The red clover plant (Trifolium pratense) is one of those weeds that most of us see in our lawns, gardens, and parks. Its purplish flowers stretch up from the ground just begging us to pay attention.
Red clover benefits the body in a number of different ways, making it the perfect wild plant to harvest and use in our homes.
How to Harvest Red Clover
Before harvesting do make 100% sure of your identification! Don’t ingest until you are certain.
Pick the flowers in the spring and summer for a sweeter flavor. The fall blossoms are still edible and useful, just not usually as sweet.
Like most herbs, harvest red clover blossoms early in the day when the dew has dried.
Cut fully open blossoms that are brightly colored, avoid browned flowers.
Leave a small bit of stem for drying purposes.
Drying Red Clover
Spread the blossoms out onto dehydration trays or wire racks. I usually just leave the trays sitting in the dehydrator without turning it on. Keep them out of direct sunlight while they dehydrate.
When the flowers are completely dry and crispy, cut the flowers from the stems, place them in an airtight container and label the jar.
How to Make Red Clover Tea
Because it does have a natural sweetness, red clover makes a delicious and medicinal tea.
Simply pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 Tablespoon dried red clover blossoms (or 3 Tablespoons Fresh). Let steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten if desired, then strain and enjoy.
Make big batches and refrigerate for refreshing and nourishing iced tea all summer long.
Red Clover Blossom Benefits
Internally and most commonly red clover blossoms are used to treat menopausal systems like hot flashes. This can be done by drinking tea or taking a tincture for a more concentrated dose.
Red clover is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C making it good as a bone building tea.
Because it is safe for children, it is also often used to help soothe children’s coughs.
Externally, it has been traditionally used to soothe skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It makes an excellent skin softening salve. Simply make an infused red clover oil to take advantage of these benefits.
It also makes a great balm for soothing chapped lips.
Who Should Avoid Red Clover
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take red clover because of the natural phytoestrogens found in the plant. There are some blood thinning properties to red clover so hemophiliacs and folks on blood thinners should avoid it as well.
As always, talk to your health care practitioner or pharmacist to avoid drug interactions, etc.
Eating Red Clover
The flowers do have a lovely flavor and can easily be incorporated into your spring and summer recipes. Consider tossing some blossoms into your salads or smoothies.
Mix it with couscous for a wild and delicious Tabbouleh.
The blossoms also make for a beautifully colored floral jelly.
Substitute the red clover for the white clover in these cookies and proceed for a delicious, floral dessert.