Can’t Forage? 10 Foods and Medicinals You Can Buy Dehydrated

Can't forage? Here are 10 foods and medicinals that you can buy dehydrated!

As much as I’ve enjoyed learning to identify new plants over the years, I’ve been rather nonchalant about foraging, and especially about foraging enough for winter use.

My interest has piqued over the past year or two, however, and I’ve found myself in the position where I’ve grown to rely on certain foods, like elderberry, for example, but did not forage enough to have on hand all winter. Hard to believe when Mike foraged gallons of elderberry this past September.

Or take dandelion root. Now that I’ve learned to roast it to perfection, I really enjoy it and miss not having it.Continue Reading

Tips and Resources for Your Hardiness Zone

Find Tips and Resources for Your Hardiness Zone, although with information on first and last frost dates for your area so that you know when to plant.

What’s a hardiness zone and how do I find mine?

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their location. The map divides the United States and Canada into zones based on the average annual minimum temperature for that area.

This information is particularly useful when purchasing seeds, plants or trees for your garden. Each plant will bear a tag indicating the zones in which it will best grow. Trying to grow plants that are not suited for your zone will generally result in weak growth, disease, and even complete failure.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Permaculturist Sepp Holzer, for example, has created microclimates on his farm that literally change the hardiness zone allowing him to grow lemons in an alpine climate. It’s exciting and encouraging to know such work is being done, but beyond the scope of this post. We’ll stick to the basics here.Continue Reading

Supercharge Your Elderberry Syrup

Supercharge Your Elderberry Syrup with foraged plants to boost immune building properties.

You know I’m a big fan of elderberries. We’ve talked about them in the past. And they grow wild here in NEPA, so that’s a huge plus. But, even if they don’t grow in your area, you can purchase them dried pretty reasonably right here.

Elderberry Syrup is well known for it’s ability to boost the immune system and to fight coughs, colds, and flu. I make it regularly and Mike and I take a tablespoon (or so) of it most every day. Many recipes simmer the berries with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ginger to add additional cold-fighting properties and make it taste even more yummy. These are fantastic and I always add them as well.

Supercharge Your Elderberry Syrup

I love to forage and I’ve begun to wonder what other wild-foraged treasures could be added to my elderberry syrup to make it even more powerful – to supercharge it so to speak! While most of my additions may be foraged, they can also be purchased dried if they are not available in your area.Continue Reading

Saying I Love You . . . Naturally

Saying "I Love You" naturally and simply is more your style, isn't it? Here are a few ideas to get you started!

If you’re like me, and I think you are, the traditional Valentine’s Day gift of pesticide laden roses from South America just isn’t your thing.

And those heart shaped boxes of chocolate? More pesticides, and lots of questionable ingredients. Chocolate is wonderful, but make sure it’s organic and fair-trade, k? Or better yet, try this Chocolate Elixer drizzled over ice cream. It’s made with herbs to strengthen and support your body.

But that isn’t to say that a day to honor your loved one should be thrown out the door. With a little creativity, and help from a some great bloggers out there, you can say, “I love you” naturally and simply.Continue Reading

The Trick to Delicious Wintergreen Tea

If you've foraged wintergreen and used it to make wintergreen tea, you may have been disappointed. Here's how to get delicious flavor out of those leaves.

Are there flavors and scents that send you straight back to your childhood? Wintergreen does that for me. Growing up, my family spent every summer at a cottage on a lake in the mountains of northeast PA. That mountain is covered with sassafras, mountain laurel, blueberries . . . and wintergreen.

I would be hard pressed to think of a more simple delight than picking a few wintergreen leaves, crushing them in my hand and breathing in one of the most wonderful aromas in all creation. Seriously.Continue Reading