Primrose! The lovely little five petal delicate flower we love to have in our gardens – is totally edible! Both leaves and flowers can be eaten, but Primrose tea is made from the leaves.
You can use the leaves fresh or dry them out and store them for future use.
Fill a tea strainer with leaves, and then let it steep in hot water for a few minutes. The water will turn a pale green colour. This tea tastes liek an everyday geenric herb tea – it doesn’t have any kind of real flavour to it. I added the primrose flowers to the top of my glass to liven it up a bit and improve the flavour and content. This means you get a wonderful nose full of the smell of flowers everytime you take a sip too, which is highly relaxing!
In the early days of medicine, the Primrosewas considered an important remedy in muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. The herb has sedative propoerties.
Not to be mistaken for other similar varieties and cross cultivators (evening primrose – also made into teas and tinctures, cowslip, oxlip).
These jelly ears were found in a man made wood consisting of Pine, Fir/Spruce and Elder. Jelly ears are commonly found on dead elder trees and here was no exception. For help identifying Jelly Ears for yourself you can also check out of Jelly Ear Identification post.
For comparison here is a picture of some of the jelly ears I found yesterday both fresh and old.
While this is a picture of Yarrow on my allotment, I can assure you this plant grows everywhere and you are as likely to come across it as you are to find docks or dandelions. Often hidden in short grass the plant Yarrow can appear to be horizontal for most of the year only revealing itself by a few well trodden on curls of leaves in parks and pathway grass. However, at this time of year it also starts to grow upwards as it attempts to throw out some flowers and it can get very tall in the right location.
The leaves and flowers of Yarrow are used in salads and yarrow oil is also used in shampoo. Some people chew on yarrow to relieve toothache. In the garden it makes an excellent compost activator. Medicinal uses include easing the symptoms of fever, colds, gastrointestinal issues including IBS symptoms and to induce sweating.
WARNING: Do not consume excessive amounts, may contain thujone, cause drowsiness and increase urination. For some people, it can also cause a skin irritation.
WARNING: Not to be confused with Foxglove and Comfrey.
Foxglove – feel the leaves, are they soft and fur like? If so then you probably found foxglove before it flowered which is poisonous.
Comfrey – Flowers are purple instead of blue. Comfrey is the perrenial version of borage which is annual.
Borage works much like Comfrey in the compost bin as a brilliant plant stimulant for leafy growth. However, it is also considered an edible herb with tasty crisp leaves (if a bit furry). Some report they taste liek cucumber but I am less convinced. The flowers are also edible and as such make a brilliant garnish and addition to salad mixes.
Collected leaves and flowers from the borage plants on my allotment. Many garden shops now sell borage seeds to grow yourself and they excellent plants for attracting bees.
Borage leaves and flowers used to boost the contents and appearance of Elderflower cordial. I found that in this mixture the leaves slowly turn neon pink from the tips inward creating a pleasing and pretty drink garnish.
What at first glance looks like a barren field with a few daisies actually turns out to be a little field full of camomile.
Location: Grassy areas
Months: April, May, June July
Edible Parts: Flowers
They look like tall slender daisies with feathery leaves. The yellow center is bulbous and smells strongly of camomile. Smell some camomile tea if you are unsure of what that smells like! The smell is very distinctive and unmistakable.
It’s easy to turn your leftover Juice Cartons and Milk Cartons into seedling planters. Not all cities recycle this material so if you are stuck in a place that won’t recycle them like us, it’s a great idea to try to re-use them instead.
Cut out a rectangle shape on the top of the carton (keeping the lid tightly screwed on still. Do not cut all the way to the edge of the carton – you will need a cm roughly around the edges to keep the carton stable with the weight of the soil inside.
Then simply fill with seedling soil and plant your salad seeds. Place on a windowsill and harvest as and when you desire! The easy compact design of these cartons make them the perfect size for windowsills and the cartons are naturally leak proof and certified food safe.
These little christmas treats are packed full of flavour and goodness. We received such a great response to these this year I thought I’d share the recipe I use.
Fruit pastes are densely packed with fruit you may otherwise be unable to eat raw (like Quince), and even better than this they store up to a year because of the sugar content. Quince pastes may be a bit sweet on their own for some people, but are excellent additions to your christmas cheeseboard or game meats.
Use baking paper or silicon mats on a tray to ensure you can easily peel off the paste after cooking.
2 Tablespoons Lemons Juice
Sugar (Check method for quantity)
Chop and core the Quinces. Don’t worry about peeling. Coring I found was also very tricky as the cores are larger than apples are, I ended up just roughly hacking away at the middle and getting all the seeds out.
Add to a pan of 500ml water and the lemon juice and cook for 30-40 minutes.
Cool, then blend with a processor.
Press the mixture through a fine sieve to create the puree.
Weigh the puree and add the same weight in sugar. (e.g. If the puree weighs 1kg, add 1kg sugar). The sugar is key here to ensuring preservation.
Stir the sugar in over a low heat until dissolved and the mixture is thick and coats the spoon (around 45-60 minutes).
Spread into trays and spread evenly. Allow to fully cool. Cut into small bite size portions.
If the paste “sweats” too much, further reduce the water content by dehydrating.
Store in a cool, dry place preferably in paper or foil tins.
Fuchsia is a great flowering plant to have in your garden or allotment. For one thing the BEES love it! So if you are adding it to any area, bear this in mind and place it away from seating areas and preferably in the middle of crop plants to encourage the bees.
There are lots of different varieties of fuchsia – some have large flowers, and large berries and others are light pink or purple or fuchsia coloured! However, none of them are poisonous. Each different variety has it’s own flavour and sweetness so try them out and taste for yourself what kind of berry they produce before you buy to make sure you get a strain that suits you. Some are super sweet and some are a bit bitter and have an after taste.
I purchased this plant here for my new permaculture allotment because of the following key reasons:
You can eat the berries fresh or make them into jams etc
You can eat the flowers or use them as food decorations
They attract bees to your plot
They look pretty and add an extra edible dimension to a standard plot
Non-Edible Parts: The hardest part where it was attached to the wood
As with all mushrooms you gather do not pick unless you are absolutely sure. The chicken of the woods also does not agree with everyone and can cause tummy upset if not properly cooked through. Always try a little first to see if your digestive system likes it or not. The great thing about Chicken of the Woods is that it is quite meaty – like chicken – in texture. Chicken of the Woods is not hairy, so if you see a yellow lookalike that is hairy leave it alone.