The 4 main rules of foraging-
1. Make sure wherever you harvest is at minimum 100 ft. from a road cars drive on.
2. Make sure wherever your picking is public property (don’t pick on someone’s private land unless you’ve OK-ed it with the owners!)
3. Make sure where your picking is not somewhere that gets sprayed! You do not want chemicals all over your yummy wild food.
4. Give back to the earth and do your part to help keep the environment clean and healthy. Don’t take without giving back!!
Let me enlighten you with my amazing poetry skills with my haiku about jewelweed-
I love jewelweed
Jewelweed is an awesome
Alright, so my amazing poetry skills aren’t so great, but jewelweed is!
Jewelweed is also called spotted touch me not, touch me not and they are impatiens.
These bushes grow rampant where I live. The bushes grow extremely large and everywhere. In the woods and along the roads are the most common places for them. Its very distinct and has saw blade edged oval leaves with trumpeting flowers. The flowers can be yellow (like the ones I have pictured, these are called pale jewelweed) or light to dark orange to reddish. But aside from they will all look exactly alike. The flowers are spotted and the plant itself has knobby joints- everywhere a stem meets another stem there is a little knob. Its like knees and elbow. But plant-ish.
Aside from the medicinal benefits of this plant, the best part is the seed pods. All throughout my childhood we called these plants poppies. Not because they look like poppy flowers, because when you touch or gently squeeze the ripe seed pods they explode (in order to disperse its seeds). Its tons of fun. Look for a fat seed pod (they are ripe this time of year, so go now!!) and explode them. There is no plant out there more fun. Watch this video to see it happen =)
The jewelweed plant is natures poison Ivy (and poison oak) relief. It usually grows right near poison ivy. If you apply jewelweed lotion or salve prior to going into the woods its can actually prevent you from getting poison ivy. Don’t tell me that’s not awesome. Or if your unfortunate enough to get the stuff, soap, lotion or salve with stop the itching and heal the poison ivy. It also does wonders for just about every other rash. My daughter suddenly got a very bad diaper rash (I think it came with being sick) and my regular homemade ointment didn’t help, my plantain salve didn’t help so I tried jewelweed lotion and it cleared up in an hour!!
I’m gonna teach you how to make-
Jewelweed Infused Oil
This oil can be used as a base for soaps, salves, ointments and lotions as well as completely on its own.
You will need-
A large handful or jewelweed
Organic olive oil
Roughly chop the jewelweed (stems, leaves, flowers and all) and place them in a skillet or sauce pan. Cover them in a thin layer of olive oil (I used about a cup) and bring to a bubbling simmer. Let them simmer uncovered for an hour stirring every 10 minutes or so, you want them all to be wilted. Put everything into a mason jar and pop a lid on it. Let it rest anywhere from over night to a week then strain out all of the leaves and leaf pieces. And that’s it! Make whatever you like out of it. If you want to make a salve replace plantain oil in this Epic Healing Salve and make jewelweed salve. Or use a mixture of both! To use it on its own, just rub it on the affected area as needed.
How to eat Jewelweed
Here’s the deal, jewelweed really isn’t more then a trail side snack when your out walking. It may come in handy sometime though! You can eat the seeds from the seed pods. As you may notice, the seeds fly everywhere when you touch a ripe seed pod. So hold the whole seed pod in your hand to catch them. They are quite tasty!! If your free a whole afternoon in a large patch of jewelweed you can collect a bunch and put them on a salad or bread =) Yummy!
So have some fun with this amazing plant =)
~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent
This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesdays!
*Disclaimer- I am not a doctor. Nor do I claim to be. Use caution when picking wild plants and DO NOT pick anything unless you are 100% certain you are picking the correct plant. If you have allergies to any of the plants I feature, do not use them. If you are worried about the medicinal effects of any of the plants featured, please consult your doctor. Do your own research before deciding what is best for you.*
- Epic Healing Salve (thecrunchydelinquent.com)
- Foraging Series: Part 1- Staghorn Sumac (thecrunchydelinquent.com)
- Foraging Series: Part 2- Queen Anne’s Lace (thecrunchydelinquent.com)