I can smell the gentle scent of Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) as it is carried on the breeze down the country lane I am ambling along.
My now elderly cairn terrier, Pip, is taking his time as we do the ritual afternoon stroll. Old and lazy, Pip allows me time to harvest the beautiful, cotton-wooly flowers of this delightful plant. But what to do with Meadowsweet?
All the recipe books tell me to make it into a tea, or transfer the scent to some high dairy pudding or use in various game dishes.
I find dairy too heavy, and if I eat too much I end up itching, and slightly deaf. So allergies aside, I really wanted to experience the wonder of this plant, in all its sensualness. Its light, honey scent needed a carrier that was light too.
Then I chanced upon a fellow food activist called Ben during one of my rare visits to London. I love London for playing in, but the pollution and the crazy pace at which people live their lives means I can only manage at maximum a three night stay.
After that I start going up the wall, and feel totally oppressed by the concrete and steel. The general vibe of aggression, the fear I see on people’s faces. No eye-contact, head down, avoid the other humans, they might be dangerous. What a strange way to live a life.
Ben and I discussed the various uses of Meadowsweet. Traditionally it was used to flavour Mead, dried for tea, and was a sacred herb of the Celts. Most people use it to create some kind of alcoholic drink.
So after throwing some ideas around, we both came to the same conclusion that a sorbet would be the ideal carrier for Meadowsweet.
And so I toddled off back home, and this week made my first ever Meadowsweet sorbet, which worked a treat. Its relaxing flavour will have you oohing and argghhing with your loved ones.
Meadowsweet Sorbet Recipe Ingredients
- 4 handfuls of Meadowsweet flowers
- 225g of brown caster sugar
- 3 juiced lemons
- 1 thinly grated lemon rind
- 600ml of water
Meadowsweet Sorbet Recipe Instructions
- Put sugar into water, stir and bring to a boil.
- Rapid boil the sugar water for 10 minutes to produce a light syrup.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Now add the juiced lemons and the thinly grated lemon rind. Stir.
- Next add the Meadowsweet flowers. Stir. Allow to infuse until the syrup is cool/cold.
- Strain the syrup through a muslin and freeze in a plastic container overnight.
- Now take out your frozen Meadowsweet syrup (it won’t be that frozen), and blend with a hand-blender until smooth. Then put back in the freezer for 24 hours.
- Take out and blend again, then freeze for a further 48 hours. Enjoy.
Serves: 1 to 6 people depending on how greedy you are.