Monday, September 24, 2007

Harvesting the Comfrey!

Today was the day. The last of this year's Comfrey leaves were harvested this morning. We've had temperatures dipping into the 40's a couple of times already, and Comfrey leaves can't take the cold. As soon as they are touched by frost, they turn to black slime. But today, it looked so pretty & I know this is going to make some wonderful Boo Boo Balm! I'll save some of the dried leaves for tea - just in case there are any broken bones or anything. It's better to be prepared, right? Anyway, here's a picture of the comfrey this morning, before the harvest. The comfrey is the large leaves in the foreground, in case you aren't familiar with it. The fence in the background surrounds my compost piles. Comfrey is a wonderful addition to compost, too! It makes the compost break down more quickly as well as adding all sorts of wonderful nutrients. When I harvest it, I take all of the lovely leaves from the top for making herbal products, & put the lower leaves (which have been touching the ground) into the compost. It's a perfect plan. In addition to using comfrey in my Boo Boo Balm, I put some in my Nettle Shampoo. It's a wonderful healer.

After gently harvesting all of the leaves, my helper, Kate & I strung a line of twine across the front of the garden shed to use as a drying rack. The shed is shaded most of the day & we aren't getting any rain for the rest of the week (I think), so I decided to risk an outdoor drying. We sat on the patio, & using needle & orange thread, so I could see it easily, we looped two or three leaves loosely together through the stems & then carefully draped them over the line of twine.
You might not think so to look at comfrey, but it's actually fairly delicate! It bruises easily, so you really need to handle it with care.
After Kate & I got the comfrey all hung up to dry, we worked on weeding and pruning in the labyrinth garden, but I didn't take any photos of that. Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be in good enough shape to show you. And I can hardly wait to be able to walk the path again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sarah's Berry Compote

Lately I’ve been making a berry compote, which is a creation I concocted myself when the local blueberries finally came in season. It’s delicious on everything, so far as I can tell! I’ve mostly used it as part of dessert - on yogurt, ice cream or pound cake. Last night I served it on Lemon Poppy seed cake. I’ve put it on our breakfast oatmeal, & am thinking of putting it on scrambled eggs!

Here’s the recipe.

Sarah’s Berry Compote

In a large saucepan put:
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup honey or raw sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/8 cup amaretto liquor or 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes or so, until it thickens some. If you’ve used amaretto liquor, the alcohol will evaporate, leaving the almond flavoring.

Add 1 pint blackberries or raspberries. Stir gently. Turn off the heat & let the compote cool slightly. It will thicken more as it cools.

Spoon warm compote over whatever your heart desires. Add a sprig of fresh mint and serve!
Can be reheated, but don’t bring to a boil since the blackberries/raspberries are so delicate.

Green blessings,

Into the Wild Wood

Here I am after the Faerie Festival - Lisa Farrell is the most wonderful face painter ever!