Monday, 21 October 2013

Foraging Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye daisy grows like a weed in my gardens and lawn. The fresh leaves are edible and have a sweet lettuce-like taste when they are young. They are best eaten then since after the flowers bloom the leaves can turn bitter. I like to nibble on the cool smooth textured leaves or decorate my midday salad with its deep green color. For something different I toss the chopped leaves with red grape tomatoes and a little balsamic vinegar for a condiment and also serve it on toast for a bruschetta appetizer. Fresh oxeye daisy leaves can be substituted for parsley in many grain dishes including tabouli. I have enjoyed being creative with this tasty wild edible. This perennial daisy is easy to find in spring as a low growing rosette of leaves. It has a unique basal leaf pattern that distinguishes it from other daisy plants. The spoon shaped leaves have rounded teeth at the end of the thin leaf stem. Research says a tea made with the leaves acts as a natural antihistamine. If I had allergies I would certainly try this free medicine in my back yard. To prepare them for tea, gather the leaves by snipping at the base and dry them on a paper plate or in a basket. When they are dried, usually within 3-5 days, the leaves will crumble easily when pinched. Store the dried oxyeye daisy leaves in a glass jar. When you need relief from allergies, simply add 2 teaspoons of dried leaves to 1 cup of boiling water and let it steep for about 20 minutes. Use a small strainer to separate the leaves from the liquid tea. Enjoy this natural health remedy.

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