Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.
In my Forage Friday articles I often imagine what my ancestors goals were as they gathered from the Appalachian Mountains. In my mind’s eye I see them in times of bounty and hardship. Certainly they would have selected plants from both native and introduced species. I have bloodlines from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and I often wonder how many of the early ones interacted with each other and drew from each other’s knowledge to create the best of both worlds. Certainly each would want to cultivate that wich is most helpful and plant them as near to home as possible. Today things are a little easier. Our ability to cover distance by vehicle and preservation technology provides a great deal of food security. But that strength comes with a real vulnerability as we all learned in 2020. Things didn’t get bad enough here to force me into relying on the plants that I cover in Forage Friday but we’re really only a short disaster away from depending on what we have at hand. One resource that I encountered recently was American Bellflower ( Campanulastrum americanum)
I noticed the beautiful blue star shaped flowers growing on tall spikes in mottled sunlight and immediately jumped out of the truck with the camera. The insects zipping through the light certainly resembled a fireworks show. It’s become my mode of operation to take photos first and then look up the plant and learn all about it. It wasn’t until I’d done a little research that I learned American Bellflower was a wild edible. It’s is native to my mountain home and I imagine it was used but it doesn’t really seem to have made it into the culture like ramps, pojeweed and goldenseal. The internet says that in spite of being non-toxic that the flavor is rather bland. I’ve also not found it in large quantities and for those two reasons I presume it was overlooked. Flowers, foliage and roots are all edible and there are a few species that are grown specifically as a garden vegetable. I presume it’s used to add bulk to things that are strongly flavored such as garlic mustard.
Native Americans were said to have used it in teas for respiratory issues such as tuberculosis. However, there’s not much more than that at a glance. One source suggests that it might have been used for inflammation and epilepsy.
All sources agree that its most often cultivated as an ornamental and with its showy flowers and ability to attract pollinators its a great addition to the landscape.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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