Fabulous Fungi & Bountiful Berries
We are at a transitional time of the year with the shift of summer to autumn. The days are becoming colder and shorter as the natural world around us is gearing up for the next seasonal cycle. And like the natural world around us, we can be preparing for the cold months ahead by preserving fresh herbs, berries and fruit for winter and collecting seeds for spring.
Fungi are producing their fruiting bodies, mushrooms, in order to reproduce by releasing spores. Having been blessed with rain following a very dry summer, it is now peak time for mushrooms, such as boletes which have had a good season this year. The rains have also brought about a 'second spring' seeing fresh growth of herbs such as nettles which I've been collecting and drying for my winter herbal teas.
Plants are also finalising seed production which are encased in a fruit, berry or dried flower. Some will self-seed now and others in the springtime enabling food for pollinators throughout the season. It is a good idea to keep safe some seeds by collecting and storing in envelopes ready to sow in gardens and green spaces in spring.
Stock can be taken from fruit trees such as apples which can be stored in sheds wrapped in newspaper which will keep them fresh until March. Alternatively, make preserves such as pickling crab apples in sugar and apple cider vinegar or making a quince membrillo.
The hedgerows are full of berries, such as sloes, rosehips, hawthorns and elderberries which provide a range of health benefits and can be made into a cordial or a syrup, infused in alcohol for a tincture,or dried for tea.
Since the agricultural revolution we have made a shift from a diverse diet towards eating a very select proportion of food available. We have lost so much ancestral knowledge of their medicinal benefits. Nature has endowed each herb and mushroom with a spectrum of active components which work together to produce healing effects that cannot be replicated from single components used in modern medicine which often come with side effects. Natural remedies and tinctures are the origins of medicine and the most widely practised worldwide. It's important to incorporate a range of herbs and mushrooms into your diet to ensure care of your body now and the future.
Autumn is a fantastic time to be grateful for the year's bountiful harvest and watch as the natural world returns nutrients to the soil in preparation for the new year to come. Connect with the season by noticing which herbs, berries, flowers and mushrooms are growing nearby and discover how they can benefit your health.
Connect and learn more about herbalism and foraging by following me on instagram @iza.herbalremedies.
Upcoming Vara Wellbeing Talk with Iza:
Tuesday 18th October 8pm: Herbal Teas and Remedies with Q & A