Sumac, Water Hyacinth, Sweet Potato Vine for Food YCH #58

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SUMAC:

     I remember a while back reading about a plant that tasted like lemons.  I knew it wasn’t a mint or lemon balm.  But I knew I had read about a substitute for lemons.  I am in zone 8.  Maybe I could raise a small lemon tree (along with my lime and kumquats); but how many lemons could I get from that?  Not enough.  So I set out to find a lemony plant for seasoning and lemonade!  Now the only sumac I have heard of is poison sumac;  eeek – related to poison ivy.  Being highly allergic to poison ivy I was very skeptical.  But after a little Google  searching, I came upon Green Dean’s site (You know “Eat The Weeds”).  He has a wonderful video on sumac.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPH-IDwVmrM

http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/natural-healing-snack-on-sumac-berries.aspx#axzz35guV9vTG

http://www.aihd.ku.edu/foods/smooth_sumac.html

 

  But the fun doesn’t stop there.  Sumac is actually used as a seasoning in Middle Eastern foods. 

Sumac can also be used in place of candle wax for smokeless candles, as a dye and tanning agent, to make smoke in a beekeepers smoker.

It also has medicinal properties

And miscellaneous uses

Eating Sweet Potato Leaves and Vines:

Are you kidding me?  Nope, When we lived in Hawaii we made a nice salad.  I picked the shoots and dropped them in boiling water for a few seconds.  Then plunged them in cold water.  We then mixed them with tomato, sweet onion (like Georgia Vidalia or Maui Sweet Onion) and a little Patis (fermented fish seasoning – really!)

http://foodtech.uonbi.ac.ke/node/1164

 

 http://marcsala.blogspot.com/2006/06/unusual-greens-part-3.html

 

Water Hyacinth:

Invasive plant that destroys Florida’s waterways.  But I will talk about easy ways to control it and use it as a great benefit!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1kkn5Sz4MI

 

 

 

 

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5 Bog Plants, Food prices, Rosemary, Permaculture Voices YCH#55

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5 More Water Bog Plants:

Water mimosa  (Neptunia oleracea)

Water Mint (Mentha aqautica)

http://paulkirtley.co.uk/2011/water-mint-mentha-aquatica/

Water spinach  (Ipomoea aquatic)

Watercress  (Nasturcium officiale)

Wild rice  (Fritillaria camschatcensis)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_camschatcensis

http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/2721?itemname=FRITILLARIA+CAMSCHATCENSIS

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-17/15-reasons-why-your-food-prices-are-about-start-soaring

 

Ramps, Skirret, Water Celery, Taro, Wasabi, Baby Sheep YCH # 54

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  • Aquatic Plants Continued

  • Ramps  (Allium tricoccum)
  • Skirret  (Sium sisarum)
  • Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
  • Wasabi  (Wasabi japonica)
  • Water celery  (Oenanthe javanica)

MORE EDIBLE WATER GARDEN PLANTS

Ramps:  Allium trioccum  AKA: Ramps, Spring Onion, Wild Leek, Wood Leek, Wild Garlic.

Ramps are an early spring perennial.  This is well-known with a strong garlic smell and onion like flavor.  They are found in much of the eastern US and Canada.

They are common in the traditional cuisines of these areas and are gaining popularity in upscale restaurants across North America.The mountain people of Appalachia celebrate the ramp with festivals and much folklore surrounds this plant.  It was believed.to have  power to ward.off many winter ailments and in the celebration of spring. It was used as a tonic for winter ailments.  It is high In vitamins and minerals.

The city of Chicago actually got it’s name from ramps. Near Lake Michigan in Illinois during the 17th century there was a dense growth of ramps.  The native tribes.called the plant shikaakwa (Chicago).

The flavor is of onions and strong garlic.  Food writer Jane Snow described it as “fried green onions with a dash of funky feet”

Ramps are celebrated in multiple festivals across Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina,  and Pennsylvania.

Check out this website:  http://www.kingofstink.com/

Interesting things about ramps:

Resembles lily of the valley with broader leaves
Can be found in colonies covering miles of the forest floor
Come up in spring before trees and shrubs leaf out taking advantage of the light.
Leaves and bulbs can be eaten.
When cooked they become a mild tasting gourmet vegetable.
Outranks garlic for causing bad breath.
It is said the smell will come through the pores of ones skin.
Called spring tonic by the older folk of Appalachia.
Added to printers ink as a joke.
A cooking wine is made from ramps by Kirkwood winery.
Ramp festivals are found in upland Southeastern United States for more than 70 years.
Keeps varmits out of your gardens.
And maybe… it could keep vampires or zombies away…..
SKIRRET:  Sium sisarum
HARDINESS ZONES 3-8
Family is Apiaceae which includes:
Skirret is a small to medium  herbaceous perennial  root crop with long thin roots. It can grow to about 4 ft high.  It is low maintenance and has few pest problems.  It is said to have a flavor between potato and parsnip.  Most varieties have a hard inedible core.  Some better varieties are without this core. It is known to be resistant to pests and diseases.  The flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators.
The name skirret (suikerwortel in Dutch) means “sugar root”.  Used as carrots, parsnips, potatoes or salsify in cooking.  From Sturtevant’s Notes on Edible Plants:  skirret roots are “among the sweetest, whitest, and most pleasant of roots”.  Skirret is thought to have originated in China, made it’s way to Europe and then to North America.  It was once a well know crop in North America and Europe; but now is mostly replaced by the potato.  It is still an important crop in Northeastern Asia.  It was found on the table of ancient Romans.
The best and easiest way to grow it is from roots.  Eat some and plant some.  Seeds may not be true to the parent.  If a good variety is found without the woody core.  A clone from the parent instead of seed would be better.  I has a large amount of flowers in an umbel shape  (looks similar to Queen Anne’s Lace –wild carrot).
WATER CELERY: Oenanthe javanica   AKA:  Japanese parsley, Chinese celery, water dropwort.  It originates from East Asia.
HARDY TO ZONE 6 as a perennial
Many other species of water dropwort are extremely toxic.  Oenanthe javanica is not only edible but cultivated China, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Italy.  It is also popular in Hawaii.   The raw stems and leaves taste similar to celery or parsley.  They become milder with cooking. There is a dwarf variety called Flamingo which is  variegated leaves of green, pink and white.  It is less aggressive than larger varieties and could make for a beautiful groundcover.  It like most water plants should not be released into natural masses of water; as it can be very invasive.
It’s flowers attract beneficial insects, and it has few pest problems.  The leaves and stems are best used fresh or lightly cooked in cooked dishes.
WASABI:  Wasabi japonica  AKA:  Japanese horseradish
Wasabi is that wonderful green you eat with sushi that is pungent, spicy, and hot.  Unfortunately most of us have never had real wasabi.  It seems most “wasabi”  you get is actually horseradish and green food coloring.  It is in the bassicaceae family – same as cabbages, mustard, and horseradish.  It actually affect your nasal passages more than your tongue is sensing the hotness.  The root is dried and turned into powder or ready to use paste.  It loses its flavor within 15 minutes if left uncovered after grating.  The leaves can also be eaten and taste similar to the root.  It is also used in salads and pickled in sake.
It is rather difficult to cultivate.  It likes climates similar to the rainforest on the Oregon coast.  Also parts of the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina and Tenessee.  It is very particular about it’s environment and can take 3 years to mature.  All parts are used and prized.
Fresh wasabi roots are priced at $150.00 per pound currently.  This is a good reason to try and cultivate wasabi.

TARO:  Colocasia esculenta
These are the large elephant ear looking plants in the Araceae family.  They are native to South India and Southeast Asia.  The taro root has many name around the world from West Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean and Polynesian islands.  It is known as taro, dasheen, eddo, and kalo for example.
This plant is used around the world for it’s edible tubers, stems and leaves.  The root is hairy on the outside, and must be cleaned and cooked befor eating.
Taro can grow on irrigated land or in flooded areas.  It produces twice as much tubers when flooded; such as in a rice paddy.  The plant cannot be eaten raw due to  calcium oxalate crystals.  Cooking will decrease the calcium oxalate.
The root can be cooked like potatoes, baked, boiled, fried, roasted, steamed, added to soups or stews, made into chips or pounded into a paste.   Taro chips are crunchier and nuttier tasting than potato chips.  The staple food of the Hawaiians (poi) is made from taro.  The leaves can be cooked as greens.  My favorite way is lau lau.  Lau lau is a piece of salty butterfish and other meat such as a chunk of beef, sprinkled with sea salt, rolled up in taro leaves, then wrapped in ti leaves, tied with a string  and steamed.
Many cultures all over the world have their own special way of using taro.  I like it just boiled with salt too.  It is tastier and creamier than potatoes.

http://www.hawaiihistory.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ig.page&PageID=533

Plants for Edible Water Gardens, Spring Fever, Jiaogulan, Beansprouts YCH# 52

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  • Edible Water Gardens Can Be:

  • Natural Ponds
  • Artificial Ponds
  • Aquaponics Systems

Natural ponds have the advantage that you could grow colonies op plants.  Be careful not to introduce non native, invasive species into ponds that can spread to greater waterways. Artificial ponds can be anything from a container that holds a few plants in water, to a kiddie pool, to a larger pond with a liner with different heights and waterfalls.  These could be very easy to set up and easy to maintain. Aquaponics Systems grow fish and plants together. The advantage is the fish feed the fish can be harvested for eating.

Aquatic Plants Grow at Different Depths:

Marginal Plants: Don’t have to be in the water; but like wet soil. Good for the ponds edge.

  • Achira (Canna edulis)
  • Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
  • Belembe, tannier  (Xanthosoma brasilense)
  • Cranebrake bamboo  (Arundinaria gigantean)
  • Chufa  (Cyperus esculentus)
  • Daylily  (Hemerocallis fulva)
  • Fuki ( Petacites japonicaus)
  • Groundnuts  (Apios Americana)
  •  Ostrich Fern  (Matteucia struthiopteris)
  • Ramps  (Allium tricoccum)
  • Skirret  (Sium sisarum)
  • Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
  • Wasabi  (Wasabi japonica)
  • Water celery  (Oenanthe sarmentosa)
  • Water mimosa  (Neptunia oleracea)
  • Water Mint (Mentha aqautica)
  • Water spinach  (Ipomoea aquatic)
  • Watercress  (Nasturcium officiale)
  • Wild rice (fritillaria camshatcenussi)

Emergent Aquatics:  Grow underwater and send leaves up above the surface. For shallow water 3-4 inches deep:

  • Taro   (Colocasia esculenta)
  • Violet stem taro   (Colocasia esculenta)
  • Water chestnut  (Eleocharis dulcis)
  • Licorice flag (Acorus gramineus)  can be grown in bog or shallow water
  • Tsi  (Houttuynia cordata) can be grown in bog or shallow water

For deeper water – 2 ft.

  • Water lotus  (Nelumbo mucifera)
  • Arrowhead  (Saggitaria spp.)
  • Cattails (Typha spp.)
  • Pickerel rush  (Pontederia cordats)

Floating Aquatics: Grow on the surface of the water.  They provide shade and prevent algae from growing.

  • Water mimosa  (Neptunia oleracea)
  • Duckweeds  (Lemma spp.)
  • Water meal  (Wolfia spp.)
  • Asian water meal  (Wolfia globosa)
  • Azola  (Azola spp)

Emergent Floaters:  Grow as floating mats or in partially submerged pots.

  • Water celery  (Oenanthe sarmentosa)
  • Water spinach  (Ipomoea aquatic)
  • Watercress  (Nasturcium officiale)

Submerged Aquatics:  Grow mostly underwater and help prevent algae by using up dissolved nutrients.

  • Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum)
  • Whorl leaved water milfoil (Myriophyllum verticillanum)
  • Sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinatus)
  • Eelgrass (Vallisneria Americana)

 

Link for Jiaogulan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5DwcnZ8XYk

Edible Water Gardens, Seed Balls, Blueberries, Motherwort, Getting Ready For Spring YCH # 51

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What To Do With All Those Old Seeds – Seed Balls:

A seed ball is also called “earth ball”.  It is a variety of seeds rolled into a ball with clay.  Also humus or compost may be added as microbial inoculants.  Cotton-fibres or liquefied paper may be added to strengthen the outside  to protect the clay ball.  Especially for throwing it or in harsh habitats.

This technique was used in the ancient Middle East, Egypt and Northern Africa.  It was used in Egypt to repair farms after the spring flooding of the Nile.  During World War 2,  a Japanese scientist named Masanobu Fukuoka rediscovered this technique.    He was looking for a way to increase food production without taking away  land allocated for rice farming on the mountainous island of Shikoku.

The basic procedure for making seed balls is 5 parts red clay to 1 part seeds. 1 -3 Parts compost may also be added.  Mix seeds and compost, then add in  clay and enough water to form the balls.

Seed balls have been used all over the world to reseed ecosystems, while avoiding insects and animals and protecting seeds until rain falls.  They can then germinate when the time is right.

Seed balls have become popular with guerilla gardening in urban areas.  And are even available for purchase now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_ball

Here is a link to a cute article on seed bombs. http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html

Edible Water Garden

Edible water gardens are:

  1. Sustainable -Once planted, just top the water off
  2. Easy to grow- Very little weeds, no spraying or watering
  3. Beautiful- They add beauty to your yard, balcony or home
  4. Productive- A lot of food can be grown in a small space
  5. Entertaining- You can relax and watch frogs, lizard, birds, dragonflies, fish, etc. interact and listen to water falls or bubbling water.

List of Plant for Edible Water Garden: http://www.ozwatergardens.com.au/edible-aquatic-plants

http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20140209/NEWS01/302090031/Glynn-Barber

Disclaimer:

The following information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Gale nor I take any responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from implementing the herb and supplement information we provide. I (Divinia) am not a medical practitioner, and while Gale is an RN, neither this podcast, nor her blog is an attempt to practice medicine. The information we provide does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care providers. You should seek the advice of your physician or other health care providers before engaging in any complementary medical technique. This includes the use of natural or herbal remedies. You should be aware that many of the natural remedies we talk about have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Also, the use of some herbs and supplements along with certain over the counter or prescription medications may cause adverse reactions.

 

BLUEBERRIES:

…the why, what, where, and how of Blueberries:

The three kinds I will be planting this year:

Dwarf Nothblue: http://www.gurneys.com/product/dwarf_northblue_blueberry/blueberry-plants

Blueray: http://www.burpee.com/fruit-plants/blueberry-plants/blueberry-blueray-prod000513.html?catId=3048

Healthy Rubel: http://www.gurneys.com/product/healthy_rubel_blueberries/blueberry-plants

…the health benifits of blueberries:

Immune System Booster

http://www.blueberry.org/antioxidants.htm

Vision Improvement

http://www.livestrong.com/article/113796-health-benefits-eating-blueberries/

Belly Fat Loss

http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20090419/blueberries-may-banish-belly-fat

Bone Health

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2011/110621.htm

Relief/Prevention of Constipation

http://www.livestrong.com/article/356471-blueberries-constipation/

Brain food

http://www.naturalnews.com/news_000576_blueberries_memory_loss_alzheimers.html

Heart health

http://www.uofmhealth.org/News/1113benefits-of-blueberries

Blood Sugar Stabilizer

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8

Cancer-Fighter

http://www.livestrong.com/article/471692-can-blueberries-shrink-cancer-cells/

Bladder Aid

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306607_3,00.html

Basic blueberry types include:

Lowbush (cold tolerant, less productive),

Northern Highbush (zone 5-7 or colder),

Southern Highbush (zones 7-10),

Rabbiteye (best for southern growers)

Saskatoon (not a true blueberry, but extremely cold tolerant).

Plant at least two, preferably three variates for best production.

Check with your local USDA Extension Office to find out what varieties are best for you to grow:http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Blueberries grow best with an acid soil pH between 4 and 5.5

Decrease soil PH with coffee grinds, peat moss, green pine needles or a soil amendment high in sulfur like Espoma Orcanic Soil Acidifier: http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/pdf/products/Esp_Soil_acidif.pdf

Use acidic soil loving plants for companions. Here’s a link to a great chart of plants divided by their Acid/Alkaline preference:

http://lazycompost.com/pH.shtml (It’s the ONLY one I found that listed strawberries and cranberries, which is what I will be using.

Laurie over at Common Sense Homesteading has more information on growing, watering and how she keeps birds off her bushes:

http://www.commonsensehome.com/blueberries-growing-the-superfruit/

and another great link for growing blueberries and their benefits:

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/blueberries?page=0,1 

  Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca

The uses of Motherwort, the doses of Motherwort, the precautions you should take with Motherwort, how to grow Motherwort and other Motherwort information can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonurus_cardiaca

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/motherwort-herbal-remedies.htm

http://herbgardens.about.com/od/medicinalherbs/p/How-To-Grow-And-Use-Motherwort-In-The-Herb-Garden.htm

http://www.health-care-tips.org/herbal-medicines/motherwort.htm

Some of you may need to read Wellness Mama’s tutorial “How to make Herbal Tinctures” if you don’t already know how:

http://wellnessmama.com/8168/how-to-make-herbal-tinctures/

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