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spring foraging/medicine-making

We are going to have a bumper crop of dandelions this year so I have been eating the leaves. The nettles are coming up and I used my first sampling of them last night for supper. When the cleavers are bigger, I am going to try them in a spring tonic recipe I found. Anyone else finding simple uses for "backyard" spring herbs yoiu could share?

Re: spring foraging/medicine-making

Hi Alise,
It has been awhile since springtime, I realize, but I thought I'd share the bitters recipe I made from backyard dandelion root steeped in vodka, blended with gentian root, a drop of sweet orange essential oil, and a dash of maple syrup. Yum, I made a large batch this spring and have been enjoying it since. This is based on Urban Moonshine's maple bitters recipe. Question, you can also harvest dandelion root in the fall, right? I'd like to make more for wintertime.
I haven't played with cleavers much, but just heard a friend adds it to her juicing recipe in the springtime.

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Re: spring foraging/medicine-making

Hi Erin,

Hope you read the message board more often than I have been lately. I have had a very busy October, so just read your reply now. Thanks for the bitters recipe- I am just about out of a commercial product, and thought I would now just make my own instead, so maybe I will try this one. I do not have any gentian, though, so maybe I will replace it with something else. In looking in my Peterson's guide, I see it grows around here late summer, early fall, so I will definitely have to look for it next year- it's always exciting finding something new out there. Thanks for the inspiration.
Fall is a great time for collecting roots- all the energy the plant was using to grow leaves, and then flowers, is not now taking away from the medicine in the roots, so traditionally, roots are harvested now. They can also be harvested in the spring before leaves come out for the same reason. Just connect it with a garden- many root crops (potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, etc.) are gathered in the fall.
Thanks for the cleavers suggestion; we like making smoothies.

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Re: spring foraging/medicine-making

hi Alise,
Thanks for the info...it makes sense to connect root gathering with gardening seasons :)
Just saw your post now, I haven't been checking the message board at all lately.
Happy winter!

Erin

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