Monday, 15 August 2022

Your letters...

Your letters...

Sir, — I have always been inspired by this wonderful saying by Edmond of Abingdon, one of the first professors at Oxford in the 13th century: “Live as if you will die tomorrow, learn as if you will live forever.”

With this in mind, I have been reading up on the wonderful season ahead and learning about the best ways to prepare.

It is hard to believe that autumn is nearly here. The blessing is that there is a lot of fruit and seeds that are now ready for harvesting and, with the ever-increasing prices of food, it is a good time to fill our cupboards.

We need not look any further than the wonderful goodies available to pick locally, supplied by Mother Earth. The good news is that all the rain we have had has swelled the fruit, making it really juicy.

Below is one of the best autumnal recipes to keep us healthy in preparation for the typically cold, damp season ahead.

Hedgerow jelly. This is wonderful to have in your cupboard as it helps to get rid of coughs and colds because it is full of vitamin C.

Put a teaspoonful in hot water, stir until the jelly is dissolved and, when it has cooled a little, drink it. The jelly is also delicious on toast.


Gather rose hips, blackberries, wild plums, damsons, elderberries (stalks removed) and crab or ordinary apples.

Chop up apples, leaving the skins on as they provide the pectin to help the jelly set. Add some ginger and cloves.

Place it all in a saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft and mushy.

Allow to cool for a little while, then pour into a sieve and allow the juice to drip through into a bowl.

Measure the juice and for one pint (½ litre) add 1lb (450 grams) of sugar. Bring to the boil then simmer. Test that it is ready to set by putting a little of the jelly on a cold saucer and if a skin forms it is ready to be poured into hot jars. I always put a cold spoon in the jar to prevent it cracking. Allow to cool and then cover.

Stinging nettles. Their seeds have great healing power as they have huge amounts of minerals in them. There is an abundance of them right now and they are ready for harvesting.

Using rubber gloves and scissors, cut long stems of the nettles that are laden with tiny green seeds. Trim the leaves off. Place the stems upside-down in a paper bag, Tie the bag up and hang in a warm dry place (I use my airing cupboard).

Leave for two or three weeks to dry. When dried and still in the bag, give the seeds a good shake which will help them fall off.

To remove the rest of the seeds, measure out some baking paper and place some of the stems on half of the paper. Fold over the other half to completely cover the stems, then rub your hands back and forth over the paper to release the rest of the seeds.

Tip the seeds into a bowl and repeat the process until you have rubbed off the seeds, then put them in a jar and cover. Sparingly sprinkle them on you porridge or cereal. Check out Whispering Earth for the details of the full benefits.

Melons. There is an abundance of melons right now. They are so good for you that renowned medical medium Anthony Williams describes them as “Mother’s Milk” in his book Life-Changing Foods. They are incredibly healing and are best eaten alone and not mixed with other fruits. It is recommended that you eat melon as your first meal of the day.

Written with love, the greatest energy. — Yours faithfully,

Val Stoner

Wyndale Close, Henley

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