Friday, May 16, 2008

Edible Weeds in my Garden

I'm going to start Documenting and Edible Plants in my Garden that are not NORMALLY eaten, but are Edible. It's fun to open up your mind to food that is not typically found in supermarkets, and is available everywhere, that grows on its own without us Green-thumbs making it happen!
All these notes are straight from "Plants for a Future":
The images are not my own
"" is a great resource for Californians to visually see what you have growing then compare notes on "Plants for a Future" to see if it's edible or not.

Common Name:Day Flower
Latin Name: Commelina Communis

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Leaves, flowers and young shoots - raw or cooked. Chopped finely and added to salads or cooked as a potherb. A sweet taste with a mucilaginous texture.

Common Name: Dandelion
"Latin Name:Taraxacum officinale - Weber.

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Edible Uses: Coffee; Tea.

Leaves - raw or cooked. When used in salads, they are rather bitter, though less so in the winter. Tender young leaves are considerably less bitter than older leaves. The leaves are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. This will make them less bitter, but they will also contain less vitamins and minerals. A very nutritious food, 100g of the raw leaves contain about 2.7g. protein, 9.2g. carbohydrate, 187mg Calcium, 66mg phosphorus, 3.1mg iron, 76mg sodium, 397mg potassium, 36mg magnesium, 14000iu vitamin A, 0.19mg vitamin B1, 0.26mg vitamin B2, 35mg vitamin C. Root - raw or cooked. Bitter. A turnip-like flavour. Flowers - raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavour, the unopened flower buds can be used in fritters and they can also be preserved in vinegar and used like capers. Both the leaves and the roots are used to flavour herbal beers and soft drinks such as 'Dandelion and Burdock'. The roots of 2 year old plants are harvested in the autumn, dried and roasted to make a very good coffee substitute. It is caffeine-free. A pleasant tea is made from the flowers. They are also used to make wine - all green parts should be removed when making wine to prevent a bitter flavour. The leaves and the roots can also be used to make tea.

Common Name:Dwarf Mallow
Latin Name: Malva pusilla - Sm.
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves - raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour, it can be used in quantity and makes an excellent salad plant. It is possibly the best for flavour in this genus though it is much lower yielding than the annual M. verticillata 'Crispa' or the perennials M. alcea and M. moschata. Seed - raw or cooked. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and very fiddly to harvest.

Known Hazards:
Although we have seen no reports of toxicity for this species, when grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are cultivated inorganically), the leaves of some species tend to concentrate high levels of nitrates in their leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

Common Name: Pot Marigold
Latin Name: Calendula officinalis

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Leaves - Can be eaten raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value. Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy. It is, above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins etc. It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections. Only the common deep-orange flowered variety is considered to be of medicinal value. The whole plant, but especially the flowers and the leaves, is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, skin, stimulant and vulnerary. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, they are best harvested in the morning of a fine sunny day just after the dew has dried from them. The flowers are also used fresh or dried, for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, can ease varicose veins. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts will soon render them easily removable. The leaves, blossoms and buds are used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used internally in order to speed the healing of wounds.

Common Name:Sweet Alyssum
Latin Name: Lobularia maritima

Edible Uses: Condiment.
The young leaves, stems and flowers are sometimes used as a flavouring in salads and other dishes where pungency is required.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is commonly used in Spain as an antiscorbutic and diuretic. It is also highly esteemed there as an astringent in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

The True Cost of Food Movie!

It's animated AND edumacational! From the Good People of the Sierra Club National Sustainable Consumption Committee.

Click on the link below:
"The True Cost of Food" Movie

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pickling and Preserving

Here's a Japanese Pickling Jar. Honestly, I have No idea what it's called in English, so I made it up just now! Simple cucumber and salt pickles.
Finished Cucumbers. These will keep for about a week. But they get eaten up way quicker than that by Caleb.
My very first attempt at Preserving. My Mom gave me too much Kumquats. If you're curious as to what Kumquats are, it's sitting on top of the jar. They are small citrus fruits eaten for the sweet skin. I used organic honey and agave nectar to sweeten it a bit.

Baking Away

Caleb and I baking Gluten,Egg,Nut and Dairy free Zucchini Carrot Muffins
The Zucchini Carrot Muffins right out of the oven.

Allergy free Banana Muffins, hot from the oven

Gluten Free No Knead Bread. Still need to tweak this recipe. The bread was tough on the outside and doughy on the inside...perhaps some Baking Powder will help it after the first rise. I'll try that next time

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Poster

How Safe is Your Food?

Edible Estates is Awesome!

Let's watch this and get inspired!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Planting the Apple and Peach Trees

Here are the 3 trees that arrived in the mail.

Digging in the middle of the night...our neighbors may think we are nuts.

Our "lovely" rock hard clay dirt.

After we ammended the soil with lots of compost, sand and peat moss, we finally planted the trees. The 2 apple trees (Beni Shogun Fuji and Akane) are planted in zone "I" and the Peach tree is in zone "G"
Thank you and Great job Tim!

NY Times says "Why Bother"

So you say, "why bother" if I change, it's only a drop in the proverbial bucket? What difference will it make?

It's got some good things to say, have a gander at it.

Do it for your children, and their children, for the future children, if you don't have any yet.

I have new pics, I just have to download them from my cf card so I can post them!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Do Your Share and Eat Local and Organic

The News is out. There's a food shortage going on worldwide and America is part of the BIG PROBLEM.

We NEED to change our lifestyles, if we don't we have the blood of those who die from hunger on our hands. Am I dramatic? Maybe not, read this article and decide for yourself:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's not just me!

In hip urban San Francisco, they are trying a 2 year run to see how much they can grow in any small plot of land, including window boxes and even roofs!

Go Urban Farmers GO!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More descriptions

If you're interested, you can check out my roughly labeled yard(if I had the time, I'd go research their botanical names but I don't and plus you probably don't care either! hehe...) I zoned the yard out Alphabetically, so next time I talk about the area we are working on , I'll mention the zone and if you really want to know you can look at this image to see where we're digging and planting.

For example, right now we are digging in parts of zones "G and "I" to prepare the soil for the apples and peach tree that have arrived last night. We are procrastinators (well yes and no, we have full-time jobs outside of home and a child to tend to right now) so we were supposed to get the soil prep done last weekend, but the heat wave was unrelenting so we only managed to clear the old succulent bramble in those areas. So last night (ok this is not very ecological and I don't recommend doing this) Tim had a lamp on and was digging and tilling and amending the soil at 3am! NUTS! we know... maybe our neighbors think we are burying a

Most of zone "G" and "H" is already planted with the melon family seeds; pickling cucumber, cantaloupe, zucchini, and pumpkin, with some lettuces sprouting there as well. We had Tomatoes, Potatoes and Peppers planted in that area last year so we have tomato seedlings sprouting in the lettuce bed, which we've transferred some to the 8'x3' bed in zone "D" with it's nightshade relatives. I'm not well versed in Crop Rotation yet, but I know the basic plant families and to NOT plant the same family year after year in the same spot.