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Week of August 19, 2014 - Seedy Weedy Walk: Plantain, QAL and Yellow Dock

Monday, August 18, 2014 8:00 PM | Anonymous

Seedy Weedy Walk



Plantain Seed (Plantago major)
What a great crop of plantain seed this year. Some stalks are two feet long! Here is a nice patch of plantain seed, just ready to begin select harvesting. Most of the seeds are still green. I leave those for a while, to mature and darken. Like the ones in this basket, which are brown and ready to harvest and dry. Once fully dry, the seeds and husks are stripped by hand from the stalks, and stored in jars. I drop a silicon gel packet in with my wild seeds to keep them dry.

Plantain seed makes a delicious addition to any grain, from oatmeal in the morning to brown rice at night. To use on its own, as a mild, bulk-producing laxative, just soak a tablespoonful in a cup of cold water overnight and drink it in the morning, seeds and all. Plantain, like most wild seeds, is a good source of the omega fatty acids so critical to heart health.


Queen Anne’s Lace Seed (Daucus carota)
The seeds of wild carrot are famous as a natural birth control. They are not sold commercially, so if you wish to use them, you will have to harvest them yourself. I watch for the seeds to turn brown, indicating that they are ripe. But, if I wait too long, the “basket” holding the seeds opens and scatters them to the ground. Apprentice number seven, Robin Rose Bennett, has extensive experience in using these seeds to control conception. Women in India take a tablespoonful of the ripe seed after fertilizing intercourse to prevent implantation.



Yellow Dock Seed (Rumex crispus, R. obtusifolia)
The seeds of the yellow docks are delicious in vinegar, tolerable when cooked as a grain, and magnificent in autumn and winter flower arrangements. One lovely day in a bygone September, Grandmother Two Worlds laughed at my attempts to loosen a yellow dock root from my rocky excuse for soil. “We use the seeds,” she confided. “So much easier to harvest.” Yes, but not easy to use as a grain, for the husks are astringent and bitter, and must be removed. I have not found an easy way to separate the yellow dock husks from the seeds, so I use them exclusively for vinegar. And a tasty vinegar it is, indeed.


~ Seedy Weedy Walk, contd. ~

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