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A Freehold of My Own

Documenting my journey toward being a self sufficient family

Category

Herbs

Foraging and Production 

Hello folks! Things are crazy busy this year, making it very hard to keep up with my writing. I’m working on getting more time to write. Summer weather showed up a month early this year, combined with the drought we are experiencing has made for some interesting harvesting. The salmonberries were abundant, I have a large bag of them in the freezer that will be turned into jam. The blackberries are COPIOUS!! I want to bring my son to pick them so time will have to be found for that. Current projects include…

  
I’ve been wanting to make tamales for years now. Maybe months but it feels like years. I haven’t seen corn husks for sale and even if I did I couldn’t buy them in good conscience. I live in a region that produces a lot of corn so I have husks drying in the sun.

  
Hazelnuts! Or Filberts. I’ve recently discovered they are actually two different types of nut but are so similar to be all but interchangeable. I’m going to identify the wild trees I’ve been collecting from this week. I’ve got about a pound of nuts drying in a cardboard box on my patio. No direct sun but will still get all the warmth.

 
My foraging haul for the day: hazelnuts and red clover blossoms. The nuts are for eating, the blossoms for tea.

Mishaps 

So while I was out walking the dogs I’m boarding with my three year old, my spouse tried to be helpful and turned the oven on for me. He failed to notice the big wooden spoon propping the door open, not only is it how Iet air circulate when drying herbs, it’s also a big warning to not turn the oven on. This was the result.

 
I was sad. What cheered me though was the fact I found some giant dandelions while I was out. Didn’t get nearly as much root as I wanted but there are lots of tender leaves! It will be dried and added to the “green powder” I’m making. It’s basically just greens you can eat dried, crumbled, then mixed together. I’m not fond of leafy greens, they usually taste like dirt to me or have the texture of dirt. When I saw a post about making your own green powder for smoothies and such I was overjoyed! 

  

 

Urban Foraging – Horsetail and Plantain

Had the chance to get some foraging done the day before yesterday. I found some really healthy looking horsetail(also known as foxtail) and two varieties of plantain. I will be testing it’s medicinal and non-medicinal qualities so there will be a post on scrubbing pots with them!

  • Horsetail, Foxtail: Equisetum
  • Narrow Leaf Plantain: Plantago lanceolata
  • Broadleaf or Greater Plantain: Plantago Major

  

Dandelion Oil Complete!

I finally had the chance to strain my dandelion oil. The picture I took does not do it justice. It has a wee bit of a green tinge from the olive oil but it was also this beautiful golden yellow! I’m really excited about trying it out. I really need to find my beeswax so I can make some salve right off the bat.

  

Salmonberry Leaf Tea

I’ve finally had the chance to taste test some tea made from local shrubbery. I had collected leaves from Salmonberry bushes(Rubus spectabilis) that I could find far enough from main roads to make me comfortable. They took about two days to dry, spread out on a cookie sheet in my kitchen. 

  

I crushed the leaves by hand and measured a teaspoon into my tea strainer. I let my water come to a boil and let it sit for about a minute. The leaves were tender before I dried them being the first Spring shoots; I figure that hot but not still boiling water would work well.

 

I let the herbs steep, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. I tried it after two minutes and the flavour wasn’t even noticeable. After more time it tasted much like a mild green tea. I think this would work well added to other ingredients, not so much on its own. 

Dandelion Oil – Part Two

Part two of dandelion oil! I had read online, from multiple sources, that the moisture content in the flower heads can lead to a jar of rotten slop. I was feeling impatient so rather then sun drying, I spread the flowers on cookie sheets and dried them in the oven while I was out at work. After about five hours they looked like this.

  

I moved them into two jars, covered them with olive oil. I used an extra virgin olive oil that was not to my liking for eating. For cost purposes I’m sure regular olive oil or perhaps grape seed oil would work just fine. You can solar infuse the oil, leaving it in the sun, for four to six weeks or do the faster method. Fill a pot big enough to hold your jar(s) with a few inches of water, put your jar in, turn the burner on to medium. Let the water heat up but not boil, turn off the heat and let the jars stand in the water until it cools. I’m going to let it sit for at least a week, maybe two. Then onto making salve!

  

Dandelion Oil – Part One

The sun was bright and shining today after having heavy rainfall yesterday. My joints do not agree with this sort of weather. In an effort to help with pain and because I love foraging, I collected dandelion flowers to make dandelion oil with. As the process unfolds I will do my best to keep everyone updated. I plan on making a salve with it also.

   

 

Infused Water – Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

I put this together last night and left it to infuse. It turned out really nice.

12 cups water
2 lemons
1/2 – 3/4 of a long english cucumber
12 mint leaves

Slice the cucumber and lemon very thin, put into a 3 L jug with the mint leaves. Fill with 12 cups (approx.) of filtered water. Leave in fridge over night.

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