Tag Archives: Park Frankendael

Free food !

Want to grab a bag of hyper-local organic herbs in grateful return for a couple of hours light gardening? Sign up through the Meetup link to join the River of Herbs volunteer gardening team on Monday morning. Details are on the meetup event information.

I won’t be teaching here – doing that in the afternoon and the walk is full. This is for gardeners – no experienced required – everyone is a gardener because we all need to eat 🙂

Sign ups must be through meet up please and did bring along a bag to take your herbs home.

Some of the herbs available to volunteers in the foraging gardens pantry this week (in varying quantities) are:

Stinging nettle tops

Wild garlic (Daslook – Ramsons)

Fennel

Horehound

Chives

Deadnettles

Amsterdamian Interview

Lynn in gnome like position (Photo credit: Amsterdamian.com)

I met Dana Marin of Amsterdamian.com several years ago through the River of Herbs project. She is a beautiful soul who loves herbs, crafting and gardening. She also loves Amsterdam and runs the Amsterdamian.com website which you must visit!

Last summer Dana joined me in the Frankendael Orchards to catch up, take photos and forage. It was lovely, a lot of fun and included me falling of the bench in this photo, into the plants!!

Dana’s interview with me is now published on Amsterdamian.com. If you fancy some background about urban herbology, ethical urban foraging, city witch-iness and to know what’s driving me at the moment, hop on over to Dana’s beautiful website!

Foraging Wild Garlic

Three beautiful blades of Wild garlic / Ramsons / Daslook (Allium ursinum), plucked from the River of Herbs orchards in Park Frankendael today. I made some pungent daslook sauce from these, by blending them with olive oil and a little apple cider vinegar.

And here are a couple of year old wild garlic bulbs which I removed from the orchard path. The reason for this is discussed in the podcast. Have a listen and let me know your uses for the plant and if you have had any success growing it. The paths are edged with fallen branches. In this photo you can see how the plant spreads into the paths.

I only forage wild garlic when there are huge swathes of it and the leaves are a few inches long.

I’m off to make some dinner using a little of that sauce now. Perhaps you would like to listen to my latest podcast, about ethically foraging Wild Garlic and how to use it.

Gentle wild garlic

Ramsons in Frankendael Orchards

I stood stupefied and watched a woman take out a knife and cut bunches of Wild garlic from inside the entrance of Park Frankendael this evening. Felt so mad and sad and bewildered that I didn’t know where to begin with her. So just stared at the mini massacre until she saw me and my little girl watching and finally she stopped.

Ramsons/Daslook/Wild garlic/Allium ursinum tastes outrageously good but it should be harvested gently! It is currently on the endangered list in NL so strictly, even though it’s almost a weed in some parts of some Amsterdam parks, it should not be cut or ripped out in handfuls! And even if it is prolific everywhere how could it feel good to rip or cut it like that!

Cut rather than plucked.
Cut rather than plucked.

If you know of a plentiful supply please go for the out-spill plants – where it’s growing in paths etc and will be rooted out by the park gardeners. Or grow your own. Or meet the park gardener and ask where/if he/she suggests you forage. And use your common sense. That woman foraged from the filthiest part of the park – dog spot number one – right by the main gates. Come on!

Badly foraged wild garlic.
Badly foraged wild garlic.

And even when you find thousands of those leaves, please know that just three leaves, plucked between finger and thumb are needed to make enough pesto, herb oil or mojo to last several weeks. After plucking carefully, no one should be able to see that anything has gone.

If you want some Daslook but still don’t know where, when and how to pluck it, please come and see me on Wednesday morning at the Frankendael orchards (10.00 – 11.00 behind Huize Frankendael). You can take home your own plant too, if you like.

We are what and how we eat.


 

Let’s Make Hawthorn Tincture!

What a perfect day!

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I finally found time this morning to have a leisurely wander through the woods of Frankendael, seeking out the most pleasantly scented Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) trees.

I was not disappointed! The flowers and leaves of this heart toning tree always taste good to me. Munched on a late spring walk, not much else lifts my spirits and makes me stand tall as does Hawthorn “bread and cheese”. But the flowers (the cheese) do vary in their tastiness, so if you want to capture their essence, it’s worth taking time to seek out the ones which really appeal to you.

Some of the flowers smell rather unpleasant, like cat pee, others are unscented because their insect-attracting job is done. Just a couple smelled sweetly, really sweetly, like vanilla rice pudding. Those smelled and tasted jaw-droppingly good! So guess which ones ended up in my tincture jar?

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Equipt with a small bottle of vodka and a little glass jar, I made my tincture at the tree. To do it yourself, simply fill a jar well with carefully picked Hawthorn flower clusters and a few Hawthorn leaves (the bread). Then fill the jar again with vodka, brandy or whatever strong spirit you choose. Check that you fill all the way to the brim. Flowers exposed to any air will quickly spoil, they need to be completely submerged in the spirit. Check for bubbles of air and top up if needed.

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I’ll leave my tincture like this, labelled, in a cupboard until the autumn, when I’ll strain the flowers and pour the liquid over a fresh jar of Hawthorn berries. Then after a further six weeks of infusing, my double Hawthorn tincture will be ready for use. It will be infused with the properties of Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries.

If a regular few drops of that doesn’t warm, tone and open my heart through the depths of winter, then not much will!

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I could use the simple flower tincture after six weeks infusion time but I have enough Hawthorn elixir in stock, to see me through summer and autumn so I shall wait. And we all know that the best things come to those who wait 🙂

Hawthorn is an age old preventaive and remedy for many types of heart disease. It is a heart tonic, offering as it were, food specific to the heart. It is used by many, alongside allopathic (conventional drug based) medicine such as betablockers but of course you should always consult a qualified medical herbalist if considering using it as a remedy for heart disease.

If you’d like to join me for a walk in the park, to learn about tasty and useful plants of Amsterdam, and to set up you’re poem tincture, why not sign up for tomorrow’s lunchtime forage?

Sunday 15th July 2012 – Urban Herbology Walk – Park Frankendael


Maybe it will be hot, maybe not but whatever the weather there will be lots of herbs around in Amsterdam, on July 15th. To help more people appreciate some of the edible, medicinal and interesting herbs, growing within the city, I’m offering another Urban Herbology Walk, on Sunday 15th July 2012, from the main gates of Frankendael Park.

The walk will start at 11am and every one interested in finding out about wild herbs, which can be found in central Amsterdam, is welcome to subscribe.

My previous walks have been great fun to organise and very well received.  We will take a relaxed look at the bounty of summer herbs to be found in and around the park. The walk will last about 90 minutes and will probably end at the lovely cafe/restaurant Merkelbach, situated just inside the main entrance of the park.

Cost per participant will be €8. Maximum 12 places. Previous walks have been oversubscribed so if you wish to join me you must contact me beforehand. Please email Lynn.Shore@gmail.com or call me on 0627 596930.

During the walk you will…
Receive a useful handout, to refer to after the walk
Learn how to find and identify some safe, useful, local herbs,
Learn how to harvest with respect for the environment,
Learn how to use herbs safely in several different ways,
Receive some tasty Urban Herbal recipes.

And of course you will get the chance to meet other folk who like to know a little more about what’s growing beneath and above them!  If it sounds interesting to you then please contact me.

I really hope to meet you on 15th July!

Ramsons are back on my plate!

They’ve been looking verdant and smelling great for weeks now but today was my first little ramsons harvest of the year. Just two leaves, plucked from a huge swathe of wild garlic, will be enough to set this evening’s meal alight. So that’s all I picked. I urge anyone thinking of foraging any plants, to abide by foraging rules and pick very sparingly. Only harvest what you know you will be able to use straight away.

Today I saw several ramson patches, on the edge of the lime avenue in park Frankendael, which were clearly recovering from careless picking. Leaves were torn, twisted and looked generally damaged. It’s saddening to see but more importantly it shows that many individuals don’t know how to harvest correctly and responsibly.

That’s the main reason I lead occasional herb walks in town. If you’d like to join at any time then please get in touch with me via email. I passionately believe that far more people should know the herbs around them and understand how to harvest if appropriate and use them safely. But unfortunately some foragers cause harm and I’d really like to help limit that.

There are many others herbs, currently looking ripe and perfect for use, here in Amsterdam. Nettle is just perfect at present, the new tips will be my next target for harvesting, destined for some home made pasta and a nourishing infusion. More on that next week.