Boreal Bounty

Bev Gray has spent years studying and working with the food and health uses of berries, blossoms, roots and leaves that grow in the Yukon boreal forests.

Now she shares generous doses of her knowledge in her newly published The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North – 440 pages of technical, personal, medicinal and culinary information packed into a gorgeously illustrated reference book.

The book launches Monday, June 20 at the Old Fire Hall. Gray says the event will include readings, a discussion by editor Nadine Pederson (of North Vancouver’s Black Swan Services) about how a book containing this breadth of information was developed.

And of course there will be delicious snacks.

Gray’s nephew, a Red Seal chef, is flying up from Saskatchewan to create tasty bites from the book’s recipes, such as chickweed garlic dip with veggies, dandelion root ice cream, cranberry mint muffins. Who said vitamins and mouth-watering goodness can’t coexist?

There will also be an elixir bar, serving things like dandelion root coffee and chai, and different teas gathered in the southern Yukon – mint, rosehip – and a chickweed shooter.

A what? “I always say, move over wheatgrass,” says Gray, who also owns and makes products for the Aroma Borealis Herb Shop.

“A chickweed shooter is quite smooth. It’s like grass, very green tasting.”

Turning to the appropriate section in the Boreal Herbal, Gray reads the list of what chickweed is good for. Turns out it’s high in vitamins C and A, contains robust amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium, and is great for the stomach, among other benefits.

“When I think about what this book really is, I think it’s just a little reminder to people that there is just so much abundance in the boreal forest,” says Gray.

The launch starts at 5:00. Info: 667-HERB.

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