One of the easiest forageable plants, pineappleweed, also known as wild chamomile is a wonderful and refreshing ingredient for summer. You can usually find these in fields, on paths or trails. One could identify pineappleweed by its distinct cone shape and finely dissected leaves. They are a bright, yellowish-green, and lack petals, unlike farm grown chamomile. The smell and taste are very similar to chamomile, but you get a lovely pineapple aftertaste. A very fitting name for this plant indeed. Pineappleweed is known for its medicinal properties such as treating colds, upset stomachs and is also a mild sedative. You can dry the blossoms to use in tea for winter or make it fresh! You can also use the leaves for salad but are best before they bloom as they can take on a bitter taste.
One of my favorite things to do is forage with my son, who is just getting to the age where he likes to help his mama pick. Our family property stretches down an old military runway which has been taken over by strawberries, raspberries & other delicious treats such as pineappleweed. I love to make a nice, hot tea with the blossoms, while my little one prefers it cold with a teaspoon of honey mixed in. I spend hours with my boy picking (and eating!) our finds and that is where I feel most content. When I harvest pineappleweed, I pluck the tops off easily with my thumb leaving all the leaves behind. They taste sweet raw and are a nice little snack while you pick. Below I will share how I make this herbal tea.
1 cup of water
2 tbsp. pineappleweed blossoms
1 tsp honey (optional)
Heat water in a pan, bringing to a boil. Pour over blossoms and steep for 5 minutes, then strain. You can then add honey and enjoy hot or add some ice and you’ll have a refreshing cold drink!