Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wild Chamomile aka Pineapple Weed iced tea

You know this stuff, right?  Some people call it Pineapple Weed, which was new to me as I had always known it as Wild Chamomile (and, it isn't actually chamomile after all...)  I guess it makes sense though, the blossoms when crushed give off a lovely almost-pineapple-sorta-apple smell and up close their shape is vaguely pineapple-like. 

We find these little guys all over in our hard, sandy, gravelly Minnesota "soil" and right now they're popping up in droves.  They're the wild cousin of the well-known chamomiles that make our soothing teas and you know what?  Just as delicious.

I enlisted the help of my little helpers to gather some of the blossoms.  In their enthusiasm they came up with handfuls of plants, but that's okay.

The boys and I plucked the flower buds off and put them in a bowl.  Sitting there with them it struck me just how nice this moment was and I felt grateful.  We've had a hectic few weeks and this was a bit of much needed calm.

I noticed that A still had a lump of clay clenched in his hand that he had found by the pond.  Earlier he made a horse and then a turtle out of it but had yet to decide on his final design, which we'll dry in the sun and keep for a while.

Charlie and E were supervising, as she does, while chewing on chives. 

Eventually they all wandered off, stopping to grab a basil or cliantro leaf out of the herb garden as they went, leaving momma to finish the job.  The sun was out and a nice breeze was blowing and the repetition of popping the blossoms off into the bowl was sort of soothing.

I think I'd like to make a jelly out of it next or try dyeing wool with it, but today we opted for iced tea, sweetened with dandelion syrup to go with our lunch.

It was mildly herbal, with that subtle apple scent that chamomile has.  Quite a lovely treat and a good experience for the kidlets too.  The way I see it my helpers will have this down pat when my German chamomile blooms...

Here's to ya.  Cheers.

p.s. We gather only wild plants that we can positively identify and only from areas that we trust to be free of pesticides, run-off, and other ickiness.   The occasional bug or clod of dirt is okay with us, but chemicals are not. blech.  


Anonymous said...

you have made the most of this useful & lovely plant, and created a moment to treasure & something which kept busy hands ... well, busy. It's like with peas, or green beans ... the repetitive action & knowing it's useful for everyone, makes it so worth the time spent.
Just sent you a mail back, sweet friend. Now you do take care, OK ? oxoxox love you

k said...

such a wonderful description of a peaceful bit of time with your kids and just you, meditatively preparing a foraged treat. sounds good - i will have to keep an eye for some, i know i've seen that plant around here before!

joanie said...

I can't say this often enough - you are SO clever. Thanks for taking the time to record this wonderful moment, just wish I could try the tea :)

Anonymous said...

What a great way for the kids to experience the earth and nature and the gifts she brings. Dandelion syrup sounds yum. xox Corrine

Scrapiana said...

That drink looks so refreshing! I've never managed to grow chamomile successfully. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

oh, delicious! :) what fun.

Tara said...

I have known of this plant since I was a child but I never knew it was chamomile and could be used so nicely. I may try harvesting some and infusing some olive oil for soap. Thanks for the info, Lisa.

Margie Oomen said...

what a great thing to do with your kidlets


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