Gathering Red Clover


Today, my husband and I walked near our house and harvested Red Clover.

English: Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae, Red Clo...

Trifolium Pratense (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

To identify it, look for leaves of 3 and occasionally 4 and have a lighter green chevron on each leaf as you can see in the picture. They grow anywhere from 2″ to 16″ tall so they are easy to pick out of the other weeds.The chevron shape on the leaf makes them easy to distinguish from other weeds  and of course, when they are blooming, they are crowned with a purplish globe-shaped blossom that is hard to miss. The blossom is purplish or pinkish so they call it red clover. That makes a lot of sense. Right?

What are they used for?

The red clover is from the pea family. It’s scientific name is Trifolium Pratense.  There are articles that claim it is a food. It can be used in salad preparation both the leaves and the blossoms. You can dry it and make a tea to drink. The reading I’ve done indicates it has medicinal properties. Last but not least you could till it under the soil and increase the nitrogen content.

To pick just the blossom, slip the stem between your first two fingers  so you are cupping the first set of leaves and the blossom. Hold on to it with your thumb and pull up and it pops off rather easily.They were pretty plentiful and in just a short while we had gathered a small bucket that measures almost a gallon.

First thing I did was wash them, drained them in a colander and laid them out in a single layer on a towel the dry off a bit. I separated the blossom and the leaves and put them on different cookie sheets and gave them more time to dry. Before I quit for the day, I cut a round piece of parchment paper and laid a single layer of greens on it. I set my microwave to 5 minutes @ 40 % power  and when I took them out they were dry. After the first plate, you can reduce the time to 4 minutes @ 40% power. I divided it into 6 load and the plate got rather hot.

Washing the Clover

 
 I swished the clover around in the water to get the dust to drop to the bottom of the sink

After Draining in the Colander, Drying on a Towel in the Sink

I had towels in both sinks and a large one on the counter to accommodate the amount of Red Clover we gathered.

Clover Blossoms

I had a more than enough to fill a full cookie sheet.

Leaves and Stems from the Red Clover

Ready to dry the leaves and stems.

One Load Ready to go into the Microwave on Parchment

Five minutes @ 40% power for the first load and Four minutes @ 40% for every load after that. Once I had them all dried, this is how they looked:

Dried Clover Leaves

I spread the Blossoms out on a cookie sheet and left them to dry over night.

I plan is to use them for tea, infusions, and grind up some of the leaves to make a flour. While I can’t eliminate White and Wheat Flours with Red Clover Flour, and can at least lower the amount I am using. Once I get the blossoms completely dried, I will be able to store them in a good sealing jar or container for my use when I need it.

I’m glad for the variety you can find in nature.

I will let you know if I do anything interesting with this foraged and stored item.

Come and visit again,

Jan

Let me know what you know about Red Clover. I would be very interested to hear from someone who has already experience using Red Clover.

Could you tell me any special concoctions you have made with it.

Journey Along the Garden Path

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