Eat the weeds
Green Dean from Eat the Weeds has some you tube video’s on wildcrafting edible wild food.
This one is on Sassafras.
Sassafras is very prevalent in New England and grows well in the deciduous forests there. (Be aware that sassafras is now banned by the FDA and also by the DEA) It is a natural, low glycemic sweetener, perfect for diabetics. It is much better than aspartame and as good as Stevia. Last fall I, and a good friend of mine, harvested quite a bit of sassafras bark in one short afternoon, enough for a whole year. Harvesting in the fall as the leaves are just starting to turn, we harvest the twig ends with no buds as this will not harm or damage the tree in anyway. Some use only the root bark but the twig ends also contain the same nutrients.
I use the sassafras tea as a sweetener and as a flavoring when cooking. I make the tea by boiling the twigs for 20 minutes in 32 oz. distilled water. I then strain off the liquid, return the tea to the heat and reduce the volume by half. I keep sassafras tea for storage by adding 2 TBS honey and 1 oz. of brandy, this will allow me to keep it quite nicely for up to a year without refrigeration. My friend Lorraine is diabetic and can’t use honey or substitute Molasses so once she makes her tea, she then proceeds to “Can” the tea in Mason jars in a hot water bath for long term storage or for use later in recipes.
Sassafras is used medicinally, usually blended with other herbs and also just as a beverage. For example, take equal parts Sassafras and Burdock root, make into a tea and use as an agent to soothe the endocrine system. This blend is very soothing to balance the Pineal, Pituitary and adrenal glands.
Sassafras is very pleasant to drink. It was used historically to produce the flavoring in Root Beer. For centuries, Sassafras has been used in French cooking.
I have used Sassafras mostly as a tea/ decoction. But I also have tried the National Drink from the Azores Islands as an after dinner cordial. The Sassafras is fermented with Molasses, making it very sweet and very strong (about 100 proof).
Another interesting fun fact about Sassafras is it seems that some biting insects do NOT like the smell of Sassafras (including Mosquitoes, Lice and even Bed Bugs). It is made into an effective mosquito repellant by bruising a sassafras leaf, rolling it tightly in your hands then leaving it rolled up and tucked behind both ears. Mosquitoes will buzz around but not light on you. Good thing to know if you’re out and about in Mosquito country. It also helps to rub the bruised leaf on all exposed skin and clothing to spread the oil from the leaves onto yourself for further protection.
For more info on Sassafras and recipe’s visit this website: SouthernAngel