Raspberry Leaves

edible_weeds_raspberry_leafRaspberry-leaf tea is great all year round. In summer, we mix it with mint or Japanese green tea and serve it cold. In winter, we mix it with camomile and drink it hot. Raspberry-leaf tea is claimed to have various medical benefits, particularly for women.

In July, we harvest the new shoots of our wild raspberry. We air dry the leaves on the branches indoors, and finish by placing the leaves in a dehydrator. The tea is light and sweet. Wild raspberry spreads quickly and is considered a weed, but we value it as a herb and source of soft fruit. We have several varieties. Click on the image for a larger view.

Raspberry Harvest

edible_weeds_raspberryNaomi and I were collecting raspberries this evening. We have three or four varieties on our land, perhaps more. This year has been very good. We normally get only a handful, but we have collected a couple of pints so far. Click on the image for a larger view of this jar of fruit.

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Virginia Spiderwort

edible_weeds_spiderwortVirginia Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginians, is found throughout the eastern US. The leaves, young shoots, and flowers are edible—raw or cooked. Native Americans ground the leaves into a poultice for insect bites. Our garden has this plant growing wild with blue, pink, and the rarer white blossoms.

Not all spiderworts are edible, there are about 75 species. Some are toxic for cats or dogs. Click on the image for a larger view.

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The Arrival of Spring

life_in_maine_spring_arrivesOur wild plum have just come into blossom. These flowers mark the first sign of spring. Our forest trees are just showing their new foliage and fern and other forest plants are spouting. And while the new green is wonderful, the white flowers of our plum is magical. Later in the summer, we hope to harvest some fruit from these trees. Click on the image for a larger view.

Sage

life_in_maine_sageWhile outside has been in the firm grip of winter, inside is showing signs of spring. Our sage has come into blossom. In Maine, sage is supposed to survive in the garden through winter, but we lost most of our crop during the ice storm at the end of 2013. Naomi saved one of the surviving plants in a pot. Click on the image for a larger view.

Sage has a refreshing sweet scent, which makes it a wonderful indoor plant. We used it in cooking and for tea. Among Native Americans, sage is considered sacred and one of the most important ceremonial herbs: it has power to balance the body, mind, and spirit.

Self-Heal Tea

life_in_maine_self_heal_teaPrunella vulgaris, commonly known as Self Heal or Heal All, is known in many cultures to have healing properties. The entire plant is edible and can be uses in soups, salads, and stews. Like with our Goldenrod, we make tea from the plant. Unlike the bitterness of Goldenrod, this tea has a mild flavor. Click on the image for a larger view

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Goldenrod Tea

life_in_maine_goldenrod_teaGoldenrod tea is said to have medicinal properties and to be good for colds. The tea is bitter and we usually mix it with chamomile and add a splash of honey. We simply throw goldenrod blossoms and leaves into a masion jar and pour in boiling water. We let it steep for 30 minutes to a day. If you love the bitterness of Japanese green tea, goldenrod can can be a great non-caffeine alternative. Click on the image for a larger view.

Yellow Dock—Edible Weeds

edible_weeds_curly_dockYellow Dock or Curly Dock, Rumex crispus, is a common weed. We use the ground seeds in bread. Some use the seeds as a coffee substitute, although we use dandelion roots for that. Click on image for a larger view.