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These 5 valuable wild plants you can collect in autumn & use for yourself

There is almost nothing better in autumn than wrapping up warmly, strolling through the colorful streets, enjoying the autumn air and rustling your feet through the leaves. During an extensive autumn walk you can finally come to rest and relax. Let go of stress. There are some edible wild plants, fruits and roots to discover outside, which can be collected in the meantime. We present you 5 native wild plants that are currently growing seasonally in your area and that you can use for your own consumption.

1. the seeds of the nettle

How to harvest nettle seeds

Nettles

Nettles can often be found in damp and shady or semi-shady places in parks and lawns, natural meadows, forest edges or floodplains. As soon as the plants are fully grown, usually between May and September, they can be picked. 

Although you can help yourself to the edible wild plant until late autumn, harvesting the fresh and larger leaves or the nettle flowers is best done in spring and summer. Finally, from the end of September, the nettle seeds become ripe.

So that the aroma and active ingredients of the plant do not evaporate, you should process them as soon as possible after harvesting. The nettle leaves and flowers have a sweet taste and can be dried very well to nettle tea or freshly processed into a nettle soup. 

The nettle seeds, on the other hand, are versatile: they look good dried or pure, for example, in your morning muesli, a pesto or a smoothie. But they can also be used in baking, for example in moist, homemade mixed bread. Lightly roasted, they go well with soups or salads. 

How do they work?

While the leaves of the wild plant are used for urinary tract infections and rheumatic complaints due to their mild diuretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, the seeds of the nettle are a real superfood. They are full of valuable ingredients such as protein, healthy fatty acids, vitamin E and minerals such as iron, magnesium and silicic acid. In addition, they have always been considered a strengthening and vitalizing tonic. Here learn more about the Nettle.

2. the red clover

How to harvest red clover

Red clover on a meadow

Red clover grows worldwide and is also native to the meadows in Germany. If you can't find this wild plant in your garden, you can collect it on organically managed meadows or field margins where not too many dogs run along. 

The red clover flowers, which begin to bloom in early summer, can often be found until the end of September. When picking, it is advisable to first place the blossoms briefly in the sun so that the little animals that cavort there fly away. Shake out the red clover well at the end.

Red clover has a mild flavor. You can enjoy leaves and flowers of red clover in dishes as an alternative to cress. The flowers can be eaten raw in a salad or a tea can be brewed with them. The plucked individual flowers of the wild plant can also be used as a topping for bread, soups and rice. For example, the flowers also make a beautiful picture as edible decoration on vegetable and cheese platters. You should rinse red clover only very briefly under cold water and eat it raw, if possible, so that the healthy ingredients are largely preserved. 

How does it work?

Red clover is said to be a natural alternative to hormone therapy due to the isoflavones it contains, which act as phytoestrogens and thus have a close resemblance to the structure of the hormone estrogen. Menopause can alleviate. However, as an ancient remedy, it can also have cell-protective, anti-inflammatory and blood-purifying effects. Red clover is said to improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, prevent bone loss in old age, and protect against prostate disease. Note, however, that because of its digestive effects, you should not eat large amounts at once. For most dishes, a small amount of a few flowers is enough.

3. the rosehip

How to harvest the rosehip

Two rose hips on one branch

As soon as it shines again fiery red from the rose bushes, the rose hips are ripe for harvesting! Rose hips are the fruits of the rose, which form after flowering in autumn. They grow in sunny to semi-shady places, such as forest edges, wild hedges and species-rich meadows, but also in lean, rather dry soils. 

In principle, the best harvest time is in autumn, depending on the variety between September and November. Depending on the intended use (for example, tea or jam), this wild plant should be harvested while the fruits still contain much pulp. 

There are a few ways to use rose hips. Not only can they be eaten pure, but they can also be made into a delicious rosehip tea, rosehip pulp, rosehip puree or jam. Other uses of rosehip would be as a syrup, juice, liqueur, sauce or as a pastry filling.

How does it work?

Rose hips can have a laxative, antipyretic and mild diuretic effect and are full of vitamin C. Depending on the time of harvest, they have a pleasant sour taste. 

4. the hawthorn

How to harvest hawthorn

white hawthorn with green leaves

From the white umbel flowers of the Hawthorn ripen in autumn the somewhat mealy fruits. For a long time the collection and processing of berries was out of fashion. But from the berries can be prepared aromatic and healthy specialties. 

When between mid and late September the fruits hang bright red on the bush, the optimal harvest time has come. The berries are then somewhat mealy on the inside and taste slightly sweet. We recommend that you only pick the berries away from busy roads and intensively cultivated areas, so that they are not polluted with exhaust fumes and environmental toxins. 

The fruits do well in jelly and jam. Their bitter almond flavor gives jams, fruit liqueurs and jellies a special touch. Since the berries of the wild plant contain pectin, the jelly is naturally thickened, which is why you need a little less preserving sugar than usual for the preparation. Since the berries contain little juice, the seeds are removed only after cooking. 

How does it work?

Although the medicinal effect of the Hawthorn fruits in Germany has not been sufficiently proven so far, the quality of the berries is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia. They are traditionally used as a natural remedy that promotes blood circulation and strengthens the heart muscle. Here you will learn more about the hawthorn.

5. the roots of the dandelion

How to harvest dandelion roots

Yellow dandelion with green background

Thanks to its hardiness, the dandelion spreads quickly. It grows particularly well in humus-rich and well-aerated soil in sunny to semi-shady places. 

While the leaves of the Dandelion at best in the spring and the flowers are harvested at flowering time, around April to June, the optimal harvest time for the roots of the dandelion has come in the fall.

Be careful not to collect your dandelions - unless you have your own in the garden - from curbs along busy streets, where the pollution levels are too high. 

The whole wild plant is edible. Flower, leaves and roots are even processed as a medicine. Dandelion can be prepared as a tea, juice, pesto, jam and salad. Freshly picked Dandelion is just as edible as the dried flowers, leaves and roots. The dandelion root with its bitter-sweet taste is best consumed in the form of tea. A special tip is also dandelion root vinegar.

How do they work?

Just weeds? No way! The dandelion root is often overlooked, but it is said to be extremely healthy: it contains some bitter substances that stimulate the flow of bile and thus your digestion, bloating and Heartburn prevent and can increase appetite. The root is used for digestive problems, loss of appetite, liver problems and diabetes. It is also said to help with rheumatic diseases, elevated cholesterol and urinary tract infections due to its diuretic effect. Here you will learn more about the dandelion.

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