Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Making Pineapple Weed Ice Cream

making foraged ice cream

I first tasted pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) about 10 months ago, at a foraging event at Gartur Stitch Farm. Picking the weedy looking plant - which I knew from waste ground where it will grow in really poor compacted soil - for the first time and crushing it in my fingers to release that unmistakable pineapple aroma was one of the many highlights of the day.

Though general writing claims that pineapple weed prefers to grow in poor compacted soil that isn't true - where you see it left alone in better conditions it is much taller and more leafy than the 3-4 inches that they achieve in paving cracks. If you enjoy the taste then it is easy to grow as a crop in the garden - just look out for seeds and sow them immediately.

They germinate with light so sprinkle on the soil surface - any that germinate before spring will happily overwinter as a tiny rosette of leaves. If you cut back the leaves and flowers to 2 inches each time you harvest and don't let the flowers go to seed, you should get 3 cuttings a year. You can also take off individual flowers to add to salads or teas throughout the year. It isn't suitable to be the main part of a salad though, as eating too much can make your mouth numb!

It isn't a native plant in the UK - it was only introduced about 1890 from North America but since then it has become a common arable weed/ hedgerow wild flower. It is used in North American medicine a lot to combat intestinal worms and as a sedative or topical analgesic, but as a non native doesn't appear in any British herbals. Indeed most references are in the last 20 years where the pineapple taste has appealed to the nouvelle and molecular gastronomy chefs keen to add foraged tastes into their cooking.

Pineapple Weed is one of those foraged plants that are definitely more about the novelty value than about feeding or curing ourselves.

It isn't going to take us through hard times, but nonetheless it is intriguing, that very particular scent, and so I was keen to make a pineapple weed ice cream.

The pineapple flavour is subtle - and undercut by chamomile - so I kept the ice cream very basic - a mix of milk, cream and honey with yoghurt.

 

Ingredients

  • Bunch of pineapple weed - the more flowers there are the sweeter the ice cream will be.
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 250 ml full milk
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 250 ml greek yoghurt

 

making pineapple weed foraged ice cream

Method

Chop the pineapple weed, put in pan with cream and milk and honey and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 10 minutes and then leave to cool and infuse overnight.

foraged ice cream with pineapple weed

Heat back up slightly to make it more liquid and then strain through a colander or sieve. Squeeze the pineapple leaf stems to get as much flavour as possible out.

ice cream foraged

Leave to cool and mix in yoghurt.

Transfer to ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes (or until frozen) OR put into a shallow tub in the freezer and whisk every 2 hours until smoothly frozen.

The ice cream should be eaten within 6 months - it has a fresh taste with a pineapple edge to it.

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When I was at University it was the time of the Poll Tax, an unpopular tax made even more unpopular by being implemented in Scotland a year before the rest of the UK - 'Thatcher's guinea pigs'.⁠⠀
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It was a time of demonstration and violence with 50,000 marching in Glasgow, 1 million Scots refusing to pay. ⁠⠀
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It was a time Sheriff's Officers and poind sales of possessions. ⁠⠀
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Coalition student groups were formed - Socialist and Feminist and Anarchist and so on - there were big meetings in the Union, debates about a name and a logo and a manifesto. I remember lots of young, middle class, white men talked at length.  I remember that very, very little got done - a bus was organised to take students to Glasgow for the protests. ⁠⠀
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In the meantime, up the hill from the campus, three women (I thought of them as old at the time but I'm sure they were the age I am now) simply stood outside the auctions and asked nobody to attend.  They stood by the front doors, they explained their reasons, they prevailed.  They possibly looked randomly menacing in that way middle aged women can.⁠⠀
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People calmly bought back their possessions for 50p and their debts were squared. Action, meaningful results, a recognition that the personal is political - all while the student groups still debated their slogans.⁠⠀
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I've been thinking about those women a lot recently. If they were the age I think they were, they will be queuing up for their vaccines this month.
In my happy place.⁠⠀
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In the winter months The Studio is the centre of my working life. ⁠⠀
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This was yesterday.  Trimming pieces of vintage velvet fabric for the Studio Club shop; alpaca socks drying in the dispatch room behind me (we now have size 8-10 in stock too); a roll @scottishlinen seconds to experiment with hogging the cutting table.⁠⠀
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Bright and light and inspiring.
Starting the week with a photo from last year (simply because I lost a lot of this weekend to fatigue, so didn't take a new photo.)⁠⠀
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Budgie, my beautiful and psychotic cat, with a windowsill of white amaryllis. ⁠⠀
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Worth a second outing.
The proposed airstream conversion is in for planning permission approval at the moment, so that we change change its use from (neglected) artist's workshop into beautiful holiday accommodation.⁠⠀
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In my vision for this we get to use the paid holidaymaking element to subsidise some artist's residencies - painters, writers, musicians, makers coming here to soak up the landscape and be inspired.⁠⠀
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At the moment though I'm still at the stage of answering environmental health questions about quite how loud I am in my Studio and how we will light the path to the compost loo.
Yesterday my elder daughter, who lives in London, messaged me to say that our local DPD driver Slav was being given an award by @official.dpd.uk for his outstanding service. 

It was because of the hundreds of messages that they had been sent commenting on his helpfulness, incredible good cheer, and parcel based problem solving.⁠⠀

Slav has been an important part of my lockdown life here. ⁠⠀
When roads look like this, good delivery drivers are a vital (and hopefully appreciated) part of life.⁠⠀
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As my younger daughter chimed in “Go Slav!
This photo is from last week - but I see through the gloom that it has snowed overnight .⁠⠀
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This part of the garden is outside our bedroom, the beech hedge borders the road, it used to be a drive when our bedroom was a garage.⁠⠀
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Now it has a birch tree (symbolic for me of my miscarried babies, as I had to leave their actual birch trees behind when we moved here) surrounded by lots of box grown from small plants and cuttings.⁠⠀
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We buried Jasmine, my scruffy miniature schnauzer, here in the summer, so in some ways it is becoming a garden for sitting on the bench and remembering and watching the birds.  I shall ask my ever generous  friend Nadja for some snowdrops to plant in the grass.⁠⠀
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In my mind, eventually, the box balls will become like the ones on the front of @arnemaynardgardendesign book Garden Design Details - but this year they remain unclipped. ⁠⠀
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I suspect box blight in the back garden and @jekkamcvicar points out that unclipped box does not get blight.⁠⠀
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I love old gates - particularly old gates that stand in the middle of old unused spaces, leading to nowhere, keeping nothing in.⁠⠀
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A memory of another time.
Last year - while I was dyeing socks out on my Studio deck, I was also dyeing wool yarn. ⁠⠀
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Wool dyed with docks and nettle, gorse and meadowsweet, onions and plum bark all from the garden and lane.⁠⠀
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Over the winter I gathered the wool skeins together - all the soft bright colours - and knitted myself an oversized stripy jumper. ⁠⠀
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@rhiannonconnelly described it as wearing 'a hug from my garden' and I think she was spot on. ⁠⠀
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The pattern is the 'After the Rain' sweater by @heidikdesigns but with random stripes as I wasn't sure how much of each colour I had. #aftertherainsweater
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At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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