by Robin Harford
I love concocting non-alcoholic drinks, especially when the only drinks foragers are assumed to drink are inebriating beverages made with weird weeds from the hedge. Might I suggest another way…
Wild drinks are one of the most sensual ways to connect to plants. Teas, infusions, syrups, cordials, and other gargalblasters plug us directly in to the plants ‘field of influence’. They are a way to perceive the more subtle uses of plants, for food, medicine & wellbeing.
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger (grated)
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 2 blood oranges (whole without skin)
- ½pt of cleavers water
- ½pt water
- 2 large handful of flowering white dead nettle leaves & young tips
- 2 x 5″ lengths of large alexanders stems
- 20g fresh chopped mint
- 2tbsp coconut (fresh or dessicated)
- 2 handfuls of primrose flowers
- sugar (your choice)
To make cleavers water
Put cleavers in a wooden bowl and gently bash with a rolling bin until the fibres are broken. Now add cold water to cover, place a lid on top to keep the cleavers submerged. Leave overnight, then strain off your first cup. Traditionally used as a spring tonic.
To make herb water
Put all ingredients apart from the mint and primrose flowers into a blender and pulse on low speed for 3 minutes. Leave to sit for 4 hours to allow the flavours to combine. Blend occasionally when the urge stakes you.
To make the herb syrup
Strain herb water through muslin, and collect the liquid in a stainless steel saucepan. For every 500ml of liquid add 500gm of sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the mint and primrose flowers. Allow to cool and pour into sterilised bottles.
Serve diluted as you would a cordial, or try drizzled over desserts or in salad dressings.
Makes: A small bottle
© Robin Harford
Robin runs wild food foraging courses & walks around Britain. Courses are run in Scotland, Devon, London, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Yorkshire etc. – See more at: www.foragingcourses.com
For more of Robin’s wonderful foraging based recipes see: Eat Weeds – Wild food guide to the edible plants of Britain and beyond…