Food from our street

I love a good free meal as much as the next girl. I’ve eyed off the dandelions and nettles on my street for months now, but doubts about parasites and herbicides have left me a little timid. Even the wild garlic season, which had Leipzig smelling like a giant onion, passed me by unmarked by a pesto. You may recall, while in England last summer, Keren and I attempted that quintessential English summer drink, elderflower cordial. After returning and finding a local producer of delicious holunderblütensirup in Stuttgart I developed a love for the sweet delight. It seems to express, by its very taste, the essence of the northern hemisphere summer: subtle and delicate. For the girl who can’t join the rest of Germany in enjoying the warm evenings with a beer, it’s a near perfect substitute.

Happily for me, elderflowers grow somewhat like weeds in Germany, and Leipzig, it would seem, in particular. These dainty rosettes of sweet white flowers are everywhere. Having identified and located Zitronensäure (citric acid) I’ve been busily brewing my own this week. My bottles are proudly lined up along the kitchen counter, labelled and dated with important details; “Karl Liebknecht Strasse, May 27th”, “Clara Zetkin Park, May29th” and “Abandoned building lot in Lindenau, May30th”.  This triumph hasn’t come without sacrifice. An extremely painful encounter with a stinging nettle and serious histamine issues for Tony have been the high price of this liquid gold. But oh, the joy of a cool drink on a hot day.

Welcome, summer.


5 Responses to “Food from our street”

  1. 1 Jill June 3, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Tantalizing. Love the blogs. Love, Jill

  2. 2 Arthur June 3, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Hi Ally,
    There are many nettles in the kids vegie gardens at school. I have contemplated harvesting some but can’t seem to get over the notion that they are weeds. I first encountered them in my Grandad’s vegie garden as a young child. They were the enemy!
    Last weekend I dropped into the new community garden in Camden (located near the dairy you visited many times as a child). The nettles were in abundance there too.
    I think I’ll stick to growing my own traditional greens and doing my best to stop the “cretins” in my classes from whacking unsuspecting “mates” across the bare legs, arms (and even face in one recent incident) with the wretched things!!
    I hope the elderberries are still flowering in October!


  3. 3 Lil June 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

    This sounds lovely, Ally 🙂 Thanks for writing this up! I loved reading it. (I liked reading about your dad’s students too 🙂 )

  4. 4 Mirjam June 6, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I love “Holunderblüten”, too. When I was a little girl my auntie took me to the forest to collect the elderberries. She made a delicious juice out of it. Sofor me this still tastes like childhood…

  5. 5 Gerri Frederiksen June 8, 2011 at 6:56 am

    “Ciao” Ally,
    I haven’t checked you blogs for sometime and I was delighted to find not one, but two new entries!
    Keep up the blogging and wonderful photos.
    So exciting that baby no 2 is on it’s way. I can’t wait to be a grandmother in October, when Christian and Kristy’s baby is due!
    Love and hugs…Gerri..xx

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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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