Pineapple probably isn’t a flavour you would expect to find in the British countryside, but with Pineapple Weed we have exactly that in abundance. A small nibble of the immature flower heads will take you completely by surprise as the unmistakable tang of pineapple hits your taste buds, and you will wonder how this isn’t more commonly known. Perhaps because Pineapple Weed favours compacted soil - canal paths, farm tracks, car parks - that we tend to take one look at where it is growing and think against it. You needn’t worry about this though, as here at Forage Box we only pick from clean areas, well away from dog walkers and other footfall.
This cordial has a delicate herbal quality that compliments the primary pineapple flavour well. With temperatures at their peak for the year, this is best enjoyed over ice with just a splash of still or soda water. Alternatively, make it a bit fancier by adding a sprig of wild mint or a thin wedge of lime… would mixing in some coconut water be a step too far?
Unlike the bland shop-bought mint tea you may have tried before, watermint tea has a warmth and aromatic quality to it that still works well as an after-dinner drink. Reported health benefits of drinking mint tea is wide-ranging, but we find it best drunk to aid digestion or settle the stomach. Use approximately a teaspoon of dried tea per cup, allowing anything between 1 and 5 minutes to infuse, depending on your taste preference. As much as we love this as a tea, we reckon this would make a belting addition to a dessert - watermint choc chip ice cream anyone?
Watermint grows on the banks of still or slow-moving fresh water and usually in large clumps. Take just the top few leaves for the freshest growth, leaving the remaining plant undisturbed to continue growing.
We had some great feedback about the Spruce Tip Sugar sent out back in August, and we got the impression that the Forage Box community was surprised at how delicious a member of the pine family could be. It could be a further surprise then, that we have something very different in flavour to offer up from a similar tree: Scots Pine. Or its pollen, to be specific. Harvesting this was done back in Spring, when a very small window of around a week sees pine trees start to shed their pollen. We then created a simple syrup using this harvested pollen to preserve it for future use. In fact it’s a good job we did because the day after we finished harvesting - using big buckets and lots of branch shaking, since you asked - the winds really picked up and all the pollen on all the pine trees had been blown away.
This syrup has a sherbet quality to it and it best used in desserts, where simple sweetness needs to be at the forefront of the dish. Think of fruit tarts, meringue nests or a sticky sponge. Or get creative with cocktails and substitute in this unique ingredient wherever a simple sugar syrup is required.
Please note: Although considered a nutritious foodstuff, pine pollen is known to have testosterone-boosting qualities and should not be consumed in large amounts, particularly by those who are pregnant. Similarly, it is best avoided by those with severe pollen allergies. If in doubt, professional medical advice should always be sought. Forage Box does not encourage the use of any of its products as an alternative to scientifically proven medicine.