what to do with mulberries

Wonderful Ways to Use Mulberries

  It’s mulberry season!  Whether you have a mulberry tree in your back yard or local park or you have generous friends or neighbors, these sweet treats are all over right now. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkInL6JAoId There are so many reasons to gather mulberries. First of all, they’re incredibly healthy.  Mulberries are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and […]

How to cook and preserve chicken of the woods mushrooms

What to do with Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms?

We were thrilled when Daryl brought home two big bags of chicken of the woods mushrooms yesterday.  While we harvest lots of pheasant back (dryad’s saddle) mushrooms and morels, this is our first time finding chicken of the woods and I was so excited as I’ve heard for years how much they taste like chicken […]

Make your own homemade fruit leather

Easy DIY Fruit Leather

  Whether you have buckets of wild mulberries or an excess of peaches that you can’t possibly eat in time, fruit leather is a fabulous way to make use of it.  Fruit leather is wonderfully simple and you can customize each batch with whatever fruits you have and flavors you’re craving. Not only is fruit […]

How to easily identify elderberries, elderflowers and elder shrubs

Now Is the Time to Easily Find Elderberry Shrubs!

If you’d like to forage your own elderberries later this summer, now is the time to start looking because elder flowers are blooming (or are just finishing) and the elder shrubs so easy to spot.  Here’s everything you need to know to find elderberries and elder flowers. Whenever people find out that our family harvests […]

how to make elderflower syrup

How to Make Elderflower Syrup for Elderflower Cakes

If you’ve been following the royal wedding (or even if you haven’t), you’ve probably heard about the spectacular elderflower cake that pastry chef Claire Ptak designed for the much-anticipated wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The wedding cake is to be served at the Reception. It was designed by Claire Ptak and features elderflower […]

Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials

Review: Upcycling Outdoors (20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials)

Looking for some upcycling inspiration for your yard and garden?  Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials, a new book by Max McMurdo, is a fun, inspirational and educational read. I read a temporary digital ARC of this book through Net Galley. I really enjoyed it, but found it had limited use […]

How to Divorce Your Grocery Store

Here’s an easy way to dramatically lower your grocery costs and still eat well.  At the start of each week (or whenever your local stores change their sales), check out the sales flyers for any grocery stores near you.  Only check for grocery items that you either use regularly or would use if they were […]

How to make pumpkin puree

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

Sure, you can go buy those orange cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store, but making your own is so much more satisfying! It’s also much easier than you might think.  Best of all, this time of year it’s incredibly cheap, even if you didn’t grow your own pumpkins.  My kitchen table is currently […]

Fabulous free permaculture book teaches DIY urban rainwater harvesting

Fabulous Free Permaculture Book Teaches DIY Urban Rainwater Harvesting

Here’s a wonderful free booklet to help you use permaculture principles to harvest rainwater and put it to use in your yard and gardens.     The wonderfully-illustrated 8-page primer was created by by Joe Linton (of LA Creek Freak) to accompany a workshop he did in 2008.   The guide draws heavily from Brad […]

It's acorn season!

It’s Acorn Season!

Our family has been busy lately with one of our favorite wild edible foods of fall — acorns. Acorn processing #fallforaging #forageandharvest #wildedibles #foraging #foragingfamily #septemberforaging #fallflavors #acorns A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on Sep 4, 2017 at 11:04am PDT Yes, you can eat them, and they are absolutely delicious.  They’re also nutritious […]

It’s Elderberry Season!

Daryl and I have been faithfully checking our elder patches for the past few weeks and he brought home a bag of our first elderberry bounty for the year this week. This particular clump of elders is bordering a nursing home that has given us permission to pick their pears and elderberries.  He harvested them […]

#fyfo100 checklist of 10 ways to afford organic foods

The Top 10 #FYFO-100 Strategies for Eating Organic for Less

I’ll mostly be focusing on 10 main ways to save money on healthy and organic foods in the FYFO-100 series (Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)). Everybody has different circumstances, so different strategies will be better for different families. You do not need to do all or even most of these to save […]

FYFO 100 Feed Your Family Organic for $100 (or less!)

FYFO- 100: Feed Your Family Organic for $100 a Week (or less!)

Yes, you can feed your family healthy, organic, non-GMO food and not go bankrupt doing it! Welcome to FYFO-100, where I’ll share how we feed our family of 7 for around $100 a week. Every few days, I’ll share more tips for how we make it work. You can go all-in and learn skills like […]

Elderberries: The Beginner's Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More

Now in Paperback!

  My elderberry book is now available in a paperback edition!  We heard from many people who wanted a physical copy of the book, especially to make use of it while foraging and for the cookbook section.  I worked over the past couple of months to create the best possible paperback version, with black and […]

Seven Plants That Naturally Remove Lead from Your Soil, Ponds and Wetlands

Seven Plants, Weeds and Flowers That Naturally Remove Lead from Your Property

If you have soil that’s been contaminated by lead, you know that it’s probably not safe for vegetable gardening and it can also be a hazard to children and pets who play on your property. Lead can be a serious problem in gardens, ponds and wetlands, in addition to posing health risks for growing kids. […]

How to make elderflower syrup (or elderflower sparkling wine)!

How to Make Elderflower Soda (or Elderflower Sparkling Wine)

Have you heard of elderflower soda?  This is a traditional elderflower delicacy that is so popular in Romania that it inspired Coca-Cola to release their own version, Fanta Shokata (though theirs contains no real elderflowers). It is also known as Socată or Suc de Soc. Here’s the recipe to make your own, which is another […]

Natural Ways to Defeat Grasshoppers

10 Natural and Organic Ways to Defeat Grasshoppers

The recent hot, dry weather has brought a small plague of grasshoppers to my garden for the first time in years, and I’ve been working hard to defeat them.     We garden organically and I didn’t want to douse our family’s food sources with pesticides and poisons. Also, they’re just not terribly effective. Timing […]

Make your own elderberry schnapps from dried elderberries

Make Your Own Elderberry Schnapps!

Here’s another easy recipe from my new book, Elderberries: The Beginner’s Guide to Foraging, Preserving and Using Elderberries for Health Remedies, Recipes, Drinks and More (available now on Kindle and in paperback). This is a beautiful, deep purple schnapps that is so simple to make with either fresh or frozen elderberries.  See the directions at […]

25 Garden crops to plant in August for your fall garden

If you want to extend your back yard bounty of fresh veggies, now is the time to start your fall garden. There are many garden crops that can handle some frost and some that can tolerate temperatures well below freezing. Root veggies such as carrots, beets, kohlrabi and turnips actually taste better after some frost, […]

Roots to Stems: How to use every part of your produce!

Root to Stem Cooking: How to Use Every Part of Your Produce

  When you stroll through the farmers’ market or pick up your CSA box, you’re likely to find something that you won’t find in area supermarkets — whole plants.   Local growers tend to leave the leaves on root vegetables like beets and carrots, keep the flowery fronds on the fennel and otherwise give you […]

cheap and easy ways to get great garden soil

Easy, natural ways to perfect garden soil

Even if your back yard is full of sandy, clay or otherwise miserable soil, you can convert it into rich, healthy soil. While you can purchase specialty products to help you do this, you can use a variety of natural materials and creative methods to do it yourself — virtually free. The key is to […]

20 Herbs you can grow in shade

30 Ways to use mint

Mint is one of those workhorses of the garden. Once you plant it, your hardest job is keeping it from overtaking everything else in the yard and figuring out what to do with it all. It grows easily in most of the country and robustly returns to zone 4 Minnesota gardens every spring, where it […]

Tree Craft offers easy projects from tree trimmings and found wood

I have a new favorite craft book. I just got Tree Craft in the mail yesterday and already I’ve read it cover to cover and am planning projects to do with my kids. Tree Craft, by Chris Lubkemann, offers “35 rustic wood projects that bring the outdoors in.” From salt and pepper shakers to coat […]

easiest seeds to grow in your first garden

16 Ridiculously easy seeds to plant in your first garden

If you’re new to flower and vegetable gardening, it can seem overwhelming. There are so many varieties of flowers, herbs and vegetables to plant. Some need to be started indoors six to eight weeks (or longer) before transplanting into the garden. Some need very long growing seasons or special conditions. Some seeds need to be […]

Best-ever gluten-free sandwich bread

Best-ever gluten-free sandwich bread

When our family had to go gluten free, all of our kids really missed bread. Our daughter Rhiannon was twelve years old at the time and she took it upon herself to start baking gluten free breads for the family. This recipe was a winner that we have been making ever since. This bread is […]

12 Great sources of natural mulch for your vegetable gardens

12 Great sources of natural mulch for your vegetable gardens

Do you mulch your vegetable gardens? If you don’t, you should. The right mulch helps retain moisture, prevents weeds from getting a foothold and even enriches the soil as it breaks down. Here are 12 great sources of natural mulch (many of them free!)… Bagged leaves (except from the black walnut tree due to the […]

Famous herbalists teach how and why to use motherwort

Motherwort is a commonly found plant that is excellent for treating heart issues, menstrual problems, menopause symptoms, stress and anxiety, among other issues. It has been historically used extensively in China, Europe and North America, and still offers exceptional benefits for a whole range of issues today. Motherwort, whose latin name is Leonurus cardiaca, is […]

25 Fantastic foraging groups and pages on Facebook

Has your family tried foraging yet? Foraging for wild edibles is a great way to get healthy, pesticide-free, tasty food for free, plus try wonderful new tastes and get out in nature. There are many great books out there to give you basic information about foraging and I recommend you check out a pile of […]

Free book teaches how to build a cob house

Cob houses are becoming more and more popular again, thanks to how amazingly inexpensive they are to build and the fact that just about anybody can build them. Becky Bee’s landmark book on the subject, the Cob Builder’s Handbook, is available for free online to help teach people how to do it. Despite the unusual […]

How to make acorn flour

Late summer and early autumn are acorn harvesting time in Minnesota and much of the country.  If you’ve never tried making your own acorn flour from this plentiful, free, nutritious food source, you’re in for a treat!  It’s a lot of effort, but the results are delicious. Acorns were a large part of many Native […]

How to tell the difference between ramps and lily-of-the-valley

New foragers sometimes worry about telling the difference between highly sought-after ramps (wild leeks) and their poisonous look-alikes, Lily-of-the-valley. It’s always wise to be leery when you’re new to foraging, but once you know what to look for you don’t need to worry. There are quite a few ways to accurately tell the difference between […]

Famous herbalists tell the benefits of nettles

Famous Herbalists Teach How and Why to Use Nettles

Here’s a wonderful video where famous herbalists such as Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed and Matthew Wood teach why they love nettles, how to harvest it and use them, their many health benefits and more. The video begins and ends with herbalists David Hoffmann and Isla Burgess talking about why nettles are their favorite plants. During […]

Natural recipes: Elderberry honey syrup

Every family should keep a jar of elderberry honey syrup in their refrigerator. This simple, natural elixir is fabulous at preventing and treating illnesses and it couldn’t be easier to make or more natural. What’s so great about elderberry syrup? Elderberry syrup is one of the best things on the planet to fight illness. It […]

How to forage and cook with spruce tips (with video for spruce tip jelly)

Spruce tips are wonderful spring edibles that are not only tasty and unique, but also great for us. They are rich in Vitamin C and have been used traditionally for years to soothe coughs and sore throats, as well as to alleviate lung congestion and to treat lung and kidney infections. Best of all, they’re […]

How to cook ramps

How to cook with ramps

It’s ramp season, and whether you buy ramps at the farmer’s market or forage them yourself in the wild, this is the time to take advantage of this delicious (but short lived) delicacy. What are ramps? The Huffington Post says: Here’s the short answer: ramps are a wild onion that grow during the spring in […]

How to cook pheasant’s back or dryad’s saddle mushrooms

Pheasant’s back mushrooms can be incredibly easy to find this time of year and incredibly tasty — but you have to know which ones to use and how to prepare them right. Many foragers are told not to bother with pheasant’s back mushrooms, also known as dryad’s saddles. While it’s undisputed that they are edible […]

Foraging mulberries with kids

Foraging with Kids: How to Easily Forage Mulberries

Mulberries are some of the greatest wild edibles to forage. They’re nutritious, delicious and easy to gather. Most kids find them irresistible too. Mulberry trees can be found in parks, woods and neighborhoods all over the U.S. and the berries and trees are easy to identify. When you find one tree, you’ll start seeing them […]

What is urban foraging anyway?

I consider myself an urban forager, and many people have asked me exactly what I mean by that. To me, urban foraging is more than just walking through the woods (although that’s definitely a part of it). And it’s more than just wandering through town looking at people’s yards and gardens. First, let me say […]