Newsletter 4 April 2017

Pawpaws are distant relatives of the Magnolia. Photo by Green Deane

There is no excuse now not to find Pawpaws. Locally they are blooming, as they say, in profusion. Look for any shrub around your height or shorter with large, cream-colored blossoms that remind  you of Magnolias. This time of year just look in fields especially pastures. Pawpaws often go unnoticed until now. You will see scattered short shrubs with whitish blossoms, even when you drive by a 60 mph. They are very easy to see. Start looking in fields now and along livestock fences. Locate Pawpaws now then return in two to three months for the ripe fruit. To read more about Pawpaws go here. 

The future of the newsletter. This newsletter is issue 251. The decision has to be made whether to continue 1) writing the weekly newsletter and 2) if so how to distribute it. This newsletter started out seven years ago as a monthly missive and I maintained the mailing list. That was troublesome because if one address was wrong — back then — the entire mailing was returned as undeliverable. Thus thousands of emails had to be sent in batches of 25 so bad  or undeliverable addresses could be removed. Then the newsletter went weekly and by year two a professional mailer was added. That was free at first based on the number of subscribers.  With the subscription now approaching 10,000 the emailing costs have gone up. Interestingly as the subscribers continues to grow the readership stays steady. Some folks read every issue some subscribers have never read one issue in five years though it still costs something to email the newsletter to them. A second option is to continue to write the newsletter — 50 or so issues a year — but publish them to Facebook, thus eliminating the mailing cost but at the same time becoming dependent on Facebook. Or perhaps going independent again and doing my own mailing. I also do not know how many people look at the foraging class schedule in the newsletter vs the website. All possibilities are under consideration including just stopping the newsletter. If you have any thought you can send them to And what would I do with the freed time? Try to make a dent in the hundreds of private lesson requests I have. I almost need an appointment secretary.

Weeping Willow. Photo by Green Deane

Revisiting the Willow: In February this newsletter mentioned issues about medicinal uses of the Willow, a difficult topic as the writer is neither an herbalist nor a chemist. The Willow, of which we have some eight local species, is a plant of interesting chemical composition. It has been used for some 6,000 years to ease pain and inflammation. Further study shows unlike aspirin Willow does not “thin” the blood. The anti-clotting aspects of aspirin is cause by acetic acid which is part of modern aspirin production, but not natural Willow bark or leaves.   Conversely Willow can have a role to play in Reye’s Syndrome which was so rare — one in a million children with a viral infection — it was probably never noticed until similar modern aspirin was created. I also have a sneaking suspicion there is also a genetic connection between Reye’s in children and nightshade intolerance in adults, all because of salicylic acid. All of that is worthy of a PhD dissertation itself. But as foragers one question needing an answer is why is Willow bark known as a famine food?

Dried Willow Bark

In fact, Willow bark as a famine food was part of the infamous case of cannibal Alfred Packer in the 1880’s. But the point is there is very little energy in Willow bark, and because of salicin it is exceptionally bitter… and therein perhaps lies an answer. Upon digestion salicin becomes salicylic acid. It has many properties among them is to increase metabolism by up-regulating the use of lipids in the body (which is the connection to Reye’s.) Salicylic acid tells the liver to burn fat, use triglycerides, LDLs even cholesterol. It creates an energy boost meaning “get out there and find some real food.”  You can read about Willows here. My PhD on Willow bark will be published later… far later…

Classes are held rain or shine.

Foraging Classes: Except for hurricanes foraging classes usually are held as scheduled. We’re hungry when we are cold and wet so foraging classes are held when it is wet, when it is cold, and when it’s hot.

Sunday, April 9th, Wickham Park: 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne, FL 32935-2335. 9 a.m. Meet at the “dog park” inside the park (turn right after entrance, go 1/4 mile, dog run on right, parking at run or on previous left.)

Saturday, April 15th, Colby-Alderman Park: 1099 Massachusetts Street, Cassadaga. Fla. 32706. 9 a.m.

Sunday, April 23rd, Florida State College, south campus, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, 32246. 9 a.m. We will meet at building “D” next to the administration parking lot.

Saturday, April 29th, Bayshore Live Oak Park, Bayshore Drive. Port Charlotte. 9 a.m. Meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Bayshore Road and Ganyard Street.

To read more about the foraging classes go here. 

Do you recognized the unopened blossoms of this fruit? You would if you read the Green Deane Forum. Photo by Green Deane

Want to identify a plant? Looking for a foraging reference? Do you have a UFO, an Unidentified Flowering Object you want identified? On the Green Deane Forum we chat about foraging all year. And it’s not just about warm-weather plants or just North American flora. Many nations around the world share common weeds so there’s a lot to talk about. There’s also more than weeds. The reference section has information for foraging around the world. There are also articles on food preservation, and forgotten skills from making bows to fermenting food. You can join the forum by clicking on the button on the upper right hand side of this page.

The Nine-DVD set includes 135 videos.

Spring orders have started their annual  increase. All of Green Dane’s videos available for free on You Tube. They do have ads on them so every time you watch a Green Deane video I get a quarter of one cent. Four views, one cent. Not exactly a large money-maker but it helps pays for this newsletter. If you want to see the videos without ads and some in slightly better quality you can order the DVD set. It is nine DVDs with 15 videos on each.  Many people want their own copy of the videos or they have a slow service and its easier to order then to watch them on-line. They make a good gift for that forager you know. Individual DVDs can also be ordered. You can order them by clicking on the button on the top right of this page or you can go here.

Eat The Weeds Time Capsule 26 March 2012

Goat on the lam…

Let’s say you were going to take a test. And you knew out of 100 possible questions only seven questions were going to be asked and only those seven. Which would you study for, the 93 questions that will not be asked or the seven that will be asked? One would expect you to study the seven questions you know are going to be asked. It is no different when learning edible wild plants. About 93 percent of the plants are not edible. Around seven percent are (generous estimates say 10% but it varies with geography.) Which should you study if you are interested in edible wild plants? Mostly the seven percent that are edible or the 93 percent that are not? Most folks interested in edible wild plants go about it backwards. They don’t go looking for a known edibles but wonder what an unknown plant is. Then they ask someone to identify it. More than nine times out of ten it is not edible. Looking for known edibles is far more productive. But if you still have a plant you want identified, post it on the Green Deane Forum. We have a board dedicated to just identifying plants, which is also the most popular board. Not two-months old we are approach 3,000 posts and 300 members from around the nation and the world.

This is issue 251

If you would like to donate to Eat The Weeds please click here.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • weedman April 5, 2017, 1:16 pm

    I just recently began to study and harvest edibles and medicinals. The “Time capsule” portion has been an extremely valuable piece for me. I have been doing exactly as stated, trying to identify unknown plants as opposed to studying known edibles. I can concur that about one out of every ten that I have exhausted my time to identify were beneficial, but had not come to the understanding of this principle of the futility of my efforts until reading this. THANK YOU !!! I have just changed my mind and am immediately changing my direction and I so appreciate you placing this in such a timely newsletter.

  • Robert wright April 5, 2017, 1:28 pm

    I love your newsletter and would be sad to see it go. If I lived closer I would love to go to one of your classes, but that is not an option right now. Please keep up the great work. Thank you.

  • Deborah Urich April 5, 2017, 1:37 pm

    Love your newsletters. Please don’t stop. Happy foraging…

  • Sandra Gray April 5, 2017, 2:12 pm

    I love, love, love your newsletter and hope you can find a way to continue issuing it! Check out a newsletter sender. It cost $1.00 per 10,000. I don’t really know much about its reliability but maybe worth a look. Although I do not live in FL, I did have the opportunity to attend your foraging class at a Florida Herbal Conference and now regularly check your schedule just in case one is scheduled in my “neighborhood.” Thanks so much for your invaluable contribution to our plant knowledge!

  • veronica moore April 5, 2017, 2:35 pm

    I enjoy your emails and do look forward to reading them. I didn’t discover you until I moved to Hawaii (big island). I’m from Pasco county in Florida and really would have enjoyed discovering new things to eat. When I retire we will be going back to the mainland RVing. I look forward to finding new things to eat. thank you

    • Green Deane April 5, 2017, 7:29 pm

      Thanks… actually Florida and Hawaii have many species in common and are also among the most difficult places to learn foraging because there are so many toxic, imports and ornamentals.

  • susan April 5, 2017, 3:30 pm

    Two interesting facts of PawPaw. One, George Washington favored their custardlike flavor in the form of chilled raw pawpaw. Two, the mashed fruit was dried in cakes and later soaked in water and made up into a condiment. You can mash the fruit (peeled and deseeded) and run it through the dehydrator at home and mimic this by soaking overnight in some water and then cooking it up into a salsa like condiment. I like to add some hot sauce and lime juice.
    Two cents- I enjoy the newsletter every week and have missed reading only a very few in the last several years. I get the foraging class schedule from the newsletter and have taken several of your classes over the last few years. I have also told countless people of the newsletter and the website.

    • Green Deane April 5, 2017, 7:27 pm

      Hmmmm… sounds like I’m committed…

  • susan April 5, 2017, 3:33 pm

    Oh and it being a relative of the magnolia- I wonder if you can pickle the flowers petals as you do the magnolia leaves? You gave a most excellent recipe for the pickling of magnolia petals that I have used and passed on to the delight of many patients of mine. Most are surprised that a yankee even knew you could do such a thing. I of course gave my fellow yankee the credit.

    • Green Deane April 5, 2017, 7:26 pm

      Thanks… regarding the Pawpaw blossoms… they are not suitable for flavoring. They smell like rotten meat and are pollenated by a fly that is attracted to putrid flesh.

  • JessNZ April 5, 2017, 5:09 pm

    I hope you keep the newsletter going, Deane. I’ve learned a great deal, even though a lot of the plants you discuss don’t grow down here in NZ. I make loquat seed grappa every year!

  • evelyn korjack April 5, 2017, 5:43 pm

    Hi Deane, I am one who reads them all! So much valuable information, plus I have all the dvds. I for one would pay for a subscription.

    Private foraging lessons, how cool is that? So put the price out there, I imagine it would be costly, but I’d bet in these crazy times some people might like to get some neighbours together to do this thing, especially those of us who live rural.

    I’m thinking something like this…there are three or four empty lots in my area, get about 6 to 10 neighbours together, meet at my place, go for the walk, and come back for a pot luck, people could walk home. Except for you of course! I have a guest room if needed.

    The possibilities are endless, but you are only one person!

  • Theresa Gavin April 5, 2017, 7:17 pm

    I love your newsletter, but truthfully I only have time to read every other one on average. Sometimes of the year I read every one, but the average is alternating ones. Hope that you do continue even if quantity is reduced. Thank you for all you do and your great resource. If you ever want to visit and forage in Haines Alaska would love to have you stay with us. We have a 6 bedroom house for two of us so plenty of room 🙂
    Theresa Gavin.

  • Vege-tater April 5, 2017, 9:41 pm

    If I had extra money to spare I would opt to pay for a subscription, I always look forward to the newsletters! Please keep doing them, even if you have to cut back some!

  • Carolyn April 6, 2017, 3:03 am

    This is my first newsletter because I just found your site. I enjoyed reading it. I would LOVE to attend one of your foraging classes, however I am in the opposite corner of the USA, in Washington state. Your site is very i formative and I love browsing around in it. I keep finding new things.

  • Ted Williams April 6, 2017, 6:27 am

    I enjoy your newsletters and would gladly pay a dollar an issue, yearly subscription of $12. I think that will separate the wheat from the chafe when it comes to who values your newsletter and how much.

  • farouk April 6, 2017, 7:33 am

    I hope I e – mail you soon. Now I’d like to assure that as long as the highly honourable trend and always extremely useful cause of ” Eattheweeds ” is carried under your guidance and responsibility, all is safe. Please carry on transmitting useful knowledge in such a highly acceptable manner by a tremendous number of readers the world over. No doubt dear Green , support is unanimous.

  • Rita Cox April 6, 2017, 8:15 am

    I really enjoy your newsletter and use your advice regularly. I do not access facebook so I hope you will mail the newsletter if you do go offline. I would gladly pay for mailouts.

  • Lori April 6, 2017, 7:35 pm

    I read the newsletter faithfully every week. The paw paw grows into a tree in WV, but by the time they are ripe, the possums and raccoons have eaten them, throwing the seeds out, increasing the number of saplings. We have about 10 saplings in a corner of our yard. I see the paw paw when green but never a ripe one.

  • Mary Meyer April 6, 2017, 9:45 pm

    Stay the course Deane – I’d subscribe, just say how much. I, like many, read every edition of the newsletter and appreciate all the work that goes into this production. Thanks for everyone of these jewels.

  • Dallas Bryan April 7, 2017, 10:58 am

    Deane, I am an avid reader of your newsletter. I found you about 5 years ago and really would hate to lose your vast knowledge. The things I have gleaned from your web experience make me look smarter than I am to my wife and family. I for one would like to see the newsletter carry on. Thanks

  • Nancy April 7, 2017, 8:51 pm

    I would gladly subscribe if it keeps the newsletters coming. But not wanting to burn you out maybe once a month instead? Your website and DVD’s have plenty of info already! Yes to personal “tours” too ! One day I’m going to get on your calendar. Be well and thanks for all you’ve done!

  • Jake April 8, 2017, 5:50 am


    I read every one of the newsletters and would attend your classes if I lived in Florida. I love your videos too. Keep up the good work.

  • Peggy Albright April 9, 2017, 5:19 pm

    Dean, do what you love to do the most! Time is so precious! You have donated your time and expertise for so many and for a long time, so if it means you want to pursue other areas of interest then go for it! I have saved all your newsletters and I read them everyone. I have learned so much and appreciate you and your contributions. Happy Life and may God bless you whatever you decide!
    Peggy in East Texas

  • Justin April 9, 2017, 10:37 pm

    I also read every single newsletter and reference the website often. Of course I would not like to see the newsletter go, but I’m committed regardless of format. I’d hate it more to see you burn yourself out. So my 2 cents is, do whatever you feel fits best with your life, and we fans will surely follow.

  • Robert April 10, 2017, 1:19 pm

    I read your newsletters every week and they have been extremely valuable in my many hikes through the wildest of the Florida scrub wilderness. Please keep up the wonderful service you provide!

  • Carrie Ann April 10, 2017, 4:44 pm

    I read all the news letters, and have all the DVDs; please keep sending them.

  • Grady Underwood April 10, 2017, 9:55 pm

    I read all your newsletters and have gone to the archives to read all of the old ones. I have also watched all of your u-tube videos. Would it be possible for you to purge your e-mail address file of the people who never open the e-mails? It seems that would lighten the load.


Leave a Comment