This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Redbud Seedpods

Redbud Seedpods
 The weather has been crazy in this part of NC lately, it was in the 80s for a while, than we had a freak frost two mornings in a row which killed about 40 of my squash plants and 18 cucumber plants. Some of the wild plants were also taken by surprise and got "burned" by the frost, definitely been a crazy weather year this year.
  Still plenty of Wild Edibles to play with though, and one of the plants that just keeps on giving is the Redbud tree. Now that the Edible flowers have been pollinated and have fallen off the trees, the fruits of their labor are beginning to show. The seedpods are Edible when they are young and succulent. If you wait too long they will get tough and stringy and are no fun to eat. If you take one of the young pods and bend it in half it should "snap" apart. If you wait too long they will stay together because they are stringy. The raw seedpods, right from the tree, have a somewhat tangy taste. A good snack food or addition to a salad or stir fry. Remove the stem before eating or use it as I do to hold my snack while eating. I eat a hand full once and that sour taste turned astringent and was not as pleasurable as eating just a few as a snack. I have never eaten a large quantity of the pods so proceed with caution and see if they agree with you first, remember you can be allergic to a wild plant as easily as a "common" food plant.
 Don't forget to look closely at the pods so you get to know them before you eat and of course make sure they are REDBUD pods by ID-ing the tree first if you didn't see it in bloom. If you enlarge the photo above you will notice a "fishhook" at the bottom of the pod
  I think its fun to just walk over to the Redbud Tree on the way to the garden and in the early Spring snack on the Flowers than later on snack on the young pods. Nature is so COOL!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wisteria Heaven!

 It's that time of year again when the Wisteria are flowering. This year is a wonderful show, compared to last year, maybe because of all the rain we have been having.
 Last year was the first time I had made Wisteria water and I thought it was  pretty good, but this year I decided to experiment a to "spice" it up a little. Info and ID photos for making the water are here:  http://ethnobotanist128.blogspot.com/2011/04/wisteria-water.html .
 I don't eat sugar and I usually use Stevia to sweeten things up but I have discovered a new product that I use on occasion. It's organic Palm Tree sap! It's not super sweet and has a very low glycemic index so I figured using it once in a while won't hurt. Besides, there is no bitter after taste like you get with Stevia.
 Anyway, I added a small amount of freshly squeezed organic lemon juice and a touch of the Palm sap to the Wisteria water and WOW was it incredible! I like it so much I am going to collect a ton of Wisteria Flowers and make  bunch of water and freeze it so I can have it after the flowers die off (as they are beginning to do, possibly because of the frost the past two days). Hopefully freezing the water won't affect its taste, well see, just another Ethnobotanical experiment! Give it a try.
 Post Script: The other day I added some Spearmint to the mix as I usually do with lemonade, and it added a new dimension of greatness to the drink! Keep experimenting!