Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FOOD FOREST MEDICINE Monograph #5: Hazelnut

Common Name:  


Latin Name:  Corylus americana

Brief Description: 
Corylus americana is a deciduous Tree growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant, and are pollinated by wind. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate strong winds but not maritime exposure.
The common name reflects its being native to North America and “hazel” is from the Old English name for filbert.
According to Mark Shepard, hazelnuts represent an excellent candidate for a staple food crop in permaculture design systems.  Not only is it a good source of oil, protein and biofuel, the nut shells burn at 2 x the BTU of many types of fuel wood!  Great for keeping things warm in the winter!
Parts Used/ Edible Uses:  
The nuts are edible and ripen in late fall.  Other edible parts are the oil and seeds. Seed - raw or cooked in soups, bread, biscuits, sweets etc. The nuts have a thick shell with a small sweet kernel, they make an excellent dessert. Although smaller than the seeds of cultivated species, the seed is of the same general quality. Nuts at the 'milk' stage (before they are fully ripe) are softer and sweeter. The seed is rich in oil. The seed ripens in mid to late autumn and will probably need to be protected from squirrels. When kept in a cool place, and not shelled, the seed should store for at least 12 months. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.  When the oil is pressed from the seed, the remaining meal is a 30% protein concentrate food. 

Medicinal Uses: 
A tea made from the bark is astringent. It was used in the treatment of hives and fevers. A poultice made from the bark is used to close cuts and wounds, old sores etc.
50-75% oil by weight, mostly mono and polyunsaturated fats.  Very high in Vitamin E, which shows some evidence in treating liver disease, macular degeneration, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease

Other Uses: 
The plant makes a good screening hedge.
Allergy to tree nuts or their products. Use caution in patients with known allergy to peanuts.
Shepard, Mark.  Restoration Agriculture.  Acres USA, pp 87-92. Austin, TX, 2013.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Now that we are all up to date on the medicinal benefits of wild garlic, here's a neat little recipe to help get kids to eat garlic and to stay healthy this winter. This recipe combines two of nature's best anti-microbial foods- garlic AND honey!

Garlic Honey Recipe

  • cover 6-8 minced garlic cloves with 250 ml of honey
  • let sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours, until consistency of honey thins out
  • strain garlic and set aside for use in cooking
  • The thinned out honey is now infused with all the goodness of raw garlic, but without the strong taste!
  • This honey garlic infusion will keep indefinitely.
  • add 1tsp – 1tbsp to warm lemon water 1-2 x daily or use it wherever you would use honey
  • spread on toast etc…
  • great for kids! (caution avoid honey consumption in children under the age of 2 years).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FOOD FOREST MEDICINE Monograph #4: Wild Garlic

Common Name:

Wild Garlic

Latin Name: Allium canadense (native Carolinian species), Allium ursinum (non-native)

Allium canadense

Allium ursinum

Brief Description:
Garlics are perennial plants growing from 30cm to 1m (approximately 18-24” tall), with pale pink or green-white flowers. They produce dividing bulbs and sprout up into an upright, grass-like plant with a pungent aroma.  Some will produce small bulbils that form where they blossom.
Historically,  garlics have been used as a food and as a potent anti-biotic/anti-microbial.
Parts Used: Flowers, leaves, root

Edible Uses: Vegetable

Medicinal Uses: Has anti-microbial, cardio protective, and potentially anti-cancer properties, decreases high cholesterol.  Also used traditionally to expel pinworms.
Wild Garlic also contains highly bio-available selenium, which is a very powerful anti-oxidant.  Wild garlic also contains more active/medicinal components than cultivated garlic (it is thought to be a more potent medicine than most cultivars).
Body System’s Treated: Cardiovascular system, Digestive system, Respiratory system.

Other Uses: Repellant, food

Harvesting Notes:
Look to cut individual leaves off the plant, or if the wild garlic has blossomed, keep the flowers and leaves. Bulbs can be harvested anytime but are generally harvested when the bulbs have gone dormant at the end of the growing season.

May cause gastro-intestinal upset.  Is generally well tolerated.

Allium ursinum monograph:  Physica Energetics 9/10/12
The Complete Natural Guide to the 50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Work Bee - Installing Tree Collars

Despite the chill arctic winds and frozen fingers all the tree collars were successfully installed.

A special thanks to the volunteers who made it down to help out! 

The tree tubes not only deter deer from eating the trees they are also designed to act like a mini green house, directing the trees to grow up quickly towards the more direct sunlight.  Another benefit is that they will aid in locating the smaller trees that, in summer, are easily hidden in the tall grasses and white sweet clover.

Now that winter is upon us and the food forest is going into hibernation, its time to plan for next year.

Stay tuned for upcoming events like spring planting, mulching, plant donation drive etc!