Foraging: Hawthorn

Please refer to the main Foraging page for ethics and more resources. Feel free to print this image for your private use.


For more details about Hawthorn’s benefits, see Herbal Wisdom.

What to make of it

  • The haws are very high in pectin and can be made into a jelly to accompany cheese or meat, without any boiling. They can be dried to make herbal tea, are used for various drinks (haw brandy, wine, or liquor below), and pulped for integrating to other recipes.
  • The easiest way to remove the stems is to roll a bunch of haws between your hands.
  • Young leaves make a nice addition to salad, with a nutty taste and heart-tonic properties.
  • The blossoms can also be eaten raw, sprinkled on salads or desserts. They can also be dried for tea, or made into liquor or cordial. Contrary to the other parts of the plant, they have antispasmodic and sedative properties, so consume them separately from the leaves or haws.
  • Here are a few simple recipes to start with!

Based on Eat Weeds

Fruit leathers (or jerky) are an ancient method of preserving fruit flesh for long periods of time. They can be nibbled as snacks, or pieces cut off and added to porridge or other dishes. Since haws don’t have much taste, a couple of ways to sweeten the leather are suggested here.


As with most fruit, hawthorn (both the haws and the blossoms) can be made into a liquor: alcohol extracts and preserves the fruit’s qualities and flavor.


Inspired by a traditional Lebanese recipe on Food Heritage Foundation

A non-alcoholic alternative is to make a syrup, which keeps a few weeks in the fridge and is diluted before drinking.



Based on Pocket Farm

Foraging: Poppy Seeds

(This is wildly off-season, but I’m hoping to build up a few of these by the time we’re in season!)

Please refer to the main Foraging page for ethics and more resources.


What to make of them: A few ideas

  • Poppy seeds work famously well with lemon in baked desserts.
  • If you make your own personal care products, they can be used in a facial exfoliating mask for gentle action (similar but infinitely preferable to plastic microbeads).
  • Below are a selection of recipes; you’ll find many more on Pinterest.

Modified from: Poppy Seed and Walnut Pasta

Modified from: Onion and Poppy Seed Bialys

Original recipe: Lemon poppy seed honey

Modified from: Poppy Seed Honey Cookies (Pirishkes)

Zero-Waste Shopping Kit

Feel free to print these images for your private use. This post accompanies the general information on Zero-Waste Shopping.

You need very little to conduct waste-free shopping trips, and some of these items can do double duty asfor foraging trips as well!

Shopping kit.jpg

Produce bags are cloth bags with a drawstring; being almost weightless, they allow you to weigh the contents without adding to your bill. You’ll find many types to buy on Etsy or even Ebay (look for “reusable produce bags”), but as it’s more useful to have a dozen of them in various sizes, it’s easier to make them yourself. I can’t sew but still made a collection for myself in 5 minutes each: I include instructions below. As for the type of cloth, I recommend butter muslin (organic and unbleached), which is loosely woven and lets you glimpse the contents – useful when you take a load of these to the cash register. It is widely available anywhere that sells fabric, and inexpensive. However, if you need some bags to carry more than 1kg, you may want sturdier fabric. Perhaps taken from an old pillowcase?
On the other hand, for the smaller bags destined for fine-textured products, you may occasionally want a tighter weave: I cut up an old polyester scarf and made bags from that. No weave is fine enough for powders: for these you’ll want to use paper bags or small glassine envelopes (the kind used for stamps), which can be reused.


DIY Body Scrubs

A few recipes for body scrubs you can make with kitchen ingredients. Foot scrubs (more robust) and face scrubs (more gentle) will be added separately. Starting out with “The Simplest Scrub” below, and knowing the properties of various ingredients (listed here), you can easily create your own recipes, tailored to your needs and likes.

Feel free to print this image for your private use. Click here for more DIY Personal Care products and how to source the ingredients.


How to Fold a Bin Liner

Here’s how to fold a bin liner/garbage bag out of spreads from a newspaper. It’s adapted from an origami technique, so it starts out with a square. You can cut the extra bit to adjust the format, but I prefer the following, which makes for a bigger bag: Use 4 sheets. Lay down the 1st one, then the 2nd, sliding the latter up until the overall shape is a square. Place #3 over #1, and #4 over #2, to increase your square’s thickness and cohesion. Then proceed to fold.

Feel free to print this image for your private use. Click here for more alternatives to plastic bin liners and other plastic in the kitchen.


Sukkar (Hair-Removing Caramel)

This traditional hair removal method is particularly practiced in Lebanon and Egypt, where it’s simply called sukkar, “sugar”. Online it’s sometimes referred to as “sugar wax” but that’s entirely too misleading. What it literally is, is caramel (as in the movie) with a bit of lemon juice. It’s completely natural, washes away without a trace, you can make it at home (no packaging), and the leftover can be stored indefinitely in a jar (I keep it in my dresser). It is one of the somewhat painful hair removal methods, yes (but not the most painful, and the degree depends on the part of the body), but having started with it as a teen, then used every method on the market before returning to it, I can vouch for the superior results of sukkar in leaving the skin smooth and comfortable, both on the body and the face, for much longer than a shave. It’s also a sticky operation, but set an hour aside and do it in the bathroom so you can hop under the shower when done. Note that it may not work is hair is too short: let it grow out a bit.

Making the caramel

The step-by-step recipe, which only requires (regular white) sugar and lemon, is given below. It takes a bit of practice to get the caramel right the first time, and a candy thermometer, while not necessary, really helps take out the guesswork. The end result after cooling should be firm enough to handle, but sticky enough to actually adhere to the hairs and pull them off. Press a little of it on your skin: if there’s no tack, it’s too hard. If you don’t get it right, however, there’s no need to throw away your batch, you can fix it:

  • If your caramel is too sticky, it didn’t get hot enough, so just cook it again.
  • If it’s too hard, it’s overcooked: add some water (no more than 1/4C) and heat it up again so it melts and you can mix the water in; then proceed with cooking till it reaches the correct point.

How to use it

  1. Start by having a wash under a hot shower, and dry yourself off thoroughly. Clean skin prevents irritation; the heat opens your pores making hair removal easier; dryness is important as water dissolves the sugar and completely stops it working.
  2. Pinch off a walnut-sized amount and knead it between your fingers to warm it up. In warm weather this is not even necessary. If you’re tempted to pop some in your mouth, do so now, before you start using it 😉
  3. Spread against the hair growth, and pull away along the hair growth (some people do it the other way around, this is gentler on the skin). In areas where the skin is a bit loose, hold it taut with your other hand so you don’t yank it (that’s much more painful than pulling hair).
  4. Reuse the same bit of sugar until it’s too sticky to be workable. Drop it in your toilet or sink (it’ll melt!) and pick up a new one. If you’re concerned about pain, feel free to use an ice cube inside a towel to soothe the skin after sugaring (just keep it dry till you’re done).
  5. If it’s gone too sticky and bits are staying on your skin that you can’t pull off, don’t panic. Let them be. When you have your rinsing shower, the warm water will take care of them.

Feel free to print this image for your private use. Click here for more DIY Personal Care products and how to source the ingredients.


Nut Milks

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Whatever your reasons for keeping away from dairy, nut milks are a common and diverse substitute. But they cannot be found package-free, and in addition tend to be produced by big brands engaged in mass-scale agriculture, so they are not Earth-friendly. Happily, they are the easiest thing to make at home from bulk-bought nuts – all you need is a blender. This same method also works for making your own coconut milk rather than buying it tinned.