MISSOURI GIRL EATS WEEDS
Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:27am admin
An Edible Bouquet
Ann J. Hines, PhD
This week I couldn't help but write about the beautiful flowers blooming all along the roadsides and in the fields. This time of year produces some of the most beautiful cut wildflowers. In addition to being beautiful in a vase, many are also edible. While not usually remembered for their medicinal or flavorful qualities they are, nevertheless, nutritious!
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) DAISY FAMILY
While not as well-studied for its medicinal qualities like it's famous cousin, Echinacea purpurea, the roots nevertheless confer some of the same immune support, fighting colds, flu and respiratory infections. Native Americans reportedly used the root as a diuretic and as an astringent, and making a poultice for snake bites. Black-eyed Susans, or rudbeckia hirta, have several look-alike cousins in the daisy family, which are also edible.
Queen Anne's Lace
Also known as the wild carrot, it is indeed the primitive ancestor of our cultivated carrots. The roots and leaves may be eaten when young, before it flowers. The beautiful white flower head can be lightly battered and fried. The seeds are used as a seasoning or brewed as a tea. Mince the leaves to add flavor to soups and salads. Poison Hemlock also has a white, lacy flower head, but a cursory look at the foliage will easily differentiate them: hemlock has purple markings on the large, hollow stems. Queen Anne's lace has a thin, hairy stem and a distinct carrot scent.
Called day lilies because each bloom lasts only one day, I see these beautiful orange lilies in ditches or decorating yards. Every part of the daylily plant is edible. The young shoots can be added to stir-fry. The shoots and flowers can be battered and fried. The tubers can be prepared like potatoes. The orange petals will add a pop of color to any salad, or they can be dried and added to soups. The blossoms are a good source of vitamin A. Many Asiatic lilies used in landscaping are poisonous, so avoid the cultivated lilies.
This common but beloved flower is also edible, with many of the nutrients common to wild plants: an abundance of vitamins A and C, chlorophyll, and antioxidants. The leaves are a delicious green. The flowers may be used to decorate a cake or dress up a salad. The flowers make a tea that can be used for respiratory complaints, coughs and asthma. In a salve, it is good for burns, wounds and bruises.
Candying flowers is beautiful way to preserve and use these flowers as edible decorations. The process generally involves painting each flower thoroughly with an egg white wash, sprinkling with caster sugar, and drying. In addition to the flowers already mentioned, you may search your yard for roses (wild and cultivated) nasturtiums, pansies, marigolds, dandelions, and borage to add to your repertoire of edible flowers!
An avid student of natural health since 1987, Ann is a Missouri native, health coach, hobby triathlete, and collector of rocks and children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org