Massive thanks to our gorgeous neighbour, Tracey for writing this guest blog. Tracey has truly embraced the good life since moving permanently to the estate and is a genius in the garden, a wizard in the kitchen, a supplier of the finest free range eggs and a fabulous friend to us all.
Did you know we had our own Queen at Torrisdale Castle (no not Emma although sometimes she acts like it!). Well with a bit of poetic licence, I present Queen of the Meadow, known as Meadowsweet or for our more scientific readers, Filipendula ulmaria. This is a perennial herb that grows in damp meadows and it is a native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia and we are lucky enough to have stacks of it at Torrisdale.
Now if you go down to the wood today, you would be sure of a sighting of this little beauty. It’s just coming into its own and if you get up close and personal, take in a good whiff – you will be rewarded with a lovely scent. Being part of the rose family it is also a very pretty flower to look at. Flowers bloom between May and August although here in Torrisdale it tends to be closer to June/July before you see their beautiful blooms.
Apparently in years gone by the flowers of the meadowsweet herb were thought of as very sacred by the Druids who used it in rituals and medicine. Talking of medicine, in the 1800’s salicylic acid was isolated from the plant and used to make aspirin – the name is apparently derived from “spirin” based on the Latin name of meadowsweet, ‘Spiraea Ulmaria’. Next time you pop an aspirin you can thank the meadowsweet flower!
Other uses include an early version of air freshener, achieved by throwing the flowers down and carpeting floors of houses and churches to impart a pleasant smell to the room. The flowers can also be dried and turned into a potpourri.
You can eat or drink it! Put it into Jams or Jellies or turn meadowsweet into a lovely sorbet (this takes a bit of effort but you are rewarded for it!) Or you can make meadowsweet cordial or champagne (like the elderflower version but better). There are lots of recipes available online for you to try.
Here’s the one I use for Elderflower Champagne adapted to use Meadowsweet:
10 meadowsweet blooming flower heads – give them a wee sniff to make sure they are sweetly scented and a wee shake to shake out any bugs or nasties
2 lemons (Sliced)
8 pints of boiled water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
- Put the flower heads and lemon slices into a lidded bucket and pour on the water. Soak for 24-36 hours, with the lid on.
- Strain mixture through a cloth.
- Add the sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour liquid into screw top bottles – don’t screw on too tight as the build-up of fizz gases may pop them off.
- Leave for 14 days to mature.
Very tasty, very easy!
Use within 3 months.
Why not try this with the new Kintyre Gin! You may have found yourself a brand new cocktail
I am on this at the moment so will keep you posted with an update when we have tasted!
So if you are lucky enough to be visiting us in the next few weeks, keep an eye out for this little beauty as you meander along the castle avenues. #naturalfoodforfree.