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:
Dennis of white-trash-cooking.com in California makes salmon jerky. He learned the process from his Alaskan uncle.
“A very healthy snack food, salmon jerky is high in omega-3 fatty acid, which is considered valuable in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It’s also delicious and easy to make. Marinate the salmon and let it dry in a warm oven overnight. It keeps well.”
It’s maple sugaring season, so here are some videos on how to tap the trees and produce maple syrup and maple sugar:
This is the whole process from start to finish:
Here miwilderness in Michigan talks about when to tap trees, what to look for in a tree you are considering tapping, how many taps you can make in a tree based on its size and how to tap the tree (he uses an electric drill) and so on.
Here vintagevideos2009 in Franklin, Wisconsin shows us boiling and finishing the syrup:
Tony Denning of Maple Leaf Farm in Canterbury, Connecticut talks about how maple sugaring quickly becomes an obsession.
Growing up in New England I used to think of maple syrup as a New England only thing, but now I know that its a Midwestern, Canadian, New England… thing… anywhere maples grow people tap them for their sap.