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After relaxing in the fresh air picking herbs the other day, I enjoyed a free salad and cup of tea. The tea was made with leaves of strawberry, nettle, comfrey, and raspberry.
The salad greens in the picture are lambs quarters, which according to the book, Diet for a Small Planet, contain more vitamin A than carrots. I added a few leaves of sorrel, which are high in vitamin C. I didn’t pick too many, because the plants are still young. I topped the greens with mung and lentil sprouts, and cut in a hard-boiled egg from a happy local chicken. The dressing is balsamic vinegar, and the whole thing is sprinkled with brewer’s yeast. The spring salad is crowned with a clove of garlic. This is a meal packed with natural vitamins and minerals, and it probably cost less than a quarter.
Foraging for Herbs is a Joy with Benefits
Foraging for herbs is a wholesome and rewarding activity that promotes health and well being. As with all practices of simple living and self-reliance, you need to know exactly what you’re doing to stay safe. There are many books with pictures and descriptions of wild plants, but they usually leave me guessing if the plant I’m looking at is the one in the book. The best bet is to go with somebody who has picked and used wild herbs, and is one-hundred percent sure that a plant is safe.
Herbs are Everywhere, but Watch Out
If there is a little bit of earth around your home, chances are good that some kind of free food or medicine is growing there. If you have a garden, useful herbs are probably springing up between your cultivated plants. Herbs grow just about everywhere there is soil. They come back faithfully year after year if you don’t destroy them. The mainstream calls them weeds and spends billions of dollars trying to wipe them off the planet.
Human beings routinely poison the plants that earth offers up as a huge blessing. I think this is like spitting in the Creator’s face. The days are coming when the corporate supply chains will fall apart. Then people will be hungry and sick, and they will feel stupid and sorry for poisoning the food and medicine right outside their doors. Anyway, don’t pick the herbs around your home unless you are sure they have not been sprayed.
The rural roadsides of America are rich with free food and medicine, but DO NOT pick those either because crazy people regularly spray them with poison. They force you to pay for their folly with your taxes. In fact, you can safely assume all plants in public areas of every kind are sprayed with poison, on your dollar, including state and national parks
When you pick herbs, do it on your own property, or ask a friend with some unsprayed land if you can gather them there. Then the worst thing you will have to worry about is the contaminants the oligarchy spews into the air from various commercial sources. We have to keep eating, so we’re screwed there, whether we ingest wild foods or not.
Best time to Pick Herbs
If you plan to use the leaves or flowers for medicine, the best time to pick them is in clear dry weather, in the morning after the dew is off, according to Joseph E. Meyer, who wrote his first edition of The Herbalist in 1918. He says the plants are most valuable when they are in bloom. I like to pick them when the flowers are just starting to open, especially if I am harvesting for the flowers.
Tune in to the Environment
In my book, The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living, I observe how effective it is to learn to be observant and use things in the environment for your benefit, whether they are natural or there by human activity. On a short twenty-minute walk on the family property in Eastern Washington, I took these pictures of plants that come back year after year: clover, wild strawberry, mullein, burdock, stinging nettle, comfrey, lambs quarters, sorrel, rose hips, Oregon grape, raspberry, and plantain. There are more. I just didn’t get to them yet. There are also many I haven’t learned yet.
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