I was stumbling around in a patch of red clover not so long ago, lunging excitedly in every direction trying to harvest as many blossoms as possible. Today, when I biked by the same patch I noticed it was mostly brown, but there are still a few luscious pink flowers left. So, if you live in zone 2, you can relax! It’s not too late to try foraging these little beauties. I think they might just be my favourite “wild” plant to harvest, (as of right this minute… it’ll probably change by next week). They look almost as edible as strawberries to me, and the bees certainly seem to agree. And, the great thing is how they taste. The tea is very mild, unlike many other concoctions I’ve choked down this summer, willing myself to like them because of their medicinal qualities.
So, what am I going to do with the red clover you ask?
Dry it, infuse it (in oil for creams and salves) and boil it (for tea, of course). I think the dried blossoms will make a great addition to a wild flower tea.
The next logical question is… Why?
Red Clover, or Trifolium pratense, acts as a mild sedative and is a pleasant before-bed tonic. It is useful for treating coughs, sore throats, and skin conditions like acne, rashes, and exzema. Herbalists consider it a “woman’s herb” to help with menstrual problems and menopause. It is also full of vitamins and minerals.*
Lastly, here’s a tip from my very unpredictable and inconsistent kitchen: try adding a little miso to your steamed/sautéed green beans. I tried it this week for variation and thought the fermented soy complemented the fresh beans nicely. Although I was disappointed by parts of my garden this year, the beans pulled through, as they always do. We have been eating them frequently, (well, every day for lunch and supper to be honest); hence the miso experiment.
The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North by Beverly Gray
Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada, published by Lone Pine