Foraging

Elderberry Oxymel

On these damp and cloudy days, I feel Autumn’s presence strongly. These days feel just right for concocting healing oxymels for the winter months ahead.

The name oxymel comes from the Greek word ‘oxymeli’ meaning acid and honey. It is a traditional herbal extraction, using a vinegar and honey to extract and preserve the potent goodness from an array of plants, that can then be taken as a medicine.

Not only do you get the goodness of the plants you are infusing, but you also get the healing properties of apple cider vinegar and the honey themselves. I have seen the honey substituted for maple syrup for a vegan recipe too.

Our first oxymel of the year was made with some very early but ripe foraged elderberries. They are packed full of vitamin C and have a wealth of properties that support the immune system, helping ease coughs throughout the winter months. We also teamed our elderberries with anti-viral herbs and spices, including fresh thyme, sage, grated ginger and dried elderflowers, tumeric and cloves, but these could be substituted for what herbs and spices you have available.

We simmered about 3 cups of elderberries with a cup of water and our herbs and spices gently to release the juice from the berries. After around 5 – 10 minutes we strained the juice through a sieve, ensuring that we pressed all of the pulp to get as much juice as possible out of the berries, before allowing it to cool. We then mixed 1 part juice with roughly 1 part raw apple cider vinegar and 1 part raw honey and bottled. The ratio of honey can be adjusted if you would prefer a sweeter taste.


Foraging, Wheel of the Year

Lammas Tea Blend

We hope that you have been able to find some time and space to connect with the new season of Lammas – also thought of as high Summer or the birth of Autumn.

One of the ways I like to connect to a new season is by creating a tea blend that seems to hold the energy of the season in the plants that I blend.

In celebration of Lammas and the abundance of edible & medicinal plants available at this time of year, we created this vibrant and flower filled mix that we enjoyed drinking in our garden around a fire last night. It was not only visually pleasing but delicious too!

Botanicals, Foraging

Nutritious Nasturtiums

We were gifted some lovely Nasturtium plants early in the season which we planted up in our herb garden. We are now greeted each morning with a wealth of the most vibrant orange flowers. Nasturtiums have been so easy to grow, requiring very little care. They are an excellent companion plant drawing aphids away from other more delicate plants.

The whole of the Nasturtium plant is edible adding a watercress-like pepperiness to dishes. We have particularly enjoyed topping soups and salads with flowers and leaves.

Nasturtiums have strong antibiotic properties helping to increase resistance to bacterial infections. They are extremely rich in Vitamin C and Iron, Manganese, Flavonoids and Beta Carotene all of which help support a healthy immune system.

Aswell as enjoying them fresh, we have started to gather some leaves and flowers to dry out to use in supportive tea blends throughout the Winter.