Gaia’s stirring these past two weeks. I can feel the spiral pulses of energy moving in upward motion and see the beginnings of life in the garden. It has been a long wet winter here in the Sequim/Dungeness valley. The return of spring bird song sure cheers me as I write this and is a joyful background music. I glance at seed catalogs and dream of warmer times to come, of color and flower scented air, and green. My body wants to come out of my bear cave and shrug off this sleepy winter – I’m ready for spring.
I spent the weekend bottling up the herbal tinctures I made last summer and fall to sell. These are a few I made: Devils Club, Echinacea, Burdock Root, Red Clover, Wild Rose, Sitka Valerian, Oregon Grape Root, Yerba Santa, Usnea, Turkey Tail Fungi, Osha root, Oats, Nettles, and others. I am just now harvesting fresh burdock roots and chickweed for a yummy dinner salad. Chickweed used medicinally makes a great cooling first aid balm or salve useful for cuts that are irritated and hot. Taken internally by eating as a yummy salad green, made into tincture with 100 proof vodka or as an infusion in hot water. Chickweed acts as a nourishing overall tonic for improving energy levels. This herb has an alkalinizing effect on the blood and Susun Weed says to take a dropper full 2 xs a day for 3-8 months in a tincture form, to shrink cysts of the breasts and ovaries. It is a favorite in springtime after a long winter of eating rich foods. Eat it raw best in late winter through the early spring before it gets stringy. Chickens love chickweed (hence the name), it makes their egg shells strong from the high amount of calcium and trace minerals. I feed it fresh to my chickens and our pet parakeet Lapis-he loves it. Use Chickweed and Cleavers together as a nourishing infusion or tincture as a tonic for the lymphatic system.
Food is medicine…
Yummy Chickweed Vinegar Recipe – Make into a tasty herbal vinegar by making an infusion of freshly harvested plant material snipped about 2 inches from the ground, then fill a sterilized quart jar with the herb and cover to the top with raw apple cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap so your lid won’t rust and cap. After about a two-week period you then strain off the herb with a sieve, re-bottle and it is ready to use. I like to make salad dressing with the vinegar by adding a few tablespoons of chickweed vinegar to a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 2 tbsp sweet onion, fresh or dried culinary herbs of your choice, salt and pepper and maybe a touch of honey. Run this through your food processor, serve over salad or as a marinade for vegis, meats and as a dip by adding nuts or seeds and a bit of orange juice or lemon juice -go crazy and experiment. *Note for added nutrition and nourishment you may add to the above vinegar recipe some fresh spring nettles, cleavers, dandelion flowers and leaves.
Chick Fruit Salsa Recipe: 1 cup fresh stone fruit of choice chopped in chunks, 1/2 yellow onion diced small, 3 tsp fresh chopped cilantro or fresh catnip, and a handful of chopped fresh chickweed, (to your taste), add fresh or canned jalapeno peppers chopped tiny, 4 tbsp chickweed vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.