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Wild Tea Party: Wild Herbal Tea and Recipes

If you are interested in building a long-lasting healthy habit then herbal teas with natural anti-oxidants and health benefits may be just for you. Both hot and cold teas are a refreshing way to relax in the evenings.

Now that the summer is over and we have spent time experimenting with our favourite wild flavours we are ready to share our collection of Wild Herbal Tea recipes with the world.

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Foragers and herb enthusiasts from around the world will have different ways of using their dried herbs and we are no different. From combining wild herbs with traditional herbs and spices we have come up with our top choices when it comes to foraging for wild teas. You can get a copy of our full Wild Herbal Tea recipe collection including our favourite iced teas and detox juices here.

Here are some easy wild tasty tea recipes to try out at home:

Dandelion Tea

 

  • 1 Cup of freshly picked Dandelion Heads
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey

Add all ingredients to water, gently simmer for 15 minutes and bring to a boil!

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Yarrow Tea

  • 1 Cup of Dried Yarrow Flowers
  • 1/2 Cup of Dried Raspberry or Blackberry Leaves

As one of our favourite herbs we stock up regularly so if you are looking for Yarrow head over to our Be Wild Store. Add all ingredients to water, gently simmer for 15 minutes and bring to a boil!

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Clover Tea

  • 1 Cup of Dried Clover Flowers
  • 1/2 Lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey

Add all ingredients to water, gently simmer for 15 minutes and bring to a boil!

Infused Pine Needle Teawild-herbal-tea-recipe-collection-orchards-near-me-cover

  • 1 Cup of chopped up Pine Needles
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

Add all ingredients to water and gently bring to a boil! For extra flavour you can leave the pine needles in the water overnight and bring to the boil when you are ready the next morning.

For our full collection of recipes visit the Be Wild store and for more information about foraging for wild foods please get in touch with us anytime.

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How to do a Spore Print of a mushroom?

As it is peak mushroom season we are busy trying to identify all of those awkward mushrooms that have dangerous look-a-like cousins. For example the common Parasol mushroom seems to be popping up in fields around us but did you know it has a wicked cousin called the green spored lepiota? Spore prints are a fun and easy way to get to know a mushroom. Spore prints are mostly used for mushroom identification and cultivation.

With gilled mushroom the print process is easy so here is how you conduct a basic spore print for a gilled mushroom:

  • Cut off the stem of a fresh mushroom
  • Lay it down on a piece of paper (white paper for dark gills/black for light gills)
  • Cover the mushroom with a glass to trap the air
  • Leave it for a few hours and when you come back you will have your very own spore print (many look like pieces of art).

Why do you want to do spore prints?

Spore prints are often the easiest way to see the exact pattern of the gills in a mushroom. Also, the colour of the spore can indicate the edibility of a mushroom type.

More Mushroom Resources

Now that you know how to do a spore print all you need to do if find some shrooms and give it a try. If you would like to learn more join us for a foraging workshop where we go out to see the mushrooms in their natural habitats.

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Foraging: Collecting, Processing and Eating Wild Nuts

We are all a little nutty for nuts at this time of the year and we have been getting questions about what nuts to eat and how to eat them. Some nut types have gained a bad reputation for their high levels of tannins which can be harmful to your gut if you eat them in large numbers i.e. Acorns. However as long as you prepare your nuts in the right way then you can look forward to some tasty treats for Autumn.

Wild Nuts We Love

Beech Nuts

The forest flour can be covered with these small triangular nuts at this time of the year. They contain 20% protein, making them an excellent food source for vegans.

Walnuts

You may need a stick to get these delicious treats from the tree and a sturdy pair of shoes to stamp on the outer layer before removing the shelled walnuts inside. You will need to dry them out fully for a few weeks before removing the shells. Walnuts are delicious in lots of baking recipes.

Acorns

Acorn flour is now a trendy as it is gluten free and makes a popular replacement for bread as is holds some sweetness. Foragers tip: Remember, the large the cap on the outside, the more tannin on the inside.

Hazelnuts

When foraging for Hazelnuts you can collect the green nuts that have fallen from the trees but you need to leave them to ripen in a warm, dry place. Hazelnuts are a tasty snack that can be chopped up and added to salads or mixed in with butter for some extra delicious toast. Squirrels love hazelnuts so be sure to leave some for the animals.

How to Leach Nuts

First take the shells off the nuts and grind them down a little. A blender or hand grinder will work for this. Next put your nut mix in a jar, don’t fill the jar up to the top, maybe 3/4 full and then top up the jar with cold water. Put the lid on the jar and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

You will see that the water has turned to an orange colour. Drain this water from the jar and add new water. Now its back to the fridge for another 24 hours. Taste the nut mix after 48 hours and repeat this process until the bitterness of the mix has disappeared.

water. Now its back to the fridge for another 24 hours. Taste the nut mix after 48 hours and repeat this process until the bitterness of the mix has disappeared.

After you have leached the nuts you can dry them out using a dehydrator or oven bake them on a low heat.

Remember that nuts are high in good fats and shouldn’t be stored at room temperature. To keep your nuts for longer try freezing them.

A Nutty Recipe for A Cosy Weekend

Here is a lovely recipe for Acorn Falafels from the HungerandthirstforLife Blog

Join us for one of our foraging adventures to learn more about wild nuts and how to use them in your recipes at home.

 

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10 Clever Ways to Teach Kids to Love Nature

We have had toddlers and teenagers out on the trails foraging with us and they really enjoy getting to know their natural surroundings. Do you feel that it is time to teach kids to love nature? Here are a few simple tips to help them to stay curious about nature and all of its wonders.

  1. Discover Conkers

I grew up playing Conkers. Kids always love an element of competition and conkers is such a fun game to try out at home. This is a simple way to teach your kids about horse chestnuts and trees. To play this two person game all you need are two pieces of string or two shoe laces and conkers. Make a hole through the conker, tie the conker to the end of the string. The aim of the game is to break the other persons conker. Tip: Pick the best conker! Drop the conker in a glass of water, if it floats it will break easily.

2. Paint Leaves

This one is for the kids and adults. Pick your favourite leaves, bring them home, make sure that they are dry. Now cover them in your favourite coloured paint, stick them onto a white sheet of paper. Get creative with your patterns and make a piece of art to hang on the kids bedroom wall. What better way to get back to nature then showing how nature can be used to make indoor spaces shine.

3. Climb Trees

This seems like an ancient past-time these days but climbing trees and hanging about in the woodlands can be lots of fun.

4. Go Foraging

An obvious one for us foragers but we highly recommend foraging with children and teaching them about the wild plants around them. They have curious minds and will ask lots of questions. Believe us, we know! To learn more about foraging join one of our tours or book a private tour with us for your family here.

5. Go Camping

A summertime favourite, this isn’t always the easiest trip for a family to organise but there are many dedicated camping sites that facilitate families today.

6. Make shapes from the stars

One of my favourite hobbies as a child was to see what animals could be found in the sky. I even once found a rabbit. Learning about the sun, the stars and the planets is a fun way to awaken the mind.

7. Plant something in the Garden

If they are not growing greens at school then home is a great place to start. Just explain to them that GIY is super trendy right now so they can tell all of their friends about their home grown goods. To start off with plant something easy. Lettuce, herbs and green beans are pretty easy for GIY beginners.

8. Start a Nature Table

This is an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to bring nature indoors. Simply start to collect bits and bobs when you are out on your next hike. You don’t need lots but in the end you will have your very own natural history museum.

9. Take a hike and Bring a picnic

Pick a local hiking trail and put a date in the calendar. Getting ready for a picnic can be as much fun as eating the treats. Prepare for your hike together, go to your local store to buy the ingredients, make a flask of tea, sandwiches and any other goodies you would like to bring along. Make sure to give the kids their own bag for the journey.

10. Get Muddy

Nature isn’t about perfection, it is all about basking in the imperfections. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and allow your kids to feel the earth, jump in the mud, climb the trees and splash in the streams.

These are just a few ways to teach kids to love nature but there are endless reasons why we think climbing trees and getting muddy should be on your kids to do list.

If you would like to arrange a family foraging tour please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Wild Food Recipe: Super Healthy Wild Weed Salad

It’s getting dark out there and winter is slowly peeping its head around the corner. This is the perfect time to stock up your vitamins and make the most of the weekend sunshine. If you want a little inspiration for your next salad dish than look no further than your nearest woodlands to get your ingredients for this wild weed salad.

We tend to ramble about blackberries a lot at this time of year but these vitamin packed treats are falling straight from the bushes right now so grab a basket and get outdoors! Fun fact: the study of blackberries is called Batology so I guess this makes some of us foraging enthusiasts Batologists.

Here is our super simple wild weed salad recipe that you can try at home.

Ingredients

  • Orach Leaves
  • Ox Eye Daisies
  • Wild Blackberries
  • Mallow leaves
  • Plaintain
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation

Be sure to wash all of your ingredients thoroughly. Carefully cut the orach leaves from any stems. Put the orach leaves, mallow leaves and plaintain in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Throw in the daisy heads. Put the blackberries in a separate bowl and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Now put the berries into the salad bowl. Add salt and pepper. I like to garnish salads with some colourful wild edible flowers and gorse is just in springing to life so grab a small handful. Note: Don’t eat gorse in large quantities as it contains toxic alkaloids which can be hard on the stomach.

Voila! Now you have a very healthy wild weed salad for lunch or as a side at your next dinner party.

If you want to pair a wine with your next blackberry dish then we hear from good sources that the red grapes from Bordeaux in France are worth a shot.

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What’s in Season? Foraging in October

Bolete Mushrooms, hazelnuts, rosehips and sloes are four of our favourite wild edibles for the month of October. Ripe fruits are falling, fungi is calling and it is time to step into nature. Autumn is the perfect time to stock up on some foraged treats.

What you could find

Rowen Berries

The distinctive orange Rowen berries grow in large groups and pair well with any red meat. The berries are also packed with Vitamin C.

Elderberries

Elderberries are ripe on the trees right now. Their deep purple colour is easily spotted parks and woodlands across the UK and Ireland. Used to combat the flu, elderberry jam is a great plant for combating the winter cold.

Sloes

Have you heard of Sloe gin? Gin is all the rage at the moment so Im sure you have. Sloe gin is delicious but it takes awhile to allow the gin soak up the berry juices. Three ingredients: Sloe berries, sugar and gin. Put a lid on it until Christmas time and you will have the perfect after dinner cocktail.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnut moose has become a firm favourite here at Orchards Near me and these delicious nuts are plentiful when foraging in October.

Blackberries

It is hard to pass through a park that doesn’t have a blackberry bush here in Ireland. We consider ourselves to be very lucky at this time of year. The bushes are bursting with black juiciness and it is the perfect time to stock up on jam for the winter months.

Pullball mushrooms

We don’t list too many mushrooms as their are over 10,000 species to be found, many of which are poisonous. Identifying mushrooms is an art all by itself. Examining the cap, the gills and the stem is all part of the process. Pullballs are one of the easiest to identify and can be picked up in local woodlands throughout Europe.

Rosehips

Packed with Vitamin C this winter fruit is the perfect addition to your herbal teas. Simply wash the hips, leave them to dry out over a few days, add them to a pot of boiling water, strain and enjoy!

Other wild edibles to keep an eye out for in the month of October include: Acorns (must be leached), Apples, Walnuts, Bolete Mushrooms, Chickweed, Chestnuts, Dandelions, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms, Mint, Plantain, Prickly Pears, Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, Sheep Sorrel and Wild Grapes.

When and where to go foraging

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Nature is all around us, all you need to do is look up and go for a stroll in the woodlands. Depending on what you are looking for you will be greeted by different plant varieties everywhere you go. When mushroom hunting it is best to find your local forest or team up with a local forager who knows the area. Herbs grow plentiful all year round but spring and summer are bursting with herbal goodness. Berries and mushrooms appear in Autumn.

What you will need for your Foraging Adventure

  • A pair of scissors, or a good pocket knife.
  • A wicker basket or some reusable container.
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Long sleeves and pants (trousers) to protect from nettles, thorns and poison ivy
  • A small notebook for keeping track of all of your finds.

Resources

Get our Free Foraging Tips: A 6 week guide for beginner foragers!

Join us for some foraging adventures to learn about the Wild plants around you.

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Sustainable Living: Get curious about your food!

Whether your concerned about using less energy, saving the trees or conserving water, sustainable living can help you to support these causes. Learning about the natural world around you can help you towards a more sustainable lifestyle. It is all about pairing back to basics and understanding that a simple life with less can have huge benefits on the environment and your mental health.

One way to take action is to learn about the foods you consume on a weekly basic. Think about what goes into your shopping basket. Do you know how many items are grown or produced locally? Can you tell the difference between organic produce and mass produced goods? Do you buy more food than you actually need and end up throwing out a lot of food at the end of a week?

Most of us do so don’t worry, we can take small steps to cut down on food waste and make our home more sustainable.

13 Steps Towards a Sustainable Living

  1. Grind the fruit and vegetable peels into delicious juices
  2. Repurpose jars and containers
  3. Spend time outdoors, learning about the wild produce around you
  4. Start composting at home
  5. Make homemade cleaning products (did you know that the acid in Lemons is antibacterial?)
  6. Limit the use of hot water
  7. Plant a tree with a friend
  8. Cut down on your meat intake
  9. Prepare home cooked meals with local ingredients
  10. Create a shopping list and try to stick to it
  11. Look for fairtrade symbols and certifications on products
  12. Choose ethical brands
  13. Research ingredients

There are plenty of ways that we can begin to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Our foraging tours will teach you about the wild plants and delicious herbs plucked straight from nature. Investing in life long learning is the perfect excuse to get outdoors, learn something new and give back to the community around you.

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Discover Europe: Guided Food Tours 2020

Join us on our Guided Food tours in Europe 2020. From foraging along the wild atlantic shorelines of Ireland to the breathtaking mountains of Northern Italy, we have chosen four exceptional foodie experiences to share with you.

Our guided tours are perfect for those looking to make friends and share a special food adventure with a like-minded group. From the moment you arrive you will be looked after by our expert local guide. Each tour includes: an expert guide, accommodation, transfers, local traditional meals and a foraging guide.

Each guided tour lasts between 4 to 5 days and caters for a maximum of 15 persons. Contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com to secure your place.

A Taste of Ireland: Coast to Coast

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One of our most popular foraging experiences is coastal foraging along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. On this guided foraging adventure we explore the Irish woodlands, taste delicious homemade dishes, discover wild herbs, learn about the history of Ireland and embark on a coastal foraging experience with our local expert guide. An added bonus is our five course tasting menu that will delight your senses.

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A Taste of Italy: Truffles and Trails

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Starting in the stunning village of Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. Renowned for its famous white truffles, this area is rich in nature and will leave you with lifelong memories to cherish. Our local guides have the inside scoop on the food treasures and history of the area. Your taste buds will thank you when you indulge in some of the most delicious Italian dishes on this food filled adventure.

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A Taste of France: Cider and Cheese

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Fruit lovers rejoice in this fruit filled region of France. On this magical wellness retreat we will cycle alongside the fruit trail in Normandy, stopping by the castles and ancient ruins to sample the delicious local ciders and cheese along the way.

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A Taste of Portugal: Valleys and Vineyards

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Taking in the charming hilly streets of Porto and the epic views of the Douro Valley, this guided food adventure is ideal for those who want the perfect balance of city life and escapes to the countryside. Starting in the lively town of Porto and tasting the local pinchos is a treat before we embark on a unique journey to discover some of the best vineyards of the Douro with our expert local guides.

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To secure a place or learn more about any of our Guided Food Tours for 2020 please contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com

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Yarrow Benefits and How to make Yarrow Tea?

History

White flower headed Yarrow, aka Achillea millefolium, is said to derive from the Greek hero Achilles, who had an affinity to Yarrow, after being shown its many uses by Chiron the Centaur, and used this herb to heal soldiers during the Trojan war.

This sweet scented health has a rich healing history from around the world. Renowned for its ability to heal and repair, its feathery leaves have been used since ancient times to heal cuts, wounds and burns.

It grows abundantly beside roadsides and paths. Foraging for yarrow is fun in summertime but be careful for lookalikes.

Traditional Uses and Health Benefits

There is a good reason why this herb is known as a healing herb.

Yarrow has many funny nicknames including Nosebleed. If you have a nosebleed, you can stuff the leaves up your nose to stop the blood flow. Antiseptic and anti- inflammatory, it has the ability to rapidly stop the blood flow.

Yarrow is commonly used to help with issues like diarrhea and stomach issues. It is also used to help clear coughs, asthma, colds and liver disorders.

In manufacturing, yarrow is used as a cosmetic cleanser and in shampoos. The leaves and flowers are sometimes used in salads.

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Three ways to use yarrow

  1. Yarrow Tincture: You can make this traditional tincture by plucking off the flower heads, putting them into a glass container and covering them with alcohol for 6 weeks. Traditional dosage: 2 ml taken 2 times per day.
  2. Yarrow Herb Tea: Use 1-2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water and steep for 5 -10 minutes depending on taste.
  3. Yarrow Salad: The fern like leaves from this hero herb are sometimes used in salads.

How to make Delicious Yarrow Tea

For yarrow tea, simply put a 1-2 teaspoons of dried yarrow flowers in a tea pot, let it sit for 20 minutes, strain into a cup and enjoy a healthy tea.

If you want to treat yourself to a box of freshly dried yarrow you can get it in our Wild Store today.

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3 Unforgettable Wine Tasting Holidays in Europe

Fancy learning a little bit more about the wines of Europe? If you are a wine drinker, a fruit lover or culture hound then these are some of our most loved wine tasting holidays that will delight your senses.

Be enchanted by the Douro Valley

As one of our favourite regions for cool, crisp white wines, a guided experience in the Douro Valley is perfect for fruit lovers everywhere. What can’t we say about this grape rich region. If you are searching for a Tuscany alternative then this provides a superb back-drop for a romantic escape. Everywhere you look you will be surrounded by nature. As one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world, the UNESCO listed site is a bucket-list trip trip for wine lovers.

TOUR DETAILS

Get a Taste of the Costa Brava

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This is our not so hidden gem. A tour that will delight the senses and awaken the spirit in the beautiful Catalonia countryside. Soak up the sunshine and breathtaking views of the Do Emporda wine region. The area begins next to the stunning peaks of the Pyrenees and runs down through the landscapes of Catalonia.

Wine from this region is usually 30 years old. Red wines are generally make from Garnacha Tino and Samso. The traditional grape of Tempranillo and more popular Syrah and Mermot can also be found. Each bodega you visit in DO Empordà is a treat. We highly recommend spending a night or two in beautiful city of Girona when you are in the region.

TOUR DETAILS

Discover a Taste of Sintra

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If you want to sample the luxurious landscapes of Portugal then Sintra is the place to be. This UNESCO world heritage site is covered with pine trees, grapes and ancient ruins. A stop at the Palacio Nacional da Pena is just one of the highlights on this wine experience. The soils are unique to this part of the world and the wines of this region are often described as herbal, perfect for all of us herb enthusiasts.

TOUR DETAILS 

To book one of the above delicious wine tasting holidays feel free to reach out to one of our travel team anytime.

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