Crone’s Corner – WILDCRAFTING
November brings on thoughts of mushroom hunting, gathering walnuts and digging medicinal roots. In my wandering
will take some time to clean off the black outer casing. I soak the nuts for a short time and then begin scrubbing with a stiff
brush. You don’t want to soak walnuts for a long time as water will absorb through the shells and possibly spoil the meat inside.
I dry them thoroughly in a mesh bag (such as onions come in) by the woodstove. Walnuts are a good source of protein and
shelling them can be a great family pastime.
Digging up medicinal roots such as Echinacea and Oregon Grape is best done in the fall after the plants are dormant. Echinacea
is grown in the garden. The root systems are somewhat fine though they can be rather large in older plants. It’s best to
harvest plants that are 3 years old as they have reached their maximum potency. Clean the dirt off thoroughly then layer loosely
on paper in an open box to dry or you can chop them into small pieces, put in a jar, and cover with 100 proof Vodka to make your
own tincture. Keep covered and shake daily for 2-3 weeks. Then strain and save for use.
Oregon Grape is an evergreen shrub that grows very prolifically and is quite common. It’s coarse red and green leaves are very
similar to Holly and I have used them in Christmas greenery displays. Oregon Grape’s medicinal qualities are much the same
as Goldenseal and can be substituted as such. Wild Goldenseal is becoming increasingly hard to find and becoming an endangered species so using Oregon Grape instead can help to let the species repopulate.
Oregon Grape’s roots are very woody. I suggest you use it right away. Long ago I harvested some, dried it and stored it away.
They became rock hard pieces of wood. Use Oregon Grape the same as you would Goldenseal, for infections, as a blood purifier,
liver conditions, and skin diseases.
Both Echinacea and Oregon Grape can be grown and harvested as cash crops.
By Tony Frohnauerwww.nfbotanicals.com (c)2002