Summer may be one of the best times to forage for wild edibles and herbs. The seasons overgrowth and abundance of natural food sources is astronomical compared to late fall or the cold dreaded winter. During the pandemic I’ve gravitated to drinking more herbal teas gifted from mother Earth in order to boost my immune system. The effect seems rather minimal at first, but once you adopt the consumption habit you’ll notice your health will start to thrive. I'm going to share with you a simple recipe for the very common flower/herb that grows from early to late summer: Trifolium pratense aka Red Clover.
The other day I was capturing photos of the breathtaking sunflower fields in New Paltz, until I realized that I was surrounded by the clovers. With the sun soon to set I wasted no time in picking two or three handfuls of flowers that I’d later use for tea. Red clover loves to grow in disturbed soils near roadsides and parking lots. As with most foraging goods you’ll want to act sparingly and take from a bunch of different sources to ensure the bees can pollinate the remaining flowers. Make sure to rinse and soak them in water so that any dirt or bugs still clinging will come crawling out. You can dry out the flowers or use them fresh to make a warm calming tea or a cool refreshing summer tea.
The identification of red clover is pretty distinct. The most notable part of the plant is the pink flower head that resembles a pom-pom. The shape is circular and made from dozens of individual florets. The scent is sweet like honey and the florets are actually edible when raw. If the pink flower isn’t recognizable enough, then look to its leaflets that grow in groupings of three and wear a distinct whitish arrow. The plants like to sprawl out and cover lots of open ground. Medicinally they are best used to treat respiratory issues, chronic skin ailments, asthma, gout and even relieve menopausal symptoms. Not to mention they boast a considerable amount of Vitamin C which is crucial in fighting the common cold. In a time where respiratory ailments are pretty high I suggest you go out now and stock up for the impending seasons. Remember to always have an expert with you when foraging any wild edibles just so you don’t pick the wrong plant. Stay sharp my friends and stay healthy during these insane times.
1 cups of water
3 tbsp. red clover flower heads
1-2 fresh mint leaves
Soak your flower heads to remove any unwanted bugs or dirt
Boil some water in a pot
Fill a coffee filter with the red clover and mint leaves and string tie it shut
Steep for 10-20 minutes
*Optional* Chill until cold