What’s cooking?

BlackberriesAfter my autumn forage last week, I thought I would share some of the lovely remedies I’d made from the bountiful supplies we gathered from the hedgerow.

Some of the ‘weeds’ are still drying in the airing cupboard, but that didn’t stop me!  The berries were the most pressing (no pun intended) as I wanted to use them before they went past their best.I soaked the blackberries in white wine vinegar for a couple of days, mashed, strained and then boiled the juice up with some lovely runny honey to make a ‘Bramble Oxymel’.  This one was for me though, not the dogs, as its great for sore throats.  It’s like a bitter sweet syrup and its really soothing.

The rosehips got slightly more complex treatment- a decoction.  Firstly they were boiled up with three times their volume of water for about an hour, until the water had almost all gone, and then the hard work started, by mashing them and then passing the pulp though a sieve.  Sounds easy until you realised that the hips have a really big stone in the centre (a bit like an avocado), and so it’s quite hard to get all the flesh off!

Once they were all done, I spread the pulp out on a baking sheet and dried it on a really low heat in the oven for a few hours.  What you get left with is the dehydrated pulp that we call ‘Rosehip Leather’.  The dogs really like this one and it’s good if you have heart problems.

The cleavers were chopped up finely and I squeezed the juice out of them through a muslin square.  The resulting liquid has a very ‘distinct’ smell (which is allegedly like cut grass but I don’t get that!), but is good for urinary issues.

I’ve also got a dandelion infused oil on the brew, and a gel made from Yarrow essential oil which Zen is really liking at the moment.

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