The common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) hardly needs an introduction. It is one of only a few plants that the vast majority of those inhabiting temperate climates worldwide can easily recognize. Many of these same people are very likely to have interacted with dandelions in a meaningful way as well, whether as a child wishing upon the wispy seed heads or frustratingly attempting to remove them from a garden.
Yet as you will see, this lowly weed is not only both edible & medicinal but is also an excellent conduit in which we may learn about ourselves as a species, how we have fundamentally changed the world’s ecology and how we should best react to our changing environments and landscapes. Understanding the life cycle of and experiencing dandelions first hand as an edible or medicinal herb will help to shed light on what this one plant among countless others can teach us.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a moisture loving herbaceous perennial in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) native to most of what is now Europe as well as parts of North Africa and northwestern Asia. Although watercress can be found growing along the margins of ponds or populating the fringes of shallow ditches and creeks in full sun or dappled shade throughout the growing season, it is undeniably at it’s best (from a gastronomic perspective) during the spring and autumn. (more…)
Judging from the featured photo above you probably wouldn’t believe me if I were to tell you that these are ekokitake mushrooms, the exact same species as can be found in a wide variety of traditional east Asian dishes. However, I am most certainly not in any position here as an educator of sorts to be misleading anyone, especially when it comes to wild mushrooms, as there is a very good reason for that. The above photo depicts that average habit of wild enokitake and not the cultivated form. Allow me to explain.. (more…)
The Meadow mushroom (Agaricus campestris) is a close relative of the button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) but processes a complex life cycle and requires a specific enough habitat so as to have so far evaded extensive cultivation and remains a treasure of wild (or at least semi-wild) spaces. (more…)