Monday, 4 July 2011

Clover Infusion

The wild red clover around the edges of our yard are ripening daily into bright pink and deep purple florets. Now is the time to harvest and preserve it! Preserving it starts with an infusion. Here's how it's done:

* Wash your clover: give the flowers a good spray and soak and then another spray. Our clover has not been sprayed with any chemicals, but this'll get rid of any bugs that might have made the flowers their home.

* Separate the flowers from the leaves and stems. It's not the end of the world if some leaves and stems make it into your infusion, but the flowers are the part you want for this. Waste not, want not: the leaves are great in salads and the whole plant is nice in a stir fry. 

* Put clover into a pot and pour hot water over it. Cover tightly and heat to just before boiling. Allow to sit for 12 hours. We did one batch on the stove and one in the sun. The stove batch turned out darker and sweeter, but we're hoping that if we build a solar cooker, we can do this without heating up the kitchen.

* Strain and refrigerate. This can be drunk as a tea or iced tea (it tastes like a mild, sweet, brown tea) or used to make jelly or wine. We fed the used clover flowers to the chicks, but not before tasting it ourselves. Though quite mushy after 12 hours in hot water, the flower retained a nice vegetable taste, and might be good thrown in a stir fry.

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