I have been on a mission over the past few years to rely less on outside sources like Walmart for products that we use on a daily basis in our home and on our farm. We 1. raise livestock for meat and milk 2. keep bees for honey 3. grow produce for eating fresh and preserving 4. replaced paper towels with flour sack towels 5. use food scraps for compost 6. make all of our own cleaning supplies… The list of steps toward resourcefulness and self-reliance goes on and on.
The most recent attempt to save money and to provide for ourselves came in the form of foraging and preserving weeds, flowers, and grasses. I have dried rose petals for bath & body products, dandelions for jelly and tea, purple dead nettle for tea and tinctures, and white clover for tea, soap, and jelly. The easiest of these to utilize is probably the white clover, although they are all fairly simple to gather and use. If you are a beginner at using “weeds” and herbs, then foraging and preserving white clover is the place to start!
Foraging and Preserving White Clover Blossoms
White clover (Trifolium repens) is often viewed as an invasive and unwanted weed, but it is actually very useful as an ingredient in food and drinks, in natural medicine, and in pollination. You can find white clover growing wild, you can plant White Clover Seeds in patches around your yard, or you can replace your grassy lawn with clover.
We plant clover across our pastures to feed the cattle and the bees. Because we plant our clover via airplane, plenty of seeds make their way to our yard so we have wild and cultivated clover. Foraging and preserving clover blossoms, no matter how they came to be, isn’t complicated. Follow these steps and you will add another notch to your imaginary homesteading belt.
*White clover leaves can be foraged and preserved similarly to the blossoms. Use the raw leaves in salads or dehydrate them for later use.
STEP 1: GATHER
Choose clover in an area that hasn’t been sprayed and that isn’t used as a pet potty spot. Take a little basket, bag, or a gathering apron to carry your foraged clover blossoms in. You can pull the clover from the stem of snip the blossom off with a pair of scissors. I prefer to snip the blossom off. If you forage with the stem attached, you will just have to remove it later.
Foraging is so much fun for children. They have a blast searching for the correct plants in the yard and gathering them into their baskets. Just give your kiddos a basket, show them which plant to look for, and let them go! If your children pick buttercups along with the clover (mine picked a ton!), be sure to toss them because buttercups are toxic when ingested. Also, be sure to take pictures because what is cuter than Supergirl and Luke Skywalker picking flowers/weeds/herbs together?
STEP 2: RINSE
Give the clover a good rinse to remove any bugs that might be hanging around. You can rinse the blossoms in a strainer or in a bowl, just be gentle with them so they don’t rip apart.
STEP 3: DRY
Place the rinsed white clover blossoms on a flour sack towel or a dish towel and gently pat them dry.
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STEP 4: DEHYDRATE
Once they are dry, you can start the preservation process. Dehydrating is the best way to preserve white clover blossoms. You can dehydrate clover by putting the blossoms into an electric dehydrator, placing them on a baking rack in a sunny spot outside, tying them in bundles to hang dry (you will need to leave the stems attached when gathering if you use this option), or by using a solar oven.
I used my All-American Sun Oven to dehydrate the clover. This method is fast and efficient. Just place a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet or rack and put it into the Sun Oven. Pour the rinsed and dried clover blossoms on top of the parchment paper, close the lid, open the reflectors, and let the oven do its work. Make sure that the Sun Oven has a shadow behind it at all times for best results.
STEP 5: STORE
Dried white clover blossoms can be stored in zip lock bags or mason jars. Mason jars are more air tight than baggies so the clover will last longer if you choose this option.
How to Use White Clover
Spread this white clover jelly on toast for a yummy breakfast!
Drink this refreshing White Clover Iced Tea as a twist to a summertime staple.
Hot Clover Tea can be substituted for store bought herbal teas. Use the White Clover Iced Tea Recipe above, but don’t add the ice 🙂
Enjoy your foraged clover and locally picked strawberries in this sweet treat!
Make your own “honey” using a mix of red and white clover blossoms.
Enjoy this creamy healing pudding as a snack or a light dessert.
Did you know that you can make flour out of clover? You can use this flour to make just about anything that you use wheat flour for.
Clover has many medicinal properties… anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and blood cleansing to name a few. Read more about them in this post.
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