Seasonally inspired things to Make, Learn & Do.

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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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Between the plum trees and the studio is a sloping space that was created when we flattened a patch of land to build. It is a mix of subsoil, rocks and odd seams of rich pasture land. ⠀
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As grass began to grow there about 7 years ago,  I sowed a perennial meadow mix, I planted lots of random plants from the cutting beds, I worked without a plan, without knowing what would thrive and what would gently vanish. ⠀
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Now there is minimal gardening involvement - I try and keep the nettles from taking over, we dig out brambles - and in the autumn and winter I lure the chickens there to scratch out patches of bare soil for the wildflower seeds. ⠀
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It’s a patchy space, caught on the cusp of abandonment - but it is the most beautiful space in the garden, buzzing with insects, rustling with birds. ⠀
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Low light, bright petals, setting sun. ⠀
A couple of days ago I got a message from a friend asking what I thought about all the 'picking wild flowers' photos on here and the fact that a country style magazine was promoting it as a
My Gran had hangers like these.  Knitted from odds and ends of wool, hanging softly squashed together in the big dark wardrobe in her bedroom.⁠⠀
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My cousin and I would take the fancy silky 1960s dresses from them and transform ourselves into glamorous detectives, spying on passers-by from behind the net curtains, making notes.⁠⠀
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Now the hangers are my favourite things to make from wool scraps - each takes 37 grams of wool and you only need to be able to do a plain stitch to make it. ⁠⠀
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As well as being chock full of nostalgia for me, they are also the most practical kind of hanger, as the garter stitch keeps even the flimsiest of straps in place so clothes don’t end up on the floor.
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This week's business improvement was deciding to make the postcards that go in with orders more useful, getting Kate Stockwell to turn them into activity cards for me. ⁠⠀
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This is the first, going out with orders from today.⁠⠀
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I’m always amazed at how many plants from sunnier climes take to the garden. ⠀
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Sicilian honey garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum - is one of the plants that grow in rows in the orchard - ghosts of the flower field, buzzing with bees, happy in grass, a strong whiff of onion as I pass. ⠀
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This month I’ve been experimenting with solar dyeing- using plants and sunlight and a jar to dye wool on the windowsill. 
I was amazed at what bright shades were possible and at how easy and self contained it turned out to be. 
It was part of the Studio Membership mini “Introduction to plant dyes” course but I’ve also put together a kit in the shop with full instructions and everything you need to get started with solar dyeing wool (there are mini skeins in the kit). The photo is my drying rack on the dye deck - part of the studio where I used to prep flowers when I sold them. 
The wood rack used to be for shoes and wellies.
Inspired by @josephinepbrooks I’m still using this time for some serious decluttering of my business - looking hard at which parts have descended over the years into one of those drawers stuffed full of things.  Which bits are muddled, useless, impossible to open without everything falling out. 
Last week was the turn of the blog - so many out of date things, so many broken links, pretty much impossible to browse. 
Now it’s been sorted out - David and @fuzzyjill at Fuzzy Lime helped me divide it into sections and now it’s all easily accessible from the navigation bar.

So if you are looking for tutorials, nature notes, gardening, recipes or musings on life you can find them without scrolling through hundreds of pages. 
And - as always seems to happen when you  declutter - I’m suddenly full of ideas for things to write about, so that I can fit them nicely into my new space! 
The poppies are from Friday’s blog about how they make wonderful cut flowers.
Another week. Another new morning 
I was chatting to a friend yesterday about what was the best thing about running my own business - and I decided that it was probably being excited about each day and all the things I want to do. ⠀
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That I now rarely need to force myself. ⠀

Today it’s finishing off this week’s Studio Members lesson about solar dyeing and putting together these activity postcards which I am getting printed to go out with orders. ⠀
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What are you looking forward to doing today?
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About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we 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.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

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