Michigan Maple Fleur de Sel Caramels  What’s more delicious that home-boiled maple syrup fresh from the sugar shack? A fleur de sel caramel made with said maple syrup, of course! These classic French-style caramels are styled similarly to a Fleur de Sel caramel. The use of maple syrup in lieu of the commonly-used corn syrup …

You know the scene. It’s 4 a.m. You wake up, chilled and feverish. In denial, you toss and turn, hoping that you haven’t caught that cold going around the office. Instead of ignoring the symptoms, reach for this homemade elderberry elixir. Medical research has shown that taking an elderberry-based tincture within the first 48 hours …

I remember growing up in my mother’s garden: Tall stalks of corn, overgrown zucchini bushes, large heads of cabbages — all part of the bounty grown for our dinner table. My mother canned and made preserves from our seasonal bounty, but we also had wild foods as part of our seasonal harvests. The wild grapes …

The Delectable Lilac. Gather the lilacs blossoms and bring them into the kitchen, preserving their fragrance for use in drinks, confections, and desserts. The lilac’s memorable springtime scent can be captured in an aromatic simple syrup or lilac jelly. The lilac syrup can be used in refreshing cocktail recipes, lemonades, and soda spritzers.

The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is much more than a weed — it is a healthful salad green and important herbal medicine. As a food, dandelion should be included at the dinner table. Bitter greens such as dandelion help the stomach in digestion by increasing bile production. It’s a good spring habit to add handfuls of …

“Midwest Medicinal Plants” “Midwest Medicinal Plants” (Timber Press, OR) is available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Garlic Mustard: An Edible, Bitter Green Dandelion, parsley, arugula, romaine, radicchio, endive are all delicious, bitter greens of springtime that make perfect addition to salads!  Why do bitter flavors matter? Bitter flavors of plants, while having a negative connotation to many, may be one of the keys to our wellness.  Bitter flavors help stimulate digestion, bile …

Infused in cold water overnight, the sumac berries of Rhus glabra and Rhus typhina make a great-tasting, refreshing sour and citrus-like beverage that is delicious on its own or simply sweetened with honey and garnished with lavender for an extra herbal flavor.

Drip. Drip. Drip. That’s the sound you hear of the maple tree’s sap dripping into buckets. Did you know that it takes up to 60 gallons of sap to produce just ONE gallon of maple syrup. Consider that next time you are incredulous over the price of real maple syrup in the market — most commercial …

Old Man Winter is upon us and rough lips, chapped cheeks and split cuticles are all signs that the dryness of winter months has gotten under our skin – literally. I love winter.  As a runner and skier, the cold doesn’t keep me inside. BUT, the time outside in the dry cold can wreck havoc …