Broccoli and Wild Garlic Recipe

Wild Garlic
Wild garlic is a name that actually refers to many edible plants. This particular Wild Garlic (allium vineale), also called Crow Garlic, is a very common species introduced from Europe and Africa. Onions, leeks, and shallots are also in the genus allium. Wild Garlic grows in many soil types, and is most active in spring and fall. See our article about wild garlic for more information.

Identifying Wild Garlic
The primary way to identify Wild Garlic is by smell. All allium species, including Wild Garlic, should smell like garlic, onion, shallots or leeks. This is especially true for the bulb. Don’t harvest the plant if you don’t smell this. There are toxic look a likes out there that don’t smell like garlic or onion. Wild Garlic has a hollow leafy structure with a single tube, much like chives. Wild garlic is easy to spot in early spring and late fall, as it is dark green in color before and after other plants produce their green foliage.

Cooking with Wild Garlic
Although Wild Garlic (allium vineale) is not the exact same species as the cultivated garlic (allium sativum) that you can find at any super market, it can be used in all the same ways. The bulb is slightly smaller and the flavor is a bit milder and less pungent. The flower head and bulbils that grow in its place can also be used if harvested in summer when it’s present. Also the green stems can be used like chives.

Health Benefits of Wild Garlic
Just like domestic Garlic, Wild Garlic is loaded with vitamins and minerals and has many health benefits. These include lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and aiding in the proper functioning of the digestive system. Wild Garlic also likely has antiseptic properties like it’s domestic cousin, and may help regulate blood sugar.

All allium species are toxic in certain quantities to certain consumers. Humans have the ability to eat large quantities without being effected. However, grazing animals have been poisoned from eating large quantities. And take care around Felix and Fido, as garlic and other allium species are toxic to cats and dogs, and can be poisoned from small quantities. Also beware of the poisonous Wild Garlic look-alikes, such as Star Of Bethlehem and the death cama.

3 lbs fresh broccoli (stems cut off)
1/2 cup olive oil
2-4 lemons
8 wild garlic bulbs(each bulb is only about as big as one clove of domesticated garlic)
Ground pepper

1. Rinse broccoli thoroughly. Roughly chop to separate florets.
2. Add to medium pot with 1/3-1/2 cup of water.
3. Heat over high heat to bring water to boil.
4. Lower to low heat, cover with lid and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
5. Peel garlic, finely chop and place in a bowl.
6. Juice lemons over strainer into measuring cup.
7. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to bowl with garlic. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
8. Remove cooked broccoli and add to large bowl.
9. Pour garlic sauce over broccoli and gently toss to coat.
10. Enjoy.

Autumn Olive Fruit Leather Recipe

Autumn Olive Introduction
Autumn Olive (elaeagnus umbellata) is an invasive shrub that was introduced to the United States in the 1930s. By the 1950s it was promoted as a great food source for the wildlife and people of the Central and Eastern U.S. but it’s hearty nature and pervasiveness was underestimated. Autumn Olive’s abundant fruit production, ability to propagate in many soil types, and avian seed dispersal allowed the plant to grow so densely that is shaded out native species. Read our article focusing on autumn olive for more information.

Health Benefits of Autumn Olive
Interestingly, Autumn Olive fruit has a high fatty acid content, which is not common in fruits. Autumn Olive berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, C and E. They also boast antioxidants called flavanoids, and natural sugars and proteins.

Eating Autumn Olive
The only part of Autumn Olive known to be edible is the berries that ripen and turn from tan to red in fall. If you look closely you’ll note that the leaves and fruit are covered in tiny silver dots. The ripe berries are very tart and sweet. They are best used for baking recipes with fruity fillings, like pies. They also make excellent preserves, like fruit leather and jam.

8-10 cups autumn olive berries(harvested in the fall when the berries are red)
4-8 oz water
Sweetener (honey, agave nectar, sugar, stevia, etc.)

1. Place large pot on stove. Add berries and water.
2. Heat pot over high heat.
3. Stir and mash berries until liquid comes to simmer, about 3 minutes.
4. Reduce heat low and simmer until most berries have burst, about 10 minutes.
5. Use wooden spoon to push thickened berry mixture through sieve into large bowl. Or use food mill to remove seeds and stems.
6. Add sweetener to taste, if you prefer.

If using dehydrator:
1. Lightly coat 2 fruit roll sheets or parchment paper with vegetable oil.
2. Thinly spread berry mixture over sheets and place in dehydrator tray.
3. Set dehydrator to 135-140 degrees F and dry for 10 hours, or until fruit is no longer sticky.

If using oven:
1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Spread berry mixture over sheets and place in oven.
3. If possible, set oven to 135-140 degrees F and dry for 10 hours, or until fruit is no longer sticky.
4. If lowest setting is higher than 135-140 degrees F, set to lowest setting and dry until fruit is no longer sticky.

To finish Fruit Leather:
1. Remove fruit leather and cut into strips with knife or pizza roller.
2. Roll up fruit leather and store in an air tight container. Store in freezer if fruit leather is still tacky.
3. Enjoy.

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The Linden Tree
The American Linden Tree (Tilia americana), is a medium to large tree native to New England. Also known as the Basswood Tree, other trees in the genus include the European Little and Large leaf species, and the Asian Japanese and Chinese Lime Tree species. Although not closely related to actual Lime Trees in the Citrus genus, Linden Trees are often called Lime Trees outside the U.S. See our article focusing on the linden tree for more information.

Linden Tree, Tilia cordata, Small leaved Linden leaves and flower bunches
Tilia cordata, Small leaved Linden leaves and flower bunches (Photo By: N p holmes / Wikimedia Commons)

Linden Health Benefits
Linden flowers, and leaves most likely, contain glycosides and antioxidants called flavonoids. Cultures have used the leaves, flowers, wood, and bark of the Linden Tree for medicinal purposes for centuries. Teas and tinctures made from Linden are commonly used to help with cold and flu symptoms, cough and soar throats. It has a generally calming effect, reduces sleeplessness and helps ease anxiety. Linden tea properties are believed to relieve indigestion, upset stomach, gas, bloating, nausea and vomiting. More medicinal uses include treating inflammation, allergies, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, excessive sweating and tense muscles.

Linden Cautions
Contact rashes from Linden tea are very rare. A slight narcotic effect might be felt if the flowers used to make the tea are too old.

Linden Flower
Linden trees boast distinctive heart-shaped leaves that are edible all spring, summer and fall. Linden flowers are light yellow, fragrant and delicate, and are a very popular flower for honey bees. The leaves can be eaten raw and make a great lettuce substitute in salads or sandwiches. Linden flowers are commonly made into a tea. Linden tea has a strong sweet and floral taste and can be consumed hot or cold. You can combine linden flower with other herbs like elderflower and spearmint to enhance the flavor.

2-4 tablespoons dried linden flowers
8 oz water

1. Add water to small pot and heat over medium heat to boil.
2. Add leaves to tea cup or mug.
3. Remove pot from heat and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour hot, but not boiling water over leaves or tea bag.
5. Let steep for 3-15 minutes.
6. Strain loose leaves from tea.
7. Enjoy.

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Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), also known as American black elderberry or common elderberry, is a shrub that can easily be found throughout North America. It’s known for its delicious, dark purple berries and lacy white flowers. Elderberries and elderflowers are famous for their culinary and medicinal uses. Edibility and culinary use Almost all parts of this plant are poisonous, except for its flowers and ripe berries. Elderflowers are delicate and fragrant with a slightly tart flavor. These cream-colored flowers are typically used as an edible garnish or to flavor desserts and beverages. Elderflowers can also be made into jelly or deep-fried to make fritters. Dried elderflowers can also be brewed to make medicinal herbal tea. Much like elderflowers, elderberries taste tangy and tart, although stronger. These dark purple berries should never be eaten raw as it might cause stomach aches. Elderberries are usually made into jam, marmalade, pastry filling, juice, wine, tincture, and syrup. Elderberry tincture and syrup are often used for medicinal remedy. Health benefits Elderberry is packed with important nutrients. Both the berries and flowers are rich in vitamin A, B, and C. The tiny berries even contain more vitamin C than oranges. They’re high in dietary fiber which can promote a healthy digestive system. Elderberries and elderflowers also contain a lot of antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonols, and phenolic acids. This means they’re great for reducing oxidative stress in the body, preventing cancer, and reducing inflammations. Elderflowers and elderberries are often used to treat and prevent cold. They’re also great for alleviating cold symptoms, such as cough, nasal congestion, and fever. Elderberry is also said to be good for treating allergy and asthma symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory property also makes it great for alleviating pain, treating mouth and gum inflammation, reducing toothache, and treating digestive problems. Lastly, consuming elderberry can improve cardiovascular health as it helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Cultivation Elderberry is not very hard to cultivate. With some work and patience, you’ll be able to grow some elderberry shrubs in your own garden. While it loves moist, fertile, and well-drained soil, this plant can tolerate almost every type of soil. But, it can’t tolerate drought at all. So, be sure to water the plant regularly. Plant elderberry in a location with full sun for a better harvest. Before planting, prepare the soil by incorporating manure or compost. Plant elderberry bushes in the spring, after the last frost date has passed. Plant each plant 6” to 10” apart, make sure the roots are well-covered. Water them once or twice a week to ensure they don’t dry out. Get rid of surrounding weed regularly, especially when the shrubs are young. Let the shrubs grow wild for the first two years. Don’t prune them or harvest the flowers and berries. This way, they’ll grow nicely and produce a lot of berries. Then, starting from the third year, prune the shrubs each spring and remove all the dead areas. The berries will start to appear at the end of summer and they will ripen around mid-August to mid-September. Make sure to pick them before the birds finish them off. Cautions Common elderberry leaves, stems, and roots are poisonous. Ripe elderberries are generally safe, but unripe elderberries contain toxins that can only be destroyed through cooking. Eating unripe or uncooked elderberries may result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Elderberry may cause the immune system to be more active, so people with autoimmune disorders should avoid consuming elderberry. Also, be careful not to confuse elderberry shrubs with the toxic water hemlock. These plants look somewhat similar, moreover, they typically grow in the same area. Elderberry has opposing leaves while water hemlock has alternating leaves.  Water hemlock doesn’t grow berries, but they do grow flowers. Water hemlock flowers look similar to elderflowers, but they have a firecracker-like formation. Do not touch or ingest water hemlock flowers at all. Conclusion Elderberry can be a valuable source of food and herbal remedy if you know how to prepare it. This plant’s tiny berries and dainty flowers definitely pack a punch when it comes to flavor. They’re versatile and can be used in a lot of delicious recipes. And their health benefits are undoubtedly amazing as well. It’s not a surprise to find that Native Americans have been using elderberries and elderflowers to make traditional herbal medicine.
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