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Departures & Dandelions
Scrap Kitchen 05
As you read this I am sitting in the airport because I have thankfully passed a PCR test. This means I can make a hopefully-essential trans-continental move. In the midst of a pandemic. Yes, it does seem a little ridiculous. But it also seems wonderful in an otherworldly kind of way. Especially since I am setting out to go work on a farm that does exactly what I’m interested in and they wanted me of all people. Also, it’s been just over a year since I actually decided I wanted to do something just like this and here I am. Manifestation innit.
The Tarot card for the week is the Ace of Cups, within this, the well of emotions runneth over. Ask yourself: What sets you off? How do you unleash the build-up behind the damn? How will you let yourself go this week? How do you surrender to newness?
Speaking of newness, while I sit in the departure lounge I want to talk a little more about the plant that started this all for me. The not-so-humble Dandelion. Sun-soaked and endlessly useful this “weed” means so much to so many. In early 2020, I was in Cancun (for work) trying to find a zero waste shop and I managed to find Perla her glorious Dandelion Organics. The name made me start. But the moment she began explaining the benefits of dandelions, even down to the oil from their tiny seeds, it all made so much sense. That conversation was a step off the precipice for me, into the abyss of weeds, vegetables and the ever-present need to grow things. I have always been green-thumbed but it suddenly clicked. Something in me said this, and I have been working towards it ever since.
The humble Dandelion has so much to offer. Its leaves make great greenery, its flowers make a stunning wine and its roots are a coffee substitute. Every part is edible, every aspect medicinal. The way we look at “weeds” is so influenced by the society in which we live. Weeds resist the flow, they provide for their local community (bees, bugs and herbivores), they grow even through the harshest of conditions. To be a weed is to be a survivor. Within this pandemic, just showing up for yourself, simply getting by is something to be proud of. In this, weeds are some of our greatest teachers.
The next time you take a walk, notice those that grow where there seems to be less hope. The concrete-movers and those that carpet cracks in green. When reconsidering weeds here are a quick three to look out for, ones that are not only super common but also edible.
Cleavers: Also known as “stickie willys”, most people will recognise these as the spindly, tacky plant which you could attach to unsuspecting people on childhood walks. They are a great source of Vitamin C and a diuretic, also going amazingly well in an Aubergine Bake, in Pestos and as a Dye.
Herb Robert: This pink flowered beauty is peppers the cracks of walls and waste land. Making a wonderful tea and a natural insect repellent, it has traditionally been considered good luck to carry some on your person.
Bittercress: Which looks like a smaller less “woody” Wood Aven, tasting like cress (as one might expect from the name) but spicier. It is an amazing addition to salads, soups and even homemade Harissa paste.
This week the seasonal eats section is dedicated to spring onions, from which you can make dang-good pancakes, Jams perfect for capturing their fresh flavour and a super-quick curry. As the winter still looms over us all now is the time to fill up on hardy root veg including swede and celeriac, which can be transformed into this hefty Gratin. In terms of fruit, we’re still in citrus season and the best way to store them away for later is in a savoury preserve, a creamy curd or a marvellous marmalade.
As for scrap projects, I would love to see any seed starting people have been doing. All mine have been put on hold at the moment so vicarious craft projects is how I am going. That being said, I recently whipped up a quick balm before my departure in an attempt to use up some plantain infused oil. In other news, a friend of mine has recently planted out a gifted dried passionfruit and we’re hoping to see shoots at some point soon. How to save and grow these seeds was covered last week. Next week the garden tips will come pouring in but for now, I have a flight to catch.
This week’s podcast is from my wonderful friend Michelle of The Catmaste Chronicles. It’s all about the interconnected and wonderful world of mushrooms.
As always I would love it if you could leave a comment, like or even share this post if you have learnt something.
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