The Value of Weeds

Weeds are wild plants that have survived in the face of centuries of hostility.  Many gardeners who are unfamiliar with the versatility of weeds think of them as a nuisance. They can be good, bad, dangerous or beautiful.  Above all, they are tough.

Weeds can:

  • protect soil and add to  soil fertility
  • act as companion plants in gardens
  • provide food for farm livestock
  • support wild life
  • provide herbal remedies
  • yield vegetable dyes
  • give us weed cuisine: food and drink for free. 

(Over 100 photos of weeds)

 
     

Home Dairy

Until a few years ago, the idea of cheese or butter making at home had all but vanished. The old farmhouse skills were disappearing. Happily, things have changed, the ‘wheel’ has turned, and handmade cheese is back in favour. Milk provides calcium for bone health, is good for your teeth, and is said to help the immune system and lower hypertension, among many other health claims.

Like bread, wine or beer, making your own yoghurt, butter and cheese is fun. It’s an age-old tradition – neither difficult nor complicated, and very rewarding. No room for a goat, cow or sheep? No matter. Just buy a few litres of milk and get straight into the process of making your own cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt.

The book has separate chapters on the handling and care of a dairy goat, cow, and sheep, milking, and how to make cheese and other dairy products.

 
 

Preserving Meat

The ancient art of preserving meat developed pre-refrigeration and is particularly relevant today to people:

  • interested in sourcing their own meat and in knowing its provenance.
  • keen to have in their pantry products with the textures and flavours
    of the pre-factory-processing era.

Do try this at home:

  • sausage making
  • smoking fish and other meats
  • drying jerky and biltong
  • fermenting salami and vinegar sausage
 
 

The Bee Book

Honey has been an important food for people for thousands of years. Their desire for it led to the domestication of bees, through crafting artificial beehives and manipulating the bees' food sources. But quite apart from the harvests of honey and wax, the life-giving role of bees in pollinating many plants that people rely on for food, has made them the stuff of legend, mystery, worship and, nowadays, also controversy.

Although some people believe that our reliance on bees for the cultivation of food crops is much exaggerated (as some major staples like rice, wheat and even potatoes don't need them), there is no doubt that there are many crops whose very survival depends on bees. And that is why the recent, somewhat mysterious decline in bee populations around the world is so concerning to people who worry about the future of our natural environment. Anyone interested in growing food, who wants to find out what a beehive or two will give them, even on such a small scale as the suburban backyard or the terrace-house garden, will find this book an indispensable introduction to keeping bees.

   
 

Other interesting resources    
Nineteenth Century Yorkshire Recipes  
Interesting uses for the herb - Sage  

 

 

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