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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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

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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