2013 – It has been a year of looking and learning about wild edibles and medicinals on our property. We have learned that we have a plethora of wild edibles available to us, and we are confident that we have barely scratched the surface.
We enjoy finding and learning about these plants because they are natural, self maintaining, perennial, and in some cases medicinal as well. Unless we destroy them, they should always be available to us – a great food store should troubled times or natural disaster come knocking at the gate of J&J Acres.
This will be a 4 part series.
Here is a list of some of the plants we have found and some of the general uses. This list is of the items we have found or learned about in 2013 and does not include any edible animal life:
Wild Potato Vine – (Ipomoea pandurata)
Also known as a Morning Glory or Big-Rooted Morning Glory – these produce amazingly stunning paper-thin white blossoms that have a deep purple center. They vine and climb up other vegetation, but the real value is in the tuber.
The tuber, or enlarged part of the root, is used much like a potato. This means you can use it as a replacement for potato, if you wished.
We only have only see one instance of it on our property, right next to the driveway where the culvert goes under the drive. Makes sense – after all, potatoes like water, right? Of the other water bearing areas on the property the only other one with a reasonable amount of sun is overtaken with black raspberries.
When not cooked, the tubers are a laxative which, when needed, is valuable – and when it is not, can be a horrible thing to find out about. Cook your tubers.
Jerusalem Artichoke – (Helianthus tuberosus)
Also known as Sunchoke – these grow as tall as and look similar to sunflowers. However, it is the tuber we are after.
The tuber root is knobby and can be eaten raw or it can be cooked like a potato. Caution is required, however, as this tuber contains Inulin (not Insulin), and can cause gas. As they say, moderation in all things.
I have read that they are great in a thick creamy soup.
However, Jerusalem Artichokes have the great benefit of being able to be turned into bacon. Let the hogs root them up and eat them – you won’t have to deal with any potential for gas and you get bacon. Win/Win.
We plant to transplant some in to our upcoming perennial garden to use as an attractant for pollinators.
Japanese Honeysuckle – (Lonicera japonica)
Because every child and adult should have the ability to put a drop of this nectar on their tongue.
No, I do not believe you are going to find any great nutritional value here – but it is just an incredibly pleasant thing to do. Yes, there are other uses, such as attracting pollinators… but really – I would rather get to the nectar first, all things being equal.
Of course there are always enough flowers for us and the butterflies, so everyone is happy.
There are medicinal uses here as well. Traditional Chinese medicine uses honeysuckle in a variety of ways. Not having used these methods I will not repeat them here, but mention them so that you might investigate further if you wish.
In case of the dire situation where the art of honeysuckle eating is lost in your family, have no fear. We have a video for that!
Watch our video about Honeysuckle Nectar by clicking the link or watching below:
Check back at this link for more of our Wild Edible posts!