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Spicey not Dicey. Spice it Up with Pepper Grass! And Snakeweed Salve Soothes!

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Lepidium virginicum
Family: Brassicaceae

Brassicaceae Family

identifying the mustard family (Brassicaceae) by its flowers

According to the top link above,
Nutrition of the Brassicaceae
plant family is rich in these vitamins and minerals:

“This family is crucial in any diet for vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, and the minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium”

Quite a boon of nutrition!

*avoid areas with heavy metals or nitrates since pepper grass absorbs these from the soil if the soil has high amounts. As many plants will do.

Therefore, avoid areas with ferilizer run off.
Good to get soil tested if any doubt.

Habitat:
Fields, vacant lots, grazing land, disturbed areas, roadsides, waste sites.

And Pepper grass grows all around me in the high desert of New Mexico. It was formerly a ranch where I now live.

Common name/Nickname: Pepper grass, Poor Man’s pepper, Pepper weed, Milk Bottle

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In amidst the old branches of a dying tree

Turns out I had seen pepper grass quite a bit! I had walked past, stopped to admire it, commented on it, and grown friendly to its presence everywhere.

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Little did I know this bouncy, bountiful plant was a yummy, mustard-y, radish like green.
I bet it would taste great in a salt preserved sauerkraut!

Why not toss a few juniper berries in too?

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Juniper berries are traditional in Sauerkraut.
Come to find out the bluish/white cast on them is a type of yeast.
Many people these days are making breads and other fermented foods using natural yeast like on the juniper berries! I love these adventurous and accomplishing souls!

make your own sourdough starter the old fashioned way!

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Here is my story of Pepper grass. I walked a quarter mile or less around the horseshoe shaped land above a basin of land to where my friend stays. From my place to hers.
I hadn’t seen her in a while. I was missing her. And, she offers such a lovely flurry of blessings my way. She is often to annoint me with a cascade of treats such as: essential oils, gifts and yummy food. Her friendship and our laughter.

We often read tarot for each other and she is a passionate, creative and generous friend.

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I told her I was foraging wild foods… albeit thoroughly, blush… and a bit slowly.

She glanced quickly around. She said well there is plenty around us in the desert of New Mexico… and she picked a bunch of bottlebrush like white flowers, leaves and stems, just like that! To my happy surprise! 🙂

She said, taste this!… And, I am so glad I did! Yum! What a surprise! I like mustard-y tastes and it had a taste like horse radish too. Now it is one of my favorite nibbles and it is super good for you too! I just eat the whole thing… excluding the roots. Flowers and all and I have just one thing to say…
Thankyou friend!

Here are some more pictures of Pepper Grass to help you identify it!

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Pepper Grass Basal set of leaves

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Pepper Grass Basal leaves with stem

These Pepper grass plants are going to seed. It is a couple weeks away from autumn.

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Excluding the yellow flowered plant, the Snakeweed plant, this is pepper grass!

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More Information and pictures about Escoba de la Vibora a.k.a. Snakeweed, snakebroom…

Escoba de la Vibora
Snakeweed
Gutierrezia sarothrae
Other Names: broom snakeweed, Matchweed, Snakebroom, broomweed, Collale, Yerba de la Vibora
Family: Asteraceae

Salves , herbal oils and tea infusions for baths made from this plant are soothing for arthritis. And it often grows near the Pepper Grass plant so I like to talk about it here!

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New growth of Snakeweed above.

Flowers below:

 

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This yellow flowered plant, the snakeweed plant, grows all around me too!

I want to make a healing salve from this plant!
It is used medicinally to aid in symptoms of arthritis. It is a medicinal plant and can be used for a healing tea and often for a bath that relieves achiness and discomfort for arthritis and sore muscles.

Michael Moore, herbalist… in his book: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West., p.p. 110-112, describes the uses and methods of utilizing Escoba de la Vibora.

For a basic formula he suggests to boil one small bundle in a quart of water.
Then sip 2-4 ounces of the infusion of herb.
Then add the rest to bathwater while enjoying part of a book. For me, this would be this book of info!

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I just had to harvest some more Yerba de la Vibora! It is the beginning of October and I am sure we want to take, at least, one healing bath for our … mid century aches and pains! Here a bundle is drying!

According to Moore: Further specific Medicinal Use:
“Steep a cup of finely chopped herb for thirty minutes
In a quart of water, strain, and add the tea to a hot bath to alleviate the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.” It is regarded a safe herb for baths.

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And, also according to this source, a tea of it can be good for stomach ache and excessive menstruation.

And, also: “It is a respected, almost revered remedio among Hispanic New Mexico and Arizona peoples, where a tea of the herb is usually drunk while bathing in it. … it is common, safe, and may sometimes work so well for joint inflammations as
to supplant salicylate (aspirin) treatments…(snakeweed is) preferred for headache, sore legs or an aching body.”

Also, Moore describes that several of the terpenes of this plant increase skin permeability, increasing the healing properties of Escoba de la Virbona.

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Yay, this was a first for me! I wildcrafted snakeweed and verbena. I dried it in the sun for a few days and then made it into a salve! I used organic sunflower oil to infuse the herbs. And, added a few drops of vetiver essential oil. Beeswax was melted and added. It is a relaxing soothing herb salve, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and nervine benefitting.

*Harvest from non-polluted areas or buy from organic sources if possible.*

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Verbena grows all around me in New Mexico!

What a fun herbal project. Tips… it takes 1.5 oz of beeswax per every 16 oz of oil for the salve.

Check out these helpful sites!

tips on making infused oils and salves!

A new friend I met on a nature hike also related that snakeweed will also show up in areas that have been over grazed.

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snakeweed oil and salve!

stove top method for infused oils and other tips!

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And back around the bend to Peppergrass!

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peppergrass article and recipe!

Memory course: Pepper grass

Health Benefits Pepper Grass!

“Anthelmintic; Antiasthmatic; Antiscorbutic; Antitussive; Cardiotonic; Diuretic.

The leaves of wild pepper-grass are nutritious and generally detoxifying, they have been used to treat vitamin C deficiency and diabetes, and to expel intestinal worms[254]. The herb is also diuretic and of benefit in easing rheumatic pain[254]. North American Indians used the bruised fresh plant, or a tea made from the leaves to treat poison ivy rash and scurvy[222]. A poultice of the leaves was applied to the chest in the treatment of croup[222]. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, cardiotonic and diuretic[176]. It is used in the treatment of coughs and asthma with excessive phlegm, oedema, oliguria and liquid accumulation in the thoraco-abdominal cavity[176].A poultice of the bruised roots has been used to draw out blisters[257]. The root is used to treat excess catarrh within the respiratory tract[254].”

medical source

So what have I cooked with it?…

I have just eaten it as an uplifting, radish-y, nourishing and healing nibble! Lucky me! It grows all around me. If I’m smart I will dry some for colder months ahead!

Here is me with a lucky nibble!

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Ha ha ha … but true… I did munch away, happily!
And, thankyou friend for showing me Pepper grass!
What a way to spice up my life and thankyou! 🙂

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It does make a pretty bouquet too!

As does this drying herbal bundle of Snakebroom!

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I wonder if the origin of Bride’s bouquets was an herbal bundle of healing blooms?…

This thought encouraged me to look more into the origin of Bouquets!

Text Sources:
Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods. By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by, Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2003.

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Clammy Ground Cherry and the Wilding Way

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identify clammy or smooth ground cherries!

Physalis heterophylla
Common name/Nicknames: Clammy Ground Cherry, Ground Cherry, Husk cherry, Husk tomato, Chinese lantern, Inca berry
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

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Ground Cherry fruit in its beautiful papery lantern husks in early fall

and this next one was an abandoned feast, lying on the arroyo floor…

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Harvest fruit in Autumn
calyx… lantern like casing not edible. Only ripe fruit is!

Nutrition may be similar to Tomatillo
And perhaps more since it has not been cultivated… consider: phytonutrients, flavanoids, etc. Which may be additional when a wild plant.

See more nutritional info at end of post.

plant info

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(I think it is indeed ripening… more yellow today!)

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I’ve read that when the fruit of this cherry is yellow it is the Clammy ground cherry!

As is the spiral through time and space that I am learning about foraged plants… so it is with Clammy ground cherry. I have been admiring them, and learning about them, along with other nightshades that look like they grow tiny yellow tomatoes without husks or calyxes… are poisonous! beautiful, but poisonous.

see toxic look alikes

belladonna poisonous nightshade

But I love plants and it is so interesting to learn about families of plants. The edible, the poisonous, the look alikes and the plants which are in the same family but appear so different!

So this is spiral like too… or labyrinthine. Like when the datura pops and bursts open like my new foraging, plant hike friend, described.

She told our plant hike gathering, how she has admired the beauty of the nightshade datura … for many years.

Then one evening she had the time alone, she admitted was a rare treat, to admire the datura…

When to her delight and surprise, she saw and heard, as the interlocking tendrils at the end of the flowers (which hook it spirally shut)… at just the right moment, popped open and unfurled, to reveal their splendor.

I am so grateful that she shared her story on our plant hike. Stories help us unfold and glean the true wisdom and joy of plants and unfurl a learning experience we can all remember!

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Here is the first Datura plant on my friends’ property and Sustainable Learning Center called Ampersand. Now, some 10 years later, there are many datura plants that have chosen to thrive there.

I love the beautiful datura and have often called it the lily of the desert. It is a nightshade like the Clammy ground cherry… but NOT edible.

Humans have to share afterall. Not all plants developed as edible plants for humans… strong alkaloids and other compounds have developed over time as a plant’s evolutionary defense.

And plants can be teachers and allies, not just through edibility. A reminder to me, to learn about plant neighbors. What plants are growing near a wild edible plant. This tells more of the story of the plant. The story of the soil and place.

…the circle unravels and travels the spiral where we begin…

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Flowering Alfalfa in the arroyo. Yummy alfalfa by the way! near nature hike…

So I got to go on a nature hike, through the happy connection of one friend telling me about the nature hike… that she was hoping to go to, at Ampersand.

Ampersand was created by Amanda and her partner Andy as a Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, New Mexico.

I had been wanting to go to this particular event and because of my schedule had missed out on other nature hikes… but I had that Sunday off!
Amanda gave a hearty welcome for me to join. I couldn’t wait! 🙂

On this nature excursion, Amanda and others discussed and pointed out edible and medicinal plants. I was overjoyed.

This also included stories like the one about datura and traditional Native uses of plants, i.e. the Cleome plant which was used as food (wild spinach) and a dye for pottery painting.

patterns and the fourth sister: Cleome!

Cleome, Cleome Serrulata, is also known as
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant!

Capparaceae family of plants.

The Navajo refer to this plant as Waa’

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patterns of the caper family.

I just love this plant, Cleome!

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Ampersand is located near a beautiful arroyo, meadow and desert area… (not too far from me.) It is a diverse riparian area and so many beautiful plants grow there. Here is Amanda from Ampersand our beautiful and knowledgeable nature hike guide sitting and enjoying a patch of false pennyroyal!

Ampersand! Sustainable Learning Center

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This area is resplendent with all sorts of edible and healing plants. Like this soothing, nervine benefitting herb Verbena!

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Verbena, what a Healer!

tips on making salves

And, I made my own healing salve with snakeweed and verbena! Soothing and anti-inflammatory!

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Clammy Ground Cherry…where do you live?

Habitat:

“It is found mainly in habitats such as dry or mesic prairies, gravel hills and rises, sandy or rocky soils, and waste places such as roadsides.”

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Related to the tomatillo. In fact the Tomatillo is a cultivated Ground Cherry!

Here are more pictures of the Clammy Ground Cherry!

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Plant showing the leaves and ground cherries below hanging in their papery lantern husks!

clammy ground cherry!

native american medicinal use

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My new nature hike friend showing me what lies within the “paper lantern!”

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Showing each other Ground cherries on the nature hike!

Only eat Clammy ground cherries when they ripen to yellow. They contain alkaloids which could be potentially fatal and/or harmful if not ripe!… green is unripe in this case!

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Okay so what can I make with Clammy ground cherries?… jam, pie, a fruity nibble… empanadas…

I just love this person! They made a Ground Cherry pie from a similar species… Physalis peruviana… but
Physalis heterophylla would work great too!
Wow that’s a lot of science… but so is good baking so here goes!

Ground Cherry Pie, Cupcakes and Salsa Recipes!

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Here it is a greenish yellow on the windowsill of a sweet housesit!

I read somewhere that they will fully ripen to a (full yellow) in this case… just like their cousins the tomatoes… will ripen when left to do the same!

I will keep you posted as my journey with Clammy ground cherry continues!

I can’t wait to taste my Clammy ground cherry
once it is fully ripe!

tomatillos are cultivated ground cherries!

Medical Use clammy ground cherries…

From the above Medical Use… link:

” (Peterson Field Guides, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, 1990) report that the American Indians made a tea of the leaves and roots of Clammy Ground Cherry, P. heterophylla, for headaches, wash for burns, scalds; in herbal compounds to induce vomiting for bad stomach aches; root and leaves poulticed for wounds. Seeds of this and other species were considered useful for difficult urination, fevers, inflammation, and various urinary disorders.”

Also may have anti-tumor properties which are being researched.

more medical source

Ripe berries can also be dried and ground into a flour to add to breads and doughs.

Nutrition:

from Primaldocs.com

Clammy Ground Cherry is a powerhouse of Nutrition!

It is filled with Vitamin A
B complex vitamins
Phosphorus, potassium, and iron
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory agents

Including withanolides which cut off cancer cells/tumors ability to make blood vessels to itself

withanolides and physalis

Also, reportedly protects your liver from some forms of toxicity as well as aiding in illness from diabetes and hypertension.

The author, of Primaldocs.com, Arthur Haines, closes this excellent article by talking about the importance of re-wilding one’s life. That the impact of doing so changes one’s life for the better. With nutrition and sense of connectedness to nature, the world.

And that this task of re-wilding is essential to our wellbeing. That we regain ecological knowledge and wisdom and move from being told what to eat by supermarket shelves to a more closely related connection to wild foods and beings that share an ecological path with us.

Re-wilding is a path I am glad I am on!

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Clammy Ground Cherry you have guided my way!

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Keepin on Nature Hiking

Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail!

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This image and more about compass rose.

And a quick sketch in my journal

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It feels fitting to begin with an image of a compass rose. Originally used to help the map reader bear in mind the direction of the winds. It then became a tool to indicate the cardinal directions. This is a modern representation of a compass rose.
The directional points have long been described as the petals of a rose.

This post is about the Rosehips I found while traveling alongside the Oregon trail. So much history, and stories. Some painful. Some a reckoning of western expansion and what effects this had. Migrations were often miles wide. This had a substantial effect on the area and interfered with Native American grazing lands, to say the least.
But, it remains an interesting, if not sometimes painful reminder of past events. Of perseverance and direction. Of the people. Of the roses which remind us of who once were and travelled through
the Oregon Trail.

I found the rosebushes with flowers past bloom, in a half deciduous state with only the Rosehips. But, I immediately recognized the red fruit as Rosehips and the leaves as Rose leaves. Stems adorned with prickles.

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*Please forage with someone who knows and/or bring a guidebook with you.

Always be absolutely certain when foraging.
If in doubt leave it out!

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What are Rosehips Anyway?

According to this site on Wikipedia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hip

“The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through
autumn.”

(In my photo: This patch of Rosehips was in an area where a lot of leaves had dropped. Less than a quarter mile away were Rose plants that had more leaves.)

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Rosehips are used for foods and beverages.

“Rose hips can be used to make Palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage. They are also the central ingredient of Cockta, the fruity-tasting national soft drink of Slovenia. [2]

…Rose hips are commonly used as a tisane, often blended with hibiscus, and also as an oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade, and rose hip wine. Rose hip soup, “nyponsoppa”, is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips.”

And according to this wikipedia site there is more info about the rose plant itself.

“A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles.” (Thorns)

“Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa.”

Also this site gives Excellent:

Identification Characteristics!

“The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. In most species they are 5 to 15 centimetres (2.0 to 5.9 in) long, pinnate, with (3–) 5–9 (–13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets usually have a serrated margin, and often a few small prickles on the underside of the stem. Most roses are deciduous but a few (particularly from South east Asia) are evergreen or nearly so.”

“The flowers of most species have five petals, with the exception of Rosa sericea, which usually has only four. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is usually white or pink, though in a few species yellow or red. Beneath the petals are five sepals (or in the case of some Rosa sericea, four). These (sepals) may be…visible when viewed from above… as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries that develop into achenes.* [4] Roses are insect-pollinated in nature.”

* achenes are dry one seeded fruit. These achenes are surrounded by the hypanthium.

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Here is a Rosehip split in half. It is a closeup of achenes, fibers/hairs and surrounding edible hypanthium. The inside world of a Rosehip!

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Rosa rugosa and Rosa canina are known to make delicious rose hips although there are many rose species that do produce hips.

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Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail

Pioneer Rose or Harison’s Rose
Photograph by Cheryl Netter
From website:
http://www.deborahbedfordbooks.com/harison_rose.html

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I was very happy to find Rosehips along the Oregon Trail.

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Pioneers of the Oregon trail often marked graves of loved ones, who died along the way, with roses which survive to this day. According to the following newspaper article one of the most common of these roses was the Harison rose. A yellow rose. Unfortunately, as I was traveling through, I did not get a chance to see the flowers in bloom. But, I did enjoy the rosehips that I gathered along the Oregon trail. It really got my imagination going. Wondering if the rose bushes I found were tokens of affection for loved ones lost or homesteads along the way. Check out this interesting article about roses and the pioneers who brought rose cuttings with them and preserved those cuttings by sticking the ends into potatoes!

http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2013/07/16/entertainment/02ent%2007-15-13.txt

Also this next newspaper article, written by
Erica L. Calkins for the “Seattle Times.,” gives accounts of pioneer’s experiences.
And, tells of a pioneer descendant, who traces the stories of the women who brought 20 different species along with them on the Oregon Trail!

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950219&slug=2105943

And here is an interesting article about the unusual ingredients pioneer women used in beverages including Rosehips. It also includes a Native American beverage called Yaupon spiced tea which became popular with pioneers.

http://m.voices.yahoo.com/unusual-ingredients-pioneer-women-used-making-beverages-7957528.html

Roses have travelled from all over the world. From one part to the next. And because of this and native species, roses are, delightfully, common. My life has been etched by the sweet life of roses.

From the wild rose bushes on the Oregon Trail to my discoveries of roses growing wild when I was a child. A favorite memory is of rosehips and rose flowers I admired each time I entered alongside the dunes and pathways to the beach a few miles from my home. They always fascinated me and still delight me to this day.

What are your memories of roses? Rosehips, rose petals, or tea, the prickly thorns…smelling blossoms… we are lucky to share in the stories of roses.

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I am adding to this post. Connecting with my family with a loved one and hospice care.

I found a little time to go to the ocean and I found Beach roses and rosehips! What a blessing!

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I remember beach roses and rosehips from childhood days at the ocean.
So sweet to greet them again now.

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a brief and healing visit to the ocean.

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Roses. Take time to smell the roses!…I’ll be honest it’s hokey but, I can’t resist taking the time to do this! Some smell sweeter than others and it is a sweet experience amidst the hubbub of sometimes pervasive tediousness…  🙂

Awww, the sweetness of rose, soothes.

I can’t seem to find the origin of the phrase…”take time to stop and smell the roses” I was hoping it might have stemmed from Shakespeare but, I haven’t found a direct reference. Funny enough, I grew up hearing this and thought it was an age old idiom. I need a good old fashioned idiom origin book
… but, alas, amidst my small trove of belongings and printed materials I do not have one. And this is all food for thought.

After all this why not enjoy a Prickly Pear fruit and Rose petal syrup Cachaça Cocktail!

And now, after a relaxing beverage… Here is more Food For Thought!…

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NUTRITION OF ROSE HIPS

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Excellent Information presented below from the following site:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/health-benefits-of-rosehip-tea-7607.html

Rosehip Tea Health Benefits:

Tips for Rosehips!
🙂
*Notes: Steep in hot water rather than
boiling Rosehips to make tea.
*do not use aluminum pan/mug
*do not store Rosehips in metal

High in Vitamin C
And can give an energy boost due to high vitamin C content.
(It is better to steep rosehips, i.e. for tea, as this will retain more vitamin C content rather than boiling.)
Additional Vitamins Include:
A, B1, B2, B3, E, K, P as well as C

Further Nutrients Include:
Potassium
Calcium
Iron
Carotenoids
Pectin
Anti-oxidants
Bio-Flavanoids
Phytochemicals
Rutin

Also According to the:

Lifestyle Article: I love India. Rosehip Site

Rosehip tea has anti-aging properties. It regenerates cells and has healing properties.

The phytochemicals in rosehips prevent cancer and some cardiac problems.

Furthermore:

Can prevent some colds and viruses.
Helps clear mucus and clears out respiratory tract.
Helps with UTI
Anti stress agents
Anti Depressant
Regulates Hormones
Hydrates Skin
Improves Circulation

Also: Relieves Menstrual cramps, headaches, diahrrea, dizziness, and nausea.

Rosehip tea can help with allergies, asthma and bronchitis as well.

The pectin in tea helps with constipation. Pectin can lower cholesterol and cleans out intestines.

Rosehips can help with some cardiac issues.

Also according to the source below, health benefits are described.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-839-ROSE%20HIP.aspx?activeIngredientId=839&activeIngredientName=ROSE%20HIP

“Rosehips are also used for stomach disorders including stomach spasms, stomach acid deficiency, preventing stomach irritation and ulcers, and as a “stomach tonic” for intestinal diseases. They are also used for diarrhea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention (dropsy or edema), gout, back and leg pain (sciatica), diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow and quenching thirst.”

What about Arthritis? Studies indicate Rose hips alleviate symptoms!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/275404-rose-hips-joint-pain/

http://health.ninemsn.com/naturaltherapies/naturalhealth/799090/10-things-about-rosehip

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Rosehips vitamin C content may be affected by processing and extreme heats in drying. Perhaps low heat drying works best to maintain vitamin C or to use fresh. Consider a dehydrater with lower temp setting or oven on low temp or sun drying.

Here is some info on food process and methods which affect vitamin content in food. Commercially drying of foods…the temps are high typically, so perhaps low drying effects are less detrimental to vitamin retention. This site may be of interest to some so I added it here.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing

***See a medical professional and/or herbal specialist for all serious medical issues and when using herbs and plants for same.***

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WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST ROSEHIPS!

Harvest Rosehips in the fall. I’ve read that they are sweetest after 1st frost although I had good luck harvesting mid September. Harvest the plump ones not any that look shrivelled or damaged. If you are lucky to have roses growing in your yard or woods or beach nearby…how wonderful. Some domesticated varieties of roses produce Rosehips and some do not.

*Avoid harvesting in areas that have been treated with toxic pesticides or herbicides.*

And, enjoy the rose on the stem. If you like Rosehips and want to harvest them later…keep the flowers on the stem. The flowers need to drop their petals naturally. Another example where it doesn’t “help nature” to hurry it along. Then the Rosehip can develop where the rose was. They start out green then morph from green orange, to orange and then a beautiful red or red-orange. Some species even produce a black-ish variety.

This is how I harvested mine:

Pick your Rosehips in the fall. I picked mine in mid September in Oregon. It was an area on the edge of a forest. Near the old Oregon Trail Path that was still visible in places.

Almost all roses are deciduous. I’ve read that only one species isn’t. So, when I harvested my Rosehips many of the rose leaves had fallen off. This is also a factor in identifying Rosehips. And, if you can, acquaint yourself with the rose plant as it goes through its cycle throughout the seasons and/or times of year.

Rinse your Rosehips. I presently live on a semi-trailer with limited water so I soak rinsed mine.

Otherwise, with a small knife cut the rose hips in half through the fattest part of the hip…rather than through the crown and bottom of the hip. This will make it easier to clean out the seeds. Trim off crown and bottom of Rosehip too.

(*a note of interest here is that Rosehip seeds contain a healing oil and can be used as oil for skin creams, etc. Use hulled out seeds and/or whole intact Rosehips depending on directions/recipes for Rosehip products. Therefore, you may want to leave some Rosehips whole.)

So, after cutting all your rosehips in half use a small knife or little spoon to scoop out the seeds and small hairy fibers that surround all the many seeds.

Those hairy fibers, sometimes just referred to as hairs are very irritating and itchy. They also cause intestinal problems if eaten. Please be careful when cleaning out and hulling the Rosehips.

To be honest, I found it easier to use my fingers to scoop out the seeds and hairs. Food handling gloves may be useful here. The fibers stick to your skin and may cause dermatitis or reactions…but, I gave it a go.

The hairs/fibers used to be made into an “itching powder” hmmm…April Fools aside…I don’t think so. It does conjure up imaginings for possible Little House on the Prairies scenes…but, that’s a whole other matter!

O’kay so now you have the hulled and cleaned out rosehips. There are lots of food options. Dry them for salads, trail mixes, teas.

When harvesting, Taste them.

They are said to Taste the Best after the first frost. If you live near an area you can sample one here or there to see when it is sweetest for harvesting a batch, then try that! I’ve heard it can vary and does become a practiced art over time. I’ve read several accounts of harvesting after first frost. I harvested mid September which I’ve read is harvest season also. Try harvesting, whenever in your area the Rosehips are ripe, i.e. depending on the species, the rosehips ripen typically to a deep orange/red. See my photos for reference. I ate some raw and they had a sour, tangy slightly sweet taste like a mild cranberry. Personally, I liked it.

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ROSEHIPS: WHAT CAN I DO WITH THEM?

-Make a tea by infusing the rosehips in hot water.

Here’s a delightful post about making Rosehip tea from fresh Rosehips.
http://eatingrichly.com/10/foraging-rose-hip-recipe-for-tea/

-Make face and skin creams.

Make a Chutney!

Rosehips work great with green apples!

-Use in a pie 🙂

-Add to Salads and Trail Mixes

-Make a Rosehip Butter with this recipe!
http://teacupchronicles.com/?p=148

-Dry your Rosehips or use fresh!

-Make a Rosehip soup. In Norway it is called Nyponsoppa and is very popular there. It is a staple item in most Norwegian households and often counted on for schoolchildren to avoid the common cold and other illnesses!

So, what did I do with my batch of Rosehips?
I made a wild apple and Rosehip chutney!
I attempted nyponsoppa…and liked it!
And I made a face cream using whole, un-hulled Rosehips.

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Here is a straightforward method of making
Rosehip-Almond oil using fresh Rosehips…! Check it out!

http://www.gardenguides.com/86407-make-rosehip-oil.html

And here is a method to make Rosehip and Blue Chamomile oil face cream. Use fresh whole Rosehips and/or the cleaned off seeds.
(Cleaned of irritating hairs/fibers)
*Tip: It may be a good idea to strain the oil of any hairs that come out of heated up fresh Rosehips.*

This face cream uses beeswax and a little borax too. This looks interesting and I want to give it a try!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/176922-how-to-make-face-cream-using-rosehip-oil/#page=1

And, if like me you’d like to know more about Borax (used in face cream remedy) and Boron this is a very comprehensive article about uses of Borax and Boron. Oh, and did you know raisins are high in Boron? Neither did I ’til I checked out Borax and Boron! I love this site and hope you will too!

http://www.growyouthful.com/remedy/borax.php

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Nyponsoppa…Rosehip Soup, for real?
It sure is and it’s easy, yummy and nutritious. Dessert just got good for you again! I made Nyponsoppa and used coconut sugar to sweeten. It is said to have a healthier glycemic index. Oh yeah, and it is Yummy!
I didn’t have potato flour so I used rice flour. My result was not the red version of the soup. It was reddish brown. I think the light brown coconut sugar and rice flour muddied the color…
Some might call that a flop, but using ingredients I had on the truck…it was surprisingly good!

And here, just for fun, are some pics of my Nyponsoppa making adventure!

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I found wild green apples growing near the Rosehips so harvested these too.

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Split in half and scoop out hair fibers and seeds.
I had help with this. It takes time but is fun to do with someone else or a group! 🙂

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Rosehip seeds and fibers

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Boil the outer fruit skin… the hypanthium 🙂

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And boil

Then strain and mash and boil the mash

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Boiling mash, then strain the boiled mash! And to the strained liquid I added coconut sugar and rice flour so it is not the traditional red color but here is my Rose hip soup! I feel shy about it but, it was good!

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Check out this entertaining article and recipe for Nyponsoppa I found.

http://www.cakehead.com/archives/2008/04/sweden_more_tha_1.html
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Drying and Storing Rosehips

Here is a step by step guide using a food dehydrator
to store Rosehips for a year. Also drying Rosehips
in the sun or with an oven at 140° is said to work as well. People often store dried Rosehips in paper bags. Avoid aluminum, aluminum foil etc.

http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/how-to-dry-store-rose-hips-rosa-canina

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Roses have been with us a long time.
This is a beautiful, in depth article on the history of roses and rose products and use over the centuries. It also has information on Rosehips further into the article and also rose recipes.

Dog rose or Rosa canina

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Above image from this site:
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/roses-18.html

And, here is a Native American Salteaux Legend about wild roses and how the rose learned to defend itself.

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/WhyWildRosesHaveThorns-Salteaux.html

Plants have much to teach us. What are your personal stories and experiences with roses and rose hips? I hope you feel inspired to try Rosehips.
Thankyou for taking this journey with me. Rosehips are rather new to me but when I think back to my days as a child at the ocean, turns out I’ve known them a long while afterall. And, that makes me smile.

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And, favorite views of roses at the ocean.

Purslane: Has Many Names and Grows All Over the World

Portulaca oleracea

I knew I would be writing about Purslane soon.  Plants and herbs have a way of calling me to them.
I had been researching purslane along with yellow dock, wild lettuce and so on.  But, I knew purslane had its day with me.  Living on the semi-trailer truck…it was the first plant I saw in the morning and when I arrived in the evening…there it was waiting for me when I got there.  To bid me a sweet night.

Purslane has many ties all over the world.

Its Persian name is Khorfeh.  Its North Indian name is Luni-bhaji.  Ghandi is said to have eaten it and he called it Luni.  It is said that Purslane originated in India, although it is a global plant now.  In Hebrew it is known as Regelah which means foot…because purslane grows underfoot and close to the ground. 
(Above information: See economictimes.indiatimes website below)

I had fun finding words for purslane in languages other than English. And, if anyone else knows some I’ll add them here!

هيبرعلا Arabic word for Purslane

This is Purslane in Chinese.
马齿苋
Mǎ chǐ xiàn

Baqli in Turkish

Armenian is koi’korak, later dandur’

mboga ya pwani in Swahili

портулак
or
portulak
purslane in Russian

In Spanish it is known as Verdilacas or Yerba Orate meaning crazy plant because for how it grows out in all directions.

http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/onmyplate/entry/little-luxuries-purslane-india-s

About the name in English:
http://www.behindthename.com/submit/name/purslane

Purslane probably has as many names as languages and if this is an exaggeration then consider that Purslane grows on every continent except antarctica.  It is an annual which produces a prolific amount of seeds per plant, 240,000 seeds per plant!

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Portulaca oleracea is its scientific name.
It belongs to the family of Portulacaceae.

In English alone, it goes by:  purslane, pussly, pigweed, pusley, hogweed or duckweed and perhaps others I have not heard as yet.  Perhaps affectionate nicknames exist although purslane has also been deemed an annoyance by some.

Purslane was considered a common food in the U.S. until a few generations or so ago. It appears to be making a comeback as it grows almost anywhere and foraging is making a comeback! It is not just being tossed out of people’s gardens, yards, walkways and peripheries as a nuisance but added to the menu as the fresh food for the day!

When eating a purslane salad on a rainy day. Playing scrabble at the kitchen table. The word purslane brings in a score of 10. And if you are a deft player and salad maker purslane brings its rewards!

What Conditions does it Grow in Best?

With 240,000 seeds it can be prolific and hearty. 

Purslane does well in drought conditions.  It likes sunny weather and does not do as well in shade or areas that are too damp.

It’s even been observed that if you pick purslane early in the morning it tastes more lemony and sour that way.

The leaves, stems, blooms and seeds are all edible.

How to Recognize Purslane:

From Green Deane:

“IDENTIFICATION: Smooth, reddish, mostly low-growing stems, alternate spatula leaves clustered at stem joints and ends, yellow flowers, capsule seed pods. Very fleshy. NOT HAIRY. CLEAR SAP. Those are important, not hairy, and clear sap.”
http://www.eattheweeds.com/purslane-omega-3-fatty-weed/

A lot of people say, and I agree that purslane looks like a tiny jade plant.

It has succulent leaves that are fleshy and rounded and which are tear shaped on the ends.

Purslane in flower:

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New growth

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O’kay, for the next 3 pictures, I had to add them to this post!
So, I wouldn’t forage from this trucking shipment lot…
But, I can’t help but admire how purslane will grow right out of the cracks of the concrete!

There it is. Against all odds. It really cheers me up to see the tenacity of this wonderful plant! Maybe purslane will give you encouragement too.
It does for me and it makes me smile.

Purslane, You inspire!

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And it’s flowering too!

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More Description of Purslane:

The leaves are medium green. Sometimes medium light green as above with purslane in flower.

It has a matte grey green color underneath often glistening with moisture sparkles

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Its stems are succulent too and range in color from red to pink to green.  Most of my photos are of the red stemmed kind. But, also smaller stems in other foraged areas showed green and/or green with pink tinge along with red stems.

It grows out of one taproot and then into a rosette shape in all directions. 

*see photos above*

Warning:

Do not confuse Purslane with Spurge.
Here is a picture of POISONOUS SPURGE!
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Photo from anneofgreengardens.com

*Spurge stems are thinner
  Spurge leaves are thinner
***a trick is to break the stem.  If a white milky sap comes out then that is Spurge. And Spurge is Poisonous!

*** so no milky sap means, at least, it’s not Spurge.
***It should be smooth and not hairy on stems or leaves

Always be careful when wild harvesting and go with someone who knows…and/or field guide it, etc.
http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/09/foraging-for-purslane.html?m=1

Here is a helpful site and it lists different types of Purslane.
I recommend in this blog, foraging the common purslane that blooms a small yellow, 5 petalled flower.
Check out this helpful site!

http://phoenixsurvival.com/purslane.htm

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What does Purslane taste like?  What do I do with it?

Purslane can be eaten raw, used in soups or stirfried.

It tastes lemony and a bit like cucumber or green beans. I find it quite pleasant tasting.  Or it tastes like a hearty Wood Sorrel.  I find that like wood sorrel it leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth and feels thirst quenching.  See my post about Yellow wood sorrel too!

Purslane tastes great in a salad and can be prepared like any vegetable for stirfrying.  The succulent nature can make it nice for soups.  I would try looking up nopales recipes and combining the two.  Purslane is smaller so would take less cooking time and nopales take special preparations.  See my Homepage re: harvesting and preparing nopales.  Or buy prepared nopales from your market or Mexican market if available.

Also, a nice idea I have read is to rinse your purslane in a bowl. 
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The seeds which are numerous per plant can be let out in a sunny dry area outside or a window box area.  Water a day or two later and every day or so…not overly wet.  Look for sprouts.  Once it grows water every day. 
When it is big enough you can start harvesting or just eat the sprouts and enjoy!

Try sauteeing it with onions, some mint and garlic!

Also, I found this great Khorfeh Salad…
Salade Khorfeh with turmeric and saffron! I am inspired check it out!
http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2011/08/salade-khorfeh-shirazi-style-purslane.html?m=1

Is Purslane good for Me?  Why Should I eat Purslane?
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First of all, Purslane has the Most Omega-3 fatty acids of any plant! And, more Omega-3 than many fish!

It is low in fat and calories.
It is a rich source of vitamin C.
It has prevented scurvy in many parts of the world.
It has many of the B vitamins including:  Riboflavin, Niacin, Piridoxine and carotenoids.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin A
Very high in vitamin E
Contains Folate and
Lithium!
It is 2.5% Protein

Additional Dietary Minerals include:
Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Maganese! 
Also, Purslane contains 2 types of betalains. 
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html

http://hickeryhollerfarm.blogspot.com/2012/01/accidental-strokes-of-genius.html?m=1 (feed your chickens purslane for nutritious eggs…!)

Betalains are anti-inflammatory and benefit conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.  (Nopales cactus fruit are extremely high in betalains.  See my Homepage on preparations.)

Also, wild harvesting purslane is a good idea for nutritional benefits.  It’s easy to prepare.  And, you can find purslane many places!  Purslane grows abundantly in sunny, dry soil.  And, it is easy to prepare like a salad.  Purslane grows abundantly all over the world!

A word of caution:  if you are prone to kidney stones or other problems with oxalate foods please see a health professional in regard to consuming foods with oxalates.  Purslane contains oxalates as do many vegetables, seeds, grains and fruit.  Not all but many do contain oxalates. 

I am not an expert. Merely a happy enthusiast glad to share what I have learned and discovered!

And Purslane could very well be the missing link in a lot of people’s diets today.  Wild Harvest or Grow your own.  Wild Harvest in areas free of pollutants.

And enjoy your Purslane…by whatever name you call it.  It is a global food.

Here is a poem and art piece inspired by the Persian word for Purslane:  Khorfeh!

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