Tuesday, August 10, 2010

there are capers and there are poor man's capers

i think the caper bush is such a beauty. the leaves are solid and round, with a dark green sheen. the tutu-like flowers are white with lavender colored stamens. the buds of the caper bush are what is used in capers. the buds are picked when young and then pickled in brine to make those delicious yummy capers that we put in our pastas and salads, etc... if the buds are let to flower and fruit the fruit is the caper berry and can also be pickled, used in jams and curries.
BUT news to me was that nasturtiums have been called "poor man's capers" as you can pickle the young green seed pods to make a similar tasting tart treat! fascinating i say! nasturtiums are a wonderful plant for a garden, they grow fast and easily and the colorful flowers are edible and make a great addition to salads or garnishes on deserts. The leaves are beautiful and design-worthy in arrangements.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Ok, so I know I just said that Amaranth was my favorite plant, but now it's Elderberry. With medicinal, edible, and dye properties it is a winner!

here are some images from a recent dye experiment. this was with the leftover berries from my sister's Elderberry Cordial.

I put about 2 cups of elderberry mush with water and brought to a boil. I then added a few pieces of handwoven nettle fabric and some silk-wool scraps. I boiled for 1 hour solid. Then, I turned off the heat, covered and let sit over night. In the morning I removed my fabric, rinsed and enjoyed the gorgeous wine-color!!

The slight difference between the elderberry dyed nettle (left) and natural (right)
I loved this two tone effect on the wool silk!