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Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace)
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Wild carrot develops a circular cluster of delicate feathery leaves during its first season of growth. The following year a hairy flower stalk approximately one meter tall emerges from the central base of leaves. It is crowned with flat topped clusters of white lacey blossoms that usually have a dark purple floret in the center. The edible tap root is white and smells like a carrot, ranging from 5-20 centimeters long. The edible leaves also have a flavor and scent similar to carrot. Wild carrot root is chewier and stronger flavored than conventional carrots, and is best when collected late fall through spring.
Wild carrot is available summer through fall. Its root is available year-round.
Wild carrot is also commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace or Bird’s Nest. It is a biennial botanically classified as Daucus carota, and a member of the Parsley Family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae). The plant is entirely edible and has strong ties to herbal medicine, some even claim it to be an aphrodisiac. When foraging Wild Carrot be sure that you are confident in its identification, as it has poisonous look-a-likes. Wild carrot has hairy stems and grows in dry fields, whereas Water Hemlock, one of the deadliest plants of North America, is smooth-stemmed and grows in swamps.
Wild carrot seeds are a diuretic and a stimulant, and the roots are used as a treatment for jaundice and threadworms. The tap root lacks any orange pigmentation and therefor is void of beta-carotene.
The roots of Wild carrot are edible and best when cooked, as they are thin and stringy when raw. The roots may even be dried, roasted and ground into a powder for a coffee substitute. The flowers are also a culinary treat. They may be fried as a whole cluster, steeped for an herbal tea or used to aromatize simple syrups and vinegars. The leaves are also edible and offer a delicious herbal carrot flavor to stocks and soups. Wild carrot seeds are very aromatic and may be dried and used as a spice.
The Mohegan Indians steeped the flowers into a tea as a diabetes treatment. The early English claimed that the tiny, purple, central flowers were not only effective against diabetes but also an aphrodisiac. Queen Anne of England wore a lacy headdress which some people thought resembled the delicate flower cluster of Wild carrot, giving it its more poetic name, Queen Anne's lace.
Wild carrot originated in Europe and western Asia and now grows throughout most of North America. Wild carrot grows in rocky soil, sand and clay. It thrives in full-sun to partial shade and is commonly found in overgrown fields and disturbed areas.
Recipes that include Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace). One is easiest, three is harder.
|Eat the Weeds||Queen Anne's Lace Jelly|
|Its Not the Destination||Queen Anne's Lace Jelly|