Yerba Santa Raw Chocolates, Wild Dolmas and Black Cap Raspberries

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June 2012

1 CA Bay Ice Cream: I enjoyed another taste of the CA Bay ice cream for dessert. It is so delicious. I hope Treats in Nevada City will keep making it for the community to try.

2 Wild Grape Leaves: I collected palm-sized grape leaves to use for a new Wild Dolma recipe. See entry on 6/10/12.

3 Yerba Santa Raw Chocolates

  • 1 c raw cacao butter
  • 1/2-1 c raw cacao powder
  • 1/4-1/2 c powdered, dried yerba santa leaves
  • 1/4 c raw, local honey
  • sea salt to taste
  • silicon molds


  1. Melt cacao butter in the sun or a saucepan on low heat.
  2. Add cacao powder and stir until smooth.
  3. Slowly stir in yerba santa powder.
  4. Add raw honey and sea salt.
  5. Spoon into silicon molds and chill for at least an hour.
  6. Remove and serve. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Use more or less honey depending on desired sweetness.

[Recipe submitted by Anna Werderitsch, L.Ac.,]


4 Manzanita Doug Fir Cider: Simmer crushed manzanita berries for 20 minutes. Add Doug Fir tips for Vitamin C and let steep for 10 more minutes. Strain and keep refrigerated for a delicious, summertime beverage.

Wild Lilac (Ceanothus integerrimus)

5 Wild Lilac Tea. I steeped dried Ceanothus integerrimus leaves in a cup of water for 3 minutes for an antioxidant, wake-up tea.



coyote mint (Monardella villosa)

6 Coyote Mint: I collected this fragrant and beautiful flower today for bug spray. Bring water to a boil and steep overnight with mugwort.



Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

7 Mullein: I collected the leaves and flowers and steeped in oil with chopped garlic for ear infections.

8 CA Bay Cleaner: Today I collected fresh California Bay leaves and steeped overnight in hot water for a cleaner that works for my counters, floors and helps keep away bugs.

Tom Killion’s Art of Place Workshop

9 Tom Killion Art Workshop: Created art of this place as a fundraiser for Yuba Watershed Institute. Served manzanita cider to participants. See his art at the Mowen Solinsky Gallery, Nevada City.



10 Wild Grape Leaf Dolmas


12 wild Grape leaves, palm-sized


1 1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice (or pre-cooked brown rice)

juice of one lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp freshly ground coriander

2 tsp cumin

1 tbsp olive oil


1.    Wash the grape leaves and trim off any stem.

2.    Bring a pot of water to a boil and add leaves, 5 at a time.

3.    Boil leaves for minute and then turn over and simmer for another minute.

4.    Strain immediately in a colander.

5.    Mix together filling ingredients.

6.    Fill and roll up the grape leaves, placing them tightly together in an oiled frying pan.

7.    Cover them with vegetable or chicken broth and weigh down the dolmas with a plate.

8.    Simmer slowly until the broth is gone and serve immediately or chill before serving.

[Recipe submitted by Holly Tornheim,]

Cattail Hearts

11 Cattail Hearts: These delicious natives are good sliced raw on salads or made into soup.

Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana)

12 Mugwort: I collected Mugwort today and dried for bug spray.

13 Yerba Santa: Collected leaves and dried for tea to fight congestion.

14 Yerba Santa collection and drying.

15 CA Poppy: I collected flowers and the upper part of the plant from my backyard to make a relaxation tincture. To make a tincture for stress-relief, use a quart mason jar to soak the upper parts of 5-6 plants (leaving the roots in the ground) in 70 proof alcohol. Allow to sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily to help extract the medicinal compounds. It is approved in Canada for use as a mild sedative and the Pomo Indians used it as a sedative for babies.

Manzanita Berries (Arctostaphylos viscida)

16 Manzanita Sugar: I’m still using my last year’s supply. The berries are green on the bush now and look like they will be ready to harvest in about a month.  I added to my granola this morning.

17 Bug Away: This is my summer savior, with Mugwort and Coyote Mint, so I can enjoy gardening at dusk!

18 Pearly Everlasting: Harvested flowers and dried for future use in eye conditions. Pearly Everlasting makes beautiful dried flower arrangements to enjoy around the home until you need to use them for tea.

Pearly Everlasting Tea (steeping)

19 Pearly Everlasting: Made tea to help prevent eye infection.

20 Poison Oak Away: I gathered oak bark and manzanita leaf to use in keeping away poison oak. See 6/24/12 for recipe.

21 Coyote Mint: I collected flowering Coyote Mint today to use in my Bug Away spray. Bring water to a boil and steep overnight with Mugwort.


Black Cap Raspberry (Rubus leucodermis)

22 Black Cap Raspberry I’m thrilled because I discovered a large patch of these delicious native berries today. The name is accurate…when they are ripe they turn black and taste even better than our commercially popular, non-native red raspberry. I’ve tried planting this delicious native berry and hope that I’ll have an abundant backyard supply next summer.

23 Manzanita Sugar & Dried Toyon Berries: I added our antioxidant-rich dried berries to my oatmeal this morning.

24 Poison Oak Away: Bring water to a boil and simmer Oak bark for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and add manzanita leaves and ceanothus leaves and flowers. Steep overnight and strain into spray bottle. Use at first exposure to poison oak and early stages of skin rash.

25 Black Cap Raspberries: I collected more today to enjoy with my morning fruit. Yum!

26 Spicebush: I gathered the leaves of this beautifully-fragrant native that grows in moist, shaded areas. I keep hoping to find a way to enjoy the smell and taste in recipes. Send me ideas if you have any!

Gumweed (Grindelia hirsutula)

27 Grindelia: I love this forgotten, unobtrusive beauty. It is also called gumweed and is an effective treatment internally for upper respiratory problems and was officially listed in the US Pharmacopoeia as a remedy for asthma and bronchitis. Collect the flowers now for use as a tea or tincture. The tincture is also useful externally for poison oak rashes.

28 Mullein I collected more of this distinctive, non-native to make into a tincture, useful for soothing throats with winter colds. Mullein is safe for use for children and adults as a lung tonic.

29 Nettle tea: I love this nourishing tea. I steep dried leaves for 5 minutes and then add milk.

30 CA Bay Cleaner: This is my essential daily housecleaner for floors, counters and keeping away ants. Steep California Bay leaves overnight in a mason jar and strain into an empty spray bottle. If you don’t have access to Bay leaves, the cleaner is available at California Organics and Briarpatch.