It's the time of year when we like to scour the parks for local delicacies.

As counter-intuitive as this might sound, there are a number of weeds that have great health benefits and are absolutely free. They are also beneficial for local wildlife, accessible and delicious!


Here is a list of five plants that you may find in your local parks and further afield. Foraging is sustainable as long as you share with the local wildlife, so don't over pick! Also, be sure to pick from the tops of the plants, make sure you wash them in cold water and be mindful that verdant clusters can make a popular spot for dogs' toilet habits. Most importantly, make sure you have properly identified the plant before ingesting it, as some plants are poisonous. If you are not sure, avoid eating it. There are very useful in-depth descriptions online of the features you should be looking out for, plus similar less pleasant greens they could be mistaken for! Books are also a great resource, we like Thrifty Forager, by Alys Fowler.


  1. The lowly Stinging Nettle- Yes, nettles are edible and they come packed with vitamins and minerals. Though we advise using gloves when picking, once cooked, they become stingless. The nettle isn’t the most popular of plants, but they are surprisingly versatile in the kitchen. This edible green is full of iron, calcium, magnesium and nitrogen which makes it extremely nutritious for other plants in composting as well as for your health. So it is wonderful for those who suffer from iron deficiencies without having to splash out on costly salad leaves. Blitz in soups, dry for teas and throw into your favourite dishes as a substitute for spinach. You can also create the most amazing vegan nettle cake!

  2. Three-cornered leek- This wild leek has a surprisingly garlicky/oniony taste to it and can be eaten both raw or cooked. The benefits are still widely unknown however like other alliums, it is believed to be beneficial for blood cholesterol. We like to use them like chives in sauces, risottos, pasta or in salads.

  3. Cleavers- also widely known as ‘Sticky Willies’ this green will attach itself to everything and anything. Once picked, the plant's 'bristles' soften and it can rival any vegetable. You can also infuse it in an ice-cold drink. The seeds can be ground to make what is called ‘cleavers coffee‘. The plant has diuretic properties and therefore is known as a cleansing plant. We recommend picking the younger leaves, as the older ones can become bitter.

  4. Ribwort plantain- This is an ancient medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties which makes it a perfect remedy for coughs and sore throats. The leaves are too bitter to eat direct but taste great brewed in tea or added to veggie stocks.

  5. Dandelion- Every part of a dandelion can be eaten, from the roots to the flower (the fluffy seeds being the exception!). Dandelion leaves provide a substantial amount of minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium and are an excellent addition to salads. Again, pick the younger leaves as they are less bitter. Dandelion roots can be cut up and dried to make tea or a coffee substitute, and similar to root vegetables, you can also eat it whole! The dandelion is full of antioxidants and may help fight inflammation. Some research indicates that the humble dandelion can also boost the immune system! One of our favourite ways to use dandelions is to pick off the flower heads and infuse the petals in sugar and water on the hob to make dandelion honey which has a lovely taste to it, similar to bee's honey.

sources/ read more:

https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/10-uses-for-nettles/

https://www.eatweeds.co.uk/three-cornered-leek-allium-triquetrum

https://www.eatweeds.co.uk/cleavers-galium-aparine

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dandelion-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_12

http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/p/plantago-lanceolata=ribwort-plantain.php



10 views0 comments

In the weeks leading to the brilliant fashion revolution week, we wanted to celebrate some of the most beautiful and ingenious mending inspiration with you.

Here is a compilation of non-discrete clothes mending techniques drawn from Pinterest and from friends of Sunny Jar to guide your creative process in caring for your clothing.

Perhaps you may find a new favourite mending technique!

Just click on the pictures to learn more.


Appliqués and Patches

A fantastic way to reimagine old worn clothing is to fashion your own patch or to create an applique masterpiece, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity, here is some inspiration to get you started:

Molas-inspired mending techniques and Reverse Applique

Drawing inspiration from the Molas of Central America, this mending technique can give you the confidence to cut away at your clothing to create a wearable masterpiece. Molas often described as "reverse applique" are intricately patterned textiles produced and worn by the Kuna women of central America. Layers of fabric are displayed under often very beautifully shaped incisions in the cloth. It's amazing what you can do with just a needle, thread and a pair of scissors. The work of British one-man clothes mending company Darn and dusted revels in the beauty of simplicity and wonderfully encapsulates a wabi-sabi ideology. Alternatively, you could draw inspiration from the Kuna women creating beautiful motifs.

Darning

Weaving the damaged area with just a needle and thread is a simple and effective way to fill a hole with a bit of personality. It can simply involve using a needle and thread ,but you can also use left over fabric scraps scraps. Dont feel you are limited to the shape of the hole in your fabric either, get creative with some abstract shapes!

Sashiko

Sashiko is a form of Japanese embroidery, often a decorative running stitch created connecting two layers of fabric traditionally used to create added warmth to garments, sewing to create small pockets of warm air trapped in between the stitches. However, these days the traditional sashiko stitches are used as a contemporary mending technique. Take a few moments to browse around the web for sashiko embroidery and you will not be disappointed!

Other Embroidery-based techniques

Get to know your embroidery stitches. A unique embroidery design can elevate your clothes, adding personality and added flair to your garments.

Needle felt Mending

This involves the very cathartic art of stabbing wool into fabric and requires little to no experience to get started. Erica from honestlywtf recommends using cookie cutters to achieve a clean shape.

Eyelet mend

Sometimes it's helpful to celebrate in perfections! Stitch to outline the holes instead of hiding them. Why not try a screaming face or flower or sun. If you are feeling extra ambitious you could even try your hand at some Hardanger embroidery.


Happy mending!


The Sunny Jar Team x

4 views0 comments

Maud's Apple Cider Vinegar

This month, we want to extol one of our favourites, apple cider vinegar! Apple cider vinegar has many uses around the home, so it doesn't come as a surprise that it is a household-must for us at Sunny Jar HQ. We use it for cleaning, cooking and even in the shower, as a natural conditioner for our hair.


Did you know that you can even make your own? Making vinegar is cheap and easy, all that is needed is a little patience and experimentation. With three simple ingredients, you are well on your way to making vats worth in minutes! It's perfect for rescuing old wrinkly apples from going to waste and making the most of the peels and core, that often end up in the bin.


We haven't tried (yet!) but you can use other fruit scraps as well, such as pineapple.


We love this blog post on how to get the most out of your peel. If you have attended one of our workshops, you will be familiar with our delicious fruit peel teas, that we make by drying the peels in the oven.


Give apple cider vinegar a try with the recipe below! (Adapted from Zero Waste Chef and the Guardian).

Old wrinkly apples!

How to make apple cider vinegar


Step 1

Wash your apples.

Try to use organic apples as unfortunately a greater amount of chemicals is found on the peel of most supermarket apples. If not you can clean your apples with bicarbonate of soda solution. (1 tbsp per cup of water)


Step 2

Peel your apples, remove the core and set aside. Enjoy your apples however you want, you can make an apple crumble, freeze in small bits to use in smoothies or for later consumption.

Make sure to cut out any rotting parts and remove any broken seeds and add to the compost pile.


Step 3

Put your peels and cores into your sterilised* jar(s) until it is about three-quarters full. Fill the rest of the jar with water** and add in roughly a tablespoon of sugar. To help speed up the fermentation process you can add a couple of tbsp of raw vinegar with mother (the clear gelatinous disc that can be found at the bottom of the vinegar bottle) if you have any but is not necessary.


*We pour a freshly boiled kettle on top of the jars to sterilise them.

**The chlorine presents in tap water can kill some of the good bacteria needed for the fermentation, let your water rest of a few hours before using it to get rid of the chlorine.

Dont use the rotting parts of your apples (compost them!)

Step 4

Add a weight to the top of the peels to keep them submerged in the water, this prevents the apple from developing mould. Stirring it every once in a while has a similar effect (do not stir once the bubbles start to appear). The vinegar needs to be exposed to air so do not close the lid to your jar. You can cover it with a tea towel or light cloth secures with a elastic band to keep the fruit flies away.


Step 5

Just sit back and put your feet up! Allow it to sit, try not to move it too much once the bubbles start to appear (after a week). Over time, a gelatinous substance should start to form on the top called a 'vinegar mother' and this will introduce all the good bacteria into the vinegar.

It should start to smell like vinegar after around 2 weeks when the bubbling has subsided (a sign that the fermentation process has finished) which is when you know it is ready to be strained. Keep smelling and tasting it, until it's to your preference. Compost the spent scraps.

If you have chosen to opt-out of adding the sugar the fermentation process could take up to 3-4 months.


Step 6

The vinegar will keep for about a year and as it ages it should become more acidic. If you prefer your vinegar to have a tarter flavour you can leave it for longer.


According to the zero-waste chef, it is wise to open your jars regularly to avoid the pressure building up inside the jar at least once a month.


How Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar?


Jazz up your food

To achieve a fuller flavour in bland soups and sauces add a little ACV to taste. It is also a pro-biotic and therefore great for your gut health.


Fight against illness

You can gargle an apple cider vinegar solution to relieve sore throats.

Just add 1-2 teaspoons of ACV and salt to warm water gargle for 20 seconds 2-3 times a day. Click on the link to discover more ways you can use apple cider vinegar to aid sore throats


Cleaning

The anti-bacterial properties of ACV make it a good deodoriser and cleaning agent. You can make an all-purpose cleaning spray, by diluting ACV in water in a 1:2 ratio (ACV:water)


Haircare

Due to its acidity, ACV can naturally add shine to your hair by rebalancing the ph levels after washing. It can also help with product build-up, aid in detangling and relieve dandruff. To make an ACV rinse, simply combine 5 parts water to 1 part vinegar and leave for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.

Maud's homemade preserves

To make pickles

Apple cider vinegar has been used as an effective pickler for donkey's years, its acidity kills any bacteria that causes the food to rot.



There are many more have a look at this article to read more about the many ways you can use your apple cider vinegar.


This article was written with reference to:

Apple Scrap Vinegar - Zero-Waste Chef (zerowastechef.com)-

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/nov/07/how-to-make-apple-cider-vinegar





26 views0 comments