This past week has mainly involved the mass gathering of the soft, fluffy, delicate Elderflowers; hanging in clusters upon the trees, before turning into deep red berries.
They are a traditional medicine / remedy For hayfever. Their cluster structure of delicate branches are almost like veins is representative of human lungs; these flowers and later the berries are very supportive of our respiratory system, the lungs and our breath. Thus, use to treat colds or flu.
Today I walk with Grace, a Chinese scientist and we discover and collect 6 wild edible weeds; blackberries, nettles, cleavers, elderflowers, jack by the hedge and cow parsley. The start of our Tour is along the start of the green chain walk.
The skies are blue; there is a sweet scent in the new, fresh air. Now it is time to strengthen our immune system with fresh ingredients; go outdoors and absorb more vitamin D! Our green spaces are now bursting with new growth, particularly in some areas of wild medicinal plants. As native medicinal plants; a wild Herbs like Nettles, are one of my favourite cleansing Springtime superfoods, as a rich source of Iron, Calcium and Magnesium. They’re ideal to add into our daily routines, for energy, stamina and relaxing blood pressure (female menstrual cramps) I recommend drinking a freshly harvested nettle tea instead of the shop bought packet type. The leaves are also ready to eat and enjoy.
In Manor Park Last week I was asked to support a 40 yr old man foraging, on our hourly exercise, we Picked nettle tips and wildflowers: Alkanet, wild leek, dead nettle and cow parsley plus lemon balm and went home to rinse them well and make tea and salad/soup. Over The following 2 days, he very simply made a nutrient rich drink and noticed the difference. We went out again, further collecting Garlic Mustard and extra nettles for drinks. The results have been surprisingly effective.
After returning from running for 4 hrs, he shared “I feel young again inside, I see a bright future, have better sleep, think better and experience less anxiety”.
Foraging on the land brings us that bit closer to ourselves, as a dose of the most organic, free food.
At the end of a powerful / unsettling/trying to remain calm & peaceful week, We’re relaxing, sitting drinking nettle and rose tea respectively. As a new London National Park City ranger we’re launching A Grow your own Lunch initiative. Similar to Trees for Cities. I cleared out the shed and the latest plants to go in are beetroot, lettuce and I made an exciting discovery; 4 baby plum trees (which I sowed over a year ago, have germinated).
I take all these wild herbs to support my immune system.
Hawthorn and nettle leaves can be brewed into a tea. Garlic mustard suits a salad or savoury main meal. Cleavers is suited to cleans to a tonic or tea, dainty dead nettle is robust and a little goes a long way.
(wash Leaves thoroughly first!) one walkers describes his first wild weed drink “ the fresh nettle tea works Absolute wonders. I had so much energy. It’s Lovely; it does work, I slept really well, it’s really good. I felt much lighter and more aware and I wanted some more.” Aki Cox Try it! Fresh Nettle tea, every day for a week and see how you feel. It’s better than the shop purchased variety! loaded with vitamins, magnesium and iron for energy.
Before picking any new medicinal plants take note of the safety rules: no picking from dog users areas, if necessary, wear gloves and use scissors.
We’ll start our weekly walks for health again shortly; with social distancing measures in place and we’ll take a video footage of my collection to show those who remain at home in isolation. Bring your own tea in a reusable cup, to drink, as the Goldsmiths community centre is closed.
We are still very much open for business in new ways.
Online shop: about to release sustainable hand harvested seaweed sourced from Cornwall.
Our services : Nutritional Therapy clinic with Theresa Webb Dip NT online.
Via Skype and Phone. (CHC Clinic in Lee is no longer open).
holistic wellbeing For older adults (in quarantine) to support immunity. Sustainable ways to feel calm, reduce anxiety, support gut health care, manage weight and diabetes. Also Cancer therapy.
Inclusive all ages.
Walking through a forest, I feel respect in every step.
Monday nights will never be the same again! Since the introduction of the SLBI talks, lead by the local experts. This week was the final session in the season and we held a quiz ‘Guess the fungi’ which was more of an invitation to discover more about the world of fungi through researching in the manly books and asking pertinent questions. Much like a game of ‘Guess Who’ from the 1980’s, except instead of asking questions surrounding features “does your person have a moustache/wear glasses” it’s a question of defining fungus features! Identification through key features: the spire colour (from spore prints/gills), Gill formation, The Cap colour and texture or design, the feel to touch, size: height, cap width and diameter, Stipe (stem) length, base size and The area /favoured location; where it grows. hence 3.5 hrs later I’d identified approx 10 mushrooms and as a group, we’d identified approx 25 species. A foraging walk is planned in mid December.
the SLBI is a lovely old converted house in Tulse Hill, with an astonishing botanical back garden. Over the past month, a seasonal Mushroom identification activity has takes place, whereby you take a mushroom collection to be identified by an expert in the field. Fabrice and Mario presented the night. On the promise of observing other’s fungi, I attended with photos to identify from another’s recent discovery in Downham. Hence I arrived with images and my favourite books on the subject including my inherited Geoff Kibby’s original which is over 30 years old.
As I entered the room An amazing variety of very brightly coloured fungi covered the table on display in groups: A whole forest of wax caps! All have these distinguishing features: waxy caps (!) plus are slimy/clammy or cool to the touch. A Snowy wax cap is edible but looks similar to the common poisonous death angel. A Parrot wax cap displays a flash of blue upon stem. A Meadow wax cap is edible and is found by streatham common near the house at top. A Crimson wax cap has yellow gills and is edible.
A Clitocybe (sloping head) has purple gills and white spores. it’s found around trees and is related to Lepista the Field blewit.
My images depicted Infundibulicybe geotropa the Monks head mushroom.
Back last summer we found a Ganoderma bracket fungi at buddhafield camp in Dorset which has a cocoa like dusting of spores.
A Russular has deep pink tops with delicate white gills.
Web caps with open gills are with little web bits instead of a ring.
We were an interesting group; a mix of enthusiastic gardeners and an environmental journalist. We discussed food security issues and new insights into land use and ownership. Beyond id Fabrice discussed how Peat bogs which are naturally wet had been affected by drainage for grouse hunting and is bad for carbon emissions. Sheep rearing on Yorkshire land which holds water like sponges. Now this land is being drained and over grazed by sheep which has meant flooding in other areas; As a direct result from sheep over grazing. Plus Peat land burning.evolution now!
The Best Method to Use-for collecting fungi? a good French mushroom knife to cut mushrooms or even a pound shop version on a string!
This season, these Colourful wild berries add a pop of vibrancy to any meal.
Arbutus or the Strawberry fruit tree, is a tree with strawberry coloured berries. During the summer They turn from hard, green little berries into rich, red, soft berries by mid to end September through the autumn. Surprisingly, These berries contain a mild flavoured, bright orange flesh, with small insignificant seeds. Pick them directly from the tree and wash to remove any cobwebs (a familiar sight at this time of year!) Eaten fresh and raw, They make a nice addition to breakfasts, fruit desserts and as a garnish on any cake/tart/pie, with a dairy free cream or yogurt. A rich source of vitamin C.
On Thursday 12th September Was a mild day to lead a wellbeing group Herbal walk around a local park. We set off to find more edible plant species that Mountsfield park has to offer, with cloth bags and scissors. @FOMP http://www.mountsfieldpark.wordpress.com (find out more of the history of Mountsfield park here). Francis kindly donated organically grown fresh produce from the QVT garden: a crown prince pumpkin, potatoes and a courgette.
In season, Locally sourced Wild ‘weeds’ provide an abundance of minerals, much like a mini supplement/vitamin pill instead of which, these offer small medicinal properties including calming iron, calcium and magnesium.
Walking up the south circular road was very noisy and polluted so we turned off earlier than planned into looking up, I noticed tiny black grapes hung in clusters above our heads. Paul (tallest member in the group) collected several bunches and before long we’d all savoured the sweet/sour juice and crunchy pips.
we met another participant at the park and stood or sat beneath the arbour in the community garden. There We studied the flame coloured nasturtium flowers (strong/hot flavour leaves and flowers) and milder calendulas. The rich vibrant colours are abundant in an array of plants and vegetables including cardoons, beans and purple sprouting broccoli. Everyone experiences the positive effects of nature on our wellbeing. (Note: The garden is open to visitors but all produce belongs to the park volunteers!)
Preserving these wild foods, can be easily achieved; by making sauces from hawthorn berries, drying nettles, mint and lemon balm for tea and sprinkle nettle seeds to garnish salads and soups. Plantain leaves stem blood flow and are antiseptic; these have a robust flavour for use in salad and juice. Similarly yarrow’s feathery leaves and dandelion (lion’s tooth plant) and burdock leaves for opening and flushing/cleansing the urinary tract. Nettle leaves offer an energy boost of iron; now the seeds are developed these can be harvested (carefully!) and dried out on a tray in a cloth bag and store in a jar and use as an alternative to pepper.
Back at the QVT site kitchen we chose our tasks and prepared a great lunch together: a pumpkin, horseradish (donated by award winning gardener Mary from her allotment), potato, green lentil and ginger soup served with rye bread and organic sunflower spread plus salads: courgette ribbons creamy herb pesto style dressing with cashew nuts, olive oil, avocado, tomatoes (from our garden) and washed herbs from the park garnish of sliced red (pink!) cabbage, yellow rocket flowers, and living lentil sprouts for extra crunch and protein. Plus stuffed little gem lettuce leaves with avocado and tomato dressing.
For our Dessert we handmade individual chocolate, date and walnut truffles with an apple and blackberry compote (premade with cinnamon) and topped with a Catford grape! We made a refreshing fresh mint tea and tried mallow (lavatera) flowers for soothing digestion. Norman has nicknamed me as a Plant Professor!
A natural no-added sugar dessert has been shown to improve our mood and mental balance.
Wheat-free recipes for optimising well-being and reducing bloating and fatigue.
Homemade Natural remedies with local Wild Elderberries.
To take home Benefits to our winter health introduction to elderberries.
Now We’re in September, autumn draws nearer has a chill in the early morning air and the nights are drawing in.
Back In May, We prepared a refreshing elderflower tonic in Tessa’s Tiny Tots, from the Tree outside in the back garden. An Elderberry cluster looks like bronchioles in our lungs; a system of branches. Following the ‘Doctrine of signatures’, Therefore these tiny, dark burgundy berries, support our respiratory tract against common disorders like colds and flu. Elderberry is a rich source of vitamin C. For treatment of coughs & colds, have them to hand, ready for the winter months ahead. Preparation: a cluster snaps off easily and cleanly from the tree (or bush) Prize off the tiny berries using a fork. Uses: as a garnish, on top of desserts. As a tea! A sugar free Syrup – replace white sugar and use an alternative sweetener.
Join us at Forster Memorial Park foraging on Saturday 14th September at the funday from 11-12noon by the cafe and playground Whitefoot lane entrance.
Apple and blackberry sauce (no added sugar). For adding into yogurt, cereal or as a low sugar spread.
My neighbour kindly shares her apples which I collected and went on a blackberry harvest from the back. Fortunately together they’re sweet enough and not too sharp to turn them into a compote (spread/jam) with added spices.
Prepare the apples and remove any bruised parts or caterpillar eggs infestation. These look like small brown dots amongst the core. Take care when consuming wild apples, In case a caterpillar has hatched inside!
Ensure that the Blackberries are clean and insect free by soaking well in water and leave immersed for 15 mins. Rinse and remove any floating larvae, or insects which crawl to the surface!
Place both fruit together into a saucepan with a cup of water to cover the bottom and cook gently until the apples soften, approx 10 mins. Stir in the spices; generous pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg, freshly grated or ground ginger and a mini pinch of cloves.
When cool, add white chia seeds (preferably ground) and melted coconut oil to enable the setting process (although the latter may solidify into white particles).
The result is a delicious seasonal fruit spread (no added sugar).
One of the *new* seasonal kitchen Buddy offers to supply for our clients is a half day herbal wellness workshop in learning about edible weed identification and benefits in your local area. This exciting new service is specifically aimed at educating and inspiring clients to learn how to recognise seasonal edible herbs in the wild at home in the garden and transform into a refreshing menu, using a simple step by step, natural recipe formula.
I showed our Local beekeeper Steven Turner a Tour around the garden and area, with a tray, explaining how each plant grows in a unique way. We observed lots of bees attracted to the fuchsia bush and gathered a selection of fresh leaves, flowers, petals, fruit and berries. We took them into the kitchen and after rinsing them well in water, puréed them into a delicious paste with added put lentil sprouts.
Steven spiralised half a courgette or was it a marrow, mixed them together and decorated it with colourful flower petals and buds. For drinks we made a Fresh mint tea (and shared a cool Kombucha). The menu was completed by Turkish olives, artichoke hearts and an organic calzone.
Today our collection of over 10 seasonal plants for our menu includes: forget-me-not leaf, nasturtium, rose, self heal, Melissa, mint, chickweed, basil, thyme, tomatoes, blackberries, victoria plums and a fuchsia berry!
Enjoy the taste and flavours of Summer with a herbal wild food foraging masterclass by Theresa and Efat: book your 3 hr session now.