Worm wood wonderings….

Worm wood (Artimesia absinthium) a beautiful ferny silver grey plant, It has many uses so far I have tried to smoke it and drink it and that didn’t really end well… I read it is a good sedative and pain killer so I researched it and there is heaps of literature about this plants medicinal uses and it has been used extensively in the past.

I think it is most famous for the drink made from it call Absinth, I haven’t tried this but a few of my friend have told me stories about it, I may try to make a tincture from it but I don’t want to drink it as a recreational drink as alcohol tends to give me a headache now so it would be counter productive.

So here is my experience so far……

Lovely ferny silver grey leaves of worm wood

I made a tea out of it and it was so bitter it was like chewing a panadine forte tablet I couldn’t drink it…

So I got my small pipe out to try to smoke it as there is quiet a bit of literature on this use, so I packed it in and lite it up took a big drag and OMG it was so harsh, it ripped my throat to shreds. The people that smoke it must be smokers. I’m not so need to make it smoother some how.

 

Not having much luck so far using it medicinally but I’m not giving up on it yet!!
I’m drying Mullein leaves to mix with it to see if that helps, Mullein is another sedative leaf that is supposed to be smooth to smoke.  I have a shisha hooker and once the Mullien is ready I will try smoking it in that I’m wanting to cut the shisha tobacco (which is a great muscle relaxant) with different herbs that I can use as an alternative pain killer and relaxant.

Any way I wanted to post about the little scent bags I made today, more success with that I’m going to put them in with my hand spun balls of wool, my wardrobe and my skins because I have an infestation of moths and I don’t want to use the old moth balls.
I read that it was good for chicken nest for mites ect that was the original reason I bought the plant to grow, I put it in all my poultry nesting boxes everytime I clean them out and I assumed it would work on these pesky moths too.
here hoping…..  I added some dried Rosemary for extra kick.

It is nice to put a bit in your pillow too, it is supposed to give you vivid dreams but a good deep sleep I’m not sure it actually did this for me but it was a pleasant smell to fall to sleep too.

Worm wood & Rosemary insect repellent scent bags

Dock seeds of life….

 

Dock seeds drying in my studio

 

A pretty windy not so nice day outside today so cooking it is….

My Dock seeds (Rumex obtusifolius) are nice and dry so I decided to make some yummy Dock seed muesli muffins, Dock seeds have become one of my absolute favourite foraged foods.

The leaves are great in salads or cooked the roots can be roasted but my favourite bit is the seeds they look insignificant papery and not very appetizing but in this case you can’t judge a book by its cover…..

I now get most of my food from foraging, hunting or growing it but grains are a hard one I want to find things that halve my use of bought flours and I have found that adding dock and plaintain (Plantago sp.) seeds are good for this so far.

 

 

They are abundant here so have no problem getting them and I love the texture and taste, these additions just give my muffins and breads something special an earthiness, a wholesomeness if you like.

Dock seeds removed from stems

Dock seeds sieved and ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once my Dock seeds are nice and dry I strip the seeds from the branches and sieve them to remove dust and small unwanted bits, I then grind them in my trusty coffee grinder and add to muffins, breads and cakes ect.
This is the recipe for the power packed muffins I made today.

2 cups plain stoneground flour

Roast Acorns

1/2 tsp. natural bicarb soda

1 cup Dock flour

1/2 cup ground roast Acorns (Quercus sp.)

1/2 oats

1/2 sunflower seeds

1/2 pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup honey

1 tbsp. raw sugar

Home grown dried Calendula and Camomile flowers

1 tsp.  Camomile flowers

1 tsp.  Calendula petals

1/2  dry nettle (Utica)

A few drops of vanilla extract

1/2 olive oil

Extra water to make batter

Bake in moderate oven for about 20 minutes

A lot of the ingredients in these was foraged for or grown by me making them even more satisfying…..

Dock seed Muesli Muffins with Acorn coffee

 

I enjoyed these with my roast acorn coffee which I will do a blog about in the new acorn season shortly.

Plantain seeds Yum….

 

 

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is a useful plant indeed, the young green baby leaves can be plucked and put into salads early in the season the more developed leaves can be steamed with other greens, they go great with Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) greens, just drizzle olive oil over them, salt and pepper a squeeze of lemon and you have a meal fit for any concerning taste buds.

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Cleaned Plantain leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even later in the season you can use the seeds, this was the first year I experimented with the seeds and it can be a leap for some I know, I would not have believed you if you told me I would be eating these now, when I was a child as our favourite game was picking the longest flower stalks with the fattest seed heads we would wack each other’s to see who’s would break first. We would also chase each other attempting to whack each other’s bare legs with them in summer which at the time we thought was quiet funny. So from that to being one of my favourite foods well no wonder kids think adults are crazy!

Plantains in seed in my weed pasture

My weed pasture in the front yard is well established now this is the same plant in the first picture and I have several gorgeous Plantains mostly Plantago lanceolata, myself and my menagerie grazed of this pasture all spring and enjoyed the greens from the plantain’s, the bees luved the flowers so everyone is happy and had full tummies.

When I decided the seeds were ready, the ones that have finished flowering all I did was pick the plump seed spikes and hang them upside down to dry once mostly dry say a week or so I then remove the individual seed and ground them in my coffee grinder, they are still a bit moist which is good, I think if they were completely dry there wouldn’t be much left, it is a bit of a mission for the grinder you just need to much them a bit so they almost make a corse paste them I added them to a muffin mix so just 1 1/2 cups whole meal flour, 1/2 cup of Plantain seed paste, 1 table spoon of wild laurel jam, ½ cup oil, 2 table spoons raw sugar and a pinch of natural bicarb and baked for 20 minute.
Plantain seeds can have a laxative effect so don’t eat to much the first time to see how they affect you.

Plantain muffins

Well I was really impressed with the texture and the taste and these will definitely be on my too harvest list every year, I am going to freeze the seed mix to use through winter in breads and muffin’s. So give it a go and see what you think and plant some plantains or just don’t pull some out next year, let them seed you wont be sorry.

Cat tales………

Wow what a day very productive and adventuress……

I decided I would experiment with the Cat tails (Typha sp.) today seeing as it was sunny and warm as I thought there was the likely hood that I may go for a dip….

And as I thought I ended up wet up to my belly button it was only luck that I didn’t go in the drink completely.

Any way I gingerly entered the calm waters tadpole scattering in every direction, there were so many tadpoles it was amazing it is a wonder my dad can sleep of a night as he lives rite next to the dam and the chorus would be deafening I recon.
I grabbed a hand full of leaves and gave a firm yank, pop it left its roots behind easily and smoothly giving me a false sense of security strait up but after a minute or so I was finding some weren’t so compliant and I really had to heave on some stubborn blighters, hence the wetness……. So not only was I ending up with the clean crown and stem I had roots and shoots to boot, so I ended up with the whole range of edible parts to experiment with (I know it is the wrong season for the roots but they were coming up with the plants anyway so thought I would dry a few just for fun) I intend to harvest a lot of the root in fall for flour next year.

Cattail harvest

The little bright white shoot looked so good I nibbled on one it was tender and sweet but made my throat a bit tickly so I put them aside to cook hoping this would eliminate this pesky reaction. I bundled up my harvest and made my way back to my car leaving little puddles in my wake.

A bit further down the road I harvest more young flower heads and Pollen, I was getting some funny looks from the locals I thought I was going to cause an accident….

Shoots

Flower spikes

 

 

 

 

 

 

I proceeded to peal the young flowers spikes and rub the minute flowers of into a bowl, I left some so they looked like little iddy biddy corns in their sheaths and cooked them to see what they were like that, mmmm they were ok but not my favourite way to eat the flowers, I like them removed from the stem and used in breads, muffins and omelettes. I harvest loads each year and freeze the flowers or make dough for flat bread and freeze in little portions, I can just grab a ball out of the freezer thaw and roll out and chuck in frying pan and wallah instant Cattail flat bread!

Processed hearts

Different flower prep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I boiled these and the shoots for about 15 minutes in salted water, strained added salt and pepper with a drizzle of olive oil they smelt amazing and tasted like a mix between artichokes and white asparagus, they were so so good but unfortunately they left me with that tickly sensation in the back of my through, I had read that it does this to some people and was hoping I wasn’t one of them, what a shame as they were one of the tastiest wild harvest I have ever had, so please try them don’t be put off by my experience in this case, may people enjoy these as a food they may not do this to you and I envy anyone that can eat these delectable morsels……. Bugga!

Flower spikes cooked

Hearts and shoots cooked

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onto the pollen it took me about 1/2 an hour to get 1/2 a cup so a bit of work not hard work but you need a lot of flowers for this to be worthwhile. I just snipped the heads that looked like they were loaded with bright yellow pollen, gentle as to not lose too much put the head into a big plastic bag hold stem with one hand and close the ends of the plastic bag so no pollen can escape in with the other hand and vigorously shake the stem waking it against my leg. The pollen is crawling with little insects too so you have too strain the pollen several times to get rid of the critters and the spent flowers.

Pollen

Pollen is packed full of protein so you don’t need much I added a teaspoon to an omelette with some flowers and nettle for a quick meal for those busy days like today!….

Red Fin Perch Summer Meal

Ok I’m finally back to it, it is all happening here in Tasmania, summer is kicking in and the sun has been shining today so I decided to go for a foraging trip.

There is a weir above my home town that my family gets water from and I thought it would be nice up there next to the running water in the shade as it was quiet hot but to mine and my father’s surprise who accompanied me there was a little trickle of water the weir was empty, we must have a broken pipe my father informed me ” I will have to walk done the pipe line now I recon a big ol tree has fallen on her” So whilst dad surveyed the area I wondered off to see what I could find…..

A little further along the old dirt road I found many Nettles (Urtica dioica) thriving in the dappled shade of the surrounding scrub.  They are in full flower their tiny flowers along their Racemes hanging down like little gems, pretty and delicate as they look they got their sweet revenge a few times but I was not deterred as Nettle is one of my favourite wild green so they were definitely coming home with me, one even got me through my leather glove rite on the end of my thumb owwww don’t scratch it, don’t scratch it!!

Well dad was getting itchy feet always on the move coming around the corner he said “come on I gotta go feed them cow’s”  he took a look at my basket shook his head and said “you would eat any bloody thing you would” grunted and headed for the 4 wheel drive.

We drove back down towards home through the surrounding pine plantation (Pinus radiata) not only was the smell strong, wafting through the car but the branches were whacking my face in through the window as we bumped along so as dad jumped out to attack the thistles with a big metal pole that he carries especially for this task, so they won’t spread their seed I grabbed the fresh sticky with resin tip off one of the trees and added it to my basket.

Back home I had my last Red Fin Perch out thawing and decided I would stuff it with the pine needles and my friends gorgeous organic lemons.

Red Fin Perch

I remembered I had comfrey (Symphytum sp,)out the back  and I hadn’t tried it yet so thought I may as well try four new thing today it a good day why the hell not, the fish was stuffed tied and baking in the oven, I chopped the comfrey and added it and some dried nettle from last week into a red wine and tomato sauce base I made last summer. I put a pot of my uncle’s new pink eye potatoes with a big sprig of mint in then boiled.

I made some Cat tail (Typha sp.) flower flat breads and everything was ready.

Plated up ready for its picture, the problem with being a food blogger is that you eat a majority of your meals cold!
So time to plate up, added sauerkraut, drizzled the sauce over and garnished, click, click and I chowed down.
The bitterness off the fiddle heads went well with the tartness of the red wine sauce, YUM!

Finished meal

As I sat there enjoying my hard won meal feeling that deep satisfaction you get when you look at your plate and know you have either foraged, hunted, grown or made from scratch everything on your plate nothing beats it, and I mused I wonder what the rich people are eating to night…….
Note- there is debate about comfrey so please research things for your self an make your own decisions I am just sharing my experiences ok.. 🙂