Forage Friday #6 Wild Mustard.

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When most people in the United States think about mustard the image of a spicy yellow or brown condiment comes to mind. Especially in the urban areas. However, in the rural areas wild mustard is either a salad or a cooked green.

A little research shows that there’s almost as many mustards as there are opinions in the world. For the purpose of Forage Friday we’re going to lump them all together under the umbrella of “wild mustard”. Even Peterson’s Field Guide uses the generic “Brassica Spp”.

The seeds can be used to make a spice just like the domestic varieties but as with any wild edible plant the flavor might not be what we’re used to.

The young seed pods can be pickled or tossed fresh into a salad.

The leaves can be a little bitter but can be eaten raw and that is my current experience since I have mostly focused on salad greens. I recently learned that the flower heads can be eaten like broccoli. That shouldn’t have surprised me because they are the family of plants. ( Which also includes cabbage BTW.)

The bright yellow flowers are always a welcomed sight in the spring when I spot them standing proudly near the roads. You might think that the mustard that you buy for your hot dogs is yellow because the mustard seed itself is yellow but it’s not so. Yellow mustard is yellow because it contains turmeric powder. Natural mustard seeds are grayish. It’s complicated process and it’s unlikely that you find them in a high enough quantity to make it worth the effort but a rich edible oil can be processed from the mustard seed. The process is said to leave behind a high protein powder which is also edible.

With all of the good things that comes from this humble little plant it makes me wonder why it’s classified as a weed? The only negative thing I can find online is that when dairy cows eat it the flavor of the milk is somewhat off making the milk unprofitable.

As I try write my closing line tonight I can’t help think about all the efforts that go into feeding the hungry people of the world. We pour money into government programs and charitable organizations that are intended to be resource for families who are struggling. And yet every day chemicals are sprayed to prevent the growth of food producing plants that thrive worldwide, like the mustard plant. It’s even been found growing near the earth’s magnetic pole. Could it be that the reason why people go hungry is because we’ve taken the wrong approach with food production? Perhaps instead of suppressing vigorous plants like mustard we should find ways to support them and turn our world back into a garden.

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Forage Friday 3.. Redbud

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Redbud 33019”. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

One of the true joys of an Appalachian Spring is the blooming of the redbud. In fact one of minor reasons why I chose the property that I live on now is the presence of reddish pink pops of happiness in late March to mid April. After a long gray winter the colorful redbud is a very welcome sight for sore eyes.

A closer look at the redbud flowers

Redbud is often planted as an ornamental shrub because of its early and colorful pea like flowers. And, it is a nitrogen fixing legume that is often used for reclaiming strip mines and helping to heal the soil.

Of course, this is Forage Friday and that means that redbud is also a wild edible. I have only used it as a “trail nibble” by picking a few raw flower buds here and there and popping a few in my mouth. However, I do think that it would be an interesting thing to add to a salad. I’ve been watching the bloom spread up the mountain and I think that I’ll try it as part of a salad soon. Being a legume I expect that redbud is rich in protein. I haven’t tried the pods yet either but Peterson’s Field Guide suggest a ten minute saute of the young tender pods which look somewhat like snow peas hanging below heart shaped leaves. (As always, make sure of positive ID. Before trying the first time. Trees like black locusts have similar pods and are considered toxic)

A word here on timing. The flower is only in its prime for a few weeks and once the pods reach a certain maturity they become leathery. I have also read that some people have canned the pods like green beans but it’s not something that I’m experienced with and as with this whole series I really recommend that you do further research before going out with a basket to try a new and exotic food from the forest.

Okay, don’t skip the disclaimer.

Forage Friday isn’t really intended to teach you everything you need to know about wild foraging. It was conceived as a way for me to showcase my photos while providing a few interesting tidbits of information to peak your interest and start a conversation in some of the forums that I share with on Facebook.

If you have eaten redbud flowers or pods of if you have a question about wild edible plants the comments are open to the public.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click the web to go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me onFacebook or use the contact form

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

The Providence Of God & Walking With My Grandfather

Some of my most cherished memories are the long walks with my grandfather. He was World War Two veteran who walked with a cane due to shrapnel that was embedded in his leg but that never seemed to slow him down. He would come over to our little house trailer which was next door to his house and invite me to help him check on the cattle. He was also a survivor of the Great Depression and on our walks he would teach me about the things that they used to do to stretch the budget. One their best resources was the wild edible plants that are found in abundance in Appalachia. Pictured here is Chicory. All parts of the plant are edible. The leaves are eaten as a salad green and the roots are roasted and then ground into a coffee substitute. ( no caffeine). The blue petals if Chicory are a natural litmus test. When exposed to an acid they change from blue to red.

In the background of the image is Queen Anne’s Lace. ( the white flowers). Now, you have to be careful about collecting it because there’s also poisonous look-alikes such as hemlock. Queen Anne’s Lace usually has one tiny little blood red flower in the center of all that white. How’s it used? Well, I’m pretty sure that most of the world already knows because it’s simply a wild carrot. The root doesn’t really look like what you buy in the store or raise in your garden. It is small, white and kinda bland. But, it is a carrot none the less.

Most people look at the plants that grow without any help from humans and all that they see are weeds but I see the province of God and hear the voice of my grandfather.