The wild adventures continue!  This past week, my daughter and I brought home quite a bit more chokecherry than we’d originally planned!  The original plan was to get nettle, and it took several days even before THAT came home.  But the day we intended to get nettle, we realized a huge stand of chokecherries in the same spot, were literally loaded with ripe, dark purple berries!  We still had to finish picking the berries off the leaves and twigs in the bag from the past weekend, so we sat down to see exactly how much had come home!

The previous weekend’s haul was laid out on trays to dry.  The second haul filled two medium mixing bowls, or one ice cream pail!  The picture above shows a larger bowl on the left, which was laid out to dry on cookie sheets, and the two medium bowls that filled the ice cream pail later that night.  Those bowls of leaves and twigs are being pounded down for use in loose-leaf tea.  Not all the twigs can be used, but smaller ones are kept in the mix.  Those bowls are still drying as we speak.  I crushed some into the storage bag already, but most of it is still drying out.

I decided to try my hand at making grape-chokecherry jelly, following instructions for chokecherry jelly.  I almost made candy instead!  I have a jar of very solid jelly that nearly broke a butter knife when I tried to get some out of the jar after it cooled!  I’m now thinking of warming it up to hopefully either “water it down” or add eucalyptus powder to it and drop it onto plastic wrap to make my own “soft” lozenges.

Nettle leavesWe did eventually get the nettle, bringing home a full grocery bag’s worth of leaves and stalks.  Taking care to pick them clean of the stalks resulted in filling a salad spinner!  The wet leaves didn’t take up much room, but as the leaves were spun dry, they fluffed out to fill the entire thing!  I’m looking forward to making some infusions with the nettle, one of which I will try drinking as a way of assisting my adrenal health, hair, etc.  We’ll see how it goes.  I don’t know if we picked enough for the full experiment, or if it will be “as supplies allow”, but we’ll see.

This picture was after one of my cookie trays came available and I took some of the leaves to spread out to dry.  I’ll spread out more as more of my sheets come available.  I was reminded of a few trays I forgot I’d hidden in the laundry room, so need to pull those out and press them into action.

My attempt to soak a burdock tuber did NOT soften the bark.  I had let it soak for at least two maybe three weeks, but all I succeeded in doing was drawing out the oils in the root, and infusing the water.  So I threw out the root and poured the water into a jug for use in some of the other products we plan to make around the house.  The other two roots as a result may end up going the same way.

We’re doing a lot of “play it by ear” right now.  It seems as I’ve read various blogs on foraging and processing, that every single blogger out there has gone down the same path in some fashion.  Figure out what you want, find what you need to make what you want, locate recipes or create your own, find out what works and what doesn’t, stick with what works and move on.

We are still quite near the beginning of this path.  Some stuff has worked out already, some stuff still has to be created and tested.  Some stuff has been tried and worked while others have failed.  The jelly idea being one of the failures.

We will be entering fall soon.  I’m not sure how much money will be saved over the winter months this year, but as the saying goes, the adventure continues. . .