Growing up in Poland, I have learned to make use of the local plant as I watched my Mom making soups, preserves, syrups and juices from what seemed to carelessly grow outside of my house.

Whereas some of the plants were very familiar to me, it wasn’t until years later that I would find a way to utilize others. In America I got introduced to new herbs, fruit and vegetables but I wasn’t really making use of the ones I was already accustomed to.

Until one time in the park, when I saw a guy with a plastic bottle, clearly picking something up from a massive tree. Puzzled, I approached him and inquired about what was that he was doing. He kindly explained to me that he was picking mulberries and encouraged to try some. Slightly suspicious, I followed his advice as I wondered why I had payed almost 10$ for a little bag of dried mulberries from Whole Foods…..

 

And so I begun to ask more questions and started to explore what other plants from the park were falsely labelled as ‘inedible’.

 

Here’s a long list of photographs that I’ve taken, along with a short description of the plants and the benefits of eating it.

MULBERRIES

#1 on the list

Probably the tastiest of the park’s foods. Great addition to smoothies, stains everything from sidewalks, fingertips and hungry mouths.

High in iron, riboflavin, vitamin C and K, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Reduces occurrences of constipation, increases circulation, regulates blood pressure, prevents from cancer.

dsc02866

170711_Selfies_001-Edit

 

ELDERBERRY

Growing up, I had an elderberry tree next to my house, it’s branches were usually almost black with aphids who seems to absolutely adore this plant.

Edible only after preparation! Whereas the juice of those berries can work as a medicine, raw fruit  can cause severe contraction of body tissues either internally or externally.

17_Nature_016-2-Edit

17_Nature_013-Edit

MUGWORT

The most mysterious of the bunch. For the longest time I considered it a proper, well-established weed. It wasn’t until I read Blue Zones that I learned the many benefits of the plant.

Why not drinking a mugwort tea instead of taking hormones for regulating your period? Sprinkle a little green magic over your smoothie to get rid of your cramps or use it as a salad addition if you want to boost your digestion, fight diarrhea or stop persistent vomiting.

17_Nature_086020

17_Nature_086003

17_Nature_086023

17_Nature_086014

17_Nature_086007

17_Nature_086011

17_Nature_086022

 

BRIER ROSE

A beautiful flower as you rightly think, who would have thought that you can eat it too?

Cute as it is, it takes commitment to clean the fruit. Dried leaves are earwig’s favorite hiding spot, I found many a fruit maggoty, and it took me a good while to get all the seeds out.

Because of the ‘hair’ inside of the fruit, it is recommended that it is not consumed raw (according to the sources it may cause irritation to the mouth and digestive problems).

Raw is how I used to eat it as kid. Raw is how I put it in my smoothie. However, in spite of not suffering from any side effects afterwards, I am inclined now to boil it after doing more research on the subject.

High in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It may be capable of reducing the risk of cancer and reversing its growth.

17_Nature_086048

17_Nature_086036

17_Nature_086046

17_Nature_086041

17_Nature_086053-Edit

17_Nature_086058-Edit

17_Nature_086065-Edit

 

I encourage you to do your own research on plants. The local Flora has so much to offer yet so often, tends to be overlooked or forgotten. Instead of getting yourself another artificially colored donut, why not go back to the roots and reconnect to Mother Nature?

It feels amazing. Trust me.