Despite its common name as cowboy cologne, California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) is used by Native Americans predominantly as a woman’s plant. This evergreen shrub, found in the foothills of California’s coastal sage scrub plant community, is abundant and wonderfully aromatic. Its dried out silver-green leaves are narrow and cluster in bunches. I have really come to crave the flavor of this tea.
California Sagebrush Tea
12 cups water
2 Tbsp dried California sagebrush (loosely packed)
Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add sagebrush and let steep for at least 4 hours. It’s best to let it steep overnight, strain out the sagebrush, and refrigerate the remaining amount.
The lines between food and medicine are oftentimes blurred. I believe this is why the term Food is Medicine is so universal among cultures. I look forward to using California Sagebrush as a seasoning in roasts and other foods that would compliment its strong flavor.
3. Mesquite Pods
4. Barrel cactus fruit & seeds
5. Prickly pear pads & fruits
1. Mesquite pods
2. Ironwood seeds
3. Prickly pear pads & fruits
4. Saguaro fruits
5. Cholla buds
In keeping with the spirit of foraging for free foods, I’ve been getting a lot of nasturtium leaves, unopened flower buds, flowers, and seedpods. I know, it’s a garden plant. But this South American native has naturalized itself here in California and is found growing in many places where it was not originally planted. So many folks I know are unaware of their edibility, so I thought it was good to highlight them here. All parts above-ground are edible, and although we call them nasturtium’s, they are actually of the Tropaeolum genus.
The above photo is of some hors d’oeuvres using the leaves as a wrap. Stuffed inside is the julienned carrot, goat cheese and quinoa. I’ve been drying and powdering most of the leaves though, adding them to mayonaise and pasta dough.
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