Edible And Medicinal Plants On Our Forest Homestead

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Edible and medicinal plants are everywhere. Many plants that are thought of as weeds are actually food. Like dandelions! Not only that, but most of them are not only edible, but also medicinal plants. So they can be eaten for food or used for what ails you. I know the plants around my own homestead the best, because those are the ones I use. It makes sense to learn about the ones that grow the closest to your home. Learning how to harvest them. Then how to prepare or store them, so you can use them for food. Later on, you can learn how to use them for medicine. Most plants have many different medicinal uses. 

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Burdock is another plant that is both, edible and medicinal plants. Farmers burn burdock! That is really a sin. Burdock is one of the ingredients in the Essiac tea. It is a blood purifier and is extremely beneficial to the liver. I love my burdock plants growing around our property. This year I am going to make a big effort to get to it early in the spring, and start using the leaves as food. I seem to forget about doing that till the leaves are tougher. Early spring is the best time for most of these plants. Though we eat the dandelions, as long as they are growing.

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Elderberry jam, jelly and pies! Mmmm! Who hasn’t heard of them? I started canning elderberries as unsweetened juice a few years back. That way I can make it into whatever I want. Or just drink it plain. It is another one of the popular edible and medicinal plants. The blossoms are pretty powerful too. Just make them up into a tincture for future uses. Elderberry is famous for its use as preventing the flu. Even Allopathic doctors recommend it now. I am fortunate to have elderberries growing all over the forest land around me. They are everywhere! Of course, I have to fight the birds for the berries!

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Wild Fox Grapes

Fox or wild grapes are another food that grows through out the state forest. The vines wrap themselves around the trees, and choke the life out of the young ones. I have saved more than one from that untimely death. Grapes can be made into juice, jam or jelly. The leaves are also a well known food. The Greek people are known for their dish of stuffed grape leaves. They can be cooked in a little olive oil with some garlic and whatever you want to add. Grape leaves can be canned for future use as cooked greens.

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Mullien is a plant that is used for ear problems. I am not real familiar with it since I have never had to use it. Buy a good field guide to the plants around your home. I use this one A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides) for the medicinal plants. Learn to do this before you need to do it! Once you get started, you may find this is a good way to cut expenses, as well as improve your health! Happy Foraging! 

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Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole

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