What to do with all of that delightful Mint!

 By Bobbi Henkel - WRHS Garden Chair

Untitled design - 2020-10-07T104747.965

Peppermint is one of the easiest to grow and most versatile of the common kitchen herbs.  It gives back to your effort with its lovely green appearance and pretty little tufts of terminal racemes of flower spikes.   But, the fragrance and the taste potential give its most sought after delights.

Ease of growing:   Mint grows in full or partial sun, and can easily be started in pots on your patio, or placed into soil directly in places where you wouldn’t care if it spreads like wildfire.

It attracts pollinators and grows in lousy clay soil like my Ohio backyard,  but even better in some cultivated lovely loamy humus.  Even Miracle Grow.  Don’t let it dry out.  It loves moisture and is a frost-hardy perennial in zones 3-12.   And, if you’re worried and want it to produce even longer, bring it into your garage or porch over the winter.  My pots stay outdoors in Northern Ohio Winters and are about 5 years old so far.

Untitled design - 2020-10-07T104955.210

Fresh cut for flower bouquets:  The leaves are a pretty deep green growing off square stems that hold their shape easily.   You can mix them into black eyed Susans  and you have a sensual treat because of the fragrance and the colors.   The blooms appear at the terminus of the stems in little tufts of white or light pink or lavender.

Untitled design - 2020-10-07T104836.448

To use Peppermint freshly picked:  Choose small tender bright green leaves and pick whole stems.  Wash it under cold water and pat it dry with a towel.

Add a sprig to garnish a glass of lemonade or iced tea

Add small leaves to fruit salads:  cantaloupe, watermelon, berries with a squirt of lemon over them all.  Chill and serve. Also? Why don't you mix up fresh Arnold Palmers:  1/2 lemonade with 1/2 cold tea and add 2 tablespoons of minced fresh peppermint.    Allow to stand for an hour then strain and serve over ice. This allows a subtle hint of mint.   Longer steeping yields stronger flavor.

Freeze finely chopped peppermint (2 tsps) into ice cube tray compartments.  Add water or lemonade to fill the cube compartments and freeze.  Use the cubes in beverages immediately or up to two months later if kept in plastic bags in the freezer.  You are ready for mojitos anytime  or you can add them to spice up steamed veggies:  baby carrots, new potatoes are the ones I do with a little butter and lemon or lime juice.

 Another of my favorite uses for chopped peppermint is to combine it with parsley, bulgur wheat and lemon juice to make your own tabbouleh salads

Untitled design - 2020-10-07T104928.726

Dried:   wash your fresh peppermint under cold water and pat it dry.  Then allow it to dry for a few days in a warm dry not at all humid place.  You can hang several stems upside down in paper bags for a few days until the leaves are crispy.

Add it to summer beverages and allow to sit overnight.  Strain, and serve over ice.  Dried mint is stronger than fresh so this makes a minty lemonade for those of us who love that menthol flavor in tea or ginger ale or lemonade. 

Slip a few leaves into your facial mask for a subtle pleasant minty lift that distracts you from thoughts of pandemics.

Steep dried mint into boiling water and add honey for a soothing mint tea great for sore throats.

Make the dried leaves into a “Mint Potpourri” and house them in little fabric pockets to ward off spiders and add fragrance to closets or drawers.

Untitled design - 2020-10-07T105337.909

Mint Jelly: This recipe from Simply Recipes is one of or favorites because it uses tart Granny Smith Apples as its base so it needs no added pectin! This delicious jelly will always add a little zip to your roast lamb, fish dishes, or chicken.

The  oils in mints are strongest when picked from mid summer leaves when the plants are receiving 14 hours of sunshine a day.   Pinch off blooms to retain tenderness in new leaves and bushier plants.   Older tougher leaves are stronger tasting and less pleasant, but still make great dried preparations for potpourri’s that are said to repel spiders.

Growing mints in your garden allows a fragrant green colony of plants that are pleasant to humans but not to deer, squirrels, mice, or ants.    If you don’t mind their love of life and desire to take over the adjacent spaces, they are terrific 2 to 3 foot high covers serving to hide in front of air conditioner boxes.   If you mind their spreading tendencies, sink pots into the soil that impede the roots from trespassing beyond the container limits.  I just create “peppermint pots” that offer free aromatherapy when I water them in the evening.

Sigh.   Bliss, bliss. 

Love,

Bobbi 

 

We are still in the middle of our month of fundraising, and if you would care to support our “No Fair Herb Fair” with a tax exempt donation of any size it will always be greatly appreciated.
Through your donations, The Western Reserve Herb Society is preserving our legacy of expanding and sharing knowledge of these wonderful plants and their impact on our lives, our culture, and our environment.
To make a donation in honor of the “No Fair Herb Fair!” please go to https://www.westernreserveherbsociety.org/support-our.../
Thank you so much!

 

 


St. Hildegard of Bingen, the medieval herbalist! 

By Shanon Sterringer ~ WRHS Member

Ph.D., D.Min, MA Theology, MA Ministry, BA
Ordained Priest, GSC
28958604_1305092429592591_6233557259574575104_o

It is hard to believe it has been almost a year since I had the privilege of presenting Hildegard the Medieval Herbalist at one of the monthly WRHS meetings.  Many of you are familiar with this amazing woman who practiced healing, not only through the use of foods and herbs, but precious gemstones.  Her work Physica serves as an encyclopedia for the use of many natural elements for holistic health and well-being.  She sees their healing properties existing through her theological understanding of viriditas (greening power) which she believed was the life-source that came from our Creator Source.  Viriditas animates and sustains all that is alive.

119732238_2848817461886739_938376626784666237_n

St. Hildegard of Bingen describes amethyst in her work, Physica in the following way: “Amethyst develops when the sun shows its circle, as though it was crowned, which it does when it prefigures some change in the vestment of the Lord, in the Church.  Amethyst grows as a gum, and so there are many of them.  It is hot and fiery and a bit airy, since the air is a bit cool when the sun shows its circle.” She goes on to describe how to use it medicinally.  For Hildegard, God’s providence permeates every particle of the created world and therefore everything in nature has an ordered purposed.  Human beings are a part of the divine order and therefore will find benefit in mind, body and spirit from the natural world.

IMG-7654

One herb that is of particular interest to Hildegard, and Hildegard followers today, is fennel.  In her work she recorded almost two full pages on fennel including the following: “In whatever way it is eaten, it makes a person happy and brings a gentle heat and good perspiration, and make for good digestion… Eating fennel or its seeds every day diminishes bad phlegm and decaying matter, keeps bad breath in check and makes one’s eyes see clearly, by its good heat and beneficial powers.”  Fennel tea and seeds are often consumed today following meals to aid in the digestive process. 

This is a photo from the back of the Hildegard Haus in Fairport Harbor (where I live and pastor a community of faith).  Growing alongside of the church building is a beautiful crop of fennel.  Last year I worked in the dye garden and in the fall, I was invited to take a handful of fennel seeds from one of the plants.  This small handful of seeds produced an abundant crop here in Fairport Harbor. It is so beautiful, in part because it captures Hildegard’s charism and the spirit of the Western Reserve Herb Society.  While I have truly missed being at the WRHS garden this year, I feel gratitude each day as I walk out into the courtyard at the Hildegard Haus to visit the fennel plants. 

119684571_2846814212087064_4647987445127667702_n

Another popular Hildegard themed treat is her recipe for “Cookies of Joy” or sometimes referred to as “Nerve Cookies” because they are meant to calm one’s nerves by bringing joy.  These cookies are often made from spelt flour (one of Hildegard’s preferred grains) and include her “Spices of Joy” mixture – cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.  In Physica, she wrote: “Take some nutmeg and an equal weight of cinnamon and a bit of cloves and pulverize them.  Then make small cakes with this and fine whole wheat flour (or spelt) and water.  Eat them often.  It will calm all bitterness of the heart and mind, open your heart and impaired senses, and make your mind cheerful.”  There are many recipes circulating for these cookies and when I have hosted retreats or events, many different versions often appear on the buffet table.  Some very unique, and all delicious!  A recipe is included at the end of this blog post, but I encourage you to play with it and make it your own!

Hildegard of Bingen died on September 17, 1179 and so her feast day is celebrated each year in her memory and honor.  We not only celebrate to remember who she was and what she did in 12th century Germany, but to be inspired to bring some of the charism of this remarkable woman, a German Benedictine Nun and Mystic, into our world today.  She has much to teach us about the created world, including the rich treasures of plants, trees, herbs, precious stones and foods.  Her wisdom reaches far beyond this blog post, but for now we can start by kicking back with a cup of fennel tea and a cookie of joy - actually in her book, Hildegard says to eat five or six of them each day!  

119744733_2848984918536660_4872124868863757034_n

Above is a photo of me from our Hildegard “feast” we celebrated as the culmination of a 12-day international virtual pilgrimage with participants from all over the world.  We started in Fairport Harbor each day and then traveled to Germany and experienced the viriditas (greening power) of Hildegard’s homeland through her art, music, preaching and of course, her use of herbs, plants and precious stones. As you can see on the table in front of me, I celebrated with spelt, chestnuts, fennel tea and cookies of joy!  May this season of harvest be overflowing with viridity!

In her book, From Saint Hildegard’s Kitchen: Foods of Health, Foods of Joy,  Jany Fournier-Rosset includes the following recipe:

Cookies That Bring Joy

 12 Tbsps+1tsp butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

4 egg yolks

2 ½ cups spelt flour

1 tsp salt

2 rounded tbsps “Spices of Joy”

Melt the butter under low heat, add the sugar, honey, and egg yolks, beating lightly.  Add the flour and salt, combine gently.  Refrigerate this cookie dough after mixing, for at least one hour.  Remove from refrigerator.  Roll out onto a floured surface, cut with a cookie cutter. Bake on a baking sheet at 400 F for 10-15 minutes until golden, watching closely.


Tinctures , Tonics & Teas ~ Mulled Grape Juice

By Beth Schreibman Gehring ~ Chairman of Education Western Reserve Herb Society

IMG_9749

It’s definitely getting cooler outside and I’m so grateful that I put up a dozen quarts of sweet grape juice every year just for Autumn nights like these. I love to heat some up and infuse it with mulling spices, just like you would do with fresh cider or red wine. I make my own mulling spices and to bring out the flavor even more I toast them quickly in my cast iron skillet.  I learned this little trick on a magical evening in Paris several years ago from a wine seller in Montmartre. I’ll never forget that starry evening…it was St. Valentines day and Jim and I had walked up to Sacre Couer from our Airbnb to hold hands, listen to the street musicians and look out over the city. As we walked back down the cobblestone road, I smelled the unmistakable fragrance of mulled wine and clove studded oranges. Directly to the right of me was a beautiful little bistro, and out front they had a stock pot full of the best Vin Chaud I’ve ever tasted.

I asked the proprietor in my really awful French what made it so good and he generously showed me the trick. This takes a bit more time to make, but I promise it’s worth it and it’s just as good with freshly pressed grape juice. Strolling down the street, arm in arm with Jim and sipping that cup of steaming spiced wine is, to this day, one of my most treasured memories. 

IMG_4543

My favorite spices to use for this are orange peel, fresh ginger root, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, star anise and allspice. After I toss them over the heat for a bit I put them into my mortar and pestle to crush them to bring out even more flavor. After that,  into a muslin spice bag they go! Infuse the bag of mulling spice in one quart of simmering grape juice and add a healthy jigger of Madeira or Port. 

Soon I’ll be enjoying this steaming hot and outside by a bonfire under next week’s Hunters Moon. Fresh pears, roasted chestnut puree,  a crusty bit of baguette and a wedge of savory Roquefort are a perfect accompaniment along with the twinkling stars. Try this…you won’t be sorry. It’s a truly satisfying and soul warming Autumn sip.


Herbs from a Witch's Garden by Andrea Jackson

 

Click this link to watch the Go to Meeting recording of our wonderful program ~Herbs from a Witches garden, by Andrea Jackson   

This was our very first program hosted on Go to Meeting, so there are a few glitches at first as we hit our stride with the learning curve...Just hang in there though...they go away like magic!

 

There is no donation required for this wonderful program, but if you would care to support our “No Fair Herb Fair” with a tax exempt donation of any size it will always be greatly appreciated.
Through your donations, The Western Reserve Herb Society is preserving our legacy of expanding and sharing knowledge of these wonderful plants and their impact on our lives, our culture, and our environment.
To make a donation in honor of the “No Fair Herb Fair!” please go to https://www.westernreserveherbsociety.org/support-our.../
 

 

 

Copyright: Andrea Jackson 2020.
May not be reproduced or photocopied without written consent from the author.

 

119457811_3156681354453654_7456851865475906597_o


Sorrel, from the Garden to the Table

By Iwona Yike - WRHS Active Member

IMG-1823

Rumex sanguineus

Sorrel is a leafy plant popular in European cuisine. The word sorrel comes from the Old French – surele – meaning – sour.

  Within the buckwheat (Polygonaceae) family, the genus Rumex includes over 200 species of edible and medicinal herbs, although some are considered weeds. They are native to Europe, parts of Asia and Africa but can now be found throughout the world including the US.  

   Among the most common species cultivated in the garden are Rumex acetosa (Large leaf sorrel) and Rumex sanguineus (Red veined sorrel), both available as young plants from specialty herb farms such as Mulberry Creek Farm in Huron, OH.  Seeds can be purchased online but some come from abroad and may not be USDA certified.

Sorrel is a hardy perennial, easy to grow. The plants are resistant to frost, pests and diseases. They thrive in full sun in slightly acidic clay soil but do very well in other types of moist soil, except for light, sandy soils. Leaves can be harvested from spring through fall.

 Nutritional benefits of this plant have been known for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used it to promote digestive health. Its broad, bright green, pointed leaves have a tangy, sour taste due to the presence of oxalic acid. They are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, B2, B6, folic acid and beta-carotene as well as in minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and silica. Sorrel is also a good source of fiber and tannins. 

Even though it contains so many desirable nutrients, sorrel should be consumed in moderation because oxalic acid binds calcium forming insoluble compounds that are found in kidney stones.  It may also decrease the absorption of calcium from other foods. People suffering from kidney diseases, different forms of arthritis and osteoporosis should avoid eating sorrel. It is worth noting that concerns about oxalic acid are not limited to the consumption of this vegetable.  Eating spinach, rhubarb, beets, Swiss chard, beans or even drinking a lot of black tea may cause similar problems. Adding certain dairy products such as milk, sour cream, goat cheese or eggs is recommended when preparing oxalate-rich foods in order to neutralize the acid and limit its adverse effects.

  Sorrel is often used in French and Egyptian dishes including soups, sandwiches and salads. Sauces made from the leaves can complement fish, meat and egg dishes. Cooking with sorrel is extremely popular in Central and Eastern Europe. The traditional Polish-style sorrel soup with its fresh, tangy taste and a beautiful green color can be called a quintessence of spring. It is also known as green borscht and almost every family has their own version of the recipe. 

IMG-1826

 

Traditional Polish sorrel soup with eggs

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of vegetable stock (chicken stock is optional, home made are the best)
  • 3-4 cups tightly packed young sorrel leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped*
  • 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • salt and pepper

* the exact amount may vary depending on the sourness of the leaves and personal preferences; reserve some of the fresh leaves for garnish

Directions:

  • slowly melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
  • add onions and cook for for about 5 min or until softened
  • add sorrel and a pinch of salt (preserves color)
  • stir for about 5 minutes over low heat, then increase the heat to medium and stir for another 3-5 minutes
  • bring the vegetable stock to boil and add to spinach, mix well, simmer for 10 minutes
  • combine sour cream with flour in a small bowl and slowly add about 1 cup of hot soup to that bowl, stirring constantly to prevent sour cream from curdling
  • transfer sour cream mix to the saucepan with soup, stir well
  • allow to cool a little and transfer to a blender, blend for 15 sec or until the soup appears smooth
  • season with salt and pepper to taste
  • serve warm, pouring the soup into bowls over halved or quartered boiled eggs
  • garnish with some fresh sorrel leaves

 

Our organization, at its heart, is all about sharing our passion for herbs. We have worked tirelessly for 75 plus years to promote and inspire the use of herbs in our gardens and our lives.
Your support is vital in continuing this important mission. Your gifts support education through our public gardens, our education outreach programs, and our scholarships.
Through your donations, The Western Reserve Herb Society is preserving our legacy of expanding and sharing knowledge of these wonderful plants and their impact on our lives, our culture, and our environment.
To make a donation in honor of the “No Fair Herb Fair!” please go to https://www.westernreserveherbsociety.org/support-our.../

In and Out the Garden Gate - A Cottage Garden Transformation

 

The New Cottage Garden

Mary Lynn Fruit, Western Reserve Herb Society

September 2020

New Garden Flag

            As I recall now, it all started with a suggestion that the boxwood hedge which surrounded my Cottage Garden, was finally getting the best of me.  It would take me days to prune in the early summer months only to need pruning once again before the fall season.  So, in the fall of 2019, after serving faithfully for twenty years, the boxwoods were dug out - and a beautiful fence with towering arbors was installed in early 2020. 

 

April

What greeted me in the spring of this year brought tears and determination - a sweet garden in desperate need of rebirth - new soil, dreams of perennials for the pollinators, and  - of course -  delightful herbs.

Clematis

            And so my journey began - in the midst of the pandemic and the uncertainty of what was happening to all of us - terribly missing my fellow gardeners of WRHS - I immersed myself in designing and planning the new cottage garden.  Clematis plants that had been dug out and wintered over in pots were once again planted around the arbors (and they took off!); peony shrubs that were moved to the back of the property (we have an "orphanage" for our plant residents that we just can't give up) are now situated around the fence; the sweet climbing rose that survived the installation of the fence is once again coming back to life; new teuteurs installed…and so on.

Hollyhocks[1]

         

Foxglove

 Ah - the delight in buying new plants - the thrill never fades!  Pollinating plants and herbs - oh my! - Zinnias (which the birds and bees absolutely love!) as tall as me!  Hollyhocks and borage - foxglove and stachys, scented geraniums - sweet Dagmar Fraus; catmint and cosmos - how wild and carefree and beautiful! Wonderful thyme, basil, lovage, lavender, tarragon, rosemary…and the smiling faces of pot marigolds splashing color all around!   

Fairy Roses

            Believe me - a lot of trial and error this season (sometimes a lot more error I think), but most important are the small moments and memories that remain with me now.  The garter snake coming out the potting shed door that I almost stepped on; the kitties that come in the early morning to hunt; a sweet garden flag from my sister; the resident mouse; and the traveling Mr. Toady who returned at last - the birdies who nest and visit the birdbath - bees and butterflies and spiders, oh my! …

Fairy in the Garden

      If I could just for a time become a garden fairy with a small house of my own in the midst of the cottage garden…

Garden Visitor

  Cottage Elf
         

So as most of you gardeners know - gardens protect us; welcome us with open arms. They nourish our spirits and souls; heal us physically and emotionally.  I am so grateful for the many blessings that I have experienced this summer season.  I believe that gardening has the power to make this world a better place for all.  Time is so very fast and fleeting - don't let go of the moments that touch our spirits - those moments that are rare and beautiful and true.

Copyright: Mary Lynn Fruit 2020.
May not be reproduced or photocopied without written consent from the author.

 

Our organization, at its heart, is all about sharing our passion for herbs. We have worked tirelessly for 75 plus years to promote and inspire the use of herbs in our gardens and our lives.
Your support is vital in continuing this important mission. Your gifts support education through our public gardens, our education outreach programs, and our scholarships.
Through your donations, The Western Reserve Herb Society is preserving our legacy of expanding and sharing knowledge of these wonderful plants and their impact on our lives, our culture, and our environment.
To make a donation in honor of the “No Fair Herb Fair!” please go to https://www.westernreserveherbsociety.org/support-our-organization/

 

 


Having Fun with Pesto!

 By Lynne Griffin- Vice Chairman, Western Reserve Herb Society

Copy of Copy of Beige and Gray Minimalist Quote Instagram Post

Today, while I was working in our Western Reserve Herb Society garden,  someone asked me about basil pesto. I think that is a great topic for review this time of the year, when there is a huge amount of Basil around for us to find something to do with.  You just start with a good basil pesto recipe and if you don’t have one you can use mine.

 

Lynnes Fresh Basil Pesto

2 Cups of fresh Basil

2 cloves of Garlic

½ Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

¼ Cup of Pine Nuts

½ Cup of Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put the basil into a Chopper/Blender/ Processor and chop away. Then add the garlic, cheese and nuts.  Last add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Let it sit a few minutes for the flavors to blend.  Use on your favorite pasta or place into a freezer safe container.  This keeps in the freezer about 6 months.

Copy of Copy of Beige and Gray Minimalist Quote Instagram Post (2)

Let’s think of this recipe as a template and go outside of the box. Say you don’t have quite 2 cups of basil or even the same variety of basil. Let’s look for something to fill up that 2 cup of basil requirement.  1.  If you are growing more than one variety of basil.  Ask yourself, will it work here?  Just give it the smell and taste test.  If you enjoyed the smell and taste then it will probably do the job you need it to do.  If you didn’t, pass on it this time and leave it in your garden. 2.   There are lots of basils available and most of them can be combined to enhance the flavor of pesto. Consider combining ‘Genovese” with ‘Dolce Fresca’ (Sweet/Fresh), or Lemon Basil with ‘Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil “, or Basil ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ with any basil that you are growing.  By now you get where I’m going with combining different basils to make your pesto a culinary specialty all your own.

Copy of Copy of Beige and Gray Minimalist Quote Instagram Post (1)

Time to look at the other ingredients and this is important, know that you can always leave out the garlic.  Its flavor is really an important component in pesto but if it causes you or yours a problem, of course, leave it out.  The nuts are the next ingredient in the recipe.  Allergic to nuts?  No problem leave them out as well.  You can still make a delicious pesto.  I f you can eat nuts safely but can’t find pine nuts or you just don’t like them, several different kinds of nuts will work just fine.  I have successfully used walnuts with the lemon basil combination, pecans with purple basils.  Regular sweet basil will work with any nuts you have or choose to use.

The Parmesan cheese is also very important especially if you plan to freeze your pesto.  When you take it out of the freezer you want good flavor to be there.  What can I add to the necessity of using a top quality olive oil that you don’t already know? 

Now that concludes this segment of HAVING FUN WITH PESTO but that’s not all there is regarding making pesto. Pesto with other herbs and interesting combinations of herbs is possible.  Plus there is the fun application of pesto with an almost limitless variety of Pastas. Thats a whole other topic that I will be addressing here very soon! In the meantime, we'd love to know what you add to your pesto! Please feel free to let us know in the comments! 


The new book "Wild Remedies" is easy to use and enjoy!

Todays post was written by our guest author and good friend Paris Wolfe!

Former Blogmaster for The Herb Society of America, Paris Wolfe planted her first herb garden in 1990. She’s been growing, cooking and crafting with herbs ever since.

 

Download (11)

I can’t decide whether “Wild Remedies” by Rosalee de la Foret and Emily Han, released in March 2020, is a foraging book or a healing foods book.  The authors go both ways with health benefits of “weeds” like dandelion, chickweed, violet as well as fruits like apples, blackberries, elderberries. It doesn’t really matter because the book, with its lush photographs, appeals to the garden goddess in me.

This isn’t an encyclopedic tome. And that’s a good thing. The authors limit the book to 25 plants -- most foraged – for a more comprehensive examination. Keeping it under control makes information accessible to the casual reader. Most, if not all, of this list can be wildcrafted in Northeast Ohio.

An experienced herbie and forager, I was impatient as the authors covered ecology basics and foraging “rules of the road” in the book’s first few chapters. These chapters include journal prompts and exercises that felt elementary to me. Or maybe I was just impatient to get to the action.

Rosalee-de-la-Foret-Emily-Han-Featured-Image-within-post

As the authors explored individual botanicals, I was smitten. These were plants I knew –and I was learning new ways to use them. Each chapter includes growth habits and summary information. Medicinal properties are discussed followed by information on ecology, harvesting and use. Chapters close with easy-enough recipes. Please consult your physician before using any herbal remedies for medicinal purposes.

I received my copy in April and started with what was in season … dandelions and violets.  The first thing I made was the Dandelion Maple Syrup Cake. The cream cheese-based frosting, walnuts and raisins made it seem a bit like carrot cake. Even the skeptical eaters at the table enjoyed it.

For my next production I made violet oxymel – a mixture of violet-infused white wine vinegar and honey. That was the essential ingredient in a Simple Violet Cocktail. The first cocktail was gin-based. I’m going to repeat the recipe with vodka. I might like that better.

I cannot wait to try recipes with plantain, wild mustard, nettles, purslane, burdock and so much more. I just need a prolific, untreated “weed” patch to supply the ingredients for healing teas, tasty side dishes, delicious desserts and enticing bath products.

Here is the recipe for the wonderful Dandelion Cake!

Dandelion-cake-2nd-try

DANDELION MAPLE SYRUP CAKE – from Wild Remedies

Cake

1⁄2 cup butter, softened

1⁄2 cup maple syrup

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3⁄4 cup freshly picked dandelion flowers (sepals and bracts removed)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup raisins, chopped (optional)

1⁄4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

 

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1⁄4 cup butter, softened

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

1⁄4 cup freshly picked dandelion flowers (sepals and bracts removed)

 

 

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 2-inch glass pie plate.
  2. Mix the butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the dandelion flowers and mix well. Set aside.
  3. Mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir well. If using, mix in the raisins and/or walnuts.
  5. Press the batter into the greased pie plate. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

 

For the frosting: Use a handheld mixer to combine the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup. Taste and add more maple syrup if desired.

 

Assemble the cake:  When cooled, invert the cake onto a sheet pan or large, flat plate. Frost the top and sides. Sprinkle the dandelion flowers on top.

 

Interestingly enough, this earthy book has much interactive, digital support. Right away I joined its Facebook page and book club. On the Facebook page, members share their recipe successes, photos and questions You can get more information on these by visiting Wild Remedies Book. Or following the following links …

Facebook
@LearningHerbs

@HerbalRemediesAdvice

Instagram
@rosaleedelaforet

@misschiffonade

@learningherbs

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/HerbMentor 

Photos were given to us with permission from the lovely authors who are shown in the 2nd photograph....