Parsley, sage, rosemary and bee balm (or, How to eat the prairie)

I was walking by the river near my house today and was delighted to see one of my favorite prairie plants blooming along the banks: Monarda fistulosa, also known as bee balm or wild bergamot. This charming flower is native to most of North America — and if you don’t have it in your neck of the woods, you might have one … Read more

Juneberries: A Best Kept Berry Secret

It’s almost the end of June and I haven’t written about juneberries, my favorite foraging fruit next to blackcaps. Juneberries are small, round berries that look like tiny purple crabapples, but that are soft like a blueberry. They grow on shrubs or small trees. Where I live they are often called serviceberries or amelanchier (after their Latin genus name Amelanchier), probably because they don’t really … Read more

Black raspberries are ripe! Time to make black raspberry juice!

If I had to pick a favorite wild berry, the black raspberry would probably be the winner. Also known as blackcaps or Rubis occidentalis, they grow wild throughout much of the eastern and midwestern United States, but can be cultivated anywhere in USDA zones 4 through 8. If you have a some near you, brave the brambles and try a few. … Read more

Fermentation Friday: How to make cherry wine

I went cherry picking today with my friend Dekalb — not at an orchard, but at a parking lot that’s been home to these trees for the past few decades. The trees actually predate the parking lot, or so we have been told by the parking lot owners, who are happy to have us pick the cherries without remuneration since it … Read more