Alfalfa

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Alfalfa Identification: Alfalfa is a deep-rooted perennial plant from the Leguminosae family with a smooth, erect stem growing 2 to 3 feet tall.

Leaves: It bears grayish-green pinnately trifoliate leaves, with egg-shaped leaflets; it looks much like a large clover. Alfalfa Flowers

Flowers: Its violet-purple flowers grow in racemes, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, producing spirally-coiled seed pods. The flowers appear from May through October.

Habitat: Fields & roadsides. Throughout the world in a variety of climates.

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 52 Niacin – 0.5 mg Thiamin – 0.13 mg
Calcium – 12 mg. Phosphorus – 51 mg. Vitamin A – 3,410 IU
Fat – .4 grams Protein – 6 grams Vitamin C – 162 mg.
Iron – 5.4 mg. Riboflavin – 0.14 mg.
(Also contains the anti-oxidant Tricin.)

Harvest: Young leaves and flowerheads, spring through summer.

Uses: Tea, nutritional supplement, salad. The dried and powdered young leaves and flowerheads of alfalfa are highly nutritious. They can be steeped in hot water for 10 minutes to make a healthful tea, or added to breakfast cereals or stews as a nutritional supplement. The taste is fairly bland, so when making tea, it is best to mix
alfalfa with other teas. The tender young leaves can be added fresh to salads.

Sprouting Alfalfa Seeds: During times of famine when we can’t get fresh produce, sprouting will be a great way to get the vitamins and minerals we need to survive.

1.With your scissors, cut a piece of panty hose or cheesecloth that you can put on the top of a quart jar. It needs to be big enough to drape over the edge at least an inch or so.
2.Measure and put a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds into your quart jar.
3.Put some water in the jar so that the seeds are completely covered up.
4.Put the cheesecloth or piece of panty hose on the top of the jar. Keep it in place by stretching a rubber band around the outer edge of the jar.
5.Put the jar somewhere where it won’t get disturbed. The ideal sprouting temperature is around 70 degrees but between 70 and 80 degrees will be O.K. Let the seeds soak overnight.
6.The next day, take the jar to a sink and turn it upside down to drain out the water. (House plants love the drained water.) Take care to turn the jar over gently. Overturning the jar rapidly will cause rapid shifting in the sprouting seeds. This can break the tender shoots and kill the broken shoot. This breaking of the shoot causes the seed to spoil.
7.The seeds need to be damp but not totally wet. Put the jar in a cupboard or closet. In very humid weather the sprouts should be kept in a dry place such as above a stove, or wrapped in a towel and by a sunny window.
8.Every day, take the jar out three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). Take it to the sink and put in some cool water. Rinse the alfalfa seeds by moving the jar around a little in a swishing and rotating manner. Each time be sure to drain the rinsing water so the seeds are just damp and moist- not soaking wet!
9.Check out the little seeds. They should be very white and you should see little sprouts growing! In 2 or 3 days, the sprouts will get to be several inches tall.
10.On the 4th day, after you rinse them and drain off the excess water, put the jar on a windowsill or table top where it will get indirect sunlight. The tiny leaves will turn green in a few hours. You should then rinse the hulls off the alfalfa sprouts to prevent premature spoilage. Fill a big bowl or pot with water. Add the sprouts. The hulls will float to the top. Skim off the hulls with a strainer or piece of screen. You may need to shake the water gently.
11.Now you can eat them! Make a garden salad and put your sprouts on top. Try adding sprouts to a cold sandwich.

NOTE: You can also use sprouting trays. Sprouting trays help keep the seeds from growing molds and bacteria. If you use the jar method, you need to rinse the seeds more often, and, if possible, keep them inverted so the water will continuously drain.

Alfalfa Tea
Pour boiling water over the alfalfa. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Strain.

Alfalfa tea is suitable for daily use. This brisk, appetite- stimulating tea is improved by adding peppermint or some other botanical flavoring. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Alfalfa Salad & Dressing
Salad:
Alfalfa sprouts
Assorted salad leaves (lettuce, spinach, dandelion, evening primrose, winter cress, etc.)
Cucumbers Dressing:
1 part vinegar
3 parts oil
1 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of sugar

Arrange salad leaves on plate. Add alfalfa sprouts and sliced cucumber.
Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over salad

Alfalfa Sprouts & Cucumbers
1 lg. cucumber, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
French or ranch dressing
Salad greens
1 cup alfalfa sprouts

Mix cucumber and tomatoes and place on a bed of fresh salad greens, surrounded by fluffy alfalfa sprouts and topped with your choice of dressing. This is also great sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds.

Alfalfa also has medicinal properties.

Acorns

Acorns

Acorns A few white oaks have acorns sweet enough to be eaten raw or roasted. But, most oaks have extremely bitter acorns. The bitterness is due to the tannins. The acorns must be processed in boiling water to remove the tannins. Put the acorns in a pot of water and remove any that float. Boil for 15 minutes. Shell the acorns, chop them up, and boil again. (You can boil
them in cheesecloth so you don’t lose any pieces.) When the water turns brown, pour it off, add more water and boil again. Repeat until water no longer turns brown. Taste an acorn to see if the bitterness is gone. If not, boil them until the bitterness is gone, then dry them in the oven at a very low heat.
Acorn meal is made by grinding dry, raw acorn kernels, mixing the
meal with the boiling water and pressing out the liquid through a jelly
bag. This process may be repeated several times with very bitter acorns.
The meal is then spread thinly on shallow pans and dried in the sun or
a very slow oven. It usually becomes partly caked during this process so
it must be reground, using a food chopper or hand grist mill. Acorn grits
can be made by grinding up not quite as fine.
Both acorn meal and grits are very dark-colored with a sweet, nutlike
flavor. A lighter colored meal can be made with cold water leaching or
rinsing.
Harvest: Fall – Nuts

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 48 Niacin – 0.5 mg. Thiamin – 0.02 mg.
Calcium – 12 mg. Phosphorus – 314 mg. Vitamin A – 6 IU
Fat – 0.1 grams Protein – 0.2 grams
Iron – 0.02 mg. Riboflavin – 0.40 mg.

Roasted Acorns
3 cups water
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 to 8 Tbsp curry powder 1 heaping quart acorns
(processed to remove tannins)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp seasoned salt

Boil 2-1/2 cups water. While this boils, put another 1/2 cup water in a blender with garlic, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup curry powder. Blend until smooth. Add this to the boiling water along with acorns and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain acorns. In a baking dish, add acorns, olive oil, salt, and rest of curry powder. Roast at 300 degrees for 45 to 90 minutes, stirring often, until the acorns are dry and well-roasted, but not hard.

Acorn Glaze
2 cups sugar
1 cup water 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Put in a small saucepan and boil until you see the very first hint of browning. Set the small saucepan in a kettle of boiling water to keep the contents liquid and dip in whole acorn kernels, which have been pre-boiled as described above, using a pair of tweezers; then place them on wax paper to harden. This improves the appearance as well as the taste of the acorns and they can be served as a confection or with a meal, as a good hearty food.

Acorn Bread
Sift together dry ingredients:
1 cup Acorn Meal
1 cup white flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt Beat together:
1 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons salad oil

Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to moisten everything. Pour into a greased pan and bake in a 400′(f) oven for 30 minutes.
Or…Acorn Muffins:
You can fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full of the same batter and bake only 20 minutes.

Acorn Pancakes
2 cups acorn meal
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp shortening 1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg

Mix all ingredients. Cook like regular pancakes. They are delicious, tasting much like rich brown bread.