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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Sorrel, Orange Peel, 2040 - the Doco.


Disregard the spelling mistake!
The other weekend I went to a plant and seed swap (just wonderful to do). The generous garden owner shared a taste of his sorrel and I couldn't believe that I had never tried this before - tangy, lemony goodness in a leaf! He kindly dug out a piece for anyone who wanted some. I can't wait for it to grow big enough to divide and make more plants, and to add to salads. It looks a bit like a weed at present so will need to stay well marked!
It's a plant that you don't need to keep planting - it just keeps on giving.

How to grow sorrel by Garden Lady at Sow Small Garden

It's full of nutritional goodness - read this link Benefits of sorrel leaves by

Orange Peel

On my journey to use that-which-is-under-my-nose I wondered why I was composting our orange peels. We have a tree of the most divine navel oranges. I started saving the peel, by re-peeling them with a very sharp knife to remove the pith, then laying it on a splatter guard on top of a kitchen rack which I have been placing on our wood-stove at night. I don't leave it overnight though as it is quite flammable. I'm collecting it all in a jar and will powder this lot in the food processor. This first lot (above) I pulverized with the mortar and pestle.

I've been using it to add to teas, sprinkled in homemade muesli, in baking and added to my tooth powder (tooth whitener). It gives a delicious orange flavouring.
It too appears to have multiple health benefits...Health benefits of orange zest by Pioneer Thinking

I'm also soaking peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks, then adding the vinegar to water and a few drops of castile soap for a spray cleaner.

2040 - the documentary

Have you heard of this documentary? It's just new out. It is a positive spin on how the world could be despite climate change. It is a bit utopian, but hey, hopefully it will all catch on. There were lots of people viewing it, and the first movie that I've heard a round of applause after.

So yes, recommended...get along and see it, or tell me what you thought if you've seen it already.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Woman in The Wilderness, Foraging

Most mornings I try to ride 8km on my spin cycle (exercycle). This requires good reading material as it's a pretty boring activity.
I found this book  "Woman in the Wilderness" by Miriam Lancewood in the Hospice shop and swooped it up excitedly as I had seen her in a tv interview a couple of years back. 

It's a fascinating tale of living for years in the wilderness of New Zealand, just coming out every 2-3 months for supplies, and how it has changed the author. She has spent that time with her husband, who is 30 years her senior. They spent much of it living in their tent - even through winter, in the snowy South Island and hunting for meat. She walks everywhere, even in winter, in sandals.
It made me realize that we have native plants in our back yard that we have never utilized. So began my research into kawakawa and manuka teas.

Kawakawa plant. The caterpillar looking thing is the fruit.

This plant is related to the Kava plant from the Pacific Islands, which is made into a sedative, anaesthetic and euphoriant drink.
Kawakawa does mildly have some of these properties and is/was used as per this excerpt from Wikipedia

The root, fruit, seeds and especially the leaves of the kawakawa plant were favourite medicinal remedies of the New Zealand Māori. In fact, the kawakawa is one of the only plants still used by the Maori people today. Externally, Kawa Kawa was used for healing cuts and wounds, as an ingredient in vapour baths, and also as an insect repellent. Internally, it was found to be effective as a blood purifier in cases of eczema, boils, cuts, wounds, rheumatism, neuralgia, ringworm, itching sore feet, and all forms of kidney and skin ailments. The leaves were chewed to alleviate a toothache. The bruised leaves drew pus from boils and skin infections. A drink made from the leaves helped stomach problems and rheumatics when rubbed on joints. The leaf, if dried and burnt is an insect repellent.
The name kawakawa in Maori refers to the bitter taste of the leaves.

Surprisingly, the tea is quite palatable, and the leaves can also be used in

cooking to add a peppery taste. For the tea, scrunch up 3-4 leaves per cup and 

let them brew for 5 minutes. 

I'm looking forward to trying the fruit in summer when it ripens.

Manuka (Teatree)

Manuka seedling in front of the trunks of the mature trees.

This has been used as billy tea for centuries. Captain Cook used it for his crew

 to help prevent scurvy. The leaves are high in antioxidants and vitamins, so I 

was really hoping to like it. Apparently fresh leaves have more benefit and taste 

than dried. We used a teaspoonful per cup and were aware that it would be very

pale, but not to brew it too long as it would be bitter. (And not to brew it too 

strong as it was used as an emetic like that - ie can make you sick!) It was quite a 
delicate flavour, so I think my way to use it will be to replace the green tea that I 
currently buy 
and mix with my favourite Earl Grey tea.
This is also a multi-use plant. We use it for firewood and garden stakes plus it is famous for Manuka honey.

This all might be not much use to my readers from other countries...but what do you have in your backyards that you've never tried, that maybe your indigenous people have known about for centuries?