Out Here Ltd

 

Wild Tea.

There is nothing better a hot cup of tea after walking on a cold winter’s day, but what happens if you forget the tea bags? The British countryside can provide us with many enjoyable teas that are healthy natural and free.

The leaves of the Bramble plant make an excellent brew, start by picking young green leaves and soak in hot water for 10 mins. The taste is similar to the herbal teas you buy in supermarkets. Remove the leaves before drinking.

Stinging nettle tea is made in the same way, picking the top 4 leaves from the head of the plant, the tea can be quite bitter if left to boil for too long, so allow only 5 minutes to get rid of the stinging properties before being eaten, obviously beware of being stung, wear gloves or coat your hands in a thick layer of mud to protect them.

If you are stung apply cold wet mud to ease the soreness, dock leaves are only good if mashed to a pulp.

Nettles are full of Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A as well as Anti-Asthmatic qualities; research has also shown that they can help alleviate Hay-Fever symptoms.

A staple of outdoors foraging is the Rose Hip or Dog Rose, it can make a delicious wild beverage, although typically found in hedgerows there is probably one growing in yours or your neighbours garden.

Take the fruit or “hips” and cut open to discard the hairy seeds as these will cause stomach upsets, soak the cases in hot water until the liquid resembles tomato soup, sieve the fleshy cases out, but do not throw away as these are edible too.

Rosehip tea is a wonderful source of vitamin C and can help fend off a winter cold.

Always excersise extreme caution when picking wild plants, do not consume any wild food unless you are certain of its identity.

Birch

The Birch tree really is the most beautiful of the forest trees, with the flash of white bark cutting through the densest of woodland mottled browns.

There are many, many uses for the humble birch. The wood is straight grained and durable, but carves with ease.

If you are going to carve wood, I recommend the green wood, using a Sharpe Bushcraft knife.

In English and Celtic folklore, the tree has come to represent new beginnings, renewal, purification and fertility.

The Birch is one of the first trees co come into leaf, it would be an obvious choice of representation of the emergence of spring.

You can tap the tree for its sap, a sign of the start of spring.

You must be very careful when attempting this as it is very easy to cause long term damage to the tree.

I recommend either drilling a hole into the tree or a simple deep knife cut upwards and allowing the sap to run into a bottle tied to the tree.

Be sure to place a plug in the hole once you have collected about a litre of sap as otherwise the tree will leak and die. The sap was traditionally fermented into beer and wine, but can be drunk straight from the tree, although you should filter it first.

The liquid is said to prevent kidney and bladder stones, rheumatism as well as skin complaints.

The bark of the tree has many uses, including as superb natural tinder, the bark can be crafted into vessels for carrying water and food, as it is clean, easy to bend and waterproof.

It also proved to be useful to the Native American Indian in making shoes and mats, as well as the Birch Bark Canoe.

“Through weeds and thorns may be her guide the long wood through, I find myself beneath a weeping birch, the most beautiful forest trees, the lady of the woods”

Samuel Coleridge, “The Lovers Resolution”