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Wicked Weeds or Nutritious Wild Edibles

It has always bothered me that only certain plants are seen as acceptable and others are weeds that must be pulled or poisoned out of our yards. When you consider that the so-called weeds require fewer resources like water because, if left alone, they grow like, well, weeds, it makes even less sense. Why remove a low maintenance plant and replace it with something high maintenance? This thinking got me researching the uncultivated plants that grow in my yard and in my neighborhood. To my surprise, many of the weeds are actually wild edibles that are often highly nutritious or medicinal. 

Even though we live in the city, our large lot provides plenty of variety of wild edible plants. I’ve found the Picture This app very helpful for identifying the plants in my yard. Here’s a few of the most common I’ve found.

A few notes on Safety with Wild Edibles

If you decide to look around your neighborhood, please, be sure you know for sure what plant you have before eating anything. I recommend checking multiple sources. Foraging for wild edibles is fun, as long as you use caution and only eat the plants you are 100% sure about. 

I’m finding that most wild greens are high in oxalic acid, so it’s important to not overdo it and be extra cautious if you have any medical concerns.

Henbit

Henbit, or Lamium amplexicaule is very common to see in early spring. It gets it’s name because chickens love it. As one of the first flowers of the year, it is an important food source for bees, so be mindful if you choose to harvest any.

Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

A member of the mint family, henbit is rich in vitamins and minerals. You can eat the leaves and flowers raw in salads or cooked. Tea made from henbit is also thought to reduce stress and anxiety.

Wood Sorrel

Wood sorrel is super easy to identify. It’s a little shamrock! The wood sorrel we have produces little yellow flowers and has a lemony taste. My favorite part are the little seed pods. They look like teeny tiny okra and taste like lemon candy.

Image by GK von Skoddeheimen from Pixabay

Wood sorrel is delicate, so it’s best to eat it fresh. Like many foraged plants, it’s high in oxalic acid, so don’t eat a lot and proceed with caution if you have any condition that would make oxalic acid especially dangerous.

Sunflowers

Did you know that you can eat more than just the sunflower seeds? The entire plant is edible! The leaves are eaten like spinach or brewed into tea. The petals and roots can be made into tea as well.

Dried sunflowers waiting to be made into tea, balms and soaps.

Flower buds can be cooked and eaten. I haven’t tried it yet, but I read they taste similar to artichokes. Apparently the stems taste like celery, and make a tasty snack. In addition to tea, the roots can be steamed, roasted or eaten raw.

Sunflowers are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sunflower leaves are thought to help with inflammation when applied topically as a poultice or drank as a tea. The tea is also supposed to be good for sore throats.

Want to learn about more wild edibles?

I started with the most common and easily identifiable plants, but there’s so many more I can share just from my own yard. Let me know if you want to learn more or share your own experiences in the comments below.

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Shop Sale!

All items in my shop are 15% off until Friday, July 16, so please, check it out. Here’s just a few of the things you’ll find.

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Garden Tour: Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Beans, Wild Amaranth and a Sale

Bell peppers in the garden

After years of living here, we finally planted an actual garden this year. These aren’t all of the plants, but they’re the ones that are doing the best so far. In the future, I’ll have to update as the others get more interesting, and share about all of my container plants, too.

Bell Peppers

I honestly have no idea how big I should let these get before harvesting. I know they will change color, so while I do enjoy green peppers, I figure letting at least a few turn red will let me know when they’re ready.

Bell peppers in the garden
Green bell peppers

Tomatoes

We planted a couple of varieties of tomato plants, then a neighbor gave us a few more, so we should have lots of tomatoes this year.

Huge green tomato
Green tomatoes

Those lovely tomatoes on the bottom got so big that they started to break the plant. Chris harvested them, and I did the yummiest thing I could think to do with green tomatoes: fry them.

Jalapenos

We have one jalapeno plant, and it’s an overachiever. We’ve already harvested four peppers and there’s about a dozen more currently on the plant.

Jalapeno plant
Jalapenos

You can see a few in the photo. There’s more hiding behind the leaves.

Pumpkin

The pumpkin was kind of an accident. We left an uncarved pumpkin sitting out front all winter. After the freeze in February it split and all the seeds were exposed. I through some soil on it and ignored it. Before long, we had about a million little pumpkin plants. I transplanted a few to the garden area and they’ve taken off.

Pumpkin plants
Pumpkin plants.

Some of the pumpkin plants left in the front were huge, but they took over the walkway and started getting damaged from the dogs walking through them, so we removed them. Hopefully these will continue to grow. It would be so cool to have pumpkins from our own garden this fall.

Beans

A few months ago, my clumsy self picked up a bag of pinto beans the wrong way and spilled a bunch on the floor. I decided to try to sprout them by soaking. When they sprouted, I planted them in the garden. These three plants are the survivors.

Pinto beans
Three little bean plants.

I have no idea if they need more support than just being allowed to climb the fence. I guess we’ll see.

Amaranth

The last major plant that’s taking off is, unsurprisingly, the amaranth. Amaranth literally grows as a weed around here, and we actually started our amaranth patch from weeds. The leaves are an awesome spinach replacement, and the seeds can be cooked or ground into flour. So far we’ve never harvested the seeds, but we do use the greens. It is important to note that they do contain a lot of oxalic acid, so you have to be careful of that. I’ve heard blanching helps to reduce the amount of oxalic acid, so I do that when cooking with amaranth.

Here’s a video of Chris harvesting some of our amaranth, filmed by Beckett.

What are your favorite things to plant? If you’ve been gardening this year, I would love to see.

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Shop Sale!

All items in my shop are 15% off until Friday, July 16, so please, check it out. Here’s just a few of the things you’ll find.

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Fascinating Hummingbird Moth Hemaris thysbe Sighting

Hummingbird moth

Have you ever heard of a hummingbird moth? I hadn’t, until one day I saw this little creature that looked like a cross between a bee and a hummingbird buzzing around our Chaste tree. Luckily it didn’t mind me at all, so I was able to get a few pictures of them.

Hummingbird moth
It’s in the bottom right corner, if the business of the Chaste flowers make it hard to find.

I really wasn’t sure what to think at first. It’s size and tail made me think of a hummingbird, but it had antennae. In person, the wings moved so fast that they were hard to see, just like a hummingbird, and it hovered more like a hummingbird than a bee. Fortunately, a quick Google search of “bee hummingbird” was all it took to find out more about this fascinating creature.

I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen one before now. They are a bit rare, but tend to love honeysuckle, and our yard has lots of honeysuckle. I guess this one prefers the colorful purple blossoms of the chaste tree.

Hummingbird Moth 2

I’m pretty sure the one I saw is a Hemaris thysbe, or hummingbird clearwing sphinx moth. I am a little concerned, as hornworms are the larval stage for the hummingbird moth, and hornworms love tomatoes. All of our tomato plants are in the back yard while most of the big flowering plants are in the front, so hopefully that will help keep them away from the tomatoes. So far I haven’t seen any of the hornworm caterpillars near the tomatoes.

Photo by icon0.com from Pexels

We absolutely saw a few of these huge caterpillars in the front yard earlier this spring, though. They’re kind of hard to miss. If I had known the awesomeness they turn into, I might have attempted to watch the process somehow.

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Friday Five

Sometimes throughout the week I think of things that I’d like to share with you but aren’t really worthy of a whole post. They could be things I’ve been working on, other sites I’ve discovered, shop or sale info, or general randomness. My solution is the Friday Five, where I quickly share some of those random or interesting things.

Sewing machine struggles

My Kenmore needs repair again. This time I got so frustrated with it that I packed it up and moved it off my desk. I don’t like using my Brother for anything except embroidery. I’d hate to mess up my only embroidery machine when I have another basic sewing machine. So, that leaves me with my vintage Montgomery Wards Signature. It works really well, but I’m not as familiar with all of the settings. I’m nervous about sewing anything special, because I don’t want to ruin anything by having tensions or stitch length wrong.

It’s also on the other side of my craft room from my other machines and in it’s own table. That means I have to bring everything I need over to it, rather than have it stored within reach. That all has deterred me from sewing lately.

I finally decided earlier this week to try to finish some of the masks I was working on when my Kenmore broke. Those are fairly simple and I have plenty of cotton fabric, so if my machine eats it, it’s not too bad. So far I only finished one, though, due to interruptions and being slow on an unfamiliar machine.

I guess someone felt the need to decorate it for Halloween.

Masks?

On the subject of masks, I’m contemplating adding them to my shop, but not sure if there’s still enough demand for handmade. I keep getting requests from friends and neighbors, though, so maybe? It would be nice to have them listed so I can have a catalog of sorts to show people when asked. Thoughts?

These were a special order from a friend. Luckily I finished them before my Kenmore broke. Sewing someone else’s fabric on an unfamiliar machine is scary.

Meal planning is hard

I had a dentist appointment last weekend that involved an extraction along with some fillings. That means that along with my usual gluten and dairy free restrictions, I’ve had to accommodate not really being able to chew. For most meals, that means planning for the family and separately for myself. I’ve also been fairly successful with losing some weight lately, so I didn’t want to get out of my healthy eating habits by living off mashed potatoes and ice cream for a week. That made it more challenging, because most of the healthy, filling foods I can think of require chewing. Luckily I’m down to only avoiding things that are crunchy or have small seeds that could get painfully stuck.

Odd shopping habits

I finally reorganized the pantry shelves this morning in an attempt to make meal planning easier. For some reason, I have four jars of salsa. Four! Three of them are the bigger jars, too, and all the same variety. I also have a ton of dried black beans, two varieties of split peas and lots of lentils. The black beans and lentils kind of make sense, but I’m the only one who likes split peas. I also thought I had black eyed peas and was planning on using them in a curry this weekend, but I don’t. At least now I know what I have and what I need.

Creative Home Projects Bundle 2020

The Creative Home Projects Bundle 2020 is only available for a few more hours. I talk more about it in this post. If you’re interested, be sure to order it before 11:59pm Eastern time tonight. For total disclosure, I do receive a small commission on bundles sold through my links. If you’re into DIY, I do think it’s worth having a look at the list of everything included and see if it’s right for you.

There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee. Before I became an affiliate, I purchased several of the bundles. I loved all except for one. Maybe it was because I already followed a lot of the authors in that bundle, but I just didn’t feel like I gained any new information from that particular bundle. I requested a refund by email within the 30 days and had it right away with no problems. I always hate guarantees or free trials that make it hard to cancel or request a refund, so I really appreciate how easy it was with Ultimate Bundles.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend!

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Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins

I’m getting better at remembering my reusable bags when we go shopping, especially now that I have an Aldi nearby. It’s made me start rethinking the plastic produce bags. I haven’t found as many alternatives to them on the market, so I decided to make my own.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

I used a lightweight netting material so you can see what’s inside.It’s so light and see-through in fact that it doesn’t want to show up well in photos. Hmm.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

Marginally better? I don’t know. Anyway, you can find my nifty reusable produce bags here in my Etsy shop.

On a similar note, I also added a set of cloth napkins in a cute sunflower print.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

Find them here in my Etsy shop. I plan to make and add more prints soon.

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

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Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins

I’m getting better at remembering my reusable bags when we go shopping, especially now that I have an Aldi nearby. It’s made me start rethinking the plastic produce bags. I haven’t found as many alternatives to them on the market, so I decided to make my own.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

I used a lightweight netting material so you can see what’s inside.It’s so light and see-through in fact that it doesn’t want to show up well in photos. Hmm.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

Marginally better? I don’t know. Anyway, you can find my nifty reusable produce bags here in my Etsy shop.

On a similar note, I also added a set of cloth napkins in a cute sunflower print.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

Find them here in my Etsy shop. I plan to make and add more prints soon.

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Posted on

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins

I’m getting better at remembering my reusable bags when we go shopping, especially now that I have an Aldi nearby. It’s made me start rethinking the plastic produce bags. I haven’t found as many alternatives to them on the market, so I decided to make my own.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

I used a lightweight netting material so you can see what’s inside.It’s so light and see-through in fact that it doesn’t want to show up well in photos. Hmm.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/280522062/net-reusable-produce-bag?ref=shop_home_active_3

Marginally better? I don’t know. Anyway, you can find my nifty reusable produce bags here in my Etsy shop.

On a similar note, I also added a set of cloth napkins in a cute sunflower print.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294031713/sunflower-cotton-cloth-18-inch-napkins?ref=related-6

Find them here in my Etsy shop. I plan to make and add more prints soon.

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage

Reusable produce bags and cloth napkins was originally published on SubEarthan Cottage