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edblanford
09-13-2014, 03:09 PM
I have lived most of my life all around the US with some time in Europe (Primarily Germany and UK), I read a lot (I think, anyway) and recent posts about Elderberries and Hibiscus have surprised me. I had never recognized either, but researching them tells me that Elderberries grow in all 50 states and are dirt common (in addition, WMVJack appears to have made a career out of them). My wife taught me recently that we have several Hibiscus in our yard (Rose of Sharon?). Are the plants so common that many do not recognize them (familiarity breeds contempt) or am I just dumb and unaware?

edblanford
09-13-2014, 05:06 PM
PS, I am not easy to insult and I am not violent even it I do get insulted. I understand that this may be a rhetorical question.

loveofrose
09-13-2014, 05:45 PM
If you get into foraging, you would be absolutely shocked at the numbers of "weeds" are edible. You see them everyday and don't realize the culinary potential.


Better brewing through science!

edblanford
09-13-2014, 07:19 PM
So they are "weeds"?

loveofrose
09-13-2014, 07:40 PM
Not hibiscus, but many plants widely considered weeds are edible.


Better brewing through science!

EJM3
09-13-2014, 08:35 PM
Hibiscus is a large family. Rose of Sharon is not exactly edible. They have certain types of hibiscus that produce a swollen calyces, and THAT is what you see as hibiscus tea and bits of them available at a lot of stores (especially the health food stores). It has TONS of Vitamin C, has mouth imploding sourness (Citric, Malic, Tartaric, Ascorbic Acids). The actual one that produces the calyces that are edible is the hibiscus sabdariffa..

The elderberry are all over the place here. They grow over 30 feet sometimes for the very old ones, 20 feet for most of the tall ones around here. The are in the sambucus family, and have a TOXIC relative here, the RED elderberry.

And loveofrose has it right: There are literally thousands of "weeds" that are edible and/or medicinal. We regularly forage for several species of mushrooms, some greens, and a few veggies when they are in season. BUT you need to be ABSOLUTELY certain of what you are foraging and eating. Poison hemlock is around here, and closely resembles a couple items we go for. I'm not dead from eating anything, or even sickened by anything we have foraged for. Because we know EXACTLY what we want, what it looks like, where it grows, etc, and learned that from others with experience. Even dandelions are edible, the flowers give you dandelion wine, the leaves are salad greens and the root is good for making teas. There are a lots of things we call weeds that are actually edible and even healthy for us.

Medsen Fey
09-13-2014, 10:33 PM
...Are the plants so common that many do not recognize them (familiarity breeds contempt) or am I just dumb and unaware?

Not dumb, but yes, unaware.
When you become a meadcrafter, it opens your eyes to all sorts of fermentables. I've had an entirely new perspective every time I walk through a farmer's market or the produce section of the grocery store since I started making meads.

joemirando
09-14-2014, 07:06 PM
...Even dandelions are edible, the flowers give you dandelion wine, the leaves are salad greens and the root is good for making teas. There are a lots of things we call weeds that are actually edible and even healthy for us.

The root of the dandelion is also passable, after drying and grinding, as a sort of flour. I've dried the root and chewed it, and when I was a kid it was my job to go out in the yard and pick dandelion leaves for my grandfather's sunday salad. He liked the bigger leaves, which are more bitter, while I preferred the smaller, younger ones which are sweeter and more tender. Of course, his favorite dish was spinach boiled until it resembled nothing so much as something taken from the sea and left in a bucket to die, slathered with olive oil and almost as much as slivered garlic as spinach. It still gives me the willies.

By the way, some of my favorite medicinals are devil's club and arnica montana. Unfortunately, neither of them are to be found wild around here. But then there are pumpkins and sunflowers, both for their seeds.

Joe