We love to forage seaweed, are there any plants that you forage at this time of year? Can you give some advice around this?
Nettles (Urtica dioica) are one my favourite plants to forage. They are nutritional powerhouses. I’ve been making regular batches of nettle soup. It feels so nourishing. Best to harvest nettles when they are young and fresh and take the first 2-3 top sets of leaf and stem. As the summer wares on they start to go woody. But if you have a patch you can nurture in your garden then you can keep cutting them back to get new growth. Nettle seeds from the female plant are also edible. Harvest when green, dry them on brown paper and pass through a sieve to get rid of irritating hairs. Toast in a dry frying pan and use like poppy seeds – they are delicious. But do read up on this beforehand as hairs can be irritating if not prepared correctly.
Do you have any beauty or self-care rituals? What is your favourite way to relax and take care of yourself?
Baths are my favourite way to unwind. I blend various garden herbs – lavender, rose, chamomile, rosemary into epsom salts and hang them in a muslin under the running tap and let it infuse into the bath. If you just chuck in whole herbs they will block your plug hole! I just throw the fresh herbs into a blender or nutri bullet with the salts and pulse until herbs are broken up.
For our Mermaids who are foraging at the moment what should they look out for and what’s in season now?
Elderflowers are just coming into bloom. I make a lovely elderflower vinegar. It couldn’t be easier 500ml of white wine or apple cider vinegar and 3 or 4 elderflower heads. Half fill jar or bottle with the flower heads and then top up with vinegar. Make sure jars/bottles sterilised and all insects have escaped leaves first. Leave in a cool dark place and after a few weeks the vinegar will taste lovely. I tend to preserve herbs in vinegar or honey more so than alcohol. The longer you leave it the stronger the flavour. It has a long shelf life. I’ve had a bottle in the cupboard for year.
Visit Anna’s website and Blog for more recipes and gardening inspiration, below you can find links to her refreshing and zingy Raspberry Shrub and her beautifying Nettle and Rosemary hair tonic:
Raspberry Shrub with Lemon Verbena and Rose Geranium
Nettle Rosemary Hair Tonic