Roses are red

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Roses. A rose is a rose is a rose and yet…so much more than just a rose. There is something over-wordly about this Queen of Flowers. They awaken our lust, passion, greed for more. Our senses become alert to touch, scent, flavor… They just make us want more. If we have one rose in the garden we want more, if we love somebody, we don’t just give them ONE rose – a whole bunch says more. if we smell one rose we are eager to move forward to the next, abandoning all else. We love the scent, shape and colors. I was reminded of this when I was in Gothenburg, invited as a guest speaker at Trädgårdsföreningen, http://www.tradgardsforeningen.se/wps/portal/tradgardsf/rosariet They have one of the greatest Rose collections in Europe. Waching the crowds (7 000 people in one day!) sniffing, enjoying, buying and devouring roses.

My job here was to speak about how we can use roses in our every day lives for food, health and beauty. Here are the recipes I shared.

 

Ros Foto Lisen SundgrenRos Foto Lisen Sundgren
Ros 4

The most common question I get is whether you can use all roses. Yes, you can, with the exception of stem roses that are so heavily sprayed that they’d be considered toxic! Also don’t pick roses in parks where they may be sprayed.  My favorites are the wild roses.

So, recipes, here we go.

Roses for the skin. This Queen of Flowers has many healing properties, such as: cooling, astringent, rehydrating, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, rejuvenating and softening. Suitable for most skin types.

Facial water                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can buy Rosewater and use as it is as a facial water that is cleansing and cooling. Or make your own, it’s very simple. You put a handful of Rose petals in a pot with water. Bring to boil, turn off the heat, put on a lid and leave until the water has cooled. Remove flowers and use to moisten the face. Or make a large batch and pour it in the bathtub for a fragrant bath.

Facial mask

A cooling, astringent and rejuvenating facial mask that feels great after a day in the sun.

1 eggwhite

1 dl brown rice flour or white clay (or both, mixed)

1 handful fresh or dried Rose petals

Rosewater – buy or make your own, see recipe above

Mix the egg white, flour and the roses in a blender. Add more liquid if to desired texture. The paste should be easy to apply on the skin. Apply on face and neck. Leave for 20 minuter. Rinse off.

rosenmask copy
Rose facial mask Photo: Anna Emilia Lundgren

Rosy Body Scrub

A pink salt scrub that will make the skin on your body as soft as a Rose petal. Not recommended for the face.

5 deciliters fine seasalt

2,5 deciliter organic, coldpressed vegetable oil. I like almond or sunflower.

2 handfuls of fresh Rose petals

1 teaspoon lemon zest

For extra luxury: add 3-4 strawberries

Mix all ingredients. Put the scrub in a dry, clean glass jar. The scrub is great to soften skin, remove dead skincells, increas cirkulation and to soften hands and feet.

Use: take a shower or a bath, massage the scrub into your body. Rinse off. No need to use body lotion after since the skin will have absorbed the lovely oils.The scrub will hold at least 6 months in room temperature.

Facial Rose Oil

1 deciliter almond-, or jojobaoil

5 drops essential rose oil (organic)

Pour the oil in a bottle, add the essential oil.

Use: shake the bottle and pour a few drops on your fingers. Massage inte face and neck.

Eating roses

Roses are in the West most commonly used for sweets, but let yourself be inspired by the Middle Eastern kitchen and enjoy them in savory dishes and beverages too! Just sprinkle a few petals over a salad, on a sandwich or mix them in a smoothie. The flavor is sweet, acrid and a bit bitter. To reduce the bitterness, remove the white area at the bottom of the petal.

Add Rose petals to the dough when baking, use them dried in porridge or muesli. Boil rice or potatoes in Rosewater, make a Rose Ice Cream…the Roses know no boundaries…

Other flavors that go with Rose to get you going: Cardamon, lemon, basil, almond, chicken, fish, chocolate, coffee, cucumber, orange, saffron, pistachio and hazelnuts.

Varsågoda, här kommer recepten:

Rose salt

Mix fine seasalt with a handful of fresh Rose petals. Put the salt in a dry, clean glass jar. Store the salt in a dark, cool space and it will maintain flavor and color at least a year. Great with fish, chicken, eggs and any green vegetables.

Rose salt with water melon and rosewater is nothing less than outstanding. I invented this dish on stage, where I happened to have water melon within reach: slice a water melon, add Rosewater over it and sprinkle som Rose salt. If you’re hungry, add feta cheese, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and basil.

 

Ros, rosenvatten, vattenmelon och rosensalt

Rose lassi

1 handful fresh Rosepetals

1,5 dl Rosewater

2 deciliters Turkish yoghurt

a pinch of cardamon OR saffron

a few ice cubes

Rosensmoothie i görningen.
Making Rose Smoothie

Mix, drink, enjoy.

Roosensmoothie svalkar en varm dag.
Very cooling on a hot day. Remember it is an aphrodisiac : )
Rosenlassi är bra för kärleken Foto Lisen Sundgren
Rose lassi is good for you, cheers!

Some kind of Rose pesto

2 deciliters roasted almonds (also members of the Rose family))

1 handful of fresh Rose petals

1 deciliters grated coconut

A mild vegetable oil – like almond, sesame or sunflower oil

Rosenpesto
Rose pesto on lettuce

Chop the almond and Rose petals. Mix in a bowl with oil and coconut. Add salt to taste. Mix all ingredients. Serve with fish, curries, veggies or…anywhere you find fitting.

Crazy Rose Candy

This recipe was invented for the occaion in Gothenburg – maken any variety you like.

1 jar almond paste

1- 2 deciliters honey

2-3 deciliter cocoa powder

4 deciliters grated coconut

a handful dried strawberries

a handful dried raspberries

2 deciliters buckwheat flakes

1 tablespoon ground coffee beans

½ deciliter Rosewater

Mix all ingredient (save half the coconut and rosepetals for later in a bowl to make a paste that is easy to shape. If it is too loose, just add more cocoa(never be shy about chocolate!) and buckwheat flakes.

Galna Rosbollar
Crazy rosecandy

On a tray, spread out the rest of the grated coconuts and chopped Rosepetals. Shape the paste into balls. Eat. Should there, for some reason, be some left, they will hold for at least a week. How long exactly I don’t know…I consume them too fast.

Hallon från Saltå Kvarn
Dried Raspberries

 

And finally – Roses for health: I am convinced, that indulgence, delight is the greatest medicine. And I mean the simple things, enjoying small things in everyday life. Finding beauty in every day life, using a nice scent to smell good, enjoying the hell out of your morning coffee. Roses are great for this – make a body oil with rose to brighten up the morning, drink a cup of Rose infusion to calm down the senses and become more present and appreciative, or just put a bunch of Rose petals in the bathtub and see how that affects your mood.

On top of this, the Rose is considered to be an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, harmonizing, strengthening for the nervous system, calming, good for the intestinal flora, a mild laxative, diuretic, nourishing, antibacterial and antiinflammatory. So there is every reason to enjoy a Rose infusion, bath or scent every single day.

Rose Infusion

All you need for this is a few Rose petals, hot water and a tea pot.

 

Put the petals in a teapot, add the hot water and wait a few minutes. Drink to your health.

 

Rose hips, the fruit of Rose, are wonderful, I will write more about them when they are in season.

Stay good, Lisen

Fotbad med Rosor Foto Anna Emilia Lundgren
Foot bath with roses Photo Anna Emilia Lundgren

 

Sweet Queen of the Meadow

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Filipendula ulmaria, Meadowsweet, the Queen of the Meadow, is now in full bloom, showing itself off in all its glory. You can’t miss it if it grows in your hood. Follow the trail of happy bees that aim for the fragrant flowers to enjoy their delicious nectar. The flowers are graceful, creamy white clusters and has a strong scent. They will flower from now until early autumn in meadows and on roadsides. It can grow up to 1,5 meters tall.

The taste and scent reminds a bit of bitter almond and salicylic acid. No wonder, because it contains just that, the acid, also known as spirea oil.

Another feature are the leaves – they are dark green on the upper side and more white and downy underneath. They are divided, interruptedly pinnate, with large serrate leaflets and small intermediate ones. The stem and young leaves can be reddish.

 

Älgört
Queen of the Meadow

In former days, Meadowsweet  was used to flavor beer and mead. Perhaps not something we do today but try making a lemonade (use a recipe for Elderflower lemonade and use the Meadowsweet instead). Use this lemonade as it is or to pirk up summer drinks, coctails or even to marinate strawberries. Yum.

Meadowsweet in cooking?

In “The wild kitchen” (“Det Vilda Köket” ), a book I wrote with chef Rune Kalf-Hansen, Rune made a recipe for Meadowweet mayo, which was delicious. It’s delicious. Just make a mayo (no, you don’t buy the ready made, it’s not the same thing!) and add flowers or, if it’s spring, use chopped tender leaves.

I use the flours to flavor water – just put a cluster of flowers in a jug of water and let it sit a couple of hours. Flowers also great for infusions – also great as ice-tea. Or just sprinkle flowers over food.

In the spring, use tender leaves.

Älgört 6 april 2015
MeadowSweet leaves in April 2015

As a medicinal plant, Meadowsweet has a thorough record of healing properties: both leaves and flowers contain salicylic acid that has an antiinflammatory, analgesic and febrifuge effekt. It is also a diuretic. You could say that Meadowsweet is the Grandfather of Aspirin: a German medical-company created a synthetical copy of salicylic acid – the

of Man kan nog säga att Älggräs är Aspirinets urfader – ett tyskt läkemedelsföretag kom på att använda sig av salicylsyran läkemedel och utvecklade en syntetisk variant, Acetylsalicylic acid, and BAM – Aspirin was invented.

Lycklig humla bland älgörten
Happy bumble bee in Meadowsweet

If you want to use flowers as remedies in your Green Pharmacy to treat fever, rheumatic pain and influensa, or need a diuretic, then dry a bunch of flowers for winter use. Use the flowers as a cold infusion: two teaspoons dried herb to one liter of cold water . Leave ot for 8 hours and sip during the day.

Meadowsweet can be confused with Dropwort (Fern-leaf Dropwort) , read more about it here to learn how to tell them apart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipendula_vulgaris

Ok, that’s it for today, on my way out to forage St Johnswort.

More soon, Lisen

 

Summer feast: Lamb’s Quarters

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It’s time for a Summer feast! Lamb’s quarters, Goosefoot or Fat-Hen, whatever you like to call them, they are in season. To be more correct, the name is Chenopodium album.

I like to call it the grandfather of spinach, being that it  has a similar flavor, use and nutritional value. But it tastes even better, and it grows abundantly all over Sweden. It’s actually related to quiona, the Amaranthaceae family.

It grows upright and can become anywhere from 10 cm -150 cm! I like it best when tender, or when it is starting to get tall, just the tops. Lamb’s quarters will grow happily in flower beds, vegetable fields and in piles of soil.

Svinmålla
Lamb’s quartes, or Fat hen

In India it is grown as a crop and used extensively for cooking. The Hindi name is Banthua.

In Sweden most people consider it a weed, but our ancestors knew better than to dismiss it as such – traces from the plant and its seeds have been found on among ancient remains from the Stone Age.

I really love to cook with this very nutritious herb, which contains Vitamins A-, B-, and C, as well as calcium, iron and potassium.

Today I made myself a “Wild Frittata” with Lamb’s quarters and Rose petals.  Here’s how to make it:

Soon-to-be-wild-frittata
Soon-to-be-wild-frittata

2 eggs

1 tbs water or milk

1 small fresh onion, chopped

a handful of Lamb’s quarters, well rinsed

a few Rose petals

Parmesan cheese, a small piece

salt

pepper

Put the oven on 175 degrees C. In a pan, fry the chopped onion,  add the Lamb’s quarters. Turn off the heat and add the roses. Crack the eggs in a bowl, add water and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Grate the parmesan cheese. Add some oil to a small ovenware and put the vegetables in it.

Vild Frittata in the making!
Wild Frittata in the making!

Pour the eggmix over the veggies, sprinkle parmesan over it and put in the oven. Leave 10-15 minutes. Eat! It will taste just as good served warm or cold.

Vild Frittata!
Wild frittata

Stay cool!

Lisen

 

Herbal summer pharmacy

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Summer comes with sun, warm weather and time to relax. And with mosquito bites, scrapes, wounds and sunburn. Symptoms that you can easily treat with wild or homegrown herbs and natural remedies. These treatments are efficient and easy to make. I doesn’t need years of herbal studies to be able to use herbs in your everyday life, no prior knowledge is needed. Just read this, find the herbs and you are on your way!

When I studied herbal medicine in the US, one of my teachers taught me that some herbs become your “allies”. Which they are is not something we decide. The herbs appear to us, show up in a dream, grow in our proximity or given to us. In my case, my allies are plants that have appeared to me on my foraging trips in nature, and called my attention, or like Plantain – appeared in a dream when I went through a tumultuous time in life. It gave me a feeling of giving me protection, focus and guidance. Since then, it has been an ally and helped me treat myself and many others. Who knows, nature works in mysterious ways.

Today I want to share a few of my allies with you, they are easy to find, easy to use and will surely help you through the summer!

Aloe vera, Plantain, Yarrow, Calendula and Chamomile.  And of course, honey and oats.

Groblad, Rölleka, Honung, Havregryn Foto Lisen Sundgren
Yarrow, plantain, honey and oats

 

Aloe vera: if you have an Aloe plant in your windowsill, help is never far away to treat sunburn, insect bites, infections, scrapes and cuts. Oh, it’s also great for dry skin and hair! Aloe is probably one of the most trusted and used healing plants in the world, and considered a panacea.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera

Aloe has its origins in Africa and is grown today in dry areas in the US. It’s not a cactus, but a succulent plant, filled with a cooling, moist gel. This gel consists of 95% water, it’s this gel we’re after in the Green Pharmacy. It’s rehydrating, cooling, antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and speeds up healing. The Aloe gel, which contains over 400 known active ingredients as well as Vitamin A-, B-, C-, and E, as well as calcium, amoni acids and enzymes, is absorbed by the skin more quickly than water, which means it gives instant effect without making the skin feel sticky.

Use: Aloe is great for burns, dry skin, pimples, scrapes and wounds.  If you have an Aloe plant, cut a piece of it and slice it open. Scrape out the gel and apply where needed. Aloe gel can also be found commercially – if you buy it make sure it then contains 99 – 100 % Aloe.

Plantain, Plantago major Beloved Plantain. It grows where ever we put our feet down – on road sides, paths, parking lots…It’s known to grow in our foot path and to always make itself available to us at all times.

Groblad, Foto Lisen Sundgren
Plantain, Photo Lisen Sundgren

Plantain is used extensively to heal wounds, minor burns, inflammations, splinters and insect-bites. It’s antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. The leaf draws out from the skin what doesn’t belong there and improves healing of the skin.

Green bandage Photo Charlotte Gawell ur Lisens Gröna Värld
Green bandage Photo Charlotte Gawell / Lisens Green World

 

Use: For external use – use the leaf fresh on wounds and splinters – just apply the leaf on the injured area, secure it it with a bandage or bandaid, leave it on a few hours. If needed, replace and leave until the wound is healed.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium I wrote a post about Yarrow a couple of days ago – http://lifebylisen.com/en/best-first-aid-ever-yarrow/ Read more there!

Rölleka
Rölleka

Yarrow is a common wild plant that blooms now in June-October. A flower that is the object of scientific research due to its healing properties. Yarrow deserves more space than what I give it here (as do all the other herbs) but today I will focus on external use, where it’s most common to treat open wounds, to stop bleedings, speed up healing of the skin and prevent infection. It’s even known as a beauty herb by making the skin youthful.

Use: The simplest way to use Yarrow is to make an infusion from the flowers, let it cool and use as a wound wash. You can also maken an herbal oil from it, and use that as it is or make a salve (see previous Yarrow blog post). If you’re out in the forest or anywhere far from oils and infusions, just pick the flowers, chew them to a paste and apply to the wound.

Honey A must in my Green Pharmacy. I love honey and choose it with great care – I want it organic, local, mild and creamy. Yum. It’s not that I eat a lot of honey really, but use it for my skin and hair: I use it as a facial wash, make hair-treatments with it, and use it for wound-healing. Honey is a true miracle worker with a long list of properties: anitbacterial, antiinflammatory, skinhealing, softening and cleansing. Did you get a sunburn? Apply honey. Dry hair? Apply honey, wrap a towel around your head, leave on 30 minutes, rinse off. Infections? Apply honey. Pimples? Apply honey. Dry feet or hands? Take a foot bath, massage your feet with honey, put a plastic bag over each foot, cover with a sock and leave 30 minutes. Rinse off, apply some Olive oil or Bees wax salve and your feet will be like new!

HOnung

That’s all for today, I’ll bring you the rest tomorrow. The beautiful summer weather is calling for my presence!

Lisen

 

Best First Aid ever: Yarrow

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Now is the time to harvest one of Natures #1 First Aid: Yarrow. A helper who heals wounds, prevents infection, and stops bleeding. It is anti inflammatory and stimulates production of new skin cells.  Yarrow has been a well known healer since millennia, in the Iliad it is mentioned that Achilles taught his soldiers to use Yarrow to heal their war wounds. This is plant who strengthens, nurtures and gives warmth.

Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium Photo Lisen Sundgren
Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium Photo Lisen Sundgren

Yarrow is a must for the Family First Aid Kit. Scientific research shows that is speeds uyp wound healing, prevents infection and heals wounds. A Yarrow infusion can be used to wash wounds as well as to tone aging skin.

Use fresh flowers now in the summer and dry some to use in the winter. Drinking an infusion with Yarrow, Elderflower and Lindenflower is great to treat winter colds and flus, so stock up!

The flowers bloom now in June – July. They have a strong, aromatic flavor and scent. If you taste them, you will feel their bitter components. Thanks to them Yarrow becomes a great help to strengthen liver function and digestion.

This is not a flower to use in abundance of food due to the strong taste, but just a few flowers to give flavor to an herbal salt, butter, oil, vinegar or snaps will give justice to its singular taste. Or sprinkle a few flowers over a salad, root vegetables or a dish of lentils or beans.

The Yarrow has a strong, tough stalk so use a pair of scissors when harvesting. If you try to break it off by hand chances are you’ll tear up the whole plant including the root, which isn’t the point!

Here’s a bunch of recipes on how to use Yarrow for food and healing:

Yarrow oil: 

Yarrow oil can be used in food and as medicine. You need a clean, dry glass jar, a handful of Yarrow flowers and organic, cold pressed Rapeseed or Olive oil. Put the flowers in the jar. Pour the oil slowly into the jar. Let the flowers sink toward the bottom and the airbubbles rise to the surface before closing the lid.  Be sure that no plant material is above the surface. Put the jar on a light, but not too warm window sill. Open the jar once a day to say hello, sniff it to make sure it’s doing ok. After two weeks, remove the flowers and store in a bottle in a cool, dark place. For food, use the oil with lentils, beans or root vegetables. For healing, apply the oil on wounded skin or use it in a healing Beeswax Salve.

Yarrow oil with chili. Photo Charlotte Gawell / The Wild Kitchen
Yarrow oil with chili. Photo Charlotte Gawell / The Wild Kitchen

Beeswax salve with Yarrow

All you need to make salve is a pan, a heat resistant container, a spatula and a chopstick to stir with. And of course, beeswax, Yarrowoil and essential oil of Lavender.  Spend a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon and you’ll make enough salve to cover your whole family and the neighbors too for a year at least!

Recipe from my book “Lisens Green World” 

Use the salve on wounds.

For ten jars / 50 ml you need:

• 50 grams beeswax

• 400 ml Yarrowoil

• 20–30 drops Lavender essential oil

Put the beeswax in the heat resistant container. Bring water to a boil in the pan. Put the container in the water and wait until it has melted. Add the Yarrow oil. The wax will curl and it looks funny but just give it a minute or two and it will all blend into a beautiful golden liquid. When all has melted, lift the container out of the pan. Stir gently with a chop stick. Add the essential oil.  When the salve begins to thicken, pour it into the jars. Wait until the salve has cooled to put on a lid. Put a label on it and it’s ready to go. The salve can be stored at least two years.

Bivaxsalva Foto Charlotte Gawell / Lisens Örtspa.
Beeswax salve. Photo Charlotte Gawell / Lisens Herbal Spa

Many years ago I had some problems with my health and was treated at an Antroposophical clinic outside of Stockholm, Vidarkliniken. A daily routine for all patients was (and still is) to after lunch, go to bed and rest with a warm Yarrow compress covering stomach and liver area for 20 minutes. I would usually fall asleep and sleep a couple of hours! This was to to strengthen liver and digestion. A great thing. Here is how to do it.

Yarrow compress

Prepare a compress:

1 wool scarf or other wool material, large enough to go around your waist.

1 piece of cotton cloth, same size as the wool.

1 cotton cloth, ca 10 X 20 cm.

1 hotwaterbottle

Yarrow infusion to soak the compress in: 

Bring 4 cups of water to boil with 2-4 tablespoons of dried or fresh Yarrow flower. When water is boiling, leave covered for 20 minutes. Remove flowers. Dip the compress in the infusion when it has reached a comfortable temperature. Put the wool cloth on your stomach, with the dry cotton cloth over it. Then put the Yarros compress over the stomach. To keep the heat, put the hot water bottle over the whole package. Lie down, closer your eyes and rest for 20 minutes. This is so delicious.

Sårtvätt med Röllika

Bered infusion som i receptet ovan. Låt svalna. Doppa en bomullskompress i och tvätta såret med vätskan.

Är man allergisk mot korgblommiga växter bör man undvika Röllika. Men det finns andra alternativ att ta till, mer om dem senare i veckan när jag kommer skriva mer om hur du skapar ditt eget naturliga husapotek.

 

Nettles in bloom – make pesto

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The Nettles are in bloom! Take advantage of these humble, modest flowers. They are full of minerals and vitamins. As you see below there are two kinds; male and female. Use all. Dry them and save for winter to use in bread, in porrage, bread, smoothies and omelettes.

Nässelblommor
Nettle flowers

Or use them right away, here and now. Yesterday I was inspired by my friend chef Fredrik Johnsson at Restaurang Volt. He loves cooking with wild plants and does with such elegance. Me, I go for the more rustic style, not being quite as talented! I like easy. So he suggested Nettle flower pesto with Buckwheat.Here’s how to do it:

En till bild på nässelblomma!
Nettle flower, male. 

Begin by pulling off the flowers from the stem. It’s quite fiddly, but just go with it. I roll the little flower cluster between my fingers so the flowers fall into a bowl.

Now, toast the buckwheat: put half a cup of Buckwheat in a bowl, bring water to boil and pour it over the Buckwheat. Remove the water. Spread the seeds over a baking sheet. Heat up the oven to 180 degrees C, leave the baking sheet in the heat until the Buckwheat is crispy. This takes about 20 minute or less.

Nässelblommor i mortel
Nässelblommor i mortel

Put Nettle flowers and salt in a mortel. Crush them with the pester to make the mix a bit juicy. In a bowl, mix the Nettle mix with some Sunflower oil, add the Buckwheat and stir. Ready to eat!

If you want to add more flavor, use Wild Caraway, Field mustard seeds

Nässelblomspesto på Majrova Foto Lisen Sundgren
White Turnip with Nettle flower pesto

Today I enjoyed the pesto on sliced White Turnip. Delicious. Try it with pasta, risotto or with a bowl of steamed greens.

Eat well and wild!

Lisen

 

Wild onion

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Wild onion is an elegant delicacy, that happily grows in dry, sunny places. The stem is best for eating in the spring, while tender, but it can still be used this late in the summer to flavor greens and pickles. Soon, the bulbous flower will bloom, the “petals” looks like tiny bulbs and are great to use on soups and salads.

I chop the stalk and blend with the flowers and salt for a green herbal salt.

Backlök Foto Lisen Sundgren
Wild onion Photo Lisen Sundgren

Use the elegant, tall Wild onion in a wild bouquet. Imagine tall grass, Northern Bedstraw and Wild onion – simple, graceful and decorative.

Junibukett med Backlök Foto Lisen Sundgren
June bouquet with Wild onion

In a text from 1868, botanist C.F Nyman warns that if cows eat Wild onion the milk and the butter will taste like onion, which was not desired!

Wild onion contains some Vitamin C, potassium, calcium and iron.

So, thank you for your attention, now leave the screen and go out and enjoy your life, summer is here!

Lisen

Backlök juni 2105 Foto Lisen Sundgren
Wild onion

Elderflower bonanza

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Elderflowers are in full bloom and NOW is the time to harvest (in my part of the globe!). In Sweden, Elderflowerlemonade is very common but these white, abundant flowers can be used for so much more! To deepfry, to flavor marinades, sprinkle flowers over salads and desserts, combine with apples och rhubarb, use in ice cream, sherbets, pannacotta, let strawberries soak in Elderflower syrup och dry the flowers and use to treat winter cold and flu.

Fläderblom Foto Lisen Sundgren
Elderflower Photo Lisen Sundgren

My new favorite beverage is whey infused with Elderflower and Vanilla. I got the inspiration from Chef Fredrik Johnsson at Restaurang Volt (http://www.restaurangvolt.se/) when I popped in today to deliver my Red Clover harvest. He was in the process of making just that – except he intended to use the infused whey for ice cream.

Flädersorbet på g hos Restaurang Volt
Elderflower ice cream in the making at Restaurang Volt

Sambucus niger. Odd name for a white flower, Niger. Niger is latin for black and referres to the black berries that the white flowers are transformed into at the end of the summer.

If you have a garden it is strongly recommended to plant an Elder. According to Scandinavian folklore Elder protects against all evil, trolls, disease and bad luck. Don’t forget to ask the Elder permission to harvest her goods, or she might cause trouble at the farm. I think this is a good practice and should always be applied when taking something from the wild.

Eldercoctail with Red Clover:

A cooling drink to enjoy on a warm summer evening.

2 cups water

5 flower clusters

1-2 handfuls of Red Clover

1/4 cup brown sugar

Bring water to a boil, add the flowers. Turn off the heat and let soak under lid for 20 minutes. Remove the flowers. Add sugar, heat the liquid until the sugar has melted.

Fläder och rödklöver till drink Foto Lisen Sundgren

When the syrup is cool, mix wine and the herbal syrup in a blender. Add ice. Mix and serve.

Whey drink with Elderflower and Vanilla

Begin by making the whey: Put yoghurt in a coffe filter for a few hours. Leave until the milky liquid has filtered through.

Vassledryck med fläder och vanilj Foto Lisen Sundgren
Wheydrink with Elderflower and Vanilla Photo Lisen Sundgren

Put the whey in a pan, add flowers, let sit an hour, then heat to 74 C. Remove flowers.  Whey is a great source of protein, it contains all essential fat- and amino acids. Lactose, fat and minerals are removed (still in the fresh cheese that you are left with when they whey is removed from the yoghurt).

As a medicin Elder is considered helpful to treat colds and flu. It is a febrifuge, antibacterial, soothes cough and prevents inflammation in mucus membranes. Combine with Lindenflower and Yarrow flower for best result.

Elderinfusion for winter colds

1 teaspoon dried Lindenflower

1 teaspoon dried Elderflower

1 teaspoon dried Yarrowflower

2 cups water

Bring water to boil. Add the herbs. Leave for ten minuter, (covered with lid). Drink 2-3 cups / day during cold and flu.

Elder snaps:

Put a bunch of Elderflowers in vodka. Leave the bottle a few weeks. Remove flowers. Enjoy a small shot with a summer meal.  ONE shot : )

Elder snaps Photo Lisen Sundgren

 

Is Elder your tree? According to old Celtic texts the following is said to be true: “If you are born between the 25 November to 22 December, then Elder is your tree. You have an artistic temperament, tend to be impulsive and jealous. You prefer intellectual pastimes”.

Don’t forget: ask for permission and all will be well!

Lisen

 

Flowering salt

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Pink, green or yellow herbal salt will add vibrancy to the simplest of meals. It’s supereasy to make: choose an herb you like, flower or leaf, mix with fine, unbleached seasalt, store in a jar in a dark, cool place. This way when winter looms around the corner and nature is at rest, you just open one of your jars, inhale the scents of summer and life will flow back into your body.

Of course you can make herbal sugar the same way. Great to use for baking.

Blomstrande örtsalt Foto: Lisen Sundgren
Salt with: Field mustard, Rose and Sweet Cicely. Photo: Lisen Sundgren

Here’s some of the herbs I like to use: Birch, Basil, Blueberries (dried), Borage, Spruce buds, Wood Sorrel, Goutweed, Sweet Cicely, Nettles, Roses, Calendula, Field mustard, Violets, Lilacs…to mention a few.

You can also use the salt to scent a bath, just throw a handful of it in the tub. Or mix the herbal salt with oil for a great body scrub.

Björkskrubb Foto Charlotte Gawell ur Lisens Örtspa
Birch scrub. Photo Charlotte Gawell (from Lisens Herbal Spa)

For a bath salt you can also just put the flowers and leaves in salt, whole, without mixing them. Store in a jar. The salt will absorb the scent from the flowers.

Blommigt badsalt Foto Charlotte Gawell ur Lisens Örtspa
Flowery Bathsalt. Photo Charlotte Gawell from Lisens Herbal Spa

Scent your life!

Lisen

Midsummer flowers

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According to Swedish folklore, you should (if you are single) pick 7 different wild flowers on Midsummers night, put them under your pillow while you sleep so as to dream of your intended future partner. I say: Forget it. It does not work. It’s a waste of flowers. At least in my experience. It MAY be because I skipped the part where you roll naked in the dewy grass in the moonlight.

Anyway, I pick my 7 wild flowers and use them in various ways that are more enjoyable than to wake up with a bunch of wilted plants under my pillow, and the disappointment of no answer to who is my intended.

I have different themes every year. Flower baths are fun – I put fresh flowers in sea salt and throw them in the tub to enjoy a long, fragrant soak.

The bath salt can look like this – the picture if from my first book “Lisens Herbal Spa”

 

Blommigt badsalt Foto Charlotte Gawell. Ur Lisens Örtspa
Flowery BathSalt. Photo: Charlotte Gawell. From: Lisens Herbal Spa

Flowery infusions are nice to. I especially enjoy flowers like Red Clover, Pineapple weed, Nettles and Wild Caraway for this.

Infusion med Gatkamomill

This year I ate them. I boiled fresh potatoes in Caraway infusion and served with a heap of green beans, broccoli and Rose salt.

The dessert I am especially happy with. Super simple to make and super delicious:

Fresh Strawberries soaked in rose syrup, topped with Pineapple weed, Elderflower and Rosesugar.

Jordgubbar, fläder och rosor
Midsummerdessert Photo: Lisen Sundgren

Here’s how you make it: Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add two handfuls of Rose petals. When the petals have lost their color to the water, remove them and two new handfuls. Remove when they also have given their best to the infusion. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the liquid, simmer until the sugar has melted. Put the Strawberries in a jar or a bowl, pour the liquid over them and let soak a couple of hours or over night. Divide the berries in serving bowls, sprinkle Elderflowers and Pineapple weed over them. Throw on a dollop of cream / sourcream / cashew cream and Rose sugar.

Variations: Make the syrup from the Elderflowers or Pineapple weed instead. No rules! Or exchange the Strawberries for Rhubarb.

Rosesugar:

Put a handful of Rosepetals in a blender, add 1 – 2 cups of fine sea salt. Mix. Store the sugar in a jar in a dark, cool place, it will last at least 6 months.

Eat flowers!
Lisen

PS – I must stress how good this dessert is…try it!

Blommig dessert

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