::Heading out for one last wild food forage this Autumn
Heather Pace’s Fudgy Coconut Layer Cake from her Carob Desserts book | Father and Son::
Recently I celebrated my 35th birthday. From the moment I opened my eye’s that morning until I climbed back into our warm family bed to drift off to dreamland that evening, my day was filled with immense gratitude for the beautiful and blessed life I have.
::Surprise iris’ | Boobie time | Car ride nap::
My dear family treated me to a wonderful day, one of the very best kind – pottering around on our property harvesting the last of Autumn’s bounty, preparing for the Winter ahead – which I’m starting to think may never actually arrive. A friend who shares my birthday pointed out that it may have been the first time in quite a while that Father Sun has dominated our day rather than Sister Rain and her water fairies. As we pottered outside in warming Autumnal sun, Graham decided to take a voice recording of me saying “I just don’t reckon Winter’s going to arrive this year, it’s never this warm by my birthday” – he plans to play it back to me when it hits freezing in the not too distant future!
::The last hips | Collecting hips | Summer has faded::
Our day comprised of Graham undertaking all the cooking – which was a lovely treat; Continental breakfast, Antipasto lunch and Baked dinner with a RAW carob cake I’d selected and requested for dessert. We foraged in the fallen leaves for hazelnuts we hadn’t managed to pick earlier in the season, harvested kiwi fruits (135 if you can believe it – from one home food-garden vine!) and removed the last of our tomatoes off the plants for green tomato chutney.
::Harvesting kiwi fruit | The last clinging hazelnuts::
I’m an Autumn baby through and through – there’s no other time in the year that I’d rather celebrate my birthday. When I thanked Graham in the afternoon for such a wonderful day he replied “That’s okay, I didn’t do much” to which I said “If we’re harvesting food in our gardens and making preserves and potions, you’ll always know I’m happy!” When my Aunt rang to wish me a happy birthday just before dinner, she couldn’t believe I was outside picking tomatoes on my birthday! I was in my element and so happy. A truly wonderful birthday.
::Colours of Autumn | Ripening feijoa’s::
We also took a little trip up the road to collect one last jar full of rose-hips to make infused honey for the Winter that may or may not come. As we sat around the lunch table we had a herb lesson we’d missed the day before – learning all about sage, then we went on to make our two remedies; sage and rose-hip both infused separately in locally collected prickly box honey.
::Cleaning and de-seeding rose-hips | Layering fresh sage | Pouring honey::
::Herbal Infused Honey::
Recipe by Elke at Another Day
This recipe is one of the most basic of all time, one that I’ve seen done in many different places and something we’ve been meaning to do for a while now. People do this in all different variations, google ‘infused honey’ and you’ll find a myriad of herbs and spices to infuse honey with; rosemary which is wonderfully refreshing, lavender for use in calming applications, turmeric which is reported to have fantastic expectorant effects, onion for anti-bacterial use – the list goes on and on. Honey in itself is a wonderful health promoting food with fantastic natural health and healing properties.
• Fresh herbs (dried herbs can also be used, but I think you would need to reduce the amount of herb – we haven’t tried dried ourselves. Some people worry about bacterial spores growing in the infusion due to water activity from fresh herbs being used. If you are concerned about this – do your own research and perhaps look to other recipes that specifically talk about this issue and using dried herbs.)
• Honey that can pour (If your honey is an unheated, thick set honey – you can sit the jar in a pot of warm water for a half hour or so to loosen it up enough to pour. Remember to be mindful of applying heat to your honey though, our preference is just enough to make it run. Heat will start to reduce the beneficial properties of the honey.)
• A glass jar with a tight fitting lid
• Neatly arrange your fresh herb in the bottom of the jar, filling half way up.
• If you are using rose-hips, make sure you have pinched the stem and spent flower bloom from each end. Rose-hips will also need a good wash to remove excess prickles and hairs. Once clean, carefully slice your hip lengthways down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and wash again. You will just be left with the ‘shell’ of the hip. Dry these off well in a tea-towel before placing in the jar.
• Fill your jar to about 2″ down from the top. Give the jar a good stir around making sure all the fresh herbs are immersed well in the honey. Then fill the remaining space in your jar with honey.
• Put the lid on your infusion and leave for around 2 weeks to meld together.
• We leave the herbs in the honey and just use the honey out as we need.
• Sage honey is good to have on hand for any mouth or throat afflictions that creep up; it’s soothing for tonsillitis, coughs, mouth ulcers and the like. This page has some lovely info on sage as well as other infused honey’s.
• Rose-hip honey is handy to have ready for any viral Winter surprises. It’s high vitamin C content makes it great for colds and flus. There’s some great information here on the humble rose-hip’s amazing power.
What herbal infusions have you tried recently and have you ever made infused honey? If so, I’d love to hear about what herbs you used in the infusion.