Archives April 2020

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6 Ways to Learn About Herbalism for Free

We have been brushing up on our herb knowledge for years and if you are truly passionate about the subject you will know that it is a never ending commitment to life long education. Learning about plants, natural remedies, foraging, botany and forestry is time well spent.

Herbalism is something that can be taught in the classroom but like everything in life, nothing beats real life experience.

To truly understand the value of herbs in your daily, weekly, monthly life then you must practice, experiment and dedicate time to each individual herb you wish to study.

Here are a few of the free ways that you can learn about herbalism:

Head to the Library

A free space that provides you with all of the materials you need to learn about every herb, plant and chinese medicine techniques; the library is like a slice of heaven for any life long learner. Enjoy spending an afternoon browsing through the many books that will provide you with insights, inspire your foraging adventures and allow you to expand your knowledge of herbalism in all of its glory.

Free Courses for Herb Enthusiasts

Learn about herbalism with an online course. There are plenty of herb related courses you can take to get inside knowledge of herbalism. Check out the beginners course from the Herbal Academy and if you are interested in the plants that are used in natural Chinese medicine, this one has five sessions and will teach the basics of Everyday Chinese Medicine.

Watch Herbal YouTube Channels

We love watching videos on YouTube that can teach us something new and herb related tutorials are a treat for anyone interested in learning about plants. Eat the Weeds, Mountain Gardens and Avena Botanicals have some super videos packed full of herbal information for you to digest.

Visit your nearby Plant Shop

Your local plant shop and neighbourhood stores will provide more insights than you can imagine. We regularly visit the local garden centre, plant shops and hardware stores to pick the brains of the staff who have provided years of expertise when planting and growing herbs. Check out the plant descriptions, examine the growth of the plants from season to season and ask as many questions as you can.

Listen to Herbal Podcasts

Tune in to the Natural MD Podcast where we learn how natural medicine. She provides a weekly podcast on women’s health that will teach you something every time you listen in. Listen to the For the Wild podcast from fellow foragers and nature enthusiasts. It focuses on the protection of land, storytelling and our relationship with the landscapes around us.

Get to Grips with Herb Gardening

There is probably no better way to get familiar with the native and non-native herb species around you than by working with them on a weekly basis. The best way to do this is to grow them from seed or stem. A major plus with herbs is that you don’t need a lot of space to grow them in abundance and you can have several different herbs growing alongside each other. Try the mint family, basil, thyme, rosemary and wild herbs as a beginner.

Pick up a copy of our Herb Planner Pack here and start recording your herbal remedies, wild adventures and herb knowledge.

If you have anymore suggestions of how we can brush up on our herbal knowledge please get in touch with us. We are always interested in learning about herbalism, the benefits of herbs, the uses of herbs and how we can incorporate more wild herbs into our everyday cooking.

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ways-to-use-cleavers-spring-foraging

Spring Cleaning: 5 Ways to Use Cleavers

Cleavers aka Sticky Willies aka Goosegrass is a herbal treat in Springtime.

It is an annual sticky plant that you will find in your parks and woodland walks. They have small star shaped flowers attached to their pointy leaves. If you brush up against it you won’t need to pick it as it will naturally stick to any piece of clothing.

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Traditionally used to cleanse the blood and strenghten the liver, cleavers are particularly useful for a spring cleaning tonic. Native Indian tribes used this plant as an anti-inflammatory and to help with gonorrhoea. The cleansing properties can help to get rid of toxins in the body and decrease congestion. It has also been reported to help with Urinary tract infections and swollen lymph nodes. They can help to protect the lining of the bladder from irritation. Cleavers are also rich in silica, used to strengthen hair, nails and teeth. It may be worth adding a little cleaver smoothie to your beauty routine in Springtime.

Ways to Use Cleavers

Cleaver infused Water

This is the perfect afternoon refresher on a bright Spring day. Pick the young stems of the plant before they growth tall. Rinse them gently under water and chop finely. Add to a jug or bottle of water and let them infuse over night in the fridge. Add a slice of lemon to your glass and pour over the infused cleaver water.

Cleaver and Nettle Smoothie

Cleavers, nettles and pears are all that you need to make this delicious, healthy Spring smoothie. Packed full of nutrition and made to detox the body, this delicious smoothie is just what the doctor ordered. Blend 1 bunch of cleavers, 1 bunch of boiled nettles and 2 pears together. Add crushed ice, a squeeze of lime juice and a sprig of mint for extra flavour.

Herbal Cleaver Tea

Harvest your cleavers, leave them dry out for a few days, cut them into tiny pieces and use them with a spoonful of honey for a soothing cup of tea.

Cleaver Infused Oil

Dried cleavers and almond oil makes the perfect massage therapy. Put a half a cup of dried cleavers in a jar, fill the jar with almond oil and leave to infuse for two weeks. Enjoy this herbal skin treat.

Cleaver, Nettle and Wild Garlic Soup

Tis the season for green, wild soup and there are plenty of delicious plants out there to add to your homemade soup recipes. For this one we use 1 cup of cleavers, 1 cup of boiled nettles, 1/2 cup of chopped wild garlic or three cornered leek and two large potatoes. Boil the potatoes, add all contents to a pot of cold water and boil until bubbling hot. Add salt and pepper. Blend the ingredients together. Serve with some fresh, warm bread.

Note: Cleavers have a high tannin content and it is generally advised that you don’t use it or consume it for long periods of time.

This plant is natures way of telling us that we need to Spring clean our bodies as well as our houses. There are so many ways to use cleavers in your foraging recipes but hopefully the above tips will give you some food for thought. This plant is one of the reasons why foraging in Springtime is so much fun.

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Recipe: Wild Spring Samosas

This is one of my favourite Spring dishes. Serve them as snacks to impress your dinner guests or rustle them up as a lunch time treat. Our wild samosas will put a spring in your step. We used three of our most loved wild Spring ingredients for these delicious samosas but feel free to get creative and add your own wild herb mix.wild-spring-samosa-recipe

Samosa Ingredients

  • Three cornered leak
  • Wild garlic
  • Dried Nettles
  • Potatoes
  • Cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Puff Pastry

Step 1. Boil your potatoes and mash them.

Step 2. Add a little olive oil to your pan. Next add wild-garlic-samosa-orchards-near-mechopped garlic leaves, three cornered leak, dandelion leaves, cumin, tumeric, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Fry gently for 5 – 10 minutes.

Step 3. Add your curry mix to your mash potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of frozen peas and stir for another 5 minutes.

Step 4. Roll out your puff pastry. Turn over a bowl and cut out circles. Cut your circles in half and brush tips with flour and water. Make cone shapes with your pastry and add a spoonful of your samosa filling. Squeeze the sides together.

Step 5. Bake until golden crisp.

Step 6. Enjoy

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Wild Recipe: Delicious Dandelion Flatbread

This week we are foraging in the garden, using Spring weeds as the main ingredients in some of our daily dishes. Today we have a real recipe treat with easy garden weed flatbread.

Flatbread Ingredientseasy-garden-flatbread-recipe

  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 50g of butter melted
  • 185 ml of milk

Flatbread Toppings

  • Dandelion Leaves
  • Nettle Pesto
  • Pine Nuts
  • Mozzarella
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Head out to the garden to collect your freshflatbread-toppings-orchards-near-mely grown dandelion leaves and a few dandelion heads to decorate. Be sure to wash them gently under luke warm water.
  2. Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and baking powder.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat, once it is melted add the milk and remove from the hob.
  4. Make a whole in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.
  5. Gently mix all of the ingredients until it forms a sticky dough. Now knead the dough for 5 minutes and leave to the side in a bowl wrapped with cling film for 30 minutes.
  6. Once ready, divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces and roll it out.
  7. Heat oil on a pan and gently fry the dough for 1 or 2 minutes. You should see pockets of air rise as you cook.
  8. Now you are ready to add your toppings and place in the oven.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with toppings for this delicious flatbread.

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