Monday 17 August 2020
Now that school has finished for the summer, we have been going on lots of walks up in the hills above Chinnor. My Mum is really interested in foraging, and had seen a post on Instagram about a common weed that smells and tastes like pineapple. Therefore, when we found a patch of it on one of our walks, we picked as much as we could fit into an unused dog-poo bag and headed home. It had an incredibly sweet, fruity scent, and when we did a bit of research into it, we found out it is called wild chamomile – or pineapple weed.
The only pineapple weed recipe we could find online was a syrup, so we decided that syrup it would be! The next few hours were spent tirelessly cutting the small yellowy green flower heads off the stems and putting them into a bowl. Once we had what we needed, we put the cup of flower heads into a saucepan with a cup of water. When it boiled, we added 2 cups of sugar and left it to simmer for 5 minutes. We then took the saucepan off the heat, strained it through a muslin, and put it into a sterile a jar. Once it had cooled, we mixed a couple of teaspoons of the syrup with some natural yoghurt, and we couldn’t believe the result. It was truly delicious-it tasted just like pineapple!
After our success with the syrup, we decided to try to make it into cordial. We collected even more weeds and, yes, spent the afternoon cutting off even more flower heads. We ended up with 2 cups of flower heads, to which we added 1.5 litres of water along with a sliced lemon an orange, and 50g citric acid. We brought the mixture to the boil, then left it to cool overnight. The next day, we strained the cordial, added almost 1kg sugar, and boiled it for 5-10 minutes. Finally, we poured the cordial into sterile bottles and left it to cool.
It was a great success and had a really tropical flavour. However, our next project is to make the cordial again but without the lemon and orange - the taste of the pineapple weed syrup is so delicious that we want to see what the cordial will taste like without other fruits masking its flavour. We have all been astonished at how such a common weed can taste so delicious. We will definitely be experimenting with it further, but I am already trying to find an excuse to get me out of cutting off so many flower heads!
-- Emily Neighbour