Join Cara-Lee Langston of Wildcraft Kitchen on a foraging adventure at Foxfire. We went into the woods and harvested (sustainably!) edible spring plants to infuse in a homemade tea. We blend sassafras, white pine, ground ivy, violets, and dandelion flowers into a refreshing, simple brew that can be made at home. In a time when food shortages are a real threat, and healthy immune systems are needed more than ever, considered turning to your backyard as a source of vitamin-rich foods like included in our tea! As always, please follow sustainable harvesting practices and make sure the plants (or weeds) you pick are free of any chemical treatments in the area.
Learn more about spring plants on our podcast!
A Note on Sassafras:
Sassafras isn’t always an understory sapling, but it often grows under the canopy and can choke other plants out, which is why it is good to thin some of the younger saplings out. At Foxfire, sassafras grows like a weed in our Heritage Garden and, as part of landscape maintenance, we often dig up the plants. We like to use the roots of the saplings we evict in the spring, or we add them to compost. e canopy. As with every plant, sassafras should always be harvested in an ethical manner.
Correction: the leaf (not the root) is used as a thickener in stews like gumbo.
Recipe for Spring Forest Tea
This is a folk recipe for a delightful tonic tea that you can enjoy in the springtime.
16oz. mountain spring water
1/4 cup sassafras root, peeled and thinly sliced (you can also harvest young twigs)
1/4 cup ground ivy, stripped from stems (you can roughly chop to release aromatics)
1/4 cup white pine needles, rough chopped
Pinch dandelion flower
Pinch violet flowers
In a small pot, add sassafras and water. Slowly bring to a boil then simmer 15-20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, remove from heat, and cover. Steep at least 3-5 minutes and add local honey to taste (optional). Enjoy! Yield: 2 cups
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