We had no idea how many edible beauties were in our city till last weekend – over 20 in this jar alone! Thirty of us headed east to Mabley Green and the Regent’s Canal in Hackney to take a walking route led by Sepi from the Herb Lab to discover the flavours and uses of the city’s leaves, berries, petals and roots.
A favourite find was the rather beautiful purple Mallow Flower – when chewed it produces a thick kind of foam, which is where marshmallows take their origins from. The foaming texture makes them good for soothing infections and also generally good for the immune system.
My favourite however, was definitely the bright orange and rather tasty Sea Buckthorn berries which explode at the touch and leave you licking the tangy sugary juice off your fingers. Rather addictive, felt like being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!
We were lucky to have illustrator Sandy Leong in the group on the Saturday, and she did these wonderful sketches of the plants we saw – this one of Burdock that later went into a Dandelion & Burdock root coffee.
After a good dose of fresh air we finished both days back at the Herb Lab in Hackney Wick, where Sept helped us make fresh root coffee and shortbread – flavoured with the local ingredients we’d found along the way. We thought they also looked rather beautiful too!