‘Heal yourself – Back to Nature’
Last week, Csaba (the market manager) gave TKD permission to organise this super information giving event at HPM. It follows on the heels of the seed saving information giving/exchange event in the spring. We believe that developing knowledge empowers people and leads to freedom; we also believe that the small Kalotaszeg producers at , and supporters of HPM are the best chance we have for the development of a strong local food community.
Zsuzsi, Iulia, and I with help from Deni made some really wonderful, concise general information about when to collect – time of day/weather (dry, and after the dew; for flowers – in full sun; for leaves, more cloudy); the condition of the plants/flowers being collected (best plants), how to dry (fast! Hanging (when possible) in dry tin roofed attics/shadey spaces; even in drying boxes);, how to store (clean fabric bags/paper bag/cut up – not crushed – in jars); how to make infusions (moistened in a little cold water followed by 10 minutes infusion with boiling water; or steeped for longer in cold water). The group with help from Melinda made sure everything was available in two languages.
For now, we gave out detailed information about uses of seven common, useful plants found in August, coada soarecului/cikkafat/yarrow, bors/fodor mentha/mint; kakukkfu/cimbrisor/ wild thyme; malnalevel/ raspbaerry leaves/frunze de zmeur; st johns wort/orbancfu/ sunatoare; petrzselem/parsley.
With an information special on Galbanele/Korom virag/marigold by Deni:
see Salbaticiuni FB
Together, we spoke about the difficulty in drying flower umbrils such as yarrow, lady’s bedstraw and marjoram etc. It is hard to ensure all the flowers look good when dried, none are over blown, brown, etc. The conclusion is, it is better to collect when flowers are not all open (soc/bodza/elderflower poze a similar problem). We had no solution to the problem of drying leaves which are a little gelatinous such as plantegos (very hard to achieve a constant green colour when dried).
Zsuzsi brought along some really lovely to look at, to smell and to feel, exfoliating carrot soap; and liquid lavender soap; the main ingredients being local, untura/zsir and soda.
I felt these products were the most interesting for local people to experience as everyone is used to pig fat soap/hazi szapon, but may have never thought about the benefits of making different variations of it. Zsuzsi also told us about the importance of curing soap and how this effects the ph, scent, medicinal qualities and texture. Zsuzsi;s tincturas, again, many at market are not unused to these; but have never been sure of the base to use (spirt sanitar/palinka, szesz/spirt/96deg. alcohol).
It was truly wonderful to see how many (mainly ladies) visited the beautifully prepared table; The older generation could see and hear how young people today, (fashionable, healthy young people brought up in cities), value and use medicinal herbs. It was as though something was reawoken, something remembered from younger years. Most seemed empowered, ready to make their teas with confidence (indeed a cuppa herbal tea made and drunk without confidence will not help much!)
We wait with a deep interest as to what the repercussions of the event will be. For sure there will be; there are already.
Great thanks to Iulia and Zsuzsi for sharing their time, knowledge and enthusiasm.
Sara and Douglas 0731 629 418