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Do you dream of being able to recognise, pick, and use wild plants to care for yourself and those around you? Follow the valuable advice of Christophe de Hody, founder of Le Chemin de la Nature (Nature Trail) website.
In 2015, Christophe de Hody founded Le Chemin de la Nature to share his knowledge with future pickers about wild plants and their culinary and medicinal uses by combining practical and theoretical knowledge, traditional know-how, and scientific insights.
➤ Be absolutely sure about identifying plants you pick for eating.
➤ Avoid those plants close to polluted places such as:
▹ along road sides,
▹ non-organically cultivated field or gardens covered with parasites, mushrooms microscopic substances, etc.
➤ Do not pick rare plants, in special and isolated vegetation areas, (peat bogs ...).
➤ Take only the plant parts you need and leave at least two-thirds of the plant population. Take only a small part of the plant's foot length when possible, and leave the strongest plants, so as not to impede their life cycle and co-evolution with the ecosystem.
➤ For the harvest of biennial plants (which live for two years, producing flowers and fruits in the spring of their second year), harvest the roots preferably in the autumn of the first year, or at the latest in early spring, before their stems begin to appear. Indeed, once the stems appear, plants have already tapped into their roots. The roots are therefore no longer usable.
➤ Do not hesitate to pick plants before they are clipped; recover the wood, buds, and sometimes the fruits after the pruning of fruit trees. Without you, they might end up in landfills!
The objective is: the simplest and least cumbersome!
● A small, non-collapsible knife,
● A small pruner,
● Small bags made of Kraft paper or reusable cloth,
● A small foldable saw for branches,
● A cutting shovel for roots,
● Gloves (for example, for stinging nettles).
"If I had to pick only one tool, it would be a non-folding knife." Christophe de Hody
What parasites are we likely to see and how do we protect ourselves? The wild plants that you pick may carry parasites, depending on where you collect them and depending on the areas where humans and animals roam.
Here are some tips for cleaning your wild plants:
● Basic cleaning consists of using white vinegar diluted to 1/9.
● However, since vinegar is not enough to eliminate all parasites, you can add a mixture of alcohol at 90° and essential oils; an example would be the essential oil of compact origano (Origanum compactum). Be careful, this mixture only eliminates a certain number of parasites.
➤ For 200 mL of alcohol, you can put 20 drops of an essential oil. Spray this mixture about 50 times on your plants that are soaked in water. Do not soak the plants too long, so as not to lose their vitamins and minerals.
● If in doubt, cook your plants for at least 10 minutes at 60°C, 5 minutes at 80°C or 1 min at 100°C.