Have you ever considered that plants you trample when you walk on the grass can be a rich source of vitamins, minerals and healing substances? Our grandparents did know – they didn’t have as much access to medication and nutritional supplements as we have, so they used what nature offered. We are also slowly returning to the interest in plants as both food and cure. Ground-ivy, common nettle, ground elder and blackberry are plants that grow in our surroundings. During the workshop conducted by Magdalena Oprządek we looked for them in the riparian forest by the Vistula River, in the northern part of Warsaw. From the plants we collected, we made a salad and a marinade.
PICKLED GROUND ELDER WITH CURRY
2 cups young leaves of ground elder,
brine (1 1/2 tablespoon salt per 1 litre water)
1 teaspoon curry
several pepper grains (green or black)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon pasteurised vinegar
Wash and dry ground elder. Put the leaves into a scalded 1 litre jar. Add garlic and pepper. Mix a teaspoon of vinegar and curry into the brine and pour over the leaves. Screw on a scalded lid and leave for 5–7 days in room temperature. Stir every day, so that leaves on top do not go mouldy. Both pickled leaves and the water form the jar are an excellent addition to oriental soups.
*based on the book Dzikie kiszonki i inne fermentacje [Wild pickles and other fermentations] by Kaja Nowakowska and Małgorzata Ruszkowska.
FERMENTED BLACKBERRY LEAVES
Collect blackberry leaves (careful with thorns!) and place them in a basket for 1-2 hours, until all critters leave. Crush the leaves in your hand, you can roughly chop them, and pack them tightly into a jar. Leave for 24 hours to start the fermentation process. After that time, take the leaves out and lay them out in a dark, well ventilated place, or put in the over set to 40 C and dry. When the leaves are dried, keep them in a dry, dark container (e.g. tin can). Then you can prepare infusions by pouring a cup of boiling water over a spoonful of dried leaves, and letting it sit for 25 minutes. Drink twice per day.
Materials from the workshop can be downloaded here (in Polish):
Workshop Edible plants took place on 23rd May 2021 by the Vistula River and was conducted by Magda Oprządek from the Botanical Gardens of the University of Warsaw.Back to top