One of the seven elements of the Green Village project is ‘Rural Food’. The four partners (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia) that work on this theme have all run interactive actions to investigate local and sustainable food. They also look at ‘wild food’, which is local and traditional. In the past, when times were hard, this wild food was an essential ‘free’ part of the diet of villagers. • Words Marine Duteil, Martin Clark • Photographs Marine Duteil
In 2012, we can re-visit wild food because it Is fresh, flavoursome, the activity of gathering it is good exercise and it really is for free. Of course we are also interested in sustainability and for some wild plants and fungi this is an issue but for the berries of this common tree, it isn’t. Cypriots use a huge variety of wild food and this first article tells the story of ‘ Mosfilo’ - a marmalade made from the berry of a small tree. • Family • Rosaceae
• Genus • Crataegus
• Species • azarolus
The latin word Crataegus from the Greek kratos means ‘hard’ and ‘strong’- it probably refers to the solid and dense wood, which was highly prized for its uses for instance in marquetery and walking sticks. It is a thorn species and in many countries they were considered to have magical properties for example in Ireland, it is considered very bad luck to cut them down. It is a bushy fully hardy perennial deciduous tree/shrub with white flowers in late Spring and mid Spring (called ‘May blossom’ in the UK). It grows well in semi-shade and direct sun, and prefers medium rainfall. The flowers are rosette shaped. It has high drought tolerance and average flood tolerance, so it can grow on thin stony soils. The fruit has can be used fresh or dried for later. In warm temperate areas the fruit develops more fruit sugars and has a fragrant sugary pulp with a slightly pleasant acid flavour. It has been used historically for medecines, tonics and remedies. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart stimulant. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.
• Way and time of gathering: There’s no specific way to gather the fruit except the fact that wearing gloves is highly recommended because of the thorns on the branches. Usually Cypriots start harvesting late October - November. 18 I Green Village
Cyprus • What you’ll need:
1) Wash the fruits well, cut the end bits (not the stem end) - to be sure there’s no worms in the fruit. Then put them in a pot filled with water - over the top.
• Mosfilo jam : Panayiota Demetriou’s recipe • - Mosfilo fruits - Sugar
- Water - Lemon / Lemon juice
- Sprig of Scented Geranium - Cheese-cloth/ butter muslin
2) Leave it boiling for about 2 hours, until the fruits are soft. (If necessary add more water)
3) Then strain the fruits with a cheese-cloth - butter muslin - , in order to keep only the juice.
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4) Whatever quantity you get, you put one glass of sugar for one glass of juice in a pot again. Cyprus Add lemon juice (half of a lemon to one lemon) and a sprig of scented geranium - Pelargonium.
5) Boil again for 30-40 min.
5) There is a traditional way of checking if the jam is ready or not. Plunge a wooden spoon in the juice and then hold it over the top of pot. If the last drop stays on the spoon it is ready, if not, leave it to boil a bit longer.
Finally, you can keep the jam for a long time. The most common use it either for breakfast spread on top of a toasted bread or even in some meals as a part of a dressing for meat. â–
6) When itâ€™s ready, leave the pot to cool down a bit (but not completely cold) and then pour the juice in the jars.
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One of the seven elements of the Green Village project is ‘rural food’. The four partners (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia) that work...