Chamomile Tea And Some of The Other Edible Plants Growing On The Farm

Chamomile

It’s only a small patch in the raised bed garden, about 1’x2′, but the chamomile keeps flowering.   Once a day I bring out a small bowl and pinch the flowers, the ones with the petals hanging straight down from the yellow center.   There aren’t a lot, maybe twenty at a time.  But the next day there are always more.

I keep the flowers in a wooden bowl in the upstairs bedroom where it’s dark, warm and dry.   The first ones I picked are already noticeably smaller.  Little shrunken, pale, yellow balls.

I hope to have a tin of chamomile tea by the winter.

I also grew Cilantro, Lemon Balm and Basil in the flower bed, each herb separated by a row of marigolds, that have yet to bloom.

I took over two of Jon’s raised beds, and  the herbs do wonderfully in them.  So much better than in my vegetable garden where they are easily dominated out by the bigger vegetables.

Next year I’ll put my Dill seeds in the raised bed instead of my vegetable garden.

Cilantro from the garden

Last week I dried some mint that grows in the garden just outside the back door.  I used to be more careful about picking it, until I found that it grows back even more after a harvest.  It dried quickly in the upstairs bedroom and easily filled half a tea tin.

I also put the mint a bottle of water in the fridge.  It adds the slightest most refreshing flavor.

Stinging Nettles

The Stinging Nettles are harder to pick.  I bring a basket to put them in into the barnyard where they grow, wear gloves, and cut them with a scissor.

They are a favorite of the donkeys, so I missed out on the first cutting.  Maybe like hay the second cutting is better.  Not that I’d notice the difference.

By the time the leaves dry, the sting is gone and I can just crumple them into a tin.  I’ll save the nettle tea for the fall or next spring when my hay fever is back.

Red Currents

I knew the red currents were ready to be picked with I saw a Blue Jay swoop down from the fence into the bush outside my studio window.  I owe my appreciation of Red Currents soaked in honey to Heidrun.  She wrote to me last year with instructions on how to pick them and make them a delicious topping to put on my yogurt.

Heidrun, who lives in Germany, was  upset when I wrote I was going to leave the Red Currents for the birds because she loves them so much.   I  had no plans of making them into jam and didn’t know what else to do with them.  But she made it simple for me to enjoy them.

She even told me how to use a fork to easily remove the currents from the stems.  I will always think of Heidrun when I pick, prepare and eat my Red Currents.

I have come to love growing the herbs that I use for tea and cooking.  But I enjoy finding the edible plants that grow naturally on the farm just as much, or maybe even a bit more.

The fresh nettle leaves can also be cooked up with a little soy sauce.  And this is going to be a good apple year.  I’m already feeding the small green apples that have fallen from our tree to the donkeys and sheep.

And there are plenty more.

I like learning about the plants and their uses a little at a time. Otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and won’t retain any of the information at all.  This spring Jon and I made Dandelion tea and I know Calendula, which I just planted in the garden by my studio,  has many uses including making the flowers into tea.

Maybe I’ll try drying a few flowers.  I like the idea of mixing them with the mint leaves or maybe some of the Lemon Balm that I have not yet even picked.

2 thoughts on “Chamomile Tea And Some of The Other Edible Plants Growing On The Farm

  1. Oooh, love currants. We have wild black currants around us. The red seem to be gone before we can get to them. Nothing better than a currant syrup on ice cream or yogurt. Or juicing them for a sip of summer in winter. Growing up my substitute grandmother always had us help harvest them. She made crepes and served them with currant syrup as a reward. Sweet summer memories.

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