Wild Edible Plants . . .

This site is a database for wild edible plants of North America. I encourage any users to leave comments reflecting their experiences with a certain plant. Much of our knowledge of edible plants is either lost, superstitious or incorrect. There's a lot of hype about how dangerous wild plants can be, when in reality most are not only safe they're critical for your health.

My perspective is somewhat unique in that my family and I have camped as a lifestyle for over a decade - essentially lived with edible plants and used them on a daily basis. We have also been raw fooders for a very long period. Becoming 100% raw vegan sparked my interest in edible plants like nothing else. Every day I was out hiking the trails barefoot, eating grass, eating flowers, trying parts of the many plants I came across with a clean palate . . .

Using wild edible plants is the best way we can defy the system, maintain our health, and get our independence back.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chestnut Oak (quercus prinus)


The acorns are coming in on the Chestnut oak (quercus prinus), so we went for a walk to gather them from the trees. They begin falling from the ground now through September here in the South. Chestnut oak acorns are typically the first acorns to appear - they are also nearly the largest, about 1" long, and 3/4" wide. Since the leaves have rounded lobes, chestnut oaks are part of the white oak group, and thus the acorns are very mild - the bitter tannin taste is not as strong as those of the red oaks. I find chestnut oak acorns not quite as mild as white oak's (quercus alba - some have no taste of tannin at all) - however, they're still on the tree at this stage, and not yet ripe.

Here's a shot of the huge acorns:

Chestnut oak grows everywhere here, on the dry rocky slopes, and all have acorns - of course most are out of reach. It's fun to gather the first crop straight from the trees when they reach full size - there's no worry about something having already bored into them and spoiled the flesh.

Chestnut oak is easily identified with its large rounded teeth, or shallow rounded lobes along the leaf edges:

Along the way we couldn't help notice all the muscadines, and took some time to gather and snack on some. When they're nearly black they have a sweet bubble gum flavor, though the seeds are somewhat bitter, just like any commercial grape seed:

A closeup:

They're littering the ground beneath this vine, which is sprawling through the pines:

[9/6 update: There's a great way to eat muscadines, especially when you're gathering them from the ground, and you want to make sure they're not rotten. For the most part, you can smell whether they're good or not. There should be a sweet grape smell to the ones on the ground, and they should be still firm . . . if they've begun to ferment you can usually smell it. Those that have split open or become soft have almost always begun to ferment.
I next bite a very small hole out of the top of the muscadine. Now for sure I can smell the insides, as well as taste it a little, to be sure they haven't gone bad. Don't try to bite too large a hole or the contents of the grape will explode all over you. Just basically break the skin.
Then through the small hole I suck out the sweet bubble gum pulp on the inside. It flies right out. I spit out the few small bitter seeds. The pulp really is like bubble gum, and you can chew on it for quite a while. You're then left with the empty dark puckered skin of the grape, which I eat next. It's somewhat tart, but loaded with all the nutrients.
This is the way to truly enjoy a muscadine, rather than swallowing them hole, and crunching them up - the bitter seeds somewhat spoil the flavor. And if the muscadine has begun to rot, and you have a whole mouthful - it's not a pleasant sensation. The seeds of all grapes are bitter - so there's nothing unusual about it. I think the common wild summer grape found throughout the U.S., with the little champagne grapes, have probably the least bitter seeds - and these can be eaten in huge quantities just like you'd eat any other grape.]
Here's my gathering bag full of acorns and muscadines - they're both so large it didn't take long to fill it - we brought along a canvas tote as well:

Back home we divided them up and set them in baskets:
The few muscadines we didn't eat are in a beargrass basket I made when living off the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. I remember gathering the beargrass above the hot spring in Brock Canyon like it was yesterday - the basket still smells of fresh beargrass. The acorns are in a pine needle basket I made camping off the Guadalupe River in the Jemez Region of northern New Mexico. The needles are from the Ponderosa - I like to leave the 'toes' visible, though they can break off.
Acorns are one of the most important wild food sources, but like any starch or grain, most need some processing first. You start by letting them dry out, so the flesh is easy to remove from the shell. So I'll store the acorns in the basket a few days and wait for them to dry.
The next step is leaching out the tannins. First the acorns are shelled. This is easy to do, next to walnuts and hickory nuts, where the thick-shelled nuts need crushed and the flesh needs picked out of crannies. Acorn meat fills the whole shell, and the shell is thin. If you're eating them on the spot, I just bite them in half with my teeth. You can also use a nutcracker.
If the acorns are to be boiled and leached in hot water, they don't need minced. But if they're to be leached in cold water, such as a stream or the tank of your toilet, they need diced up small and put in a bag. The acorns can also be buried whole without shelling to begin the germination process - burying them shelled in marshy soil is another option worth trying. It's similar to how nuts are treated in raw foods - trying to jumpstart the germination process and remove enzyme inhibitors. Except with acorns, the tannin is what you're trying to remove. I think of the tannin as a sort of all-natural preservative - it's found in many wild foods.
Having had a preference for raw foods for many years, most of my experience with acorns has been eating them raw straight from the ground. I'll never forget the first time I ate white oak acorns. I was accompanying someone making a bid on a construction job, and the guy's driveway was just littered with acorns from the white oak (quercus alba). I picked up and cracked one open with my teeth and ate it . . . and no tannin whatsoever! I couldn't believe it, and ate several more.
Our property in Tennessee has several mature white oaks down by the creek - our first year camping there the acorns rained down on our tents all through the Fall. And coming and going from camp I often ate several. These had a trace of tannin, but the more I ate the more I didn't notice it. And they're very filling.
Camping off the Guadalupe River in September in the Jemez Region of northern New Mexico, we were surrounded by gambrel oaks. The trees were loaded with acorns. As the acorns began falling to the ground band-tailed pigeons arrived, cooing in the trees like owls. They spent all day eating acorns. I ate them also but found them, though in the white oak family, with too much tannin to really enjoy. So I shelled them and diced them up and put them in a bag in the river. After one week of leaching in the water the acorns tasted the same. I didn't have any more time to keep leaching, as we were breaking camp in mid-September, and heading south to camp in the Gila.
As a sidenote to this Guadalupe River area, there were not only unlimited acorns, but chokecherries half a mile down the river which I set out on wooden plates in the sun all day - this sweetened and ripened them into perfect dried cherries. There was wild grape everywhere, alfalfa, gooseberries, a wild apple tree covered in large apples, several springs, and tons of rosehips. The rosehips were large and red but with no flavor. They needed dried to bring out the sweetness, and to make removing the seeds easier. We took baskets of apples, acorns, and rose hips down with us to the Gila, and guess what happened? Chipmunks stole our acorns and stashed them in the air filter box of the vehicle - we found out later when we stopped to get an oil and lube.
As far as our chestnut oaks, for now I think I'll try the boil method - about a dozen changes of water. Tom Brown has this idea of taking the processed acorns free of tannin, rolling them in brown sugar, and roasting them in the oven for an hour. It's not the most healthful use of the acorn, but I think it would be a fun thing to bring in to my wild edible plant class for homeschoolers. The kids will love acorns after that!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Georgia Woods

. I stopped by Autrey Mill Nature Preserve to check out an 1880 farmhouse very similar in size to the cabin I'm about to build, and took a hike through the forest to see what wild foods are out. The Preserve is mostly dank Georgia woods, and the fact that it was periodically raining on and off only made it wetter. Since there is very little sun, there won't be much fruit - but there is still plenty to eat.

Elderberry (Sambucus . . .) is growing in several dense stands not far from the farmhouse. Its wand-like growth habit and stalks covered in warty bumps are distinctive. It also has compound leaflets, anywhere from 5-11, though I usually find 5 on this species common throughout the Atlanta area, both in forest and along waterways:

Both the flowers and berries are edible - the leaves and stems are reported as toxic.

I've gathered huge quantities of the ripe black berries . . . in ditches along raised roads in North Florida, along creeks in the Southern Appalachians, as well as along waterways by our land in Sunbright, Tennessee - and even right in the forest where there's plenty of sun in north Georgia mountains [Pigeon Mountain]. Though there is some debate about the edibility of the ripe berries (some sites say they're possibly emetic, need cooked, or dried, etc.), I've been eating raw elderberries for many years and they are perfectly good raw. We'd pull them right off the red-stemmed corymbs with our teeth like grapes, or turn the corymbs upside down and pull clusters of berries off to throw in our oatmeal. It is a very common wild edible plant, and important food source.

Here is some prickly pear (opuntia . . . ), doing okay even without much sun:

The pads of our native prickly pear in the Southeast are exceptionally mild. Even when old and out of season, once you've cleaned off the spines and glochids the pads are wonderful - a fresh lemony vegetable. This is in strong contrast to the prickly pear of the Southwest, where the old pads are more medicine than food, with flesh that's rather nauseating and lots of tough stringy fibers.

Take a pad that has good coloring and plumpness, and carefully pull it off. Scrape it with a rock or knife. Be patient . . . it usually takes a full five minutes to scrape all the tiny barbed spines (glochids) off the pads - otherwise they'll end up in your tongue and gums, and there to stay for several hours. If there's any kind of flowing water source nearby, it's good to give the pads a final rinse to take away any last miniscule spines. If not wipe the pad with a cloth to make sure it's clean. Blowing on it can also work once the tiny barbs are free.

The first time you bite into a fresh pad it will be a memorable experience - nothing like the bland old nopales you find in ethnic groceries. And what's great about prickly pear is how much food there is. Several pads is a very filling meal - something out West you usually only get in spring, when the pads are young and fresh. But our native opuntia humifusa is edible all year.

The fruit is also great, marketed commerically as 'tunas'. The fruits of our native southeastern prickly pear aren't very large - but they are still good. The best prickly pear fruits tend to be out west - anywhere from the flavor of a sweet steamed beet, to a fruity mix of fig and watermelon. And the tunas can be huge and in great abundance.

As with the pads, it's important to process them on the spot, then give them a final rinse with water or cloth. If you simply gather the fruit without cleaning and throw it in a basket or bag, spines and glochids will interpenetrate everything and become very difficult to remove. Though our native prickly pear fruits are small, many people have planted western varieties out front on their properties - and these can be an excellent food source.

The oregon-grape is here, mahonia bealei - it's from Asia, and has established itself throughout the South:

They often call it 'Leatherleaf Mahonia' here in the South, because we're so far from Oregon - where our native Oregon-grapes are everywhere. The berries are not as far along as the ones down by the Chattahoochee River - there's still no coloring yet:

They're still rather bitter at this stage, but eventually will taste like tart grapes. I've gathered large amounts of them in the mountains of Northern New Mexico.

The muscadine is getting its leaves:

Like most southern counterparts to northern foods, the muscadine greens tends to be tougher and stronger than wild grape greens. The leaves at this stage are still mild and rather edible - only a little astrigency. The tendrils when they first appear are decent also. But as the foliage matures it becomes rather strong. We once packed the leaves into a glass jar camping off Owl Creek down in the Apalachicola region of North Florida. Once the leaves were packed tight, and a lid put on, we allowed them to ferment in the sun for a week. This tenderized and sweetened them immensely . . . it was like muscadine sauerkraut. This can be done with any strong edible wild greens.

The muscadine is everywhere in here, and a great basket material. I don't know that it will produce much fruit in here with so little sun - it depends how open the canopy is. Muscadines are large thick-skinned grapes with a bubble gum-like flavor - an excellent wild food source. They are about as large as the grocery variety, except the seeds are far more edible and not as bitter. With enough sun, such as roadsides or forest edges, muscadine will put out tons and tons of grapes. We gather several baskets every year. If there's one crop you can depend on here in the South, it's muscadines.

Here's an enormous hickory bud opening up:

The bud is so huge because the leaves are compound (one giant leaf coming from one bud is actually composed of several leaflets). Hickory is very distinctive with its spare foliage at the ends of stout twigs, its spare stout branches, and compound leaves:

I find taste and smell to be a far more precise way of pinpointing a plant rather than just a visual. If you rub hickory leaves, your fingers will get that strong unmistakable hickory nut fragrance. Native Americans used to cook their beans wrapped in hickory leaves to impart some of that fragrance to the food.

Hickory nuts are another incredible wild food source. I find the nuts to be one of the most dependable winter food supplies in the South - hickories produce copious amounts of nuts, they will cover the ground all through winter, and many will have nutmeat as fresh as the day it fell from the tree. Avoid nuts with holes - something's already gotten to them. And hickory nuts, just like the way fats cut chile, will take away the strong taste of greens immediately. It's amazing how filling fresh wild nuts are, especially walnuts and hickory nuts. Half a dozen to a dozen nuts can be totally satisfying even when you're very hungry.
[4/3 Update: Just today in fact I wandered Kennesaw Mountain until I found a south-facing slope that was so like the Southwest - exposed rock slabs everywhere, yucca, prickly pear . . . but also tons of hickory nuts. Every single nut I cracked open was perfect. And literally just 3 nuts was totally filling. I'm still working on my technique as far as how to crack them open, but this method seems to work for me okay - I set the nut upright in a dent or pock of a slab so it stays in place. I then come down hard with a rock right on the apex of the nut - smashing right down through it. This causes the nut to be laid wide open, with all the nutmeat accessible, instead of hidden away in woody crannies.
As far as how to pick the nutmeat out - do your best with fingers and teeth, or better, get a large spine to use as a nutpick. Plum spines work okay (Kennesaw is covered in wild plum trees which are in bloom right now), but the tip tends to be brittle. Locust spines are much tougher, especially on the new growth. They'll get all the nutmeat out pretty easily. Bradford pear also has very stout spur branches that end in a spine - they're worth trying, considering how ubiquitous Bradford pear is.]

Japanese honeysuckle is everywhere in the forest:
It is another non-native that has established itself in the wild near cities and developed areas. The cream and white flowers are edible and sweet with a lot of nectar. It's a vine with opposite leaves that tend to be lobed lower down the vine - an easy way to identify it.

Here's the new growth coming out on the pine:

This stalk will soon put out tiny green packets of new needles that are excellent raw, with huge amounts of Vitamin C - once used to cure scurvy. Even the older needles can be diced and steeped to create a very rich Vitamin C tea. The tea is transparent, and might seem just like hot water compared with conventional tannin-stained teas. But the flavor is there, as well as the nutrients.

The dogwood is in flower, and the petals torn away from the flower-base are not bad:

The berries tend to be very bitter.
I come across a patch of fern, and the young unfurling fronds are very, very good, almost as good as bracken (which comes up everywhere in the pine flats of Florida about April):

Fiddleheads can sometimes be tough and strong and hairy. We've tried fermenting these with not much luck. But these ferns shoots in particular are tender, and have almost no hair and a mild flavor - an excellent spring vegetable. Even when the fiddleheads have completely unfurled, but the growth is still relatively new, it's got a mild taste. Here's a whole patch of it:

The greenbriar is putting out new growth:

All of this new growth is edible - the shoot, the leaves, the tendrils. It's very mild and tender - excellent. And there's an infinite supply! Greenbriar is everywhere. Here are two shots of the new growth, plucked from the old green spiny stems:

The berries are also edible, even the ones still on the vine from last year. Greenbriar berries in general tend to be tasteless, but sometimes they can have a slight date-like sweetness:

The flesh on these berries in particular was rather dry, but the hard seeds had a sugary crust and were pleasant to chew on.

Suprisingly, the young leaves of sweetgum are not bad, a decent edible green this time of year:

Whereas the young leaves of tuliptree, even when tiny, are very strong:

The beech has yet to put out its young edible leaves - it's still holding on to last year's leaves:

The new growth on cedar is edible . . . very mild, just like the new leaf growth on any conifer:

Here's Hercules-club (aralia spinosa) in leaf, with its tall spiny stem and huge compound leaves:

As far as I know, not edible.
I found violets:

I like the flowers, but the leaves, though extremely nutritious, seem rather strong to me, even though I've eaten them for many years. I might try steaming them at some point.

Here's some clubmoss, a very primitive plant:

Blackberry in leaf . . . the leaves not so good to eat, but would make a great tea:

Here's blueberry in flower:

I found large shrubby blueberries in flower over and over. It's a very common understory shrub in the South. Even without much sun, these shrubs will put out tremendous quantities of blueberries. The blueberries begin to come in in late April in Florida, and early June up in north Georgia mountains, such as Pigeon Mountain.

Here's heartleaf, a birthwort, with its small bulbous flower I unearthed just above the leaf:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dock (rumex crispus)

The dock is coming in really thick right now. It's abundant at the edge of where they mow. I was able to gather a full canvas tote bag in ten minutes or so, and hardly made a dent in the amount of greens. But I had to pick quickly - there was a guy with a weed trimmer literally 20 feet behind me.

I don't know if it's this particular curly dock (rumex crispus), or it's all this mild, but I could not believe how good the leaves are raw. A slight acid taste, a little like wood sorrel, with only a trace of astringency, if any. Even the older leaves that are dark and somewhat eaten by bugs . . . they tend to have even less astringency than the young leaves. So I went ahead and picked the leaves at all stages, enough to fill a 2 gallon pot.

Here are two closeups of the wavy-edged leaves, a conspicuous feature of curly dock:

At home I steamed them using a waterless steam. I rinsed them off (they're low to the ground, and we've had a lot of rain, so they're somewhat gritty), then stuffed them in a large pot with a lid, and turned it on high for 5 minutes. The greens reduced almost to a tenth in size, became dark, and looked like any other steamed or sauteed greens. There was actually a small pool of water in the bottom from when I rinsed them off - next time I'll remove the water with a salad spinner, and steam them purely in their own juice.
The flavor was excellent. The slight sourness that comes with dock made the leaves taste slightly pickled - they had a pleasant acid taste. I noticed they had a strong cleansing effect also, and like any wild green, they're loaded with nutrients. I've read they were a major food source during the Great Depression.
Dock is in the buckwheat family, a highly edible family of plants, including buckwheat (the seed), rhubarb (the leaf stalk), and dock (the greens). It's best to think of dock as our native buckwheat. Wild dock seeds tend to have a lot of chaff, but I've still eaten them. Out in the Southwest the dock gets huge, with giant leaves - the plant is almost a small bush. The leaves are rather strong, but the seeds have a nice bacon flavor, even with all the chaff. The chaff you ignore like eating grass seed - a lot of chaff, but once you hit the seed inside, it tastes like bread.
The next wave of silverberries (eleagnus ebbingei) have come in, and the berries from these bushes are nearly twice the size. We gathered a bunch of them:
I made a new gathering bag specifically for the purpose of harvesting silverberries. It's important to have both hands free when you're picking food. This bag has a small rope which attaches to a belt loop - I made the bag out of canvas and wire . . . the wire is from a coat hanger I pulled apart, and it keeps the bag open so you don't have to hold it open as you pick:

However, most of the silverberries we were picking were on bushes and hedges trimmed low to the ground. So a basket set on the ground would have worked fine. It's much easier to gather silverberries on the wild plants that are a mass of sprawling shoots - with the bushes, you often have to get down on the ground and look up underneath the dense foliage to spot all the clusters of berries, then reach in to grab them.

These berries are not only large, they are very sweet - there's quite a bit of flesh on them. I'm saving the seeds separately for my geurilla gardening from the previous silverberry seeds. It will be interesting to see which grow best from seed, and which produce the best harvest.

The light in this photo isn't great, but it shows how speckled with silver the berries are:

The pits are edible, in the sense they are not that hard and you can chew them up. But they have a dry bean flavor that I don't think is good, and it ruins the tart strawberry flavor of the flesh. Besides, it's better to save them for growing. But in a survival situation, who knows - they might be a decent food source.

On the 'bean' note, silverberries (eleagnus spp.) are one of the few nonlegumes that fix nitrogen in the soil via bacteria on the root nodules. And they make fabulous hedges - there's one dense hedge at least 10 feet high with a mockingbird nesting in it . . . the shoots climb on nearly 25 feet up a nearby red maple.

Here's an idea of the size of the berries:

Like most wild berries, the bigger the better - the sweeter, and milder.

I've also noticed the new growth on the common juniper is edible, just like the new growth on other conifers. It's packed with vitamins, and has a very mild juniper resin taste.

Here's a photo of Rachael and Brooke (my daughters, 11 and 9) in front of the azalea that's blooming everywhere:

We eat these azalea flowers all the time. They are very sweet. We just pinch off the base of the flowers and eat the rest. My daughters love them. They're sweet - lot of nectar. The best of all azalea flowers are the orange ones, called 'Flame Azalea'. The flowers are so sweet they taste like Orange Crush.

We've been eating azalea flowers in such abundance for so many years it was a big suprise to me to see that no one else considers them edible. Almost every site I find reports them as toxic. I understand they're in the rhododendron family, with its toxic leaves . . . but I am not at all convinced the flowers are toxic. They are too mild and sweet. It's like everything else with our native wild foods - a lot of suspicious information, that gets repeated endlessly.

However, regardless of my own opinion and experience, this link is worth checking out on the toxicity of all rhododendron species.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ripe Silverberries!

. The Ebbing's silverberries (elaeagnus ebbingei) are now definitely ripe, and I picked a quart of them this morning:

I'm going to have to reverse my former opinion of these silverberries, and rank them very high as a wild food. Ripe berries in March! It's incredible. Those that are red and firm have a slight acid astringency and the flavor of lemon. When they're ripe they soften and almost liquefy into a raspberry/strawberry jam - very, very good. It only took me an hour to pick this quart. The berries still have large pits, so only the rind is edible - but it is very tasty.
We did our second wild edible plant walk at the Chattahoochee River NRA yesterday. I brought the silverberries I'd gathered in a beargrass basket for everyone to try. It's amazing how this coiled basket I made years ago still smells intensely of fresh beargrass. It takes me instantly back to camping in the Gila, gathering the fresh wands of beargrass above the hot spring. The rim of the basket is willow:
We had light rain on and off so no flowers were out for our walk. This is too bad because one part of the trail goes through a small ravine, which before was covered in flowers such as bloodroot and trillium and toothwort - very Appalachian. Bloodroot flowers covered the entire hillside. There is also a lot of spicebush in flower, with their fragrant twigs.
We found plenty to eat on our two hour walk. There were silverberries, unripe Oregon Grapes, redbud flowers; I pulled a young cattail shoot out of a swamp for everyone to try - there are several cattail swamps; we sampled weeds like chickweed and speedwell and onion and dead-nettle. We had a few dandelion flowers, some spiny thistle that was rather strong, violets; the earliest blueberry in flower, large bushes right off the river with tons of white pendant urn-shaped blueberry flowers; red maple keys, black greenbriar berries (carrion flower), rose hips still red from the year before, and young rose leaves . . . we found a lot of elderberry in leaf, both at the river's edge and up in the forest; lots of red buckeye (poisonous), and I dug up the little underground bud of heartleaf (a birthwort). Spring is an exciting time.
Here's one silverberry shoot weighed down with the clusters of silverberries:
And Mishka loves them!

He begged and begged to try some. I finally gave him a bunch in a bowl because I was sick of hand-feeding him. He eats them pits and all. It is actually natural for dogs to eat berries - they're omnivores. Coyotes will not only eat berries when they're ripe, they'll eat all the bear scat after the bear's eaten berries - this was something I witnessed camping long-term up on Pigeon Mtn. I even came across a coyote chasing a turkey once down the dirt road.
Mishka first discovered berries up at Graveyard Fields in August. We camped there for a couple of weeks, and every morning we gathered 6 cups of berries for our morning oatmeal. Mishka would watch us gathering and eating some. He would whine to be fed. So we'd give him some. But eventually it gets old feeding him, and you're like - they're all around you dog, and at your height, go eat! Eventually he did. He even waded in to the thorny blackberry and ate and ate till his fur had lots of juice stains.

Sunday, March 1, 2009



Today was our first wild edible plant walk, and it started snowing in the morning. By noon it was coming down heavily and sticking - very unusual for Atlanta. I drove over to the Chattahoochee River in almost blizzard conditions. The flakes were large and blowing thickly. All the edible weeds were covered in snow. And it was still snowing heavily and freezing.

Mishka and I took a hike down the loop trail to see what edible plants I might still be able to point out. It was hard to see anything. And the trail was underwater. It was actually flowing in places (we've had 2 days of heavy rain). Even the beautiful scene of forsythia and oregon-grape flowering side by side was almost invisible in the haze of snow. Here's a photo of it:

Nobody showed up for the walk anyway, considering the weather, so we'll reschedule for next week.

I'm going to come over to this trailhead every day after work to continue to study the plants and harvest weeds for my daily green smoothies. The diversity is incredible, and the bottomlands are rich habitat.

Day 7 going 100% raw was hardly challenging - each day it gets easier. I had a green smoothie with parsley for lunch, and for dinner, my stuffed red bell peppers:

These were so good! Heavy and filling, but simple, and high-enzyme. Here's how I made them:

I soaked 2 cups of sunflower seeds last night. This morning I rinsed them and left them in the strainer. By afternoon the sprouting process had begun. I put them in a food processor with one small bunch of fresh mint (it was so fresh and aromatic and new baby leaves were coming out), a very small bit of red onion, chopped. I put in the juice of 3 small lemons, and a little Real Salt (I prefer Celtic, but don't have it right now - dulse flakes or kelp would be even better). I processed it until everything was smooth. I then spooned it into the peppers.

I also continue to read books on raw foods so mentally I stay focused. This past week I've read Victoria Boutenko's 'Raw Family', '12 Steps to Raw Foods', and 'Green for Life'. I love her approach, and acknowledgement of the addictive nature of cooked food. I'm now reading 'How to Have the Best Odds of Avoiding Degenerative Disease,' by Don Bennett, a guy I know from when we had a strong raw food movement here in Atlanta and Sprout Cafe was open and we met there for potlucks.

A full week accomplished! I haven't lasted that long in years. The first 60 days are the toughest. Then it becomes more habitual. Humans if nothing else are creatures of habit.