I love Summer. The warm breeze on my face and body. The bees buzzing around. The spectrum of flowers.
I take my daily walk either very early in the day or just as dusk is descending. It’s at this time the flowers show their true beauty.
As I make my circular walk around the river near where I live. I revel in the multitude of purple, yellow, cream and white flowers. They stand against the darkening green that tells me Summer is leaving soon and Autumn will return.
It’s still a whole month or so until that happens, yet I can sense it even now. The smells are changing and there is a quality in the air.
As I walk I spot a cluster of wild carrot flowers and stop. The botanical name for wild carrot is Daucus carota (click here for photos) and the burgundy dot in the centre of the flower gives the plant its other common name: Queen Anne’s Lace.
It is said that Queen Anne (1665-1714) pricked her finger making lace and the burgundy spot represents a drop of her blood.
I don’t know about that, what I do know is the flowers make a delicious pink cordial which tastes heavenly as well as looking like a bottle of a love potion.
Curiously the Greeks called the plant Philon as it was believed to be an excellent tonic before lovemaking. Its ancient use as a contraceptive may have had something to do with this. Although it was generally the seeds that were used.
Hippocrates is apparently the oldest reference to the anti-fertility actions of the seed but that’s another story.
Since I’ve been talking about lovemaking and natural contraceptives. My friend and colleague Lukasz Luczaj, who also happens to be one of Europe’s leading ethnobotanists, has just published his new book.
- 20 wild carrot flower heads
- 800 ml of boiling water
- 100g honey or rapadura sugar
- 100ml of cider vinegar
- Place the flower heads on newspaper for an hour to allow the creepy crawlies to leave. Do not wash them (the flowers).
- Then put the flower heads into a saucepan, pour over one litre of boiled water, stir and put a lid on top. Infuse for twenty-four hours.
- Strain off the liquid, it should have a delicious pink colour, add the honey or sugar and whisk until dissolved.
- Finally, add the cider vinegar, mix well then bottle.
I don’t how long this will last so please experiment.