Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Granny Bostock's walnuts...

When Granny Bostock came to stay she brought a great big bag of walnuts fresh off her friends tree in Salisbury.

We set about cracking the nuts and pulling out the brain-like nuts. 

Walnuts are amazingly high in omega 3 and 6, vitamin E and vit B6 making them super food for a healthy brain and nervous system.  They are a perfect example of the Doctrine of signatures, that everythung provides us with a sign as to what its good for.  Walnuts look just like brains, encased in the hard skull shell.

They have a slightly bitter taste sometimes especially when the skin goes a bit black.  This is from the phenols, an antioxidant compound that developes to protect the plant but will also protect human cells when we eat them.

Its latin name if Juglans nigra, black walnut...
We use walnut in herbal medicine, we harvest the green unripe fruits and tincture them to make a dark black liquid.

To make black walnut tincture: 
1. harvest green unripe walnuts in their shell. 
2. chop up and place in a jar
3. Cover with vodka or similar strong alcohol 
4. Leave for one lunar cycle, 
5. Strain and bottle

It is a great purifyer in the body, strong hepatic/liver action, laxative, and great for skin conditions.  It is used as part of a traditional combination for worms of black walnut, cloves and wormwood.

Walnuts were thrown to Roman wedding guests by the groom to bring good health, to ward off disease, and increase fertility.

We use the nuts to make delicious nut butter in our juicer which has a nut butter attachment, in delicious babana cake or just to chew on....they taste so creamy and fresh straight off the tree.

The walnuts'll keep our brains in check over the sluggish winter months.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Pumpkin Chili Harvest

Wow what an amazing harvest and product day!

We must have had about 30 pumpkins and squashes so what to do? This coupled with plenty of onions and chillis made for Pumpkin pickles today.

 Dieters Mum is over from Austria and she has brought with her a special recipie book dedicated to Pumpkins....


         Olive oil
         1 large onion finely chopped
         4 garlic cloves, crushed
         400g/14oz pumkin peeled and cubed
         2 tbsp mixed spice
         150g organic unrefined brown sugar
         200ml/7fl oz cider vinegar
         sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
         handful fresh rosemary, sage, chives, oregano chopped
         bay leaf

Preparation method
.                Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent.
.                Meanwhile blanch the pumpkin in boiling water for about five minutes until it's slightly soft. Plunge into iced water to cool, then drain.
.                Add the cubed pumpkin to the softened onion together with the spice and stir well.
.                Once the pumpkin has heated through, add the sugar, vinegar and salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil.
.                Simmer for at least 40 minutes, until the pumpkin is really soft and the sugar and vinegar are thickened.
Adjust the seasoning if necessary, stir in the all the herbs.

Put into Jars.
Sit down and eat strudel with tea.......

Monday, 18 November 2013

Digestive System Herbcraftin

We have just spent a great weekend focusing on the Digestive System on the 2nd year of our Sensory Herbcraft Apprenticeship. The weather was fine and we had plenty of time to be digging up the super mucilaginous Comfrey n Aromatic Inula (where inulin was first discovered) n yellow dock (looked at antraquinones and laxative herbage)...

We spent the first half of the weekend with all 15 of us taking Swedish bitters before every meal and snack break and the second half taking our blend of Digestive native bitters (angelica, wormwood, lavender, rosemary, barberry and meadowsweet). What an interesting experiment gauging each individual’s response...

We looked at tongue diagnosis and dabbled in palmistry. Honored our hearts and the Full Taurean Moon. Left repeated destructive patterns in the earth to be transmuted to self-care and positive kindness.

Made an anti-parasite glycerite and the clever Freya suggested that instead of using the glycerol we may like to try creating the mix in Apple juice that we boil down to a concentrate -Good Idea.

Looked at dosages with creating artichoke balls from hemp seed butter, honey and powdered artichoke.

And enjoyed the company of Earth Lovers


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Healing Powers of Olive leaf Tincture

I have just spend a blissful few days out in the Alpuharras of AndalucĂ­a (Southern Spain) although we are in winter now I found myself swimming in lakes, rivers, the sea and pools daily, basking like a lizard on rocks and exploring hidden gems in the beautiful mountains there.

The most prolific plant by far is the wondrous Olive Tree (Olea europaea) the hills n valleys are crisscrossed with literally millions of them. These trees are the oldest of all fruit trees and certainly are one of the most important fruit trees in history. Olive tree culture has been closely connected to the rise and fall of Mediterranean empires and other advanced civilizations throughout the ages.

In Greek mythology Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and peace, struck her magic spear into the Earth, and it turned into an olive tree, thus, the location where the olive tree appeared and grew was named Athens, Greece, in honor of the Goddess. The ancient Egyptians regarded the olive tree as a symbol of heavenly power, and in keeping with that belief, they extracted its oil and used it to mummify their kings. The first formal medical mention of the olive leaf - an account describing its ability to cure severe cases of fever and malaria, occurred In 1854, the Pharmaceutical Journal.

The leaves of olive trees are gray-green and are replaced at 2-3 year intervals during the spring after new growth appears. Pruning yearly and severely is very important to insure continued production. A wild, seedling olive tree normally begins to flower and produce fruit at the age of 8 years. Some olive trees are believed to be over a thousand years old, and most will live to the ripe old age of 500.

Olive trees can survive droughts and strong winds, and they grow well on well Olive trees are more resistant to diseases and insects than any other fruit tree and, therefore, are sprayed less than any other crop.
Scientists isolated a bitter substance from the leaf and named it oleuropein. It was found to be one ingredient in a compound produced by the olive tree that makes it particularly robust and resistant against insect and bacterial damage. Oleuropein is an irridoid, a structural class of chemical compounds found in plants often exhibiting a bitter flavour. It is present in olive oil, throughout the olive tree, and is, in fact, the bitter material that is eliminated from the olives when they are cured.

In 1962, an Italian researcher reported that oleuropein lowered blood pressure in animals. This triggered a flurry of scientific interest in the olive leaf.

Other European researchers confirmed this interesting finding. In addition, they found it could also increase blood flow in the coronary arteries, relieve arrhythmias, and prevent intestinal muscle spasms.

Olive leaf has many benefits as well as lowering fevers and supporting the cardio vascular system the medicine also works well as an anti- microbial. So ace at supporting the immune system in shaking off viruses and bacterial infections.

I learnt that one harvests the leaves from the young suckers that grow around the base of the tree. So I set off and collect a few to make my own Olive Leaf Tincture.
Olive leaf tincture recipe
1) Take the leaves chop finely, then place in a glass jar.
2) Cover with vodka. 
3) Seal the glass, and let it sit in a dark place for a lunar cycle
4) Strain it out for use.