Special Sub-Topic: British Flowers: Historical Culinary Uses
|The flowers of the red variety of this plant family were made into a potent wine.|
Clover. They were also used to formulate a syrup to relieve whooping cough.
|What pink flower (multiple flowers are carried on the stem in a spike formation), was given as a reviving drink to nursing mothers in the 17th Century?|
Sainfoin. Culpeper particularly recommended the drink, as Sainfoin was said to increase the milk yield in cattle that had eaten it! The name Sainfoin comes from the French, sain meaning 'wholesome' and foin meaning 'hay'.
|The tubers of which member of the pea family were used since the Middle Ages as a subsistance crop (they are said to taste similar to chestnuts)?|
Bitter Vetch. Despite its rather offputting name, the tuber of this distant relative of the Sweet Pea was also used to flavour whisky.
|What plant was used in the 16th Century to mask unpleasant smells and was said to be a particular favourite of Elizabeth I, who had them strewn on the floor as a fragrant carpet?|
Meadowsweet. The modern name does not in fact relate to the smell of the flowers, but actually stems from an older common name 'Mede-sweete', which describes the plant's earlier use as a flavouring for mead.
|The roots of Silverweed were an important crop plant in Britain before the introduction of potatoes, and were eaten raw, boiled and baked: True or False?|
T. The roots were also ground to make bread and porridge. The taste of Silverweed roots is similar to the taste of turnip.
|This berry producing shrub was called Hindberry until the 16th Century.|
Raspberry. The origin of the name Raspberry is disputed. Hindberry however is said to have stemmed from the fact that it was (and presumably still is!) eaten by deer.
|This member of the rose family has multiple yellow flowers arranged in a spike formation on the stem and can be used to brew a stimulating alternative to tea.|
Agrimony. Agrimony was one of the most useful plants available to our ancestors being used as a yellow dye, a charm to ward off evil spirits and a cure for (amongst other things) snake-bite, poor sight, loss of memory and liver complaints.
|The sour tasting leaves of this plant were a great favourite of Henry VIII and are still often served in a green sauce with fish.|
Sorrel. The leaves may in addition, be eaten plain boiled and the juice of the crushed plant is used in some parts to curdle milk.
|This member of the primrose family is used to make wine.|
Cowslip. The first Cowslip is said to have grown on the spot where St Peter dropped the keys to Heaven. The nodding flowers are supposed to resemble the Saint's bunch of keys and in fact Bunch of Keys is an alternative name for the flower in some parts of the Country.
|The stems of Ground Ivy were used to introduce a nutty flavour to bread in the 14th Century: True or False?|
F. The leaves of Ground Ivy were in fact used in ale production to clarify the fermenting beer. Their use ceased in the 16th Century after the introduction of Hops.
|This member of the bedstraw family is also a relative of coffee and quinine.|
Goosegrass. Goosegrass is also, not surprisingly a favourite food of geese! Humans have used it as amongst other things, a slimming aid (when mixed in a particular combination with other plants).
|This daisy like flower is dried in the late summer and autumn and brewed to make chamomile tea.|
Scented Mayweed. An alternative name for the Scented Mayweed is Wild Chamomile.
|This yellow member of the daisy family was used particularly to flavour egg dishes.|
Tansy. The leaves are strongly aromatic but are considered too spicy for the modern palate and so have fallen out of favour.
|The root of the Red Velarian can be made into a tasty soup: True or False?|
T. In addition, the young leaves can be used in salads, although they should be boiled first to reduce their bitterness.
|Which of the following plants have been used to create a food oil?|
Pale Flax. Pale Flax seeds are also edible and often available in health stores now. It should be noted that Fairy Flax is actually poisonous so please don't try using it in your stir fry!
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