Why do we buy teas with artificial aromas, cosmetic products containing paraffin and spreads packed in plastic from the supermarket, when the ingredients for these things grow right under our nose? The best herbs and healing plants thrive in our garden, along the wayside or in the local forests. How about a home-made thistle soufflé, nettle bread, a herbal cream or a good-night tea? You can try out these and dozens of other recipes during a herbal workshop at the Pichlgut and afterwards use or taste them yourself. And today, Judith Müller from the Pichlgut in Radstadt is going to tell me all about what you can make from the would-be weeds or rather herbs.
Judith is a herbal teacher and TCM nutritionist (Traditional Chinese Medicine). In her show garden with more than 100 different herbs, you’ll find lots of plants, which many a gardener would have picked, as they are probably weeds and don’t belong in a well-tended garden. Most people are unaware of the positive effects and good properties of these would-be weeds. Did you know for example, that the sorrel has a painkilling and digestive effect? Or that the blossom and leaves of the nasturtium act as a natural antibiotic? On a guided herb tour with Judith through the forest, along the wayside and in the herb garden I get to know and appreciate these wild herbs.
Wild herbs can be put to good use in the kitchen, in cosmetic products or as healing herbs. However, it’s not wise to use herbs if you don’t know anything about them. For this reason, Judith offers guided herb tours and wild herb cookery courses on her farm on request, where interested folk can get to know the wide variety and the correct method of usage of the “green delights”.
Herb guided tour
Some time ago I got into baking bread. As I’m always on the look-out for new recipes and tastes, we are out searching today for the ingredients for nettle bread and an aromatic herb spread.
At the start of tour, we head straight out into the forest. We stop every now and again and Judith shows and explains which plants & herbs grow here and what we can use them for. Within an hour our baskets are full of the wild herbs we need as ingredients and we head back to her lovingly- tended herb garden. I’m completely fascinated by the plants and herbs which Judith grows with much passion and dedication. We pick some more herbs and blossoms which will give our spread the necessary spiciness and colour and head into the kitchen.
The nettles are washed, chopped finely and worked to a dough with the other ingredients (recipe below). Whilst the bread is in the oven, we prepare the herb spread. As the bread should be left to cool down, I take a taste of the bread and the spread home with me and thank Judith heartily for the interesting and creative afternoon I spent with her.
In grandma’s days, cooking with wild herb was for the poor, yet nowadays wild herbs and wild vegetables are highly acclaimed as part of a healthy diet, with all due respect. I hope we’ve managed to inspire you and to finish off, our “herb witch“ Judith has a tasty recipe for you – have fun collecting and cooking 😊
PS: If you wish to learn more about the effects and use of herbs or find out what Judith puts in her herb spread, then take part in one of her guided tours 😊 I can really recommend it!
Bildnachweis: Julia Winter