When harvesting plants and flowers you should
have an attitude of thankfulness. Be happy for the bounty that is available. Always
keep the area you are using pristine. We need to harvest plants which can be eaten
and used. We are helping the seeds sow. Not harvesting plants can cause them to die
However, it is important not to over-harvest. If there is an area where you like
to gather plants keep a log of where you go and then section it mind and jot down
notes of where you plan to harvest the following year.
|Alaskan state, national, and municipal
parks may not be harvested. Foraging is only allowed on state land not designated
as parkland. You must collect 50 feet back from the highway. In the national forests
you should stay 200 feet away from any established trails, roads or campgrounds.
It is essential that you follow instructions on when
to gather and how to use each herb.You should harvest herbs on a dry day when they
are ripe, unless instructed otherwise.
Harvest fruit and berries when they are just ripe
before it becomes too soft. In this state they will dry effectively. Bark should
be harvested in autumn when the sap is falling, this will minimize damage to the
plant or tree. Do not remove all of the bark from a limb. Do not remove a strip in
a complete circle around a limb or trunk.
Flowers are best harvested in the morning just after
the dew, if any, has evaporated. Carefully cut flower heads from the stems and dry
them whole on trays. Small flowers, like lavendar need to be harvested like seeds,
that is cut the flower with about 15-25 cm of the stem, hang and dry upside down
over paper away from direct sunlight.
Most roots should be harvested in autumn when the
plant which is showing above ground has wilted. Always double check your reference
or guide before doing any harvesting. Make sure to do your harvesting before the
ground becomes too hard to make digging hard.
Dry herbs quickly and away from harsh light.
Do not dry them in an area where they may pick up other oders, such as a garage.
Herbs become contaminated with gasoline fumes. For best results keep your drying
room between 79-90 degrees F. When herbs are dry store in a clean, airtight container.
The best containers limit light, are dark glass or are pottery. Most herbs can be
kept for 12-18 months.
Roots need to be washed then cut into small peices
after all fo the dirt has been removed. Small roots can be stored whole, however
large roots are difficult to cut when dry. You can speed the drying process by using
your oven set on its lowest temperature for approximately 2-3 hours.
Drying leaves takes two different forms depending
upon size. Large leaves may be dried individually. Smaller leaves need to be left
on the stem, gathered into a gorup then tied in small bunches. Bunches should be
between 8 and 12 stems depending upon size. Once tied, hang upside down to dry. When
the leaves are brittle to the touch rub them from the stem onto paper and crumble
together. Remember to store your gathered herbs in airtight containers.
The Complete Medicinal
Alaska’s Wild Plants pages