Gathered Knowledge

Chickweed

We eat a lot of this plant. It is both common and tasty. It makes a great salad, eaten raw, and is good lightly steamed and added to the stew pot. Cook the whole upper of the plant. The Mouse-ear (hairier leaves) variety cannot be eaten raw.

chickweed

For medicine this herb is cooling for the skin. Wrap some in a cloth, dip it in warm water and apply to skin abrasions, boils, blisters and bruises.

chickweed-close

A lipbalm is made by adding tallow (animal fat) and applying to chapped lips and weather beaten skin.
Chickweed is a mild laxative (so don’t eat huge amounts, though even a whole chickweed salad doesn’t have any disastrous outcome) so a strong tea can be made for constipation.

It is said that when the Chickweed flowers are open, there will be no rain.

New dock leaves

Walking through the woods the other day we spied some newly emerging dock leaves pushing their way through the forest floor.

dock-new-leaves

Dock leaves are full of tannin and when eaten are very bitter and no good for you. To make the mature leaves more palatable they need to be boiled in several changes of water to rid them of tannin.

Ed tried the new dock leaves raw and found them fairly tasty. The bitterness was not there. From this we make the assumption that the new small leaves, especially when they’ve been covered by forest leaves, are good to nibble on, and good for the pot.

Rose Hips in winter

The hips of the Dog Rose briar are the finest source if vitamin C in the wild. We have found them still tasty on the bush in February.

rose-hip-picking

As a trail snack pick the soft (not really squishy) ones, squeeze the hip between your fingers.

rose-hip-squeezing

A toothpaste-like eruption of lava red sweetness bursts forth, you eat and it is good.
Some are slightly alcoholic by the end of the winter, we like this too.

In November/December we pick the harder hips, dry them whole to make a winter tea. Crush the dried hips slightly and steep in boiling water for 15 minutes, strain through a clean cotton cloth and drink.

rose-hip-eating

Rose hips are associated with the planet and god Jupiter, the principle of expansion and growth, helping us keep springlike during the winter months.

There is nothing better than rose hips in winter for defending against infection, preventing colds and helping with exhaustion.