Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Late summer...

The days are getting shorter; more of the plants in the garden and hedgerows have finished flowering and are producing fruit or seeds. Every time I pass an elder tree I glance up at the umbels of ripening fruit: this year I will make elderberry rob! It is a delicious syrup that has the added benefit of being anti-viral. Traditionally, small amounts were taken daily as a prophylactic against winter viruses. I can recommend it poured over vanilla ice cream, and it is also delicious when diluted with hot water. There are many different recipe variations; I like to add cinnamon and maybe ginger to mine.

I am also busy stripping the lavender flowers off the stems I left to dry. I'll use them up over the next year, mainly in teas. Unfortunately the slugs decimated my hyssop; the dried flowering tops are a favourite of mine for chesty coughs. Hyssop relaxes the chest, is anitmicrobial and also stimulates the mucociliary escalator. In my opinion it is a pleasant alternative to the more powerful thyme.