I found Gorse has many uses. There are so many different ways to eat and drink gorse but it may also support the emotions.
Foraging for Gorse
I’m seeing beautiful gorse all over the place at the moment. Picking the flowers is best in early springtime but they flower from late autumn until early summer.
I forage for gorse flowers and buds because they are so versatile. My favourite spot to pick the gorse is by a nearby railway line, but I have also found it growing by paths near a river.
They like sunny areas with sandy soil and can also be found on wasteland, commons and heathland.
I’m very careful when picking these flowers because their leaves are extremely sharp and pointed. I do say “ow” quite a lot while picking them even though I wear my gardening gloves. Slow and careful is the best way I have found to forage for these beauties.
If your new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners Post;”
I read about many different ways to eat gorse on the internet. The easiest option I tried was washing the flower heads and sprinkling them onto a salad.
The flowers made the salad look amazingly attractive and I found them to have a slightly coconutty taste.
I also added my recently prepared ramsons sauce and this made my salad a foragers’s delight. Take a look at my ramsons post if you haven’t already;
I read that the gorse buds could be pickled and eaten like capers. I was attracted to this idea because I love a few pickles on my salads because they give them a zing.
Firstly I washed the gorse buds to ensure that I removed any bugs that may be lurking.
Next I needed to decide what other vegetables I was going to use in my pickle.
The vegetables I chose to go with the gorse buds were;
- yellow pepper
I chopped and sliced enough of these to fill two small jars along with the gorse buds.
The spices I chose to include were;
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- a centimetre of fresh ginger sliced
I chose turmeric because I recently bought a jar of mixed pickles infused in turmeric and they tasted amazing. When I looked for them again I couldn’t find them therefore this was a good opportunity to make my own.
Turmeric is such an amazing spice.
Some of the suggestions for turmeric include support for inflammation, pain and poor digestion. As a result I regularly put a bit of turmeric in my casseroles because of my damaged digestive system.
Also I use a teaspoonful of turmeric in a cup of hot almond milk when I have an irritating cough that won’t go away. I found that drinking this gives me some relief.
If you decide to use turmeric as support which may help your body to heal please be aware of the following;
- It can occasionally cause skin rashes
- Avoid sunlight because it may cause over-sensitivity
Filling the jars
- I split the turmeric, black pepper and sliced ginger equally into the bottom of both jars.
- Dividing the vegetables into the two jars I packed them in tightly. I left a couple of centimetres of space at the top of the jars.
Making pickling brine
I poured the following into a aluminium free saucepan;
- 3/4 cup of bottled water
- 3/4 cup of cider vinegar
- 1 dessertspoonful of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of caster sugar (more sugar can be added for a sweeter taste or it can be omitted completely.
Bringing the mixture to a boil I stirred it with a wooden spoon until the salt and sugar had dissolved.
Then I poured the brine over the vegetables just covering them.
I thank www.thekitchen.com for their “How To Quick Pickle Any Vegetable” which I used as a basis for my pickled gorse bud recipe;
I particularly liked the advice to tap the jars after covering the vegetables in brine. Its amazing how much more of the brine could be added when this tapping removed the air bubbles.
I found it hard to guess the amount of brine that I would need to fill my two jars. Luckily I wasn’t far off and only had a tiny bit left that I couldn’t fit in. With time and experience I’m sure I will gage the correct amount to use.
I screwed the tops on my jars and left them on the side to cool. When they had cooled I gave them a good shake to mix in the spices.
Then I put them in the refrigerator. I read to refrigerate them for a minimum of two days but the longer they are left the better.
They need to be eaten within two months but I cannot see any problem at all with being able to do that!
Tasting the pickles
Two days later I was itching to try them. Firstly I gave the jar a gentle shake and opened it to be hit with an amazing smell. I love the taste too and if feels great to have made my first pickle. I plan to do this again and try some different combinations.
I also read many different ways that gorse can be used for drinking such as making liquors and wine. Some people use the liquor to pour over ice cream.
I decided to make a gorse cordial / syrup. I only picked a handful of gorse flowers and therefore only made a small amount to try.
Here are the ingredients and amounts I used which just need to be multiplied to make more;
- A handful of gorse flowers
- 120ml of cold water
- 50g of caster sugar
- The juice of half a lemon (orange can also be added or switched for the lemon)
I brought the water to a boil in a aluminium free saucepan and then added the sugar. I stirred the sugar until it had dissolved for 5-10 minutes.
Removing the pan from the heat I added the gorse flowers and lemon juice. Giving the mixture a good stir I poured it into a Pyrex bowl which I covered with cling film.
When the syrup had cooled I put the bowl into the fridge and left it overnight.
The next morning I strained the liquid into a bottle using a conical funnel and cheesecloth. I love my cheesecloth that I bought. Its lasting ages and was a really good price;
I use the syrup like a squash and pour a little into a glass adding bottled water. Its purely down to personal taste how strong you like it. Drinking the cordial is very refreshing.
I found it exciting to read that gorse flowers are also a Bach Remedy.
Bach flower remedies are preparations made from flowers and used as complementary medicine. I have read that they may balance the emotions and allow peace and happiness to return so that a sufferer’s body is free to heal itself.
Gorse Bach flower remedy is said to support those who suffer feelings of hopelessness and despair. “Gorse types” are also said to often have chronic complaints and lose all hope of improving. The essence is said to bring acceptance, faith and hope therefore enabling a “gorse type” to see the bright side of life.
I’m thinking about preparing my own gorse flower essence but its best done by the sun method. Therefore I may have to wait a while. I feel that it will be difficult to prepare at this time of the year because I need a full three hours of non-stop sunshine.
If I can’t wait then I may try the boiling method instead.
Look out for future posts to show how I do this.
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