SPRING IS COMING!
SPRING IS COMING! Soon, soon my loves there will be the wonderful abundance that is farmers markets! a wonderful assortment of produce, veggies, gleaned fruits, honey, milk, cheese, flowers and of course soap and herbals will be with us at Farmers Markets all over! That is then, and now we are at the end of winter but soon darlings, soon it will be spring and with the last gasp of winter comes the tiny green buds of the pines. Then you can make pine syrups and candies and the idea I had yesterday on the mayamade Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mayamadeapothecary/ for fermented pine and rosemary! (FTR I don't know anything fancy about fermentation.) That just sounded good. So here are the recipes.
These recipes are what I make at home, beyond kombucha, elderberry syrup and drinking vinegars. I think many of these come from ancient ideas, not recipes per se, but more ideas someones great great great grandmother was told by her great great great grandma who got told by the trees, that is what she had, she had trees and the trees had her. They are both healing and nourishing in the way our gramma’s soup is healing and nourishing. Traditionally used for lung conditions, there are several pine cone and pine bud syrup recipes, probably as many as trees in a forest. Here is ours. Please use organic or hand-collected pine cones if you possibly can. Pine Syrup 2 1⁄4 lbs. soft, green pine cones 3/4 cups honey 1-3 cups water 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (or other citrus juice) The peel from the lemons, limes or other citrus Gather your pine cones when they are small and green. I have a friend who gathers them for me up north, after all the cones here have hardened and turned more brittle and amber here. Make sure the place where you gather them is not sprayed with poisons. Make sure you ask permission. Wild harvesting is a ton of permission asking, the land owners, the plants and trees and land herself. ASK PERMISSION. If you never get a no, you've never had a real yes. They can be up to about 1.5 inches long; the truth is bigger should be fine as long as they’re green and young. Older ones won’t be as soft. Place your cones in a stainless steel, ceramic or other non reactive pan and add about half the water and all the honey. Bring to a simmer. 15 minutes’ simmer is a good time to start with. The color will change to a gorgeous amber. Add more water if the syrup gets too thick; when it cools the honey will crystalize or be much too thick if you start off with a water honey mix that is way too thick. When you think it is ready, pour about a teaspoon on a plate and allow it to cool. When it gets so thick it doesn’t run it’s ready. If it’s not thick enough return to the pot and simmer a few more minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients; stir well. I know some of this recipe is visual; I wish I could show you in person, but we don’t have that available.
YOU CAN DO IT!
You can also order this from fancy food places for about 30 dollars for 8 ounces. To me it’s worth the trouble to make it yourself, but also its fun, you get to go to trees, you're making yourself a healing potion, and there is healing and wonderfulness about the wandering around we do when we are out with the trees.
Spruce or fir syrup 2 cups honey 2 cups fir or spruce tips, gather them when they are soft and fresh, using only the tips, the small soft ends, under conditions that have not had poison sprayed on or near them. Make sure to ask the trees if you can use some of there powerful plant medicine. Remember if you have never gotten a no then you've never had a yes. Make sure you are also correctly identifying the correct tree. Make double sure. MAKE SURE. It won't taste right if you use a different tree and it keeps the habit of correctly identifying a plant or tree when you are using them, which is super important.
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional) Put the ingredients in a canning jar. Leave some head space, do not seal. Use cheesecloth or a clean cotton t-shirt to cover the jar. Tie with a string, as you might with a rubber band, and leave until the honey tastes citrusy and yummy; after three weeks is a good time to start checking. This makes a tasty glaze on firm tofu.
Onion cough syrup (I swear it taste better than it sounds) Take a variety of onions such as vidalia, purple, yellow, white, sweet, big and tiny. I also like to mix it up with what the farmers have, what I can barter for or what they are giving away because of a bumper crop. Peel and slice onions and place in a canning jar, leaving about an inch of head room. Pour honey over onions, again leaving about an inch of space. Cover with cheese cloth and tie tightly. Place in fridge on a plate (really use a plate—the process of fermentation is happening, and the honey may come out the top). Use as needed for coughs, colds and sore throats. This is one of those things you can’t mess it up.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Garlic honey and vinegar syrup (I’ve shared this recipe before but it’s one of my favorite things to drink when I’m not feeling up to par, and it’s another ‘I swear it tastes better than the name makes it sound’ recipes.) Fill a mason jar with garlic cloves. Break them apart. If I am feeling like it, I roughly chop them, or not, your choice. Fill the jar half with honey and half with good apple cider vinegar. Cover with cheese cloth and tie with string (do you see a common ‘thread’ here?). Put on a plate, store at room temperature. If you put a tight lid on this the fermentation process will break the glass. This will bubble and burple and be wonderful. Wait a couple of weeks and you’ll have a fantastic syrup that’s tastes like bumblebee honey with a note of garlic. Great for kicking the cold out of your life. My final recipe is from my grandpa.
In a non-reactive pan 1⁄2 full of water place an entire head of chopped garlic, skin and all
a whole chopped organic grapefruit, skin and all.
It is important to use organic garlic and grapefruit.
Simmer til super mushy - as it simmers mash it a bit, adding more water as needed.
Strain, reserving liquid. Add plenty of honey and drink while still warm. I don’t add honey, but I like the garlic grapefruit flavor. Grampa used this when he felt an illness coming on. If you are sick, drink 2 or more cups a day. Otherwise a tablespoon or two will keep you healthy. I use it pretty solidly the entire winter. Eventually people stop mentioning the garlic perfume I’m wearing.
Blessings upon you all, maya ,