In half term, on Tuesday 27th October, as part of the launch of the Young Friends of Myatts Field Park, I did a yarrow herb hunt and vege burger cookup.  Yarrow is a herb we can get all year round, even in winter.  We picked it in the Nature Garden where there are no dogs and where it is safe to eat (with a good wash).
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Finding the yarrow in the Nature Garden

Yarrow is a perennial herb with erect, furrowed, downy stems. It has small flowerheads, very pretty, which are white or sometimes pinkish. It has a strong peppery smell.

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Discarding the grass of course!

The plant’s healing properties were known to the Ancient Greeks who named Yarrow Achillea after Achilles, the legendary warrior. The specific name millefolium (=a 1000 leaf) referring to the plant’s many feathery leaves.

It’s one of the best fever remedies. It makes you sweat, lowering the blood pressure. you have to drink it hourly until fever subsides (combine with elderflower and peppermint). 

Yarrow tones the blood vessels and aids digestion. It is specific for thrombosis associated with high blood pressure. It is a natural antiseptic (which will also ease cystitis). Use it also for diarrhoea (and it’s safe for children).

 It will speed up the clotting of blood and can be used for all wounds, old and new, rashes, haemorrhoids. Useful emergency treatment to stop haemorrhaging. Use the crushed leaves directly on cuts, for nose bleeds or earache. Chew them for toothache.

 The principal constituent is an essential oil with azulenes that turn blue after distillation. The plant also contains the alkaloids achilleine and stychidyrine, tannins and bitter compounds.

 In China, yarrow stalks are used with the I ching system, in Europe, the druids used yarrow to divine the weather. Yarrow strengthens and protects the etheric body (the aura)

Key words: Fevers, colds, flu; Digestive tonic; menstruation; urinary antiseptic; diarrhoea; all wounds; antiseptic, stomachic, antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic.

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Enough Yarrow for the burgers and edible flowers for garnish

Other names for Yarrow are Milfoil (a 1000 leaves), nose bleed, old man’s pepper, soldier’s wound wort, knight’s milfoil, bloodwort, staunch weed, devil’s nettle and devil’s plaything.

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Nettles behind the kiosk

We also picked some nettle to make tea with. Nettle is another excellent tonic, packed with vitamins and minerals. There are some nice ones right behind the kiosk, part of the nature garden.

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Smelling lemon balm

And there is some lovely lemon balm to the right of the path behind the kiosk. Lemon balm makes a great tea. One of my favourites.

lemon balm copy

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Yarrow, Milfoil, Bloodwort, Staunchweed hand picked from the Nature Garden

 We washed and carefully selected the best herbs we’d picked and made tea for the thermic Invisible Food flasks.

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Putting labels on the tea, all picked from the park

Then we started on the food preparation, all washing their hands first and if anyone dropped out to have a quick game of football, they had to wash their hands again!

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Washing hands before the food preparation

We chopped up the yarrow with a mezza luna chopper, to get it nice and fine.

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Cutting the herb with a mezza luna chopper

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Making the vege burgers with the yarrow added in

We used a packet of burger mix and threw the chopped yarrow in. We carefully made little round burgers, pressing them many times so they didn’t crumble.

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Cooking time: it's warmer around the stove

I used the woodgas camp stove to fry up the burgers. We used wood pellets and some sticks from the park as fuel.

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Regulating the ferocity of the flame

Here I am regulating the flames. This stove has a battery assisted fan which saves you having to blow the flames to keep the fire going. It works really well.

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Homemade tomato ketchup goes well

I used a lovely recipe for homemade ketchup from Hugh Fearnley-Whittenstall’s book. It’s delicious. Will post it here soon.  I also tried making some jerk sauce which is really tasty. 1 scotch bonnet pepper, some thyme, some spring onions and some allspice, olive oil and a dash of vinegar. It keeps well in the fridge.

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and there was Levi Roots jerk sauce and a homemade one too!

It was great doing some outdoor cooking in Myatts Field. We had great weather – you can tell by the light in some of the photos – and I’m glad to be able to keep cooking and eating outdoors even as winter approaches.  Thanks to all participants.

Photos by Jorge Goia