Wild Edible Plants - Teas and Tonics
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There are many wonderfully refreshing, invigorating, tasty, and healthful teas and tonics that can be easily prepared using wild plants. Read on...
Cherokee tea, made from the seed heads of
Staghorn Sumac, tastes like a mixture of lemonade
and apricot juice. Simply rinse a whole cluster in cold water, then soak in a gallon of lukewarm water until the water turns yellow-orange, (about one-half hour.) Discard the seed head and chill the liqued in the fridge until ice cold. Add sugar or honey to taste. Delicious!
Rose hips, left, are easy to find in late summer and fall. Bruise two or three of the bright orange or red hips and steep in a steaming cup of water for 10 minutes for a vitamin C packed drink! The hips may be sliced and dried for making tea year round.
Purple Avens, shown above, is not common, nor is it easily recognized until it flowers, but it is well worth the search! Boil the roots for 10 to 15 minutes, then add milk and sugar to the water for a hot-chocolate like drink.
Please harvest sparingly.
Wild mint tea tastes just as you might imagine. Look for the plant, shown above, in the forest, in rich, well-drained soil. The flowers make it easy to spot in late August and September. In addition to tasting great, the tea is great for aiding digestion.
Easy to find in sandy, waste places just about anywhere, wild pineapple weed, with its fragrance of fresh, green apples, makes a soothing tea anytime. Just pick 15 or 20 green flower heads, steep in hot water as you would tea for ten minutes, and enjoy.
Most people are familiar with the tasty fruit of wild raspberries, (above left,) wild blackberries, (above right), and wild strawberries, (shown fruiting in the photo to the far right), but how many know that the leaves can be used to make a healthful tea? Gather a palm-full of leaves and tear them into one-half inch size pieces, then steep in hot water for 6 to 8 minutes, discard the leaves, and sweeten with honey.
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