Hardy Banana Plant Information – Survives to Zone 6A

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Survives to Zone 6A

Hardy Banana Plant Information

This post gives Hardy Banana Plant Information including how to grow it, including winterization, and how to propagate this medicinal tropical looking plant.

Hardy Banana Plant Information - Front Banana

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Front Banana

The Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) is also known as Japanese Banana, and Japanese Fibre Banana and provides a tropical look to any yard.  It is native to southern China and is an herbaceous perennial in permaculture.  I have found conflicting reports on line as to the exact hardiness of the plant.  Some sources say down to zone 6A, others say down to zone 4.

The plant grows up to 12-foot-tall and has leaves that grow to about 6-foot-long and about 18 inches wide.  It produces both male and female flowers in the same cluster.  It grows mini non-edible fruit.  The fruit is only about two inches long.

I planted mine in 2002 in full sun and very sandy soil.  I planted two of the hardy bananas in different areas and they have both done great.  Each arrived in a four-inch pot.  I put them in the ground, mulched them, and watered them for the first year.  After that I have not done much with them.  I have never fertilized them.  You can see from the pictures here that they are quite large.  They are looking a little ragged, but this picture was taken in late October after the oak leaves have already started to fall.

The bananas form a cluster.  The first year I had the one plant in each spot.  The second year I had about three plants sprout up around the first in each spot.  Each subsequent year more bananas sprout up.  I keep them in check just by mowing around the bananas.  If any sprout up in the lawn outside of the mulch, the mower keeps them at bay.

Winterize

For the first 10 years or so I winterized the bananas by putting a 4-foot high fence around them and then filled the fence with fallen oak leaves.  This was easy as I had dozens of oak trees in the yard.  When I did it this way, the stalks would usually survive up to about the 3-foot mark and would start growing from there.  This gave the plants a definite boost in height earlier in the season.

I now just blow the leaves around the banana plants and cut down the stalks to about two foot and use the banana leaves to cover the leaves and prevent them from blowing away.  Usually the stalks die back to the ground level doing it this way, but it takes less time than the old way because I don’t have to put the fence up every year. This year I surrounded one of the banana clusters with bags of leaves to build the leaves in the center of the cluster up higher.  This is shown in the YouTube video below.

Check out our Great Escape Farms YouTube channel to see more videos.

Propagation

Hardy Banana Plant Information - Back Banana

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Back Banana

In researching this variety of banana plant, it appears that the seeds are not viable and do not sprout.  So propagation is done via cuttings.  Online resources state that you take an entire sucker and plant it to form a new banana plant.  This will work.  But I have taken stalks from previous years and cut them to the ground.  I put the old stalks in the back yard to rot and self compost and many of them rooted and formed new plants in this area.  This is certainly something I will be experimenting with in the next year or two.

Medicinal

The roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sialagogue. A decoction is used in the treatment of beriberi, constipation, jaundice, dropsy, restlessness due to heat, leucorrhoea and croton bean poisoning. The leaves are diuretic. *

(Source:healingplantsinfo.com/plants/Musa-basjoo)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Black Locust Tree Information – Black Locust a Tree Fertilizer

Black Locust Tree Information – Black Locust a Tree Fertilizer

Black Locust Tree Information – Black Locust a Tree Fertilizer

This post gives black locust tree information to include its ability to act as a fertilizer on other plants, how to propagate it, and the edible parts of this medicinal plant.

Black Locust Tree Information - Black Locust Flower

Black Locust Tree Information – Black Locust Flower

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a deciduous tree in the pea family that can be used as a fertilizer with its nitrogen fixing capabilities.  It is native to the southeastern United States but can now be found throughout most of North America as it is USDA hardiness rated from zones 4 to 8.  It can grow up to 80 feet tall, but it usually stays between 30 and 50 feet in height. Black Locusts prefer sandy or rocky soil, and are most often found in old fields, open areas, woods, and along stream sides.

The leaves are pinnate with 9–19 oval leaflets.  Leaflets are always paired, except for the one on the end of the leaf. Each leaf usually has a pair of short spines at the base.  The leaflets fold together in wet weather and at night. Leaf color is bluish-green on top, and pale underneath. The entire leaf is 6 to 12 inches long. Leaflets are oval-shaped and less than 2 inches long with no teeth and a bristle tip.

The very fragrant (smell similar to orange blossoms) flowers are white to lavender or purple and are about ¾ inches long and pear-shaped.  They each have five white petals, and many flowers grow together in a droopy cluster, 4 to 8 inches long. The flowers appear in May or June after the leaves break bud. The flowers give way to a snap pea looking fruit.  The fruit is a legume containing 4 to 10 seeds.

It has thick, deeply furrowed blackish bark. The wood is Pale yellowish brown; heavy, hard, strong, close-grained and very durable in contact with the ground.  Because the wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot, and durable it is often used for fence posts.  Fresh cut wood has somewhat of an offensive odor, but that disappears with time.  It is one of the heaviest and hardest woods in North America.  For firewood it burns slowly, hot, and with little smoke.

It can act as erosion control.  Black locust ordinarily produces a shallow and wide-spreading root system that is excellent for soil binding but is also capable of producing deep roots. It acts as a nitrogen fixer for the soil allowing this tree to act as a fertilizer.

Propagation

Black Locust Tree Information - Black Locust

Black Locust Tree Information – Black Locust

Although it is a good seed producer, it primarily spreads by underground shoots. If planting by seed, you must scarify the seeds prior to planting.  Black locust is easily propagated from softwood, hardwood, and root cuttings.

Edible

Although the bark and leaves are toxic, various reports suggest that the seeds and flowers are edible.  The flowers are eaten in France and Japan.  I have found several sources saying that the seeds are edible but the pods are poisonous.

Medicianal

“Febrifuge. The flowers are antispasmodic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative. They are cooked and eaten for the treatment of eye ailments. The flower is said to contain the antitumor compound benzoaldehyde. The inner bark and the root bark are emetic, purgative and tonic. The root bark has been chewed to induce vomiting, or held in the mouth to allay toothache, though it is rarely if ever prescribed as a therapeutic agent in Britain. The fruit is narcotic. This probably refers to the seedpod. The leaves are cholagogue and emetic. The leaf juice inhibits viruses.” *

(Source:www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/r/robinia-pseudoacacia=black-locust.php)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Almond Tree Information | An edible and Medicinal Tree

Almond Tree Information | An edible and Medicinal Tree

Almond Tree Information | An edible and Medicinal Tree

This post provides Almond Tree Information to include edibility, propagation, and two recipes for this medicinal tree.

Almond Tree Information - almond blossoms

Almond Tree Information – Almond Blossoms

The almond tree is not a unique edible as most people have heard of it.  It is a very versatile plant that offers food, shade, and has medicinal uses. The almond (Prunus dulcis) is a deciduous tree, growing from 13 to 33 foot and is native to the Middle East.  It flowers in the spring and has fruit in the fall.  It prefers deep, well-draining loam, although they can withstand drought and grow in poor soils. Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

New growth starts out as green twigs that become purple in color as they are exposed to sunlight.  The second year and beyond the twigs/branches are grey in color. The tree buds have a chilling requirement of 300 to 600 hours below 45.0 °F to break dormancy.  The leaves are 3–5 inches long, with a serrated edge and grow alternately on the branches.

I have a Halls Hardy Almond tree that can be grown down to zone 5.  Mine has not done that great, but that has been more of a deer browse and drought issue than an almond issue. In looking around online it looks like most almond trees sold in the US online are hardy from zones 5-9.

The flowers are white to pale pink, 1-2 inches in diameter with five petals.  The flowers produce singly or in pairs and appear before the leaves in early spring.

Almond Tree Information - almond blossom

Almond Tree Information – Almond Blossom

The almond tree has hairy green fruits which are oblong in shape. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowering. The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed inside. At maturity, the flesh of the fruit becomes leathery and splits to reveal the nut inside.

Most almonds are insect (bee) pollinated, but there are now self pollinated cultivars out there now.

There are both bitter and sweet almond varieties.  The sweet almonds are the ones usually cultivated in the United States.  Use caution with the bitter almonds as they contain cyanide and can cause sickness and death even in small doses.  Almonds can be found in the wild that are of the bitter variety.

Edible

The fruit of the almond tree can be eaten whole, chopped or sliced in recipes, is used as a flour, and my favorite is almond butter as a replacement for peanut butter. There is also an almond milk option.

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamine, B6, folate and niacin), vitamin E, and calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.  It also has choline, potassium, dietary fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Propagation

Almond Tree Information - Almonds

Almond Tree Information – Almonds

Propagation is primarily done via grafting.  Either straight up grafting or a form of grafting called T-budding.  You can try rooting your cuttings, but from what I have read online, there is a very low success rate with rooting almond cuttings.  I have not tried this myself yet, but will next year.

They can be grown from seed if you can find seeds that have not been pasteurized. In the United States most almonds sold commercially have been pasteurized.  For seeds, stratify them for six weeks and then plant them 3 inches deep.

Medicinal

Sweet almond is a plant. It produces kernels (nuts) that are a familiar food. Sweet almond oil, prepared by pressing the kernels, is used to make medicine. *
Sweet almond is used as a mild laxative, and as a remedy for cancer of the bladder, breast, mouth, spleen, and uterus. *
Some people apply sweet almond directly to the skin to soften chapped skin, to soothe mucous membranes, and to kill germs. *
Sweet almond is also used to dissolve certain medications in a liquid so they can be given as shots. *
In manufacturing, sweet almond is used widely in cosmetics.

How does it work?

Sweet almond might work as a laxative due to the presence of many fatty acids. When applied to the skin, these same oily ingredients might help chapped skin and irritated mucous membranes. *

(Source:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-59-sweet%20almond.aspx?activeingredientid=59&activeingredientname=sweet%20almond)

 

Recipes

Sweet ‘N Crunchy Trail Mix

Ingredients:

1 cup whole natural almonds

2/3 cup dried apricots, diced

2/3 cup raisins or dried cherries

1/2 cup dried banana or apple chips

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds

 

Preparation:

Spread almonds in a single layer in shallow pan. Place in cold oven; toast at 350 degrees, 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted. Remove from pan to cool. Toss with remaining ingredients until well mixed. Store in airtight containers.

(Source:www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/sweet-n-crunchy-trail-mix)

 

Double Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Description:

This gluten free version of the ultimate classic cookie is made from almond flour and speckled with sliced almonds. Easy to make and even easier to eat, enjoy for dessert, or use as a post workout snack to boost your energy. Developed by: Elana Amsterdam cookbook author, “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” .

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 baking soda

1/2  cup grapseed oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla. Add to the almond flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds.
Spoon dough one heaping tablespoon at a time onto baking sheet, and press down to flatten. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then serve.

(Source:www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/double-almond-chocolate-chip-cookies)

There are hundreds of almond recipes at this website: www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/search

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible

Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible

Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible

This post, titled Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible, provides information including edibility and propagation of this medicinal plant.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a wild edible that is native to eastern North America.  It is a small deciduous tree growing to 15 foot in USDA zones 4 to 9. This hardy perennial tolerates deer, drought, heavy shade, and clay soil. You’ll find spicebush in damp, partially shaded, rich woodlands, on mountains’ lower slopes, in thickets, and along stream banks. Spicebush is primarily an understory species found in the wild in open forests and along forest edges

Spicebush Plant Information - Spicebush

Spicebush Plant Information – Spicebush

Spicebush leaves are alternate, simple, oval or obovate and broadest beyond the middle of the leaf. It has yellow flowers that grow in showy clusters which appear in early spring, before the leaves begin to grow.  The fruit grow in clusters, from the leaf axils of the female bushes, in autumn. Ripe fruit is a red, berrylike drupe. Plants are either male or female – both sexes are needed in a garden if one wants drupes with viable seeds.

Edible

Crush or scratch the thin, brittle twigs, or any part of spicebush to release its lemony-spicy fragrance. The leaves, buds, and new growth twigs can be made into a tea.  The fruit drupes taste a little like allspice.

Rinse them, pat them dry, and chop them in a blender or spice grinder. Berries have too much oil to be dried, so flash freeze them for future use.

Propagation

Spicebush can be propagated by seed, clonal via rhizome sprouting, and cuttings.  .  Seeds should be stratified for 90-120 days at 41 degrees. Seed should be sown 0.25 to 0.5 in. deep.  Softwood cuttings should be taken in June or July.

Medicianal

Spicebush Plant Information - Spicebush Berry

Spicebush Plant Information – Spicebush Berry

Spice bush has a wide range of uses as a household remedy, especially in the treatment of colds, dysentery and intestinal parasites. It warrants scientific investigation. The bark is aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It is pleasant to chew. It is used in the treatment of coughs and colds. The bark can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried. The fruits are carminative. The oil from the fruits has been used in the treatment of bruises and rheumatism. A tea made from the twigs was a household remedy for colds, fevers, worms and colic. A steam bath of the twigs is used to cause perspiration in order to ease aches and pains in the body. The young shoots are harvested during the spring and can be used fresh or dried. The bark is diaphoretic and vermifuge. It was once widely used as a treatment for typhoid fevers and other forms of fevers. *

(Source:www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/l/lindera-benzoin=spice-bush.php)

I found some seeds at Amazon.  The link is below:

 

Check out the Amazon link.

Recipe

Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing

This is the perfect dressing for a wild green salad. The creaminess of the blended cashews balances the robust greens.

6 tbs. olive oil
6 tbs. canola or sunflower oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup mellow (light-colored) miso
2 cloves of garlic
2 common berries, or 1 tsp. allspice, ground

Purée all ingredients in a blender.

Makes 1-1/2 cups

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

(source:www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Web%20Recipes/CreamyCashewSaladDressing.html)

Spicebush Tea

Ingredients:
Enough spicebush twigs, striped of leaves and broken into lengths of approximately 5 inches, to fill a 3-quart pan
2½ quarts water
2 tablespoons honey

Fill pan with twigs and water, and bring to a boil, uncovered. After about 25-30 minutes, water should be slightly yellow. Strain tea through colander into gallon container. Stir in honey. Tea will keep in refrigerator for a week. It should be served hot – microwaving is fine. Enjoy!

(Source:www.grit.com/farm-and-garden/american-spicebush.aspx?PageId=2#ArticleContent)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information | A Permaculture Plant

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information | A Permaculture Plant

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information | A Permaculture Plant

This post, titled Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information | A Permaculture Plant, provides information on permaculture uses and propagation of this medicinal tree.

The Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescen) is a permaculture plant that provides a lot of function stacking. They have edible parts, fix-nitrogen, attract beneficial insects, can be used as a pioneer plant, a windbreak, and a hedge, are used to stabilize erosion-prone soil, can feed livestock, can possibly be used as a medicinal plant and are pretty with fragrant flowers.

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information – Siberian Pea Shrub

Siberian pea shrub is native to Siberia and Manchuria and occurs from southern Russia to China
The shrub’s nutritional content is composed around 36% protein and 12.4% of fatty oil. There are over 80 species of this plant that is part of the legume family.

It is a large to very large shrub with a size of 8-20 feet tall, and 12-18 feet wide. It prefers full sun and is hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7.

Leaves are alternate and compound with small leaflets and can be light to dark green. Small, yellow fragrant flowers bloom in early summer with pod fruits, containing many seeds, ripening in mid summer. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees.

There are 4 to 6 red-dish-brown, oblong to spherical seeds per pod. The pods, peas and flowers are edible. Young pods and the flowers are good in salads. Older pods should be cooked. The peas taste rather bland and it is recommended from many sources online to use them in spicy dishes.

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information - Siberian Pea Shrub

Siberian Pea Shrub Plant Information – Siberian Pea Shrub

I bought my tree for nitrogen fixation and put it in my orchard. It did not grow too much last year. We did have a bit of a summer drought and I didn’t water it at all, so that is the likely reason. This is one of my STUN (Sheer Total Utter Neglect) plants. STUN is basically where you put something in the ground and then ignore it and see if it takes. I use the STUN method on many of my support species as I have enough to take care of and don’t want something else that requires a lot of care. Hopefully it will grow a little better this year and I’ll get some seed pods.

I found some of the seeds on Amazon.  If you want to purchase some, you can check out the link is below:

Propagation

Propagation is typically done by seed. To propagate by seed, soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water first. If the seed has not swollen after 24 hours, then scarify and soak again for 12 hrs. Plant ¼ to ½ inch deep. They typically germinate in 2-3 weeks. The seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible. The shrub can be propagated from cuttings and layering as well.

Medicinal

The whole plant, known as ning tiao, is used in the treatment of cancer of the breast, and the orifice to the womb, and for dysmenorrhoea and other gynaecological problems. *

(Source: www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/c/caragana-arborescens=siberian-pea-tree.php)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant. Viburnum Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium), another unique edible plant, is a native as an understory shrub in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.  It is a deciduous shrub in USDA zones 3 to 9.  In the north it is a shrub, but in the south it can be grown into a small tree.  It blooms with white flowers in the spring and has pinkish to black fruit in the fall.

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant - Viburnum

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant – Viburnum

Viburnum can grow up to 12 – 15-foot-high and can spread 6 -12 foot.  It tolerates drought, clay soil, black walnut, and air pollution.  It likes moist, well drained soils of average fertility in full sun.  The leaves are obovate, finely toothed, and glossy dark green (to 4″ long).

It blooms in late spring with creamy-white, flat-topped flowers.  In the fall it forms pinkish to blue-black, berry-like drupes, which often persist into winter and are quite attractive to birds and wildlife. The flavor of the fruit improves in flavor and sweetness after a frost.

The plants branches grow very dense an unruly, and it benefits from an occasional pruning.  Prune immediately after flowering since flower buds form in summer for the following year.

The Fruit is edible raw, made into wine, in jams, can be made into preserves.  Some recipes are at the end of this article.

Propagation

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant - Blackhaw

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant – Blackhaw

Viburnum can be propagated by rooted stem cuttings, seeds, or transplanting of the occasional suckers from the nearby roots at its base.  I have not had the opportunity to try propagating this plant yet.  I have two at the farm and will try propagating in 2016.

Medicianal

The astringent bark was used medicinally. *

Black haw is a shrub that is native to the woodlands of central and southern North America. People use the root bark and its extracts to make medicine. *

Black haw is used for increasing urine (as a diuretic) to relieve fluid retention; and for treating diarrhea, spasms, and asthma. It is also used as a tonic. *

Women use black haw for treating menstrual cramps and spasms of the uterus after childbirth; and for preventing miscarriage. *

It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use black haw if you are pregnant. It might affect the uterus. *

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant - Blackhaw

Viburnum Blackhaw Tree Information is Another Unique Edible Plant – Blackhaw Fruit

It’s also best to avoid using black haw if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about its safety. *
Aspirinallerty: Black haw contains chemicals called salicylates. There is some concern that these salicylates could trigger an allergic reaction in people with asthma or aspirinallergies. *
Kidney stones: Because black haw contains oxalic acid, it might increase stone formation in people with a history of kidney stones. *

(Source: www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-892-black%20haw.aspx?activeingredientid=892&activeingredientname=black%20haw)

BLACK HAW WINE

  • 3 lbs ripe black haw berries
  • ¾ lb black raisins or zante currants, chopped
  • 2½ lbs granulated sugar
  • 7 pts water
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • ¾ tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • wine yeast

Bring water to boil and add sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Meanwhile, wash fruit and chop raisins or currants. Combine in nylon straining bag, tie closed and put in primary. Mash berries with piece of hardwood. Pour boiling water over bag, cover, and set aside to cool. When primary reaches room temperature, stir in remaining ingredients except yeast. Cover and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast. Ferment 10 days, stirring and squeezing bag daily. Remove nylon straining bag and squeeze gently to extract flavor. Discard pulp, transfer liquid to secondary and fit airlock. If required, top up when fermentation subsides. After 30 days, rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat racking every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten as desired, wait 10-14 days, and rack into bottles. This wine should be aged 6 months before drinking.

(Source: winemaking.jackkeller.net/request105.asp)

Black Haw Jam

Ingredients

1 quart of black haw berries

1 cup sugar per cup of juice

½ cup water

3 oz. pectin

Wash and stem berries and place into a deep saucpan. Add water and cook till fruit pops. Crush fruit completely with a masher. Run through a food mill or strainer to remove skins and seeds. Measure juicy pulp and place in deep saucepan with sugar. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, then add 3 oz liquid pectin. Boil and stir for 1 full minute then remove from heat and skim of foam. Pour into hot, sterile jelly jars and seal.

(Source: earthnotes.tripod.com/blkhaw.htm)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

This post, titled Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree, covers the edibility, propagation and medicinal uses of neat plant.  Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is also sometimes called red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date.  It is a small deciduous tree reaching up to 40’ in height. Jujube is a native to many parts of Asia and has over 400 cultivars. It has thorns on the branches of most cultivars.  The wood is very hard and strong.

Jujube Tree Information - A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree – Jujube Tree

Jujube has small, ovate or oval leaves that are 1-2 inches long and a shiny bright green.  In the autumn, the leaves turn bright yellow before falling.  In the mid spring small flowers with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals emerge, giving way to strawberry sized fruit in the late summer into the fall. Most jujube cultivars produce fruit without cross-pollination

The fruit has a thin edible skin surrounding whitish flesh in an oval shape up to an inch and a quarter deep.  It starts out green and tasting like an apple maturing brown to purplish-black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date.  There is a single stone similar to an olive pit that contains two seeds. A mature jujube tree can have 40 to 100 lb or more of fruit depending on tree size and culture management. It requires hot summers and sufficient water for good fruiting.

The fruits are eaten fresh, dried, candied, and smoked.  Juice, marmalades, jujube vinegar, pickles, and wine are also made from the fruit of Jujube.  Fresh fruit harvested when first ripe can be stored at 40° F for two weeks or more without losing quality.  The best time to harvest drying cultivars is when they are fully red.

Cultivars

There are over 400 cultivars of jujube in total.  I have the three listed below and will be writing articles on them in the future.  I just put my trees in last year, so I have not harvested any fruit yet.

Li

Popular commercial cultivar. Large, round fruit up to 3 ounces, mid-season (ripens in mid-August), fresh eating cultivar. Good quality. USDA Zones 5-10. Self fertile. May be picked at the yellow-green stage. Tree is many-branched, yet narrow and upright. Best first tree to have.

Lang

Another popular commercial cultivar. Fruit is big and pear-shaped and good for drying. This fruit is best to let dry on the tree. The tree is upright and virtually spineless and is a late season ripening variety. Some fruit may split if it rains at mature season. USDA Zones 5-10. Pollenized by Li or other jujubes.

Coco

Prolific producer of golden-brown fruit with a unique coconut-like flavor. Can be self fruitful, but a second variety recommended for best fruit set. Origin- Nikita Botanic Garden in Yalta, Ukraine.

Propagation

Most commercial jujube trees are grafted on sour jujube for their hardiness.  Softwood cuttings are also possible.

Medicinal

Jujube Tree Information - A Unique Edible Tree - Fruit

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree – Jujube Fruit

While they may not have a large amount of any one nutrient, jujubes contain a wide array of different ones, including magnesium, potassium, copper, niacin, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron. They contain 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit, strengthening the immune system and fighting infections, which may be why they’ve been used medicinally for millennia in many cultures, as a tea for sore throat, for example. [1] *

Medical studies have found that jujube fruits and extracts have the capacity help lower blood pressure, reverse liver disease, treat anemia, and inhibit the growth of tumor cells that can lead to leukemia. Jujube extracts are also used in skin care products used to diminish wrinkles, relieve dry skin, and treat sunburn pain. [1] *

The seeds, fruit, and bark of jujube have been used in traditional medicine for anxiety and insomnia, and as an appetite stimulant or digestive aid. Experiments in animals support the presence of anxiolytic and sedative properties. However, clinical trials are lacking. [2] *

Recipe

Jujube Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups dried, minced jujube
  • 1 cup water

Bring these to a boil then set aside to cool

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoonful soda
  • 1/2 teaspoonful salt

Sift these together then add to the above mixture. Bake at 325° F

(Source: www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jujube.html)

 

[1] foodfacts.mercola.com/jujubes.html

[2] www.drugs.com/npp/jujube.html

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

This post provides Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine and provides how to care for the plant, gives a recipe, and describes the fruit of this cold hardy medicinal.

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop1

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) is an attractive vine that flowers in the early summer and then produces two-inch-long fruit that is shaped like a chicken egg and is ready to pick in the fall.  The flowers are very sweet smelling and attracts a lot of beneficial insects.  The flowers are white and lilac in color and are quite showy.  It is a hardy perennial that survives down to -20F and is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is native to the Eastern United States. The vines freeze down to the ground each winter. Maypop gets its name by popping out of the ground in May.

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine maypop2

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop Flower

Fruit

While the vine will have dozens of flowers, only a few will actually fruit.  I have found several sources that say you get better fruit production by hand pollinating.  This year I totally ignored mine and mowed them down with the lawn mower a few times and they still produced fruit.

The maypop fruit is ripe when it turns from “Kermit the Frog” green to light green to yellow-orange in color. A better indication of a ripe maypop is a somewhat wrinkly skin whereas the unripe maypop fruit will have a firm, tight feel and taste quite sour.

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop3

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop Fruit

Upon splitting the fruit, you will see numerous seeds coated in a clear goo while the inside of the skin will have a thick layer of white pulp. Only the clear goo is edible, suck it off the seeds like you were eating a pomegranate.  You can eat the fruit raw, make preserves, cold drinks, and tea.  I took one of these fruits over to my mother’s house last week and we tried the fruit.  It had a sweet tropical fruit flavor like I hadn’t had before.  I don’t know that I’ve had passion fruit before, so I can’t make a comparison.  It was mighty tasty, but it was difficult getting the pulp off of the seeds.  I looked online for an easier way to do this and did not come up with anything.  The recipes below seem to cook, squash, and strain. That may be the best way.

Vine Info

The alternate leaves (2 to 6 inches long and wide) are palmate with 3 lobes and finely serrated margins.  (Palmate means having several lobes whose midribs all radiate from one point.)

Maypop loves full sun and the fast growing vine can grow to 25 feet.  It likes moist but well drained soil.

This plant suckers all over the place.  I put in one vine two years ago.  Last year I had suckers coming up twenty to thirty feet away.  The suckers come up from the main plant going out along the roots at about every twelve to eighteen inches.  If you plant these near a lawn you can just mow them down.  I planted mine near a large mulch garden and they went crazy.  Just use caution putting them in the landscape as they can become quite invasive.  I have a separate post on Maypop Propagation if you are interested in propagating this vine.

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop4

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop Fruit Cut in Half

Vitamins / Minerals / Medicinal*

Maypop contains the following vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, B2, B3, C, iron, and phosphorous. http://www.fruitsinfo.com/maypop-fruit.php#Nutritional-Value

Tea made from the dried leaves and stem of the passion vine contain alkaloids with a sedative effect on humans.  According to drugs.com: “Passiflora exhibits sedative and anti-anxiety activity in laboratory animals. Human studies of Passiflora, in combination products, have also demonstrated anti-anxiety and sedative properties.”

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop5

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine Maypop6

Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine

 

In these pictures we see one seed with the edible fruit around it and two seeds that are without the edible coating.  It does look very similar to a pomegranate fruit from this perspective.

 

Recipes

Maypops Jelly
2 cups ripe maypops, sliced
1 cup water
2-1/2 cups sugar
1-3/4 ounces pectin
Combine the Maypops and water, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Then strain, discarding the pulp. Combine the liquid and sugar and bring to full rolling boil. Add pectin, and again bring to rolling boil. Remove from heat, pour into hot, sterilized jars, and seal. Makes 2-1/2 pints.

http://www.monthsofediblecelebrations.com/2009/04/food-shopping-au-natural.html

 

 

Maypops Squash.

4 cups maypops, halved
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
1 whole clove
2-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Combine the paypops, sugar, cinnamon stick, clove, and water and bring to a boil. simmer gently for 5 minutes. Put through a strainer, pressing fruit to extract all the juice. Add the lemon juice, and chill well before serving. Makes 4 servings.

http://www.monthsofediblecelebrations.com/2009/04/food-shopping-au-natural.html

 

Maypop Ice Milk

This will make a 1/2 gallon.
3/4 cup non-instant milk powder, 3/4 cup ice water, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 and 1/4 pounds maypop, 3/4 cup honey(And the honey is to taste. So taste the mixture and if it is too tart add more honey, but keep in mind that everything is going to be diluted when you add it to the whipped cream.) which really isn’t cream but that is what I learned to call it. LOL
I put the beaters and bowl in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. In the chilled bowl make up the ice water and milk powder, beating until stiff, about 20 minutes.When almost stiff I add the extract. In a blender, I process the maypops and honey until thick puree. Taste here for the honey like I said. Then scrape this into the beaten you know cream and beat in well. Then we put into our ice cream maker and crank until set.

http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/snitz/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1746

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Please provide feedback on Maypop Plant Information | A Unique Edible Vine by commenting below.

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants

This post provides Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants.  The Nanking Bush Cherry, Prunus tomentosa, is another unique edible plant, in bush form, that is showy in the spring with flowers and in the summer with the bright red cherries clinging closely to the branches.  It can be used as an ornamental, fruit producing shrub or as a wind break in a hedge row.

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants Nanking Cherry flower

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants

In mid-Spring the bush produces white or pink flowers that are fragrant and attract beneficial insects.  They are partially self-pollinating, but do better with another variety around.

The red fruit is sweet and tart and taste like a cherry with a pit in the center.  Since there are not a lot of named varieties in the US and most are propagated by seed, the flavors of the fruit seem to vary greatly. You can also find some plants online that have yellow or pink fruit, as I just did (and purchased.)

The fruit is very close to the stem on a very short stalk.  The stalk usually stays on the branch leaving an opening on the fruit that will cause it to leak juice.  This causes the fruit to not store well.  The fruit can be used for fresh eating, dried fruit, fruit leather, preserves, jams, jellies pies, tarts, and fruit juice.

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants nanking cherry berry

Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants

In a good year it can provide yields of up to 15 pounds per bush.  The fruit is harvested in early to mid-summer depending on your location.  Harvest the fruit when it is fully colored and juicy.  The fruit that I have seen are about half the size of the cherries sold in stores.

The leaves are simple leaves that are obovate to elliptic with unequally toothed margins, dull dark green color and downy hair on the underside.

The Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa) is a deciduous shrub that has a USDA hardiness zone of 2-7.  It will grow to be 5-10 foot in height and width, prefers full sun but will tolerate a little shade and prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil. It was introduced in the US in 1892.

In the spring of 2014 I bought 10 seedlings and planed 4 in my Pasadena house and the rest on the farm.  This summer I had two of the plants at the Pasadena house produce.  Hopefully all of the plants will produce next year.

Propagation

Propagation is done by seeds, layering, and cuttings.  For seeds, clean the pulp off the pit and stratify for 2-3 months.  Laying involves burying a portion of the tip or mid branch until it roots and then cutting it away from the main plant. Cuttings can be done with hard wood in the fall/winter or soft wood in the spring.  This summer I had a 75% success rate with softwood cuttings in a mist bed.

Recipe

Maple Whisky & Nanking Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Purchase Nanking Cherry plants at Great Escape Nursery

(Recipe from http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2011/08/16/grilled-ribs-nanking-cherry-recipe/)

8 cups Nanking cherries, washed and stemmed
½ cup sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard powder (or 1 Tbsp grainy mustard)
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups maple whiskey (from Highwood Distillers in Alberta)

In a large saucepan combine cherries and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until cherries have given up their juice. Remove from heat and push through a sieve to remove skins and pits. Return cherry juice to saucepan over medium heat, add all the dry ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add 1 cup maple whiskey. Continue to simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the final 1/2 cup whiskey. Cool and refrigerate in a sealed container.

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Purchase Nanking Cherry plants at Great Escape Nursery

Please provide feedback on Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information | Unique Edible Plants by commenting below.

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

This post, Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening, provides information on care and edibility of this medicinal wonder plant. The purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea,  is a showy flower that will add color and texture to any flower garden. The flowers are long lasting usually displaying the purple-pink color for the entire summer. I have been growing purple coneflower for fourteen years now and found that they are very hardy, tolerate neglect and drought well and are little affected by any pest pressure.  It is a perfect plant for forest gardening.

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening Purple Cone Flower

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower is a perennial flower hardy in USDA zones 3-8 (one site stated zone 2-10) and native to the eastern United States. It has purple daisy like flower heads, blooms from June until September, grows two to three feet tall and prefers full sun. The flowers can be used in wildflower gardens, as cut flowers, and as dried flowers. Cut flowers last seven to ten days in a vase.  The pictures in this post were taken this morning – October 6th and I still have some plants blooming.

They have a vertical stalk with a flower on top. The stalk has leaves on opposite sides of the stalk. The leaves on the stalks are teardrop shape with the narrow end away from the stalk. The leaves can be up to 4” long and 2” wide and are smaller the higher on the stalk they are.

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening Purple Cone Flower

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Dividing the crown into multiple clumps and replanting can propagate purple coneflower. Seeds can be planted as well. The seeds need to be planted in the fall or stratified over the winter (stratified means wetting and putting in a cold environment 35-40 degrees). I seem to have volunteers (self seeded from previous year) every year and just transplant the volunteers when I need some new plants.

In the Maryland area beetles seem to like to eat the petals off at night. This plant attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects like the soldier beetle. I also have one area where a vole or mole eats the roots every year. Somehow the plants survive and come back. In the Mid-Atlantic we have a fair number of gold finches (pretty little yellow birds) and they love to eat the seeds of the coneflowers in August and September. According to multiple sites that I have run across deer tend to leave this plant alone.

According to the USDA, Echinacea is widely used as an herbal remedy. The USDA goes on to say; “A purple coneflower product containing the juice of the fresh aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea was found to make mouse cells 50 -80 percent resistant to influenza, herpes, and vesicular somatitis viruses.” *

(Source: USDA http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_ecpu.pdf)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.