Playing in the Sweet Clover

Playing in the Sweet Clover

While many of the herbal bloggers are busy on planet Dandelion, I’ve been off in a different direction. While I adore Dandelions, they’re not very common here, and my attention generally remains on what’s abundant and available. To this end, I’ve been laying on the river banks with my face buried in this season’s most prolific wild green, Sweet Clover! Chances are, wherever you live (in N. America) there’s some Sweet Clover (Melilotus spp.) flourishing nearby, and if not, it’s certainly easy to grow in your garden. This plant must have a million uses, but my current favorite one is as food. Before flowering, it has a sweet rich vanilla tastes with a kind of sharp afterbite. After flowering, it’s somewhat more bitter...

Quelites – Preservation & Preparation of Lamb’s Quarters

We’ve been enjoying meals packed full of preserved and fresh greens nearly every day for the last few weeks. We don’t have a freezer or fridge out here so we’ve had to be a bit inventive with our preservations techniques. We also don’t care much for canned greens, and you can only eat so many pickled anythings! So for our lovely lamb’s quarters (also locally known as Quelites, that’s pronounces something like kay-leet-ays for all you Spanish illiterates) we have learned to dry them by the five gallon bucket full. The below notes are taken from Loba’s ongoing kitchen writings and will probably be inserted in the cookbook at some point. Oh, and most people think lamb’s quarters smell REALLY weird during the boiling...

Tomatoey Lentil Soup With Garlic & Onion

Another excerpt from Loba’s Enchanted Pantry, written in the days before I knew that garlic and tomato sauce both do strange things to my belly. It is fabulously yummy though, so enjoy an extra bowl for me Oh, and for those of you who requested a copy of the cookbook, I’m in the process of sending them out now, so hopefully everyone should have their own copy in the next week. For Kiva and me, this is one of the most fundamental recipes in this book. We begin craving it when the first really cold nights descend on the canyon, and then I make it on just about every Baking Day because we so love to dunk pieces of buttered fresh baked bread into it! Between the two of us we have no problem polishing off the whole pot-fulls, and there are so many ways to...

Pain Salve for Wood Chopping Hands & Some Notes on Salve Bases

3 Parts Larrea leaf/flower infused oil 2 Parts Cottonwood bud infused oil 1 Part Cypress (or Thuja) leaf/berry infused oil 1 Part Ginger root infused oil Sprinkle of Chile powder (you can use Cayenne, but I prefer Chile Piquin myself) Blend oils and Chile powder, then add melted beeswax until you reach your desired consistency. I’m assuming you know how to make a basic salve. If not, wait until I do my post on basic medicine making and then makes this salve Another method is to either add lanolin to the infused oils, or to actually infuse the herbs directly into lanolin or lard or ghee or whatever happy, wholesome kind of animal fat you’ve got on hand. This latter method needs to be done over a low heat for a long time. Some people do this in a double boiler, but...

Root Magic – Homemade Ginger Ale for Upset Bellies

Root Magic – Homemade Ginger Ale for Upset Bellies

Rebecca mentioned on her most recent blogpost how Winter is the time to switch from leafy greens to roots and seeds, and I couldn’t agree more! There’s so profoundly nourishing and magical about cold season root brews. I have this amazing Chinese round clay pot that was a gift from a dear herbal friend, that is just fabulous for bubbling up long decocted Ginger or a bittersweet tea of Burdock and Licorice, or even a bitter but energizing mug of Dandelion. A less warm but very useful bit of root magic we recently made was a Ginger Soda for Rhiannon’s poor belly. Out of the blue, with no warning symptoms, she was vomiting, dry heaving and just generally miserable with hot, tense stomach bug type symptoms. She was too sick to even take any medicine...

The Gifts Winter Brings – Creamy Acorn Squash Soup

Here I am, late but present for this month’s blogparty hosted by Dreamseeds Ever since the cold weather came, complete with ice, rain and chilling winds, we’ve been brewing many pots of Ginger tea and long cooked bone broths on our antique wood stove in the cabin’s cozy little kitchen. The glass herb jars that line the wooden shelves are filled to the brim with an abundance of herbs, spices, seaweeds, mushrooms and other tasty ingredients for cold weather cooking. I love how this season invites a three day cooking of apples, making for the most luscious, rich sauce imaginable, even with only a touch of sugar as the concentrated juices become sweeter and deeper with time and heat. And how marinated mushrooms simmer away on a corner of the stove,...