Healing herbs

Healing herbs
Echinacea and Calendula

Monday, 28 April 2014

Spring Into Action! Sniffing Out A Wild Garlic Patch

Wild garlic is not only free, it's tasty, too - in fact, the only problem is that its season is way too short. But that's all the more reason to make the most of it now.

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a pungent surprise. Well, not absolutely sure, maybe, but it's an odds-on bet. Wild garlic announces its presence long before you see it, enveloping you in its bosky aroma. It feels ancient, the scent of garlic hanging beneath the trees' bare branches, in the damp, earthy, early spring air.

Wild garlic is a friend to first-time foragers everywhere - number two on the list of easiest-to-identify-and-use hedgerow spring greens, after the ubiquitous nettle. Although its glossy, spear-like leaves can look a bit like lily of the valley, its smell puts you in no doubt as to what it is, so you need have none of the tyro terror of the first-time mushroom hunter.

Magnolia Flower Vinegar

This magnolia flower vinegar recipe is something to die for. Within 24 hours it has turned from clear to a deep pink, and the flavour, well it has to be tasted to be believed! 

Why not try this magnolia flower recipe today? It’s quick, easy and cheap to do, and the end result is awesome.

Read more here

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Botanists Baffled by Rapid Growth of 'Space Cherry'

A tree grown from a cherry pit that traveled in space five years ago with astronaut Koichi Wakata, now commander of the International Space Station, has bloomed far ahead of what is normal, to the astonishment of botanists.

Cherry trees typically take about a decade from the time they sprout from seeds to bloom.

The cherry pit was one of around 265 produced from the fruit of the famous 1,250-year-old “Chujohimeseigan-zakura” cherry tree grown in the compound of the Ganjoji temple here, which traces its roots to the seventh century.

In the "space cherry" project organized by Tokyo-based Japan Manned Space Systems Corp., the space-going pits were rocketed to the International Space Station in 2008, and returned to Earth in July 2009 with Wakata, now 50.

The original Chujohimeseigan-zakura tree is a variant of the “yamazakura” wild cherry species, and until now, attempts to grow young trees from its fruit have been unsuccessful.

Botanist Takao Yoshimura, 78, successfully sprouted one of the pits that traveled to the ISS using a method in which he covered the soil with sphagnum moss.

In four years, the young plant has grown to a height of about 4 meters. This spring, it produced about 10 buds, which all were in bloom by April 4.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Foraging is Easy: Learn 50 Plants In Just 10 Minutes

Can I eat it? Will it harm me? These are the two basic questions the forager needs to answer when looking at any potentially edible plant. Once we decide to view the wild herbs, trees, mushrooms, seaweed and seafood of this country as a possible source of food, we enter a world, not only brimming with exquisite and unusual flavors, textures and aromas, but also pitted with numerous hazards and even the vague possibility of a hideous death! Is it all worth it just for a plate of food…if approached sensibly then the answer if definitely yes. Approach this topic with too casual an attitude and the results may be very unpleasant. So, that’s the melodrama out of the way, now down to the simple bit….Foraging is easy if you learn how to answer the two opening questions and the easiest way to do this is to Divide and Conquer (though not in the traditional sense). Dividing plants into their separate families ie the mint family, cabbage family, carrot family, allows us to learn group characteristics (square or round stems, number and color of petals, different leaf shapes, common smells, habitats etc etc) and this in turn allows us to “half way” identify numerous plants very quickly, at least to be able to put them in the right family. This is a very good start on the road to correctly ID’ing a plant and lets us know how we can proceed, depending on whether we have entered a family full of potential dangers or one with very few. Imagine walking into you local pub, hopefully it contains your friends, some people who like you and maybe a few who don’t, but at least you know the protocol and can feel relatively at ease…this is the mint family. Now lets go to that dodgy  looking bar on the other side of town. This is the carrot family, full of dangers, full of delights and possible excitement but whatever comes along it’s the sort of place where we really need to tread carefully. In the same way, once we can positively identify the plant family we are looking at, we can adapt our behaviour accordingly. Here’s a few of the most common plant families that our wild foods come from and a suggestion of how we should treat each one.