You may have noticed red clover as pink puffy flowers growing in your yard or in nearby fields this time of year. They vary in size from half inch to full inch in diameter. They are accompanied by compound leaves consisting of three petals that have a chevron or “V” shaped line of a lighter shade of green. This characteristic line is shared with other edible clovers.
The stalks, leaves, and flowers are all edible but I like the flowers best as they are slightly sweet when eaten raw. The leaves can be eaten raw as well and are one of few protein sources among foraged plants. Care should be taken to limit consumption of the raw plants as a large quantity can cause stomach upset and bloating. To diminish this effect they can be boiled. Boiling will lessen the nutrition of the plants but the water will contain what has leeched out.
On the medicinal side, red clover has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments and is said to help prevent cancer, minimize PMS symptoms, ease respiratory problems, and treats skin conditions. It is known as a blood purifier and is full of vitamins.
The growing season starts mid-May and continues through September or longer. It has been called a two-year perennial plant. when harvesting this or any other plant be sure not to pick all of the blossoms but eave some for future propagation.