I live in the UK and I hail from a long-lived family (both sides have a lot of ‘three score years and ten’ achievers). Add to that, my husband’s family. While some have died relatively young, back in the 20th Century, 50+ years was still a ‘fair age’, and though tragic, it happened quite often. His parents are both in their 90s and so, they’ve got their three score years and ten and then some.
Back in the early part of the 20th Century, things were so much different to today’s fast-paced life. People grew and raised their food, made clothes and medicines from scratch and used tried and tested methods and recipes passed down from mother to daughter ad infinitum.
I’m so pleased to see more and more people going back to those planet-friendly methods when plastic packaging hadn’t been invented and a piece of waxed cloth covering a cold pie or plate of cakes was the norm.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be without my fridge, freezer or washing machine and the kettle is a boon (oh and I adore my induction hob which boils water as fast as the kettle).
Yes, I do have one.
I have never been one for taking medicine or tablets unless I absolutely have to (and don’t get me started on the problems arising from antibacterial hand wash). I prefer common sense remedies to off the shelf ones. Orange juice and lots of water for a hangover, aloe gel straight from the plant for minor burns, and other old wives’ remedies. No amount of aloe or water will cure a broken wrist of course and so doctors and hospitals are still a necessity, but I do think people run to the emergency room too quickly these days, putting unnecessary strain on our National Health System.
Back to The Point
If I have a cold, I take a cold-remedy which was passed from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law in this instance.
I first encountered this remedy when I started seeing my husband on a regular basis or ‘started courting’ as was the term back then.
Anyone in the immediate family with a cold, cough, sneezes, flu or just felt under the weather would expect to be served up this recipe. It took a while to persuade me, but since I tried it, I’ve been a firm believer in its healing powers. It took a long time to persuade my mother-in-law to give me this recipe.
Blackberry vinegar with honey and hot water.
Yes, it’s as simple and as complicated as that.
How to Make The Cold Remedy
Put the kettle on to boil.
Leave the kettle to cool slightly (a few minutes should do it).
Grab the blackberry vinegar and honey from the pantry, take a teaspoon from the drawer and a cup from the cupboard.
One teaspoon of honey (I used Manuka Honey) in the cup, pour a little of the blackberry vinegar onto the honey and top up the cup with hot water from the kettle. Leaving the kettle to cool a little serves two purposes. It means you can sip the ‘tea’ right away and the healing properties of the blackberry vinegar and the honey aren’t destroyed by boiling water.
Sip the tea whilst inhaling the sharp scents of the vinegar.
This recipe relieves cold and flu symptoms, helps clear congested nose, sinuses and chest and gives comfort because to enjoy this drink properly, you should be sitting down, relaxing (getting over the cold). This recipe works best if someone else makes the drink for you and hands it to you with the words: “Don’t worry about the housework, you rest, I’ll do it.”
How to make the Blackberry Vinegar:
Sugar (brown works as well as white)
Jars or bottles (and you’ll need a funnel if you use bottles)
Muslin or fine, clean cloth (optional)
Pick your soft fruits – blackberries, raspberries, tayberries, loganberries all work well. I’m not so sure about strawberries, I’ve never tried them in this recipe.
Wash the fruit and leave to soak in a weak solution of cold water and white vinegar for an hour or so. The solution protects the fruit from mould and gets rid of any grubs and insects that may still be clinging on.
Weigh the fruit and take notice of the weight.
Take the large bowl and put the fruit into it.
Weigh your sugar and use pound for pound fruit to sugar.
Cover the fruit with the sugar.
Pour vinegar over the fruit and sugar, just covering it. Make sure none of the fruit is above the vinegar.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and set aside (or put in the fridge). Stir the mixture every day until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Strain the mixture through the fine cloth and suspend the cloth over the bowl to catch all the liquid. If you’re impatient, squeeze the cloth and either discard the fruit or use it to make a preserve (like jam).
Decant your precious liquid into the clean jars or bottles and store in a cool, dry place, away from light.
The recipe will last for years and years and it gets better with age, thickening to a rich syrup.
I use this recipe for foraged fruits, for fruits grown in my back yard and for fruits I froze for a specific recipe and forgot about.
The blackberry vinegar can also be used on desserts as a compote (ice cream or sweet pancakes) or as an iced tea (once you get used to the acquired taste, it really is refreshing and delicious).
This is an entry into the current challenge by @naturalmedicine.
Apologies for not getting this central, I'll work it out... probably