The basswood, also known as the linden, tilia or lime tree has a ton of uses, grows widely (in different varieties) throughout North America and Europe and is easy to identify.
I’d been reading about its use by Native Americans to make fiber and cordage/rope: From NativeTech
“Fibers were stripped from the inner bark of the basswood tree. After long pieces of bark were removed from the tree the sections were soaked to facilitate separating the fibers from the inner bark. Basswood fibers could be used immediately for simple lashing, or the fibers could be dried and stored for future use. Other items made from dyed basswood fibers include tumplines or burdenstraps used to carry heavy loads, fine twined storage bags and closely woven mats used to strain maple syrup. Sheets of basswood bark were also used as winter coverings for wigwams. Iroquois found the wood ideal for carving, the grain being soft and light.”
It’s flowers make a pleasant, medicinal herbal tea.
According to Wikipedia:
“Linden flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.”
The basswood/linden’s leaves (especially the young, tender leaves), fruit and seeds are also edible.
In the following video Green Deane gives us the low-down on the linden; how to identify it, some of its uses, how to prepare it (he adds young leaves to a salad) — he also points out other edible plants he comes across growing nearby.
Caleb Musgrave in Ontario, Canada who has Ojibway heritage goes even more deeply into the many qualities and uses of the basswood. He says “Very few people look at these trees and think, ‘Wow, you’re really useful.’”
But of course those people would be wrong.
In this video, he covers more of the edible uses for basswood. He also confirms what Green Deane said about basswood tasting like lettuce — tree lettuce.
HerbMentor talks to Lexi Koch in Washington State about how to grow and harvest linden for herbal use (there doesn’t seem to be much to it).
Here Whitney Gerschke talks about linden (basswood) as a useful herb and shows us how to make linden basil ice tea.
These berries are known for jelly making.
miwilderness in Michigan on the “Autumn Olive” hunt. Both videos are referring to elaeagnus umbellata though Shepherdia argentea is also called “Silver Buffalo Berry.” miwilderness uses the berries to make fruit leather.
Wikipedia says of sheperdia argentea (not pictured in these videos): “Buffaloberries are edible for humans. They are quite sour, and afterwards leave the mouth a little dry. A touch of frost will sweeten the berries. The berries can be made into jelly, jam, or syrup, or prepared like cranberry sauce from the forefrost berries. The berry is recognizable by being a dark shade of red, with little white dots on them. They are rough to the touch, and found on both trees and shrubs.”
The Wikipedia entry on elaeagnus umbellata reads: “When ripe, the fruit is juicy and edible, and works well as a dried fruit. It is small but abundantly produced, tart-tasting, and has a chewable seed. These fruits have been shown to have from 7 to 17 times the amount of the antioxidant lycopene than tomatoes have.”
Brian of mountnman shows us how to cook squirrel. He says that often people end up with a squirrel dish that is far too tough and chewy. He’s done a perfect job dressing the squirrels. They look like rabbit that you’d see at a butcher’s.
Strangely he didn’t add any onions, garlic, sauces or spices. But I think his aim, anyway, is to show the basic method for stewing the squirrel.
Here’s a ’50s style squirrel stew recipe from the Missouri state government’s Department of Conservation, complete with floured squirrel and cream of mushroom soup:
A recipe from the same folks for Squirrel Country Sausage:
Country101living brines and then deep fries his squirrel:
I’d come across this interesting article on the tradition of eating squirrel meat in the US. Apparently, as recently as the 1940s, eating squirrel was very widespread and common. Judging from the many YouTube videos on hunting squirrel for food and cooking squirrel, squirrel eating either never left or has had a renaissance.
From the article:
“The first edition of The Joy of Cooking, published in 1931, was heavy on the squirrel.”
” On Shaw’s book tour this autumn, he was pleasantly surprised to find that squirrel eating was still alive and well in the South. And squirrel was not the only rodent either to persist as a regional delicacy. In Delaware and Maryland, people wanted to talk muskrat, so much so that he thought he was being set up, until he read that it was for sale at local markets.”
Article notes that eating the squirrel’s brain, which is a delicacy in some places, is a no-no in terms of health.
Here are a series of videos from WoodlandTV in the UK on eating, dressing and butchering squirrel (so it is graphic).
Apparently grey squirrels are non-native to the UK, having been imported from America and have decimated the native red squirrels. Was interesting – the guy who made the video is attempting to only eat wild-sourced meat, which means he says he eats a lot of vegetarian meals since he isn’t out hunting every day and he also is focused on eating ethically.:
Country101living uses an air compressor to separate the squirrel’s hide from its flesh:
Here’s another skinning technique from Nevis Walker:
“Bryon Waibel runs what he believes is the world’s only urban beekeeping store [in San Francisco]. It’s called Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper and Waibel, who uses the handle 006, does seem to believe that he/ the store/ urban beekeepers are serving a cause.”