Filed under: Drinks, Guerilla Gardening, spring seasonal food | Tags: drink, rhubarb, spruce tip, sweet cicely
Guess what? I’ve been busy. That’s why there has been no movements in this virtual space for a while. Spring is the time to start new gardens, and for a person or organization promoting urban food production and gardening it is crazy busy. But now there are several new guerilla gardens and many new urban gardeners in Helsinki, gardening in places you never thought a carrot could grow in. But that’s not my doing, but an effort of many people.
And, there is a website on urban farming! Kaupunkiviljely.fi it is called. I’ve been one of the people making it. Unfortunately so far all the texts are in Finnish, but maybe later there will be something in English too. But there are many pictures of all our projects, gardening tips for urban spaces and a blog, which you should order if you are interested in urban gardening, in Finnish.
And me? I’m a wreck. Now, I’ve been cleaning my house for two days, and slept for fourteen hours, and finally I’m starting to come to my senses again. It’s not easy to be making a movement, at least for me. Urban gardening is a lovely activism: there are no contradictions, no conficts, and even the authorities are mostly in fave of a group of people turning every unused plot into a garden. We are like pandas, cute and no threat to anybody. And a garden is easily removed when no longer liked. It is very rewarding to be part of a movement that is really for everyone: the grandmothers can join, as well as activists, and everyone will love you for what you do.
I’ve always been a girl for direct action: no demonstrations or signing petitions for me, but actual deeds that turn the world into a better place. But of course, there is not that much that you can do with a shovel when it is about turning a whole city into more garden – then the work is done by email, phone and facebook instead of a garden – hoe. And that is for a person like me very difficult, and takes up a lot of resources. And I do have to battle a lot of inner demons that tell me constantly that I have no right to do the things I’m doing, and especially not be successful with my actions. Previously, I was never aware of such monsters existing in my mind! So, power is a new trip for me, and not an easy one. I feel like a dentist: having to yield nasty tools in order to accomplish something for a greater purpose.
Burnout or not, who cares? Now I can have a peaceful moment, sit by the open window, smell woodsmoke and grass clippings, and hear the birds chirping in hedge. Besides, I dare say: Helsinki is changed city because of us, the Dodo Urban Farmers!
Rhubarb and Spruce Tip Drink
There will be some recipes at the kaupunkiviljely.fi – website, with the emphasis on seasonal food. This is the first, for spring or early summer. At least in Southern Finland the spruce tips are already past their prime, and have turned to actual needles, but this recipe could be made with rhubarb only as well. Sweet cicely or garden myrrh is an almost forgotten, but really nice, aniseed – tasting perennial herb that thrives in many gardens. I’m a bit embarrassed to post a recipe which is definetely no more seasonal, but I hope my readers will forgive! There is a good reason for it!
2 l spruce tips
2 l rhubarb stalks
some leaves of sweet cicely
0,5 kg sugar
25 g citric acid (works as preservative)
4 l water
Chop the rhubarb and rinse the spruce tips, and boil them with the water and the sweet cicely leaves for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the citric acid, and let the drink cool down overnight. Following day, add the sugar and citric acid, and bring to boil again. When the drink has cooled, you can pour it into bottles that should be kept refrigerated. The drink keeps two weeks.
Spruce tips should be harvested in Finland during May or early June, when they are still light green and tender. Never heard of spruce tips? They are the year – growths of spruce trees that appear in the spring. Later in the summer they turn into regular needles. Traditionally the spruce tips have thought to have medicinal properties, and used in cough – potions. Their taste is fresh and tangy, and in my opinion resembles somehow eucalyptus.
This is an extremely simple drink I made on hot day. Again I found some use for the mints that try to overtake my yard..
1/4 of big watermelon
1 handful of spearmint leaves
1 tbsp freshly squeesed lemon juice
1 tsp muscovado sugar
I blended it with a handheld mixer and served it with ice cubes. This yielded about 7 dl, just enough for me and my guest.