October: Rosehip and Hawthorn. Wild Roots Calendar 2021. Pre Order Available Now
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Wild Roots Calendar 2021- Available for Pre order now
Wild roots is the first collaborative project between, Artist, Gemma Challenger, Yoga and movement instructor Victoria Cooper and herbal information, recipes and tonics from myself , Sara Rooney, Medical Herbalist with added seasonal poetry by Caroline Mellor.
Within this herbal, folklore and countryside calendar there is information on ancient festivals, yoga postures and monthly intentions. It also includes information on foraging for herbs, their properties and how to use them in natural recipes.
Recipes are illustrated onto card to keep and refer to beyond 2021.
You can pre -order here at a special price of £13.50:
October, a beautiful chestnut, gold and copper kind of month. Cooler mornings and evenings but beautiful sparkly days and nights too.
Hedgerows are full of seeds and berries to forage. Get busy like the birds and woodland creatures, gathering and harvesting and storing for the winter ahead.
Many of these herbs are packed full of nutrients, and berries bursting with pigmented flavonoids and anti-oxidants providing perfect raw material for preserving and making powerful Winter tonics.
(Rosa canina L)
Rosehips are packed full of Vitamin C, iron and full of antioxidants. The combination of these nutrients make them an excellent Winter immune tonic. Promising research also highlights their effectiveness in reducing joint pain in arthritis.
An oxymel is a combination of honey, vinegar and herbs. This simple medicine formulation dates to the time of the Greeks and has been used for many different ailments. The addition of apple cider vinegar helps regulate blood sugar and improves digestion. It has an alkalizing effect on the body. The rosehips do not need to be heated on this mixture (as in a syrup), this conserves the high Vitamin C content of the rose hips and the raw honey retains many of the rich minerals and digestive enzymes.
An Oxymel has a sharp sweet taste and I make batches up that last the Winter. I prefer using dried rose hips in an oxymel for a stronger taste and it will also last longer as there is less water in the rosehip.
Drying rosehips: You can use a dehydrator, or preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible, and lay the rosehips in a single layer on the oven pan. Once the oven has preheated, put the tray onto the top rack and set the timer for 5 hours. Or if you have a wood burner, you can use the gentle heat from this to try them. Place in a paper bag hanging above and let the rising heat gently dry them.
Fresh foraged rosehips. Gather what you can ( always leave some for the birds and woodland creatures) and then you can adapt easily the quantities in this recipe. Ideally you should collect them after the first frost, however if this hasn’t occurred yet just freeze them in bag in the freezer, and then thaw them. This greatly improves taste.
Organic apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized if possible)
Raw local honey, runny if possible
Wash and trim the ends of the rosehips and roughly chop.
Fill a glass jar HALF full of fresh, chopped rosehips. OR a 1/3 if using dried rosehips.
Mix equal parts of honey and vinegar together. 1:1 ratio. Mix together very well. Cover with the vinegar/honey mixture. Raw runny honey mixes easier if you can find it.
Stir it up to remove air bubbles and cover the top of the jar with a sheet of wax paper before capping if using a metal lid. (Or use a plastic lid to avoid corrosion from the vinegar.)
Shake the mixture, make sure you do this regularly. Keep in a dry warmish place. Add more vinegar to thin if necessary.
Let infuse for 2 – 6 weeks. Then strain out using a cheesecloth and store in a tightly capped bottle out of direct sunlight.
NB Strain the syrup through a very fine cloth like muslin. Rosehips contain hairs which cause irritation, so it is important to remove these.
Pop into sterilized glass bottles, and will last until the first signs of Spring. Longer if you keep in the fridge.
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha L.)
The hawthorn berry is often called the ‘heart herb’, it is one of the finest heart tonics available. Hawthorn can help tone and strengthen the heart and support the blood vessels with its potent punch of flavonoids, potent antioxidants that decrease inflammation. It can help both high and low blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis.
You can have Hawthorn berry as food, in a jam, as a ketchup, as a tea, capsules, or in a tincture or tonic.
I have adapted this sauce from Pam Corbin, contributor to the River Cottage cook books and added some more spices.
500g hawthorn berries
300ml cider vinegar
170g granulated sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 x 2cm thin slices of fresh ginger root.
Sterilize a glass bottle with a screw or kilter top.
Wash the berries and remove any stalks and leaves. Put them in a pan with the vinegar and 300ml water add the cinnamon and ginger root.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, so that the berries split.
Tip into a sieve over a clean pan and rub the fruit through with a wooden spoon, leaving the skins, pips, cinnamon stick and ginger behind.
Add the sugar to the hawthorn purée in the pan and heat gently, stirring, until it dissolves.
Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes, stirring often
Pour the hot sauce into a clean bottle and seal straight away. Use within a year and refrigerate once open.
All artwork by Gemma Challenger