Monday, 11 June 2012

Hawthorn flower tincture

A little more than two weeks ago I got married. Four days before that I was using precious pre-wedding time on one of my two days off before the big day to pick hawthorn flowers. Obsessed? Maybe, but one has to take these opportunities when they arise!

It was a calm, sunny Sunday in mid-May and I saw the chance to finish making the Hawthorn tincture I'd started back in August last year (see my earlier post if you're curious). My plan was to make a tincture using hawthorn berries (which I did) and then finish it by using that tincture to steep hawthorn flowers, producing a complete hawthorn tincture. I just had to wait for the hawthorn blossom, and last month when the hedgerows were full of the sickly-scented white flowers I took my chance.

I spent an hour or so in a small meadow near where I live, happily and unhurriedly picking the small bundles of blossom, taking only those which looked freshly opened or even with a few unopened buds. At home I simply bundled all of the flowers into my bottle of hawthorn berry tincture, using a wooden spoon handle to push them in and topping up with a bit more vodka to make sure all of the plant material was covered. I then added the date and contents to the label and put the bottle in a cupboard, hoping I would remember to give it a shake every few days. I'd kept a small handful of flowers back to try as a cup of fresh hawthorn blossom tea, which was sweetly refreshing and more than a little soporific!

In several weeks' time I'll be able to taste the finished product. Most of the information I could find about making this sort of tincture varied in terms of how long the flowers should be left steeping before straining, ranging from ten days to two months. I'll try six weeks as a reasonable compromise.

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