Posts Tagged ‘Foraging’

Here is the second recipe in my list of recipes using Dandelion Flowers, the rest of the plant is edible and I am now considering this plant to be a very important plant in Permaculture or any sustainable lifestyle environment. We are at the time of year when in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere, these plants are currently, have or will still come into flower (Here in the outskirts of London, we are currently seeing the last flowers appear and many have already become seed heads).

dandelion gorilla 1

 

In the last installment, I wrote on a very delicious Dandelion Flower Jam recipe which I highly recommend – it’s probably the best jam recipe I have ever used so far!

Before we get into the wine recipe, I must make it clear that this is the first time I am using this recipe or making the wine for that matter, I am currently halfway through my wine fermentation period and will not be able to give any taste results to my readers. This recipe comes to me from a reputable source and when I enquired with a contact of mine, it sounds very similar to the most commonly used Dandelion Flower Wine recipes out there, I am sharing this only because this is the time of year that the flowers are here, and we only have about a three week period before we don’t see them again for another year! Try it out, what have you got to lose?

Things you will most likely need to obtain / buy before hand:

  1. Fermenting container / Demi-john (1 Gal / 4.5 – 5 Ltr),
  2. Obtain container bottles for the final product (plastic is recommended over glass in case of continued fermentation gasses),
  3. Yeast sachet x1,
  4. Bubbler and Cork / Stopper,
  5. 4 Ltrs of Water (1 Gal USA) ,
  6. 2x Oranges,
  7. 2x Lemons,
  8. 1kg of Sugar (2lb 3oz),

Method:

  1. Put all of the Dendelion Flowers into a large pan / pot and pour over a full kettle (normally 1Ltr) of boiling water and leave for 24 hours,
  2. Strain the liquid out and don’t forget to compost the used flower heads,
  3. Add the juice of the lemons and oranges, the sugar and remaining water and stir until all mixed in sufficiently – place into your brewing container (not your final Demi-john – I used a 5Ltr plastic bottle),
  4. Add your yeast, cover with a cloth and leave in this container for a further 24 hours,
  5. Pour into your Demi-john and place the bubbler (Airlock), leave in a dark cool cupboard / basement etc. for a minimum of one month,
  6. Pour into our storage bottles – consume chilled
Advertisements

In this series of posts I will be bringing you information on edible plants which are found in public or in rural areas, Today’s highlight is on the Yew Tree and it’s delicious Red Berries.

Most people with some knowledge of plants and trees will say you are Mad for attempting to eat Yew, saying it is highly poisonous / toxic. True, but everything else on the tree is definitely toxic Including the seed however, the flesh surrounding the seed is edible and quite sweet but a bit slimy and that’s why some people don’t like it!

Thick Yew Tree Berries (Flesh is edible but seed stone is Toxic!)

As with All foraging and trying any wild food’s you may be new to, it is Always Recommended that you first try very little amounts to Distinguish Your Tolerance to the food.
What I did the first time was just squeese the flesh until the transparent liquid came out, I sucked it (one berry), then the next day did the same with Two berries. Finally,you just follow the same method on day three, eat one then the next day eat two … if by day four you are still okay, then you can eat whatever you like, proceed with caution though, too much could cause problems (as it always is with too much of one thing).

Yew Foliage and Fruits

Yew Foliage and Fruits

A little bit of facts and history about the Yew Tree (Taxus baccata):

  • Yew is extraordinarily long-lived and slow-growing, with some trees estimated to be over 3,000 years old.
  • The Romans believed yew grew in hell, the Norse and Celt peoples thought it protected against bewitchment and death and it’s often seen in churchyards as Christians believed its poison protected the dead.
  • Yew is native to area stretching from central Europe to the Caucasus. It can grow in a wide range of conditions: it is extremely tolerant of temperature, humidity and extremes of acid or alkaline soil; however, it does not grow well in soil that has been compacted by vehicles.
  • One of the world’s oldest wooden artifacts is made from yew: a spearhead found in Essex, UK, dated at 450,000 years old. Yew wood is extremely hard-wearing and was used in the Middle Ages to make the traditional English longbow: a weapon that helped the English win famous battles against the French, such as Agincourt in 1415. More recently a chemical found in yew, called taxol, has been found to have anti-cancer effects. They have since been synthesised and are now being used in the treatment of breast, ovarian and lung cancers.

    English yew (Taxus baccata) is reasonably common in the UK and other countries in Western Europe, but the North American Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) is now rated ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Its high taxol content has led to over-harvesting for use in anti-cancer treatments.

    The seeds are dispersed by birds, which are attracted by the bright red, sweet and juicy aril. The seed has a tough coat, which needs the digestive system of birds to weaken it to enable the seed to sprout.

    The majority of this tree is highly poisonous, even the dead and dried leaves, so farmers need to ensure that their livestock does not graze too close to yews.

    Source: edenproject.com