Salty Birch scrub

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Most of my readers know of my passion for wild herbs as food, but they are so much more! Some are great for the skin .Birch for example. Birch is cleansing, softening and it smells great. What could be better than to prepare your skin for summer with a fragrant Birch scrub.

I used to have a natural cosmetics brand, Lisen Organics, and I made this scrub as a “limited edition” thing every year. They always sold out before I even got them out on the market.

Just for nostalgia – this was the label (by talented graphic designer Hanna Werning):

Björkskrubb etikett desing Hanna Werning

The jars cost several hundred kronor, if you make them yourself, they cost no more than a buck.

All you need is a few handfuls of fresh Birch leaves, fine sea salt and a good vegetable oil such as sesame, almond, sunflower or what else you might prefer.

Björkskrubb ingredienser

2 parts salt

1 part vegetable oil

a handful birch leaves

Blend all ingredients until you have a smooth paste. If too dry, add more oil.

Björkskrubb Foto Lisen Sundgren

Here’s how it looked in my first book, Lisens herbal spa:

Björkskrubb i Lisens Örtspa, Foto Charlotte Gawell
Foto Charlotte Gawell

Use: after a shower or a bath, massage your skin with the scrub, rinse off. No need for moisturizer afterwards, the skin will have absorbed the oil and feel smooth, soft and nourished.

Stay smooth, Lisen


Sweet cicely

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Myrrhis odorata. Oh happiness! Sweet cicely has a beautiful sweet scent of licorice, aniseed, sweetness and joy.  I love how it grows, smells and tastes. To begin with it has big, laciniated leaves that when young and tender are light green and then become darker as they grow.  As summer progresses they can get up to 150 cm tall. Seet cicely is generous and sprouts new leaves the whole season, I sometimes harvest it until November!

Äter körvel
Foto Charlotte Gawell


The whole plant is edible, root, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits. The fresh leaves taste best raw. Heat makes their flavor disappear.

You recognize them by the scent, the large leaves that has a white marking towards the stem. They remind a bit of Queen Anne’s Lace but they are bigger, more dense and, of course, the scent.

Körvelblom Foto Lisen Sundgren

Sweet Cicely is currently in bloom in Stockholm where I live, despite the unusually cold May. This to me is a sign that summer IS on it’s way, very hopeful. The flower looks like a large snowflake and is beautiful to sprinkle over food.

Sweet Cicely goes great with rhubarb.  A great, easy and delicious dessert is made from rhubarb, Sweet Cicely leaves and flowers:

Lägg dessa ingredienser i en stekpanna med smör och råsocker. Foto Lisen Sundgren
Lägg dessa ingredienser i en stekpanna med smör och råsocker. Foto Lisen Sundgren

Chop rhubarb and put in a hot skillet with lots of butter. After a few minutes, while still “al dente”, add brown sugar. Put on a plate, sprinkle with the greens and serve with whipped cream. So damn good.

Råstekt rabarber med spansk körvel Foto Lisen Sundgren
Råstekt rabarber med spansk körvel Foto Lisen Sundgren

A calming infusion is made from Sweet Cicely leaves and / or flowers. Just pur hot water over the leaves in a teapot. Enjoy warm or cold.

If you’re a more ambitious chef than I am I think you should try making ice cream or sorbet from this sweet green. Tastes great with raspberries.

The flowers are transformed to green, oblong fruits. They are delicious. Eat them directly as a natural candy or put them in the freezer and enjoy them during winter.

Foto Charlotte Gawell. Bild från Lisens Gröna Värld
Foto Charlotte Gawell. Bild från Lisens Gröna Värld

It was said in the Middle ages that Sweet Cicely cured melancholy, so if ever you feel low, eat it!

All best, Lisen