A massive thank you to Radical Herbalism Collective for their gathering in London last weekend.
My mind has been well and truly expanded!
It was an excellent day, with talks that really chimed with my thinking about who has access to herbalism in our urban communities, but also made me think about herbalism in new ways. I met some totally inspiring people.
Herbalists Without Borders (UK), offer free herbal care to vulnerable people, including refugees and homeless people. They are always looking for people to get involved their work (herb growing, donations, volunteering, etc), so get in contact.
We made a tea and tincture with Herbalista who operate in the USA and Ireland. The medicines created were given to Hackney Migrant Centre.
Also, insightful discussions on the politics of herbalism in relation to issues such as class, race, gender and globalization. (Plus free cake!) I'm still absorbing all the information and generosity.
There will be more gatherings this year in Manchester and Bristol, I would totally recommend going.
There's a lot of fermentation going on in this photo. Ethiopian injera (fermented teff flatbread) and tej (honey wine) I recently shared with my friend Ceri in south London. We also swapped homemade ferments (ginger beer and beetroot sauerkraut vs. kefir grains and date vinegar). A great evening spent discussing the anarchic nature of wild fermentation, our successes and disasters, and next projects.
So, I've been thinking about sour flavours. Goodness makes and sells sweet foods like raw chocolate and coconut jam, which are always popular. But it's the sour-tasting fermented products we've made like coconut jelly, kefir and fruit vinegars that really fascinate me. To me, they provide a nice balance to the sweet flavours. I started making date vinegar as a way of enjoying the benefits of dates (high in vitamins and minerals, anti-inflammatory properties, etc.) without the sugar. Sour flavours also trigger salivation and stimulate the appetite helping us digest food.
I'm enjoying the different kinds of sour in fermented foods - from Ghanaian banku (fermented cassava or corn dough) to Ethiopian/Eritrean injera. I love that every culture (excuse the pun!) has it's own fermented sour flavours. I've got more work to do encouraging people to try some of the sour flavours and explaining their benefits.
*Photo: Ceri Buckmaster
Burdock is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial propoerties. Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant should avoid burdock, plus people allergic to chrysanthemums or daisies.
1 kg burdock root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 spring onions, greens included, cut into 2cm slices
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1-1½ tbsp unrefined sea salt
I've been looking for a gluten free alternative to rye bread. I've adapted this recipe, courtesy of Nutriplanet and make it regularly. It has a cake-like texture and is not sour. Good toasted. I've also tried adding seaweed, or hemp instead of the mixed seeds, both good.
These beauties are the dried fruit of the Aridan tree, known in Ghana as Prekese. I bought them in Brixton Market. I'm so lucky to have easy access to Ghanaian fruit and veg. The latin name is Tetrapleura tetraptera. As well as being used in cooking, the fruit is known for its medicinal, anti-inflammatory properties and used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, high-cholesterol and more. Mosquitoes don't like the smell of Prekese, so consuming it regularly acts as a natural repellent!
The fruit pods are hard, like dried leather, with four distinctive, wing-like ridges. I made a tonic with them by first washing and breaking into quarters, then boiling for about 30 minutes with some cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. The smell and taste are like vanilla; the colour of the liquid, amber. After a few days it ferments slightly, creating a more tangy flavour.
The blog has been quiet for a while as we've been busy setting up a new online outlet for Goodness CBD chocolate. We're excited to announce that small batches of our CBD chocolate are now available from our friends at CBD Brothers.
If you're in London, we also sell Goodness CBD chocolate at Alkaline Juice Factory in Brixton. Eventually, we'll sell through this website too, so watch this space.
I'm Virginia and I run Goodness. I'm slightly obsessed with raw cacao and the medicinal properties of food, which runs in the blood (there are herbalists, nurses and farmers in my family). I'll be posting about chocolate, healing foods, thoughts, recipes and experiments.