I’ve mentioned both of these plants before and shared recipes. This year, we headed out to the Umatilla National Forest to pick Arnica. We only pick the flowers because it’s preserves the remainder of the plant. Arnica is a threatened plant but it is acceptable to pick the flowers. We don’t pick all that many so the plant can still thrive. And by picking just the flowers, we save the original plant.
Here is a picture from Wikipedia since mine is a bit difficult to identify the flower. They look like daisies but have seed heads like dandelions. There are a number of similar plants in the forest. Arnica likes the higher elevations and when you pick them there is an obvious medicinal smell (and enough of the sap makes your skin tingle).
Arnica is used in salves for pain relief. I took mine home and infused arnica oil I made last year with some comfrey. This refreshes the old oil and gives a little boost. I had overlooked the oil last year when it got stashed in a cupboard. This year, I will make salve out of it. The additional comfrey (which is great for bone health) will ensure that we use up the salve instead of using several different types.
Thank you google for this picture because it’s really hard to take pictures while out foraging. I promise to get better. Elderflowers have an amazing scent – kind of a citrus/licorice smell. I love it. Last year, I made extract and cordial. I still have some. This year, I went for jelly using the same recipe I used for the rose petals.
The flavor is not what I expected. The tea has almost the taste of asparagus. I was a little worried the jelly would be awful but it wasn’t. It’s not as floral as the rose jelly but it’s interesting and I can’t wait to play with it.
I do want to share that you have to be careful to limit the stems with elder. They are poisonous. Some people say the young stems are not but I don’t know. I find that if I leave the flowers to dry for a few days, they come off quite easily with few stems.
I hope this gets you started with some of the flowers out there for foraging. Flowers are fun and exotic. Most of them are fairly easy to identify.