Today has been a food preparation kind of day, quite unexpectedly.
I noticed the elderberries were ripe, so I picked a colander full. They grow like a weed around here, a tall shrub with lovely white umbels of flowers in Spring, and tiny dark glossy berries in Autumn. Most people leave the berries for the birds, but I like the taste, somewhat like a less sweet blueberry with a bigger seed like raspberries. They also have fantastic nutritional and medicinal value, rich in anthrocyanins (powerful antioxidants present in most berry fruits) and with anti-viral properties. I’ve been interested in trying elderberry tincture for a while now, as there’s some evidence taking it regularly over Winter can shorten the course of colds and flu, and at the Day Job as well as on the commute I do come in contact with a lot of people with viral infections. The high price put me off buying the tincture, as well as the fact that the commonly available brand contains honey, which I don’t use.
At first I thought that rather than making a tincture with alcohol, I’d try drying the elderberries in my dehydrator, like currants. Then I read that the seeds can be toxic. I do think that must take a lot of seeds, because there are plenty of food recipes using whole elderberries. Better safe than sick, though, so back to the tincture plan. I’ll marinate the berries in cheap brandy or vodka for 7 to 10 days, press them, and make sure all the seeds are strained out.
If you decide to pick elderberries- some tips-
- Don’t eat too many raw- remember those poisonous seeds, and they can also have laxative effects!
- Unless you want purple finger tips, don’t try hand picking them off the stems. Easiest way to pick them is to carefully cut the whole bunch off the tree, them strip the berries off the bunch using a fork
- I find it easier to strip the berries into a colander first, then wash them
Anyway, I’ll be interested to see how my first attempt to make a tincture works out, and I hope the tincture works like it should too!
I also made a huge batch of marinated vegetables in the dehydrator. I use a recipe for raw caramelised onions from the wonderful Sarah-Fae at Addicted to Veggies, but I don’t just marinate thinly sliced onions in it. The onions really are superb, but I end up with most of the marinade left over after I drain the onions and put them in the dehydrator. So today, from one recipes worth of marinade, I made marinated sweet potato chips, sweet peppers (capsicum in Aus), aubergine (eggplant), and stir fry veggies too.
Yummo! Some of those sweet potato chips with caramelised onion, spinach and Sarah-Fae’s romesco raw tomato and pepper pasta sauce made a delicious dinner.
I also had a sweet tooth craving for a childhood favourite chocolate bar, Golden Rough.
Basically, they’re compounded chocolate with lots of coconut mixed in. I haven’t eaten one for years, but for some reason I had a huge longing for that taste.
Turned out it was really easy to make something that tasted just like I recalled. I only made a single serving so I didn’t pig out. It was a chucker-inner, so no measurements, sorry!
I mixed a couple of teaspoons of coconut butter that I melted over warm water, with a good squirt of agave nectar (I hardly ever use it as I know there’s some debate about whether it really is raw, and also whether the GI is as low as is claimed, but some recipes really need that concentrated burst of sweetness). Then I stirred in a scoop of carob powder (softer and smoother flavour than cacao, and won’t hype me up this close to bedtime), and as much coconut as the mixture would take. I didn’t even wait for it to set, I ate it straight from the bowl! Sweet, chocolately, coconutty. Exactly what I wanted.
While Googling for a Golden Rough picture to put in this post, I found this recipe from Girl on Raw for Golden Rough Chia Pudding. Must try that too!
And while Googling earlier for raw apple cider vinegar recipes (I’ve gone through a bottle fast since I discovered that caramelised onion recipe!) I found what must be the best terms and conditions on any website or forum anywhere, at Permies.com.
Here it is-
That’s it. I think those are terms and conditions I can agree with!