Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yard Foraging: Violets, Dandelions, Sheep Sorrel, and Nettles

One of the tired themes on our blog is our busyness. Rather than go into our usual complaint list, I will just say (again) that we are too busy and it has been affecting our foraging lives.

However...our inability to get out and forage in the woods at large has made us much more aware of the plenty on our own land. And it has also made us look more closely at the plants that grow here too. The little one and I collected dandelions for this year's batch of dandelion marmelade, and I found myself seeing the nuances of the dandelion. Who looks closely at dandelions? But they have so many stages. When they first bloom, their petals are tight knit in the center--clustered and easy to remove in one bunch. At their peak, the flowers are in lovely, uniform circles. As they age (though still all yellow) their centers become fuzzy and soft and the outer petals curve downwards. And the whole flower closes at night--who knew?

We have a lot of nettles on our property. Along the edge of the woods to the north, we have noticed our nettles have tons of tiny holes, making the leaves almost lacy with insect foraging. These nettles (as you would think) don't sting very much. Thag and I pick them without gloves. And the other day, as Yub Yub tried to help me forage, she walked right through a patch without any reaction at all. But, on the other side of our house, grows a smaller patch of nettles, with no insect bites that are much pricklier to the skin. How cool to know two patches so well--and see differences living so close together.

Despite the crazyness, I have managed to make two batches of violet jelly, two batches of dandelion marmelade, and make sheep sorrel soup for company who raved about it. So we continue on, but forgive us if our recipes and posts don't feature a large variety of edibles.

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