Most weekends my wife and I travel from bustling smokey Bucharest to spend the weekend with my mother in law or Mamia as we all call her. She lives in a moderate sized town called Urziceni and has a lovely garden that my two young daughters can run up and down whilst taunting the dog (Rex).
On this particular weekend, Mamia had been in Bucharest so she travelled with us to Urziceni and along the way, my wife asked if I could stop the car. It was a somewhat busy road but in Romania, the art of stopping anywhere seems to be allowed so I found an opportunity to slow down and stop. Mamia then jumped out the car and with my raising anxiety of cars speeding past she ran across the road. My wife then informed me she was picking Elderflowers! which I had always thought were something like tulips but actually, Elderflowers come from the Elderflower tree which is no small plant. I guess I should be embarrassed to be so ignorant!
This experience took me back to when i was a small boy in the UK and we used to visit an old lady in Canterbury town who we called auntie nan, I remember vividly she would give us elderflower pop which on occasion would explode in her cupboard. These were sweet memories but I thought let’s check out the health properties of elderflowers and i was amazed, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic – used for colds and flu and potentially ant cancer to mention just a few – Elderflower Health Benefits
Mamia also collected this day the following:-
Purple Spinach well we all know spinach is good for us but we are also aware that colour in vegetables are very beneficial for antioxidants and nutrients – check out purple spinach health benefits here
She also picked Acacia flowers known for immune support, treating skin problems, weight loss, helping sore throats and more
Dock leaves which as a boy we used to use to alleviate stinging nettle rash has a fantastic list of nutrients and health benefits here
Which of course brought us onto the subject of stinging nettles which in Romania they turn it into a kind of spinach dish and I was already aware of nettle soup – but the list of health benefits of this wild plant are also impressive here
WOW – all this from stopping the car on a busy road, alongside a forest and going foraging, in fact, the dock leaves we picked from the garden behind the house with the nettles. We mostly think of these plants as weeds or pretty flowers in the trees – how amazing!! I think in Romania there is a big diversity of plant life but I’m pretty certain all that we picked that day were easily available in my local woods in the UK. It depends on what part of the world you are from but I’d recommend everyone explores the potential for wild plants in their diets – as they are organic, fresh, haven’t been modified by humans and are generally packed with valuable nutrients as I have just found..
That day we enjoyed dock leaf soap which was somewhat sour as this is a traditional Romanian borsch but very tasty all the same, which the kids loved as well and I’m looking forward to my Elderflower pop next week. 🙂