Monday, 23 July 2012

In praise of the wild corners.

Once again I return after such a long break. You may notice the change to the tag line in the title, 'Organic' has disappeared. That is because we have let our organic certification lapse. However that does not mean we are doing anything different, it just saves time and money!

Meadowsweet - A native perennial
So on to the subject matter. In praise of the wild corners. What was once called 'The Wasteland', and still is by some. We have a lot of wild corners here, in fact it is more accurate to say that we have some cultivated corners. This morning is sunny and fine, if a little windy, and we've collected both Mint and Meadowsweet for drying. Both of these are growing in wild corners, untended and zero input; a gift from nature.
Mint - an escapee gone feral
 The Meadowsweet is a native whilst the Mint is an escapee from the herb garden. The interesting thing is the mint is doing better in the location in which it chose to grow than where I planted it in the herb garden.

Drying mint for mint tea

 To dry the mint we tie it in sprigs of two stems and simply hang it up in the kitchen. If it is hung in larger bunches it can have a tendency to go mouldy, especially in our damp climate.

The Meadowsweet is dried on racks over a tray, as some of the tiny petals tend to drop off as it dries and cause mini snow drifts otherwise.
Meadowsweet drying

Once completely dry we store these in glass jars which will keep the herbs useable for a long time. Last year was bad and we are still using meadow sweet collected in the summer of 2010.
The main uses we have are to make teas. Mint is just a nice drink and so is the meadow sweet. The medowsweet also, allegedly, has anti-inflammatory properties and that is what we tend to use it for.