Spiced Green Tomato Chutney For Strong Muscles & Cancer Prevention

Spiced Green Tomato Chutney For Strong Muscles & Cancer Prevention

This tasty recipe for spiced green tomato chutney is not only delicious, it is a great way to use up all those tomatoes which will by now have little to no chance of ripening. Often overlooked simply as unripe and even poisonous, green tomatoes have tangible health benefits all of their own.
Recent research from the University of Iowa has shown that green tomatoes are rich in a substance that is broken down by the body into ‘tomatidine’. This incredible compound has been shown to not only increase the healthy growth, strength and stamina of muscle tissue but also slows the rate of muscle atrophy (break down) that occurs naturally during the ageing process, through lack of exercise and injury and during certain disease processes such as cancer. This research was carried out on mice. The researchers also noticed that the mice gained no extra weight whilst on the green tomato diet and cholesterol levels were lower. Green tomatoes also contain substances that have been shown to inhibit the growth of breast, colon (bowel), liver and stomach cancers. Native South Americans have been using green tomatoes for centuries against tonsillitis, sore throats, thrush, ringworm and corns (externally).

Now that the green tomato has your full attention, here is the recipe (based on a Nigel Slater recipe but without the sultanas). This makes enough for about 3 normal jam jars. Dont forget, chutney gets better and better over time as the acidity mellows and the flavours meld together. Most authorities say its ‘ready’ after about 3 months. We couldn’t wait that long, opening a jar after a week or so and finishing it within days.

900g of green tomatoes (washed and stalks removed). I added a few red and yellows in there too.

350g of white or red onions

250g sugar

1 tsp seasalt

Approx 1tsp chilli flakes or a whole fresh chilli

2 tsp mustard seeds (you could also experiment with other aromatic seeds)

300ml white wine vinegar

chopped tomatoes

Chop the tomatoes and onions into smallish pieces (depending on whether you want a chunky or fine chutney) and add to the pan with all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil then simmer without a lid for as long as it takes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking or burning. Mine was ready after 50 minutes or so. You want it thick with no visible fluid as it won’t set like a jam or jelly. When you drag a spoon through it, it should close over slowly. Spoon into sterilised jars, label and store in a cool dark place ready for around Christmas if you can wait that long!

cooking tomatoes tomato chutmey

Medicinal & Healing Hedgerow Jelly

Medicinal & Healing Hedgerow Jelly

   hedgerowjam            hedgerow herbs01

After getting into making jams, jellies and chutneys over the last few years, I have started to experiment a little by adding some medicinal ingredients to the recipes. This way eating your jam or jelly on toast, in a sandwich, over ice cream and desserts or just off the spoon can benefit your health too.

This recipe uses common fruits and berries from a British hedgerow, all of which are good nutrition and medicine in themselves, and with the addition of a few extras can be turned into really useful anti-viral medicines. This one tastes a bit like the old-fashioned ‘cherry drop’ sweets with a deep and fruity base. It will contain flavanoids for heart and blood vessel health, vitamins, minerals and a host of other nutrients including anti-viral compounds (in the elderberry, star anise and liquorice) and other immune enhancing substances and also be soothing to the chest and throat.

Ingredients I used are *freshly picked hawthorn berries, elderberries, rosehips, blackberries and crap apples (as seen above from left to right).  I also added some star anise (around 4-5 whole stars), liquorice root (about a quarter of a teaspoon of chopped dried root) and an inch or two of a cinnamon stick. Begin by washing all the fruit thoroughly and discarding any that are damaged, mouldy etc. Weigh your fruit and use between half or the same weight of good quality sugar (I always use as little as I can get away with!). I also added a bit of water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and sticking.

After bringing to the boil and simmering, I mashed the rosehips with the back of a wooden spoon as they are quite hard and take a long while to break open When it had all broken down quite nicely, I strained the whole lot and put it back on the heat to simmer and reduce. The hawthorn berries and crab apples have quite a lot of pectin so I didn’t need to add any extra apple pectin. You could leave the fruit whole and in the jam but you will have to open the rosehips and scrape out all the little hairs before adding to the mix as these can be very irritating to the throat. You would also have to squeeze out the hawthorn pips which are quite sizeable, very hard and inedible.

After a while you will have a tasty, dark coloured brew ready for bottling up when you are confident it has reached setting point (when it wrinkles up slight after dropping onto a cold plate). Label the sterilised jars and store for use all through the winter.

Don’t forget to take an extra spoonful when you feel the first signs of a cold, flu, sore throat or swollen glands! Put a heaped tablespoon in a mug and add hot water and a squeeze of fresh lemon, some grated ginger, a pinch of chilli, anything you like to make this even more medicinal and powerful.

*I used fresh hedgerow ingredients but you could just as easily use dried ones. We sell organic hawthorn berries, elderberries, and rosehips in our shop at the main Wild Pharma website.

If you do try out the recipe, we would love to know what you think of it!

Tips for making better poultices

Tips for making better poultices

 

Poultices are one of the easiest and most effective ways to get herbs working fast on the body. Poultices are herbal applications that use the actual plant material itself. They can be used to promote the healing of wounds, to help kill infection, to cover and protect whilst healing takes place, to speed up healing, to relieve pain, to draw out poisons or foreign objects, to disperse lumps and swellings, to reduce inflammation, to warm something up or cool something down and are a great way to treat boils, nasty spots, abscess, cysts, lumps and the like.

The general principles are to allow the herb maximum contact with the skin and to keep the poultice wet/juicy if possible. Drawing poultices can be allowed to dry out. If using a poultice on a wound/graze/burn etc, be sure to add some agent that will kill infection, such as an essential oil like lavender or some golden seal powder or tincture. If applying a poultice to any area of open skin, make sure the wound has been thoroughly cleaned before adding the poultice.

*Even though they are applied to the skin externally, some of the herbs active constituents will still be absorbed into the blood stream and exert their effects on the body so choose your ingredients wisely. That goes for any other ingredient such as oil, beeswax etc. A very wise woman once said to me “if it goes on your skin, it should be safe enough to eat”.

Methods

*Apply the fresh herb/s directly to the area. Mash (or chew in the mouth if out in the field) the herbs a little to make them juicy and release their goodness. Lightly wrap with a bandage or similar to hold in place.

*Use dried herbs soaked in a little boiling water and apply the wet herbs. Fix in place with a light bandage or similar.

*Make a paste from powdered herbs using either oil, vinegar or water to bind the herbs into a thick paste. Spread over the area and leave as is or cover lightly with a bandage or similar.

*You can apply a hot water bottle over the poultice to increase heat and therefore blood circulation and speed up healing processes.

*Rub a little olive oil over the area before applying the poultice to prevent sticking when the poultice dries out.

*Sometimes a poultice is applied on top of a piece of light gauze or fabric to stop the herbs coming into direct contact with the skin.

Useful herbs and ingredients.

*Herbs to thicken a poultice mix include slippery elm powder, clay, charcoal and marshmallow powder.

*To make a slimy soothing poultice add irish moss, slippery elm, comfrey root or marshmallow root powders.

*Herbs that draw out and disperse include marshmallow root, comfrey root, chickweed, slippery elm, plantain leaf and clay.

*Herbs that help to clean the bloodstream of poisons include plantain leaf, charcoal, goldenseal, burdock root and leaf and echinacea root powder.

*Add a few drops of a specific tincture or essential oil to the poultice mix for particular benefits (e.g goldenseal tincture or lavender essential oil for antiseptisic properties, cayenne tincture for blood circulation).

How often to use or replace?

*Drawing poultices should be checked every few hours to see if poisons are exuding. If they are, wash off the poultice and replace with a fresh one.

*As a general rule, poultices should be replaced every few hours with fresh applications.

*Poultices become more ‘drawing’ as they dry out.

*Some poultices when applied to wounds or burns for example may prove very difficult to remove and replace regularly. Sometimes herbs will begin to grow into the wound and become a part of it while healing takes place and removing a poultice at this point may open up the wound again.  I have seen this happen on burns and deeper wounds or grazes. Don’t be too alarmed if this happens and you really want to remove it. Either leave it until it grows off naturally (usually within a few days) or soak the poultice regularly to soften and make removal easier if you feel you have to check on progress.

*If the poultice dries on and is difficult to remove but you feel the herbs may have stopped working, you can re-wet the poultice using a strong tea of healing herbs, either the same herbs as in the poultice mix or different ones entirely.

 

Please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences of poultices in the comments section below. Happy Poulticing!