Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the MST Coming to a Bookstore, Outfitters, or Trail Near You!

Marsh Blue Violet (Viola cucullata)
                                                   
I am proud to announce that my guide, titled A Guide to the Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Mountains to Sea Trail, is indeed coming to fruition and is available for purchase!

Through a hiker's perspective of time, it was a long time coming...I mean, I could have hiked the MST almost 12 times by now, or even the AT more than 5 times by now....but through the writer's perspective, I would say, it's right on time! For the last 2 1/2 years, I have sunk my nose into many a plant guide as well as plants alongside the trail, waded through notes, scoured pictures, drank more than what would be considered an appropriate amount of coffee for a healthy individual to consume, and learned a considerable amount (although still not enough) about the technical aspects of Microsoft Word. 

I am pleased to have connected with my publisher, Hither Page Press, an imprint of Boxing Day Books while out visiting family in the tiny town of Princeton Illinois. It's funny how you find just what you need when you're truly ready for it. Hither Page Press publishes books of local flavor and special interest, and I would say that is just what this guide has come to be.

This guide is not only a means to identifying the plants but specifically designed for use in the backcountry by the backpacker, be he or she a day hiker, section hiker, or thru hiker. It will help you identify a wild edible or medicinal plant, teach you how to harvest it sustainably and efficiently, and  then provide you with a recipe, turning it into a tasty treat; a delicious backcountry meal prepared with no more than your one pot, alcohol stove, and a few simple ingredients; or a medicinal tea, oil, or poultice perfect for the weary hiker.


Violet Pasta Alfredo
 
               1 packet of instant pasta alfredo (Lipton's and Knorr are both yummy & lightweight brands)
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of dehydrated milk
1 handful of violet leaves
5-10 violet flowers
 
Combine pasta mix and 2 cups of water in a quart sized pot with lid on tightly. Once water has reached a simmer, remove lid, add leaves, and cook for recommended time on packet or until noodles are soft. Leaves will be soft and fully cooked, resembling spinach. Add olive oil and dehydrated milk to maximize creaminess and nutritional value. Lastly, add flowers, and stir to combine.

The beginner plant lover will find the botanical terms easy to understand, the guide easy to navigate, and appreciate descriptions of look-a-like plants which are critical to discerning the featured plant from a inedible or poisonous plant. If there's a term you don't know, there's also a handy glossary in the back of the book.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

A common wildflower with opposite leaves. Leaves and stems are succulent with clear juice when broken.
Flowers have 5 white petals that are so deeply cleft they appear to have 10 petals.
The sepals are conspicuous, as are the dark-brown tipped stamen in the center of the flower
One of the first wildflowers to flower in spring, they enjoy cool temperatures, damp soil, and partial sunlight. They will usually flower again in the fall.

The seasoned plant lover will enjoy the detailed description of uses for each featured plant along with unique recipes not found anywhere else but yet field tested and approved by this hungry hiker, not to mention the high-quality color photo accompanying each plant.

Lousewort (Pedicularis canadensis) - gone to seed
 

I'd also like to mention that although this book identifies wild edible and medicinal plants along the MST, all of these plants can be found regionally off the trail, and many throughout the entire eastern United States. The MST can be your starting ground - learn the plants here - and then you'll be able to recognize them in your own backyard or favorite wild place.

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)


You see, harvesting and eating wild foods, as well as using them as medicine, does not need to be complicated. They can be incorporated into foods we already know and love, enhancing their nutrition and flavor, while at the same time more directly connecting us to our environment, making the hiker a part of nature rather than someone simply walking through it as an observer.

The book will begin to hit shelves in April! It will also be available for order directly through me as well as my blog, and perhaps a selected website or two. If you'd like to pre-order your copy now, please shoot me an email at Heather.Herbs.Yoga@gmail.com.

I know I've taken a bit of a break here at the blog, but now that the meat of the guide is finished, I will be posting here again, so please visit again soon or enter your email into the box at the top of the page, to receive an email directly when I do a new post!

1 comment: