The Appalachian Mountains have many things to offer, but they also give us fresh, natural food.
1. YarrowThis cute plant can grow tall and strong, though it seems dainty. It has been a staple in herbal treatments, tracing roots from the Christian Bible and before. Though some say it’s bitter, the flower can be made many ways. Some people fry it, while others use it for tea, beer or even on top of salads. It’s a natural flavor that also adds vitamins A and C.
2. DandelionsWhere I’m from in Southern Appalachia, these bright flowers are a common dish. It’s not surprising that these weeds have a ton of calcium and iron. While every part of it is edible, many pick the flower off and toss it in a frying pan. However, I found this recipe https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/dandelion-date-blue-cheese-salad-brown-butter-croutons that I really need to try next time I’m craving Dandelions.
3. CloverI have seen these weeds my entire life, but I never realized how good they’d make my salad. Clover can be fixed almost like spinach- in a salad, sauteed or however you wish. However, most like the taste of the flower bud paired next to it, though the clover itself is tasty.
4. Broadleaf PlantainThis is another plant I grew up seeing in my yard, but never knew what it was. As it turns out, these leaves have a variety of uses, with all parts of the plant being safe to consume. Like the other plants, this can be eaten like any other lettuce or spinach. However, it has a medicinal benefit as well. In fact, this recipe https://mommypotamus.com/plantain-salve-recipe/ uses it to make ointment.
5. Yellow Dock
Like the name suggests, this little guy can come in many colors, including yellow. The seeds and leaves can all be eaten. In fact, some even use the seeds to make coffee. In this case, the seeds are the pink flowers peeking out.
So don’t be afraid to go out and pick your next salad from your own yard. Just make sure it’s in a safe area, not by a road or anywhere these plants could get dirty. Be sure to research and be safe picking!
If this sort of stuff intrigues you, WVU is currently offering a course on Appalachian herbs in the Wildlife department.
About the Author
Hannah Grace Morgan is a part of the Writing/Editing Team for WVUGo. She is a senior studying journalism and political science. Hannah is from Oceana, West Virginia where the closest stoplight is about an hour drive away. Hannah has written for the Daily Athenaeum, WV News, the Register-Herald and now for WVUGo.Full Profile Article Collection