Wild and Slow food festival at Macreddin Village

I set myself the challenge of participating in this years Wild and Slow Food festival in Macreddin Village. Being that its something I have been looking forward to for the last 2 years (since it last took place), and how much I enjoyed the ethos, the speakers and the stalls- I applied to have my own stall selling my local wildcrafted, foraged wild food products.

I spent 3-4 months this year making apple cider vinegar from scratch using the local organic apples that grow around me in abundance- using natural fermentation methods and Angie’s natural spring water from Carraig Mountain. I produced a raw organic apple cider vinegar that I was proud of! I tested the pH before bottling to be sure that it was under 5pH in order to be safe for food preservation methods- and indeed it tested at about 3-4pH.

I bottled some vinegar live and raw, plain and the rest i infused with local herbs and flowers and organic spices. I made a fiery tonic called Fire Cider- guaranteed to get your circulation going and to clear out any sinus issues. I also made the old gypsy remedy Queen of Hungary’s water. Both recipes in fact were thanks to Rosemary Gladstar- and both were slightly modified to what I had growing locally around me in abundance.

Along with the fire cider, the most popular product was my gomasio. This I made with organic toasted crushed sesame seeds, mixed with sea salt and with the added wild ingredients of local porcini/ cep powder, nettle seeds and wild garlic.

Tinctures, wild berry kefir sodas, seed crackers, sloe gin, and cultures such as water kefir, milk kefir, mother of vinegar and kombucha were also on sale for the weekend.

Here are a few images of the day. (thanks to Lily!)

 

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Conxuro da Queimada

This is a ceremony that’s traditionally practiced in Galicia Spain. I have fond memories of a crazy gallega friend Lorena who did this for a birthday many years ago. It was mesmerizing. I would like to re-create this spell myself one day soon.

I don’t think it sounds as well in English as it does in Spanish or Gallician. But here’s the translation of the spell:(from Wikipedia)

In Galician languageIn English
Mouchos, curuxas, sapos e bruxas.

Demos, trasgos e diaños,

espíritos das neboadas veigas.

Corvos, píntegas e meigas:

feitizos das menciñeiras.

Podres cañotas furadas,

fogar dos vermes e alimañas.

Lume das Santas Compañas,

mal de ollo, negros meigallos,

cheiro dos mortos, tronos e raios.

Ouveo do can, pregón da morte;

fuciño do sátiro e pé do coello.

Pecadora lingua da mala muller

casada cun home vello.

Averno de Satán e Belcebú,

lume dos cadáveres ardentes,

corpos mutilados dos indecentes,

peidos dos infernais cus,

muxido da mar embravecida.

Barriga inútil da muller solteira,

falar dos gatos que andan á xaneira,

guedella porca da cabra mal parida.

Con este fol levantarei

as chamas deste lume

que asemella ao do Inferno,

e fuxirán as bruxas

a cabalo das súas vasoiras,

índose bañar na praia

das areas gordas.

¡Oíde, oíde! os ruxidos

que dan as que non poden

deixar de queimarse no augardente

quedando así purificadas.

E cando este beberaxe

baixe polas nosas gorxas,

quedaremos libres dos males

da nosa alma e de todo embruxamento.

Forzas do ar, terra, mar e lume,

a vós fago esta chamada:

se é verdade que tendes máis poder

que a humana xente,

eiquí e agora, facede que os espíritos

dos amigos que están fóra,

participen con nós desta Queimada.

Owls, barn owls, toads and witches.

Demons, goblins and devils,

spirits of the misty vales.

Crows, salamanders and witches,

charms of the folk healer(ess).

Rotten pierced canes,

home of worms and vermin.

Wisps of the Holy Company,

evil eye, black witchcraft,

scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.

Howl of the dog, omen of death,

maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.

Sinful tongue of the bad woman

married to an old man.

Satan and Beelzebub’s Inferno,

fire of the burning corpses,

mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,

farts of the asses of doom,

bellow of the enraged sea.

Useless belly of the unmarried woman,

speech of the cats in heat,

dirty turf of the wicked born goat.

With this bellows I will pump

the flames of this fire

which looks like that from Hell,

and witches will flee,

straddling their brooms,

going to bathe in the beach

of the thick sands.

Hear! Hear the roars

of those that cannot

stop burning in the firewater,

becoming so purified.

And when this beverage

goes down our throats,

we will get free of the evil

of our soul and of any charm.

Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,

to you I make this call:

if it’s true that you have more power

than people,

here and now, make the spirits

of the friends who are outside,

take part with us in this Queimada.

Elderberry Shrub

Today I was in Health and Healing in Wicklow town, adding some of my silver jewellery and steampunk jewellery to an empty display case. (thanks Neville!)

While there, I picked up a bottle of Bragg’s Live Apple Cider Vinegar. (As an aside, I’ve heard they have not been able to produce enough of their delicious unpasteurised vinegar to keep up with demand and it can be hard to come by these days!) When I got home I took a few jam jars half filled with elderberries and filled the rest with the vinegar and some sugar (I used Rapadura sugar). I took some parchment paper and folded it under the metal lid, so that the vinegar wouldn’t react with the metal.

I’ll shake this occasionally and leave it to infuse for the next 4-6 weeks.

The properties of the elderberry will infuse into the vinegar, preserving its medicinal properties and at the same time, creating the base for a tasty drink in the coming year. I’ll dilute this with sparkling water, or hot water and lemon to enjoy as a drink.

You can do this with any seasonal berries, herbs or fruit.

“A shrub is made by combining fruit, sugar and vinegar into a bright and complex syrup that delivers plenty of fruit flavour.”

Keep the shrub in a cool place and enjoy diluted with water, club soda, or in a mixed drink. Also nice to take in a shot glass for a concentrated sup of goodness!

Rose-hip infused vinegar

Rose hips are easy to spot in the hedgerows at the moment. Did you know that all types of rose hips are edible?

Rose hips have the great virtue of being high in a number of nutrients and especially high in vitamin C. Rose hip syrup contains 300mg per 100g. This is up to four times more than blackcurrant juice and twenty times as much as the juice of an orange, according to Roger Phillips in his book on Wild Food.

Conventional roses are heavily sprayed with chemicals. Choose organically grown or wild roses only.

You can dry them for tea, make rose hip syrup or chutney or do this easy rose hip infused vinegar:

Collect rose hips in the autumn or early winter. Rosa Canina are the native wild rose in Ireland, but there are lots of Rosa Rugosa around and it’s worth your while to seek them out. They rose hips on the Rugosa are HUGE in comparison with the wild ones. Luckily in Wicklow, the council seems to have planted them in most of the hedgerows and along the motorways. Any rose hips will do, but be sure they aren’t sprayed with chemicals.

Coarsely chop the rose hips no need to remove the hairs or seeds yet (unless you’ve the patience of a saint)! Cover them in vinegar (I prefer unpasteurised apple cider vinegar- but use what you like). Let this infuse for 4-6 weeks and strain through a muslin covered sieve. You want to be sure to catch all the hairs as they cause irritation and are unpleasant. Squeeze the material in the muslin to get out all of the liquid. Add honey or your preferred sweetener if desired, bottle and label.

Drink this as a shot for a hit of vitamins and minerals. Or add a tablespoon to a mug of warm water, or to sparkling water or as a mixer. A delicious way to preserve the bounty of the seasons.

As the raspberries in our garden are often coming out at the same time of the year, sometimes I mix the rosehips and raspberries to make a lovely and naturally sweet infused vinegar or shrub.

 

Wild and Slow do a lovely and very informative PDF file which is free to download here. It has lots of recipes and traditional uses.