Archive for the ‘wild plums’ Category




A week ago, my brother Eric and I harvested the first pictures batch of elderberries, from a wild spot. These were preserved as a tincture, and syrup, and some were dried. We also harvested from a feral pear tree, and I have been letting them soften just a tad on the counter. Pears are a fruit that seems to develop well, on one’s counter, if it is picked a bit hard. The wild plums were picked by Katee and a week ago. We picked them yellow, and they have developed a nice red color, also in the kitchen. Last night, Eric and I went and picked the last of the elderberries at our spot, and I have been invited to a friends property to harvest what berries she has, this morning. Eric introduced me to a nice lady, last evening, who has an apple tree, but didn’t want to harvest from it. We went to her home last night and got a tour of her lovely garden, I tried the apple, it was nice, so made plans to harvest there today. In the meantime, I had talked to our local state museum folks, and been assured I can harvest the wild plums Katee and I found there. So…. I need to go to Val’s to pick elderberries, stopping at the store for her on the way….bring berries home, emptying the carrying basket, get Katee to go with me for the plums, stop and get apples on the way home… and then get busy canning up the pears and de- stemming the elderberries. I might wait and do up the plums in the morning. Just depends on how it goes!

This past few days, we have enjoyed cooler temperatures and I am just rejoicing in the gifts from our Mother’s labors.


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tulip tree

My neighbors have a huge tulip tree which overhangs Comfrey Cottages on the north. It’s flowers are so absolutely gorgeous! The bees have been very busy gathering nectar from it and I can hear them buzzing happily high up in its branches. I have always appreciated this trees for the shade it provides and its nectar and pollen it provides the bees. The squirrels are eating the mature buds also, with apparent relish. Well I decided to research and find out whether this tree might have edible or medicinal qualities, that we could benefit from also. What I found was most interesting indeed! While I can find no references to eating the Tulip Tree, in any form, Henrietta’s Herbal had a couple pages chock full of historical references to it’s usage as medicine. It seems that it has been basically ignored in years though. I think that I will explore some of the medicinal uses listed this year since I have a very keen interest in using the trees and plants that are easily available in my area. Luckily I have some Amish friends that harvest trees, so I can ask them to share some of the inner bark of the root the next time they cut one. I will share about it whenever I get a chance to work with it. Of course, I don’t intend to do anything but enjoy the blessings of the tree overhanging our gardens here:)

One of the pages Henrietta has is information from John Scudder on this tree.


“The bark of Liriodendron tulipifera.—U. S.

Preparation.—Tincture of Liriodendron.

Dose.—From five drops to one drachm.

Therapeutic Action.—The bark of the Tulip Tree is tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anthelmintic, aromatic, stomachic. It may be used in all cases of anorexia and impaired states of the digestive organs, where a stimulant tonic is indicated. It promotes the appetite and facilitates digestion; for these purposes it will be found fully equal to the simple bitters. It is often used with some advantage in intermittents.

It is employed in gout and chronic rheumatism, and in the declining stages of the acute form, after the irritated action has subsided, as a stimulating diaphoretic and tonic. If administered freely in the form of a warm infusion, it evinces conspicuous diaphoretic properties; and not unfrequently its diuretic powers are equally manifest.

The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.”

Very interesting, right? lol



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In our neck of the woods, Fulton Co. Illinois, we have our Scenic Drive on the first and second weekends of October. Even though it was a bit rainy and gloomy on Saturday, my hubby and I decide to venture out to a few of the surrounding communities.  My husband and I always particularly enjoy Mt. Pitsgah. There are quite a few Native American vendors and activities there.


my hubby ordering a buffalo burger


and some of the Native American’s were drumming, which always touches me

Yesterday, which ended up being the pretty day, found me in the kitchen, processing the wild plums Katee and I had harvested earlier. Aren’t they pretty? Well, they might be pretty but next to impossible to peal and de-pitt without loosing most of the fruit, so after muddling through with that through about 6 plums, (I waste no time when I see something is fruitless to continue!), decide to throw them all in the pot with a bit of water and just let them cook down!


so instead of the original plan of jam, I changed to jelly! lol  after letting them cook until all the skins had separated, I gave them a thorough mashing and into the jelly bags the lot went!


Note the three pretty carnations at the sink. My dear granddaughter Lily left those in my vehicle Saturday, saying they were just to show she loved me! awww

I used one package of sure jell, 4 cups of the wild plum juice and 1 cup of apple/grape juice mixture, 3 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup of honey. I really wanted to make jam as I knew how I wanted to do that with absolutely no extra sugars added, but… this is what I came up with for the jelly. The 1 cup of honey in place of 1 cup of sugar seems to have done well, so I might try substituting 2 cups of honey next time, and oh, since the honey counts a liquid also, I reduced the juice by 1 cup also.


24 hours later and all looks well. All the jars seem well sealed and it looks as if the ratios must have worked as it is well set!!


Was this worth the fact that soooo many things didn’t get done due to the time invested in gathering and preparing these lovely jellies? Well, the time spent in the wild with nature and Katee was priceless. Getting to work with a new wild gathered food, priceless again! Luckily it is pretty nice out today so maybe after Dylan goes home I can get the supers off the beehives as we had a light, patchy frost last nite. Then hopefully some last minute herb trimming and hanging to dry. Crazy gardening year! My tomatillos are so lovely and swollen but I imagine I won’t get a ripe one before a hard frost. Just last month the bees were busy pollinating them. I have heard from many gardeners that they too had bounty on some things, and famine on others. I am thankfully to have experienced this wild harvest though and will gladly sacrifice the tomatillos in exchange for her bounty with the wild plums!

Big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages!

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