Category Archives: Wild Foraging

Parasites and Your Health Part II

Black Walnut Hull Tincture Copyright Jill Henderson Show Me OzIt’s surprising how many people completely reject the idea that they might have intestinal parasites when the truth of the matter is that hundreds of millions of people in America alone have some form of parasite living inside their bodies. In last week’s post, I talked about what parasites are and how they can affect human health. I also posted a very short list of ingredients and a super easy recipe for black walnut hull tincture, which together, make up one of the most effective, simple, natural, and inexpensive parasite cleanses you can do at home. And this week, I’m giving you the entire protocol schedule so you can make the most of this wonderful parasite cleanse. Continue reading

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Parasites and Your Health Part I

640px-HookwormsJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

As creepy as it may sound, hundreds of millions of Americans are unknowingly infested with parasites that can cause everything from aching joints and fatigue to blindness and even death.  If you don’t think you could ever have parasites, better think again! In this two-part series, I’ll cover the most common beasties found inside the human body and how you can get rid of intestinal parasites using a simple, safe, and natural remedy. Continue reading

Wild Edible and Medicinal Spring Flowers

Redbud blossoms Jill HendersonJill Henderson – Show Me Oz

With the end of the Great Sleep, spring has asserted herself firmly in the Heart of the Ozarks.  The rising intensity of the sun entices all living things to join in the brief but joyous celebration of new beginnings. Big or small, spring provides the perfect opportunity to search for new and interesting native plants. Continue reading

A Bygone Bee Gum

Bygone Bee Gum - Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress (4)

Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

I love history. Particularly when  I find it in a far-flung or unexpected place.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a tree with a huge hole in the side of it.  Of course, it’s not uncommon to find trees with natural cavities in them around these parts, but this particular breach was not made by nature or time, but by man – and for a very specific purpose.

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How to Clean and Crack Black Walnuts

Black walnuts on the tree. Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

The Ozarks are blessed with an abundance of wild food, including the oh-so-delectable black walnut.  Each fall, the huge green fruits come crashing down into parks, yards, and a multitude of public spaces, making them easy game for any wild or urban forager.  Indeed, why pay $5 for a 4 ounce bag of nutmeats when you’ve got black walnut trees around?  That’s just nuts!  The problem most people face isn’t acquiring enough nuts to make it worth their while, it’s the cleaning, cracking and picking that really gets them.  So, if you’ve never done it before because you’ve heard how hard they are to deal with, I hope this post will make the cleaning, cracking and picking of black walnuts just a little bit easier.

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Wild Walk: Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris) plant in bloom.  Photo copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comShow Me Oz – Sometimes the best “wild” medicine comes from plants that are decidedly not native, but rather naturalized and occasionally weedy. Plants like these are often considered to be invasive, undesirable weeds in cultivated fields and lawns across North America.  And yet, many of these non-natives are incredible edibles and natural healers that foragers and backwoods herbalists should take note of. Dandelions, dock and comfrey are all great examples of naturalized invasive herbs.  Another of these weedy invasive plants is a lesser-known little beauty with a plethora of common names, including Heal-All, Self-Heal and All-Heal among many others.  And if a name could say it all, this one definitely does.

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Wild Walk: Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium stamineum) 2013 5-5 (9)Show Me Oz – The Ozarks are blessed with an abundance of wild food including delectable black walnuts, savory hickory nuts, sticky-sweet persimmons, juicy paw paws, tart wild black cherries, tart wild plums and serviceberries, nutritious black berries, wild grapes and delicate black raspberries. If you’ve spent much time here in Oz, you are almost certainly familiar with one or all of these wild foods and have probably spent your fair share of summer and fall afternoons gathering them by the bucketful. But there is one more wild Ozark delicacy that often escapes the notice (and the baskets) of many a wild forager: the wild blueberry. Continue reading

Nature Notes: Exploring the Great Sleep

Winter Landscape Copyright Jill Henderson-Show Me OzBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I like to refer to winter as The Great Sleep, because although life outside the window pane seems dull and lifeless, it is anything but. Yet to find that elusive bit of life, one must go in search of it. Even this self-avowed nature freak has to remind herself of this from time to time. So today, I took a stroll through the woods with my eyes – and my senses – wide open.

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Wild Walk: Coral Mushrooms

Mushroom - Coral 2012 10-7 (3)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is here and we finally got enough rain to kick off the fall mushroom season.  Among the many foragable fungi available in the fall, my favorite are coral mushrooms.  Not only are corals super easy to identify, even for the novice mushroom hunter, but they are downright beautiful and oh, so good to eat.

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Wild Walk: Monarda

Monardaby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There is nothing quite as enchanting as a chance encounter with a wild patch of flowering monarda. The electric colors of their shaggy, upright flowers light up the shady places they prefer; dazzling the unprepared eye. Once familiar with the sweet oregano-like scent of this delicately delectable herb one can often smell a colony of monarda long before seeing it. And if the scent doesn’t give it away, the sound of buzzing bees will.

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Entocuisine: A Passion for Wilder Edibles

0013729e4abe0bb544562cby Paul Landkamer –
Guest Blogger – Show Me Oz

Several years back, a distinguished-looking lady came into our library with some questions. Her formal, quiet school-teacherish (which she was) manner seemed in stark contrast to her request for information on fried grasshoppers and sources of supply. When she made her request, I remembered buying chocolate-covered ants, bees, grasshoppers and caterpillars back in the early ’70s when our Golden Valley, MN Byerly’s carried ’em. Byerly’s doesn’t carry them anymore. The teacher’s request didn’t shock me like it did some. It turned out the teacher was going to serve fried grasshoppers to some of the more daring teachers for a back-to-school function or something like that –quite possibly in remembrance of the big Warrensburg grasshopper feast from my earlier post. Several librarians and I jumped on the project.

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Wild Walk: Goldenrod

goldenrodby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Although the meadow below my house is still lush and green, I can see fall working its way into our lives.  I see it in the falling golden leaves of the black walnut trees and in the burning-red leaves of sassafras and sumac. And even though the meadow is most definitely green, it is also suddenly dotted with the purple and gold blossoms of asters and early goldenrod – plants we sometimes love to hate.

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Wild Blackberries and Wine–Part II

Blackberry Pickin - Image Copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Wild blackberries are among the most productive and versatile fruiting plants in the wild.  The most difficult thing about gathering blackberries is deciding what to do with all those dark luscious fruits once you get them home.  Luckily, blackberries lend themselves to all kinds of luscious concoctions, not all of which have to be jams and pies.  In fact,  once the main harvest is neatly tucked into the freezer, the last pick is always reserved for makin’ Wild Blackberry Wine! Continue reading

Wild Blackberries and Wine – Part I

clip_image002by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s been a wonderfully long and cool spring, but the temps have been climbing steadily into the more June-like 90’s.  With the heat has come the ripening of the wild black raspberries followed quickly by wild blackberries and giant boysenberries.  My husband Dean has already been out gathering the earliest of the sweet-tart fruits.  Historically, I have left the berry pickin’ to Dean.  But this year, I have set myself to pick with him every single time and I know it’ll be an adventure. Continue reading

Notes from Turtle Ridge: Spring 2014

Box Turtle Shellby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

June lays claim to the longest day of the year and the most violent thunderstorms, it is the month of bluebird babies, spindly-spotted fawns and box turtle crossings.   Although we have been expecting another hot and dry summer, we suddenly find ourselves wearing warm flannels and digging the blankets out of the closet.  But the rain and a long cool spring is exactly what we – and our garden – were hoping for.

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Pokeweed In The Pot – Or Not?

Cooking pokeweed copyright Jill Hendersonby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s that time of year again and the pokeweed is already knee-high – just right for the picking.    Although poke has been eaten as a vegetable for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, authorities now say that pokeweed should never be consumed because of its potentially toxic compounds.  Yet, over the years I have received multitudes of emails from older folks who say they’ve eaten it their whole lives with no ill effect.   What do you thing?  Should pokeweed go in the pot, or not?

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Wild Walk: Let the Blooming Begin

2013 4-21 Ohio Buckeye in bloom (2)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Winter is definitely over and summer is marching in with a fury.  Here in Oz, temps have hit the 90’s already and we’ve had a few rain showers to kick the growing season off to a good start.  What was a clear view through the forest just a week ago is now completely obstructed by what we jokingly refer to as “The Jungle”.  So, if you don’t mind a few seed ticks, now is a fantastic time to check out the wildflowers and flowering trees – like this beautiful blooming Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra).

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Wild Walk: Spring Beauties

Image00046It’s been a busy spring here on Turtle Ridge.  We finally got the warm up we’ve been waiting for to really get the spring garden growing.  While we were waiting for sunny days and spring showers to germinate our seeds, I took a little time to go wild.

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Granny Women and Biopiracy

Copyright Jill HendersonJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

Granny Women were once herbal doctors whose knowledge almost became extinct thanks to big pharma. Today, it is again threatened by restrictive patents from big ag and big pharma genetic bio-pirates looking for the next billion-dollar drug or plant gene that they can patent for billions of dollars in profits – taking away the public’s right to gather, use, and save seed from all native and naturalized plant life on earth. Read on to learn more about the roles that Granny Women (and Men) have played throughout the history of mankind and why the knowledge they passed down to us is once again being threatened with extinction.

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Snow and Roses

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Winter arrived in the Ozarks with an incredible 12” of snow and temperatures in the teens for much of the week.  We stayed busy indoors for most of that time, but Dean and I are not the kind of people who find it easy to sit around the shack all day.  So, when it warmed up a bit we  found ourselves trudging around in our heavy winter pants and boots looking for something constructive to do outdoors.  We finally decided to clear a path through the thick brush and brambles to the east pond.

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Jill’s Herbal Diary: Natural Deodorants

Common Sage_smBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Nearly twenty-five years ago, when I first began studying herbs and plants and delving into the natural rhythm of being human, I took lots and lots of notes.  For my entire adult life I have followed and been fascinated by plants and nature.  Learning to know their healthful nature and to pass what I have learned on to others has been one of my life’s passions.  The following is an unabridged tidbit from one of my very earliest study journals.  Enjoy, be kind, and feel free to share. ~

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Wild Food Foray: Wild Grapes

2013 11-4 Wild Grape (5)_thumbBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is a great time to gather the wild foods that grow abundantly here in the Ozarks.  Black walnuts, hickory nuts, persimmons, mushrooms, rosehips and wild grapes are all native to the Ozarks and many of the Southern and Midwest states.  Our latest foray resulted in a basket full of luscious wild grapes.

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Wild Food: Bearded Tooth Mushrooms

Bearded Tooth mushroom Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpressBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s been a busy year here on Turtle Ridge.  And just when we thought all our sowing and harvesting were done, fall arrived with its bounty of wild food just begging to be gathered.  So like all creatures preparing for the Great Sleep, Dean and I have been busy squirreling away delicious and nutritious fruits, nuts, and mushrooms for our winter cache. Continue reading

Wild Walk: Cooking with Persimmons

American Persimmon ShowMeOz.wordpress.comBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Now that I’ve got you thinking about persimmons – those gooey globes of goodness – let’s talk more about what to do with them once you manage to pick them, clean them and process the pulp (Missed that part?  Then check out, Wild Walk: Persimmons). Today, we’ll take on that sticky-sweet pulp in the kitchen and find something awesome to do with it!

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Wild Walk: Persimmons

Two natural varietals of wild persimmon. Copyright Jill Henderson https://showmeoz.wordpress.comby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is a great time for getting outside and wandering around in the woods.  The heat of summer is over and most of the creepy crawlies are busy doing whatever they do when the weather turns chilly, which makes fall the perfect hunting season for a rich array of wild edible and medicinal plants including mushrooms, walnuts, and the incredible, edible wild persimmon!

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Stalking the Wild Mushroom

2012 10-23 Ringed Honeys (4)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s been a long summer here on Turtle Ridge, but we are more than thankful for the bounty of the garden and of the wild plants and trees in our forest and meadows.  And with the recent rain and cool fall temperatures signaling the arrival of fall, wild foragers like myself can’t wait to hit the woods in search of delectable wild fungi.  After posting a few pictures of my own ‘ground scores’  last year, many readers wanted to know more about how to identify and use the fabulous fungi in the Ozarks.  This is for all you budding mycologists out there!

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Black Walnuts: A Local Remedy

blackwalnutsBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

(Excerpted in part from A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country)

In the Ozarks we are blessed with an abundance of trees, among them the stately and ever-useful Black Walnut (Juglans nigra).  These trees are not only beautiful to look at and make wonderful shade trees when they are allowed to grow to their full size, but they also provide valuable timber and edible nuts. Continue reading

Luscious Elderberries

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer is a time of abundance in the natural world.  It doesn’t take much searching to find plants, trees and shrubs that are either flowering, setting fruit or going to seed.  And all it takes to fill one’s winter larder with this abundance is a little walking and a keen eye.   July is a particularly bountiful month in which one of my favorite wild edibles, the common elderberry, begins to set and ripen its delicious, nutritious and medicinal fruits.

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Wild Walk – Spring Blooms

Trillium © 2013 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Spring is an exciting time to be out and about, checking out exciting and beautiful native plants like this gorgeous trillium.  The vistas across the Ozarks hills are still long and relatively unobstructed by leaves, while bugs should be at a minimum for at least another week or two.  All it takes to witness one of nature’s finest seasons is a walk in nearby woods, river valleys or even farm fields.  To get the most out of your native forays, bring along a field guide to trees, wildflowers or native plants, a pair of binoculars, and a friend or two for a fun-filled day of nature-watching.  To get you started, here are a few interesting Ozark plants you may encounter on your spring walk-about.

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Weeds That Heal: Chickweed

Chickweed FlowersBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

There was a time, not so long ago, when almost every woman in charge of a household sought out the wild plants that we generally refer to as weeds.  Rich in vitamins and minerals , many of these plants were welcomed to the table as nutritive spring potherbs.   Others would be gathered and made into healing teas, tonics, infusions, poultices and salves that could be used treat many types of injuries or illnesses.  One of the earliest and most versatile weeds that homesteaders and healers gathered in early spring was the lowly and much maligned chickweed.

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Acres USA

Acres USA Article

Acres USA magazine has been in business for 35 years – publishing articles related to commercial-scale organic and sustainable farming. I am very excited to be a part of the March issue and am looking forward to being a regular contributor!

You can check them out at http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm 

Wild Walk: A Touch of Winter

Fiery Fall Leaves © 2012 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

As the hours of daylight become blatantly shorter, the journey of seasons moves quickly towards the Great Sleep of Winter.   Despite the prolonged drought, Ozarkers everywhere enjoyed a most spectacular fall color display.  In all my years of living in the Ozarks, I can’t remember a fall as beautiful as this one.   But now that the Autumn show is over, the curtain is coming down in a torrent of swirling leaves and piling up in huge ankle-deep drifts that blanket the earth in gold.  And yet, the falling is far from over.   For even now, the leaves cling to the remnants of their arboreal lives – resisting their eventual future as rich dark humus and rattling their final farewells at the slightest breeze.

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American Dittany: The Wild Oregano

American Dittany Copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall in the Ozarks is a treasure trove of wild edibles. As the wild mushrooms spring up from the ground, hickory nuts, black walnuts and persimmons are beginning to fall from the trees.  Indeed, even a short walk through the woods can fill the forager’s basket with little effort.  Among the many wonderful edibles ready to harvest this fall, American Dittany is definitely one of my favorites.  This dainty perennial herb is often overlooked by many wild foragers and herbalists because of its small size.  But don’t let appearances fool you – Dittany is a powerful medicinal herb that doubles as a flavorful seasoning in the kitchen! Continue reading

Notes from Turtle Ridge: May 2012

Red Mulberry - Copyright 2012 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

The hands of time seem to spin faster during spring than during any other time of year.  This May has been disconcertingly warm, which  brought about the early bloom and fruiting of many trees and plants, including this Red Mulberry tree (Morus rubra), which normally ripens its fruit in mid-summer.   Every other day, Dean hiked up the hill, bucket in hand,  to pick the Continue reading

Notes from Turtle Ridge – April 2012

2012 4-4 Box Turtle Hatchling (2)smBy Jill Henderson

This week’s article is the  first in a new series  I’m calling Notes from Turtle Ridge.  This series is definitely more personal and less academic than my regular weekly column, but hopefully, just as informative and entertaining.

Pokeweed: Good Green or Toxic Weed?

Poke Salat copyright Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –

Spring in the Ozarks wouldn’t be the same without gathering and preparing at least one pot of poke.  At our house, this leafy perennial ranks right up there with other spring edibles such as asparagus.  This week I was planning on writing an article on how to prepare poke for consumption, when  a colleague pointed out an article written by Dr. Jean Weese, a Food Scientist with the  Alabama Cooperative Extension Service entitled, Don’t Eat Poke Salad.  As the title suggests, Dr. Weese attempts to dissuade people from eating poke in any form, noting that it contains “at least three different types of poison”.  The controversy over whether poke’s is toxic or edible has been going on for a very long time, but who is right?  Is poke poisonous or is it safe to eat?  Fodder for this week’s Show Me Oz.

A Walk on the Wild Side: Pokeweed

"Pokeweed" Copyright 2008 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

April does something me that no other month can, probably because I was born under her stars.  The lengthening days and warm, stormy weather bring a rush of growth in my garden and throughout the woods and fields.  And for those Ozarkers who like to eat on the wild side, the warmer weather is more than accommodating, as the wild greens of black mustard, dock, lambs quarters and poke are already up and at their peak of flavor.   Pokeweed, better known as poke, is one of our favorite spring greens and when cooked properly, nothing beats it for a scrumptious pot herb. Continue reading

Persimmon Pickin’ Time – Part II

American PersimmonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In Persimmon Pickin’ Time Part One, we talked about how to harvest persimmons and how to separate the pulp from the bitter seeds and skin and how to freeze the pulp of this delectable wild fruit.  Today, we’ll take on that sticky-sweet pulp in the kitchen and I’ll even throw in a couple of my favorite persimmon recipes to get you started Continue reading

Persimmon Pickin’ Time – Part I

American PersimmonBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is probably one of the most beloved times of year here in the Ozarks. The scorching heat of summer and irresistibly itchy bug bites are long forgotten and the days are sparkling and fresh. Oftentimes, the unexpected warmth of the fall sun weaves itself in between the bristly cool mornings and frosty nights and we are teased out into the deeper reaches of the landscape for a little adventure.  Continue reading