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Quelites on a good year, over the course of the season. After harvesting, the best thing to do is to strip the leaves off all the stalks right away, and spread the leaves out to dry on or in whatever you have handy. If there’s not enough time to strip the leaves right away, and you need to dry the whole plant, take care to strip the leaves so that very little stem matter mixes in with the leaves. If you find too much stem matter has gotten mixed in with the leaves, be sure to sort out as much as you can, as their texture after drying gets quite woody. A big tarp works well for large amounts, flat baskets are great for smaller amounts. A well ventilated shelter works well for this if you live in a dry climate, ideally a screened porch so that if the wind picks up your leaves don’t go blowing all over the place. Bee Plant On the years when there’s not any Lamb’s Quarters or Amaranth to speak of, we can still often harvest plenty of the gloriously lovely Bee Plant. Walking into the Anima Sanctuary in the Summertime, one is welcomed by acres of this beautiful, tall, purple flowered plant with bitter, spicy-tasting leaves shaped similarly to Sweet Clover. Bees and butterflies of seemingly infinite varieties are attracted to their flowers. I love to stand near them in the morning light, in barefoot rapture, taking in the buzzing symphony and the fluttering dance of so many wondrous winged creatures in one place. I had heard about how this plant is so high in nutrients that the Apaches used it as a staple survival food. Oddly enough, it’s been only recently that I’ve made time to discover the wonders of this plant as a drying and cooking green, as I most often simply used it as a spicy accent to salads. It’s so intensely flavorful raw that I assumed it would be a little overpowering cooked. But really, the opposite is the case. The flavor mellows out considerably

when boiled. It is a bit bitter, but I find it pleasantly so. I most often prepare it in exactly the same way as Quelites, and, like Amaranth and Lamb’s Quarters, it is also very tasty simply boiled until tender (rinse once if you like) and served with butter and salt. I usually dry large quantities at a time, with the whole plant spread out on tarps, as the structure of the plant makes it very easy to keep the leaves aerated. Or the leaves can be stripped before drying, as for Quelites, if one has the time. Mushrooms Our most readily available edible wild mushroom is the wonderful Boletus, which we are able to harvest in great quantities up in the mountains a short drive away from our home. As soon as we return from such a venture, Kiva and I sort through the mushrooms, picking out the most perfect ones for drying. We slice them up and lay them out on a large screen which covers most of the kitchen floor. The next day we lay the screen out on the porch and let them dry out in the wind. Once they have shrunk a good amount, we put one batch at a time on a small screen and set it in the top of our smoker to get the rest of the moisture out. It’s amazing how much a large bunch of mushrooms can shrink down to fill less than a quart jar! Stinging Nettles There have been seasons when it seems the entire canyon has transformed into a giant Nettle garden, and under countless cottonwood and oak trees there’s a community of Nettle families. The species of Stinging Nettles we have here is so vibrantly full of wildness, it is truly an intense undertaking to harvest them. And I’m not just talking about the way they sting! More on that subject in a future article...Our Nettles do sting much more readily and intensely than many other nettle species, also, so we usually wear gloves if we want more than a bagful for soup that night. I like to sing to them, and to stop

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