Tagged bronze age, conditioner, cordage, foraging, home made, nettle soup, nettle stew, rope, stinging nettle, urtica, urticaceae, wild food