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Being A Firm Believer In The Power Of Fermentation

Few things make my herbal heart beat stronger than discovering that a plant’s name is derived from a biblical tale. It is not so much the religious connotation that fascinates me, but the fact that there is a connection between the plant and this age-old book, suggesting it has been around for a long time and it’s properties are probably very well documented. I mean, a reference like that gives you a fair impression of its grandiosity, right?

Now add to that two more facts and I might as well be dealing with a pacemaker on the loose. One, the plant is nowadays commonly looked upon as a weed or even a pest and two, this is a mistake because it is actually a very useful and pretty addition to our habitat.

Yes, I’m talking about Honesty (Lunaria annua) and don’t even get me started about that English denomination and it’s ironic contrast with designations in other languages. In Dutch for example we call it Juddaspenning, in reference to the thirty pieces of silver disciple Judas Iscariot was paid for betraying Jesus. According to some folk legends, when he hanged himself, Judas would have dropped or thrown the silver pieces under his gallows. Considering how much its seeds look like coins, it’s unchallenging to understand that it was believed that Honesty firstly arose from those backhanders and that in itself might even delineate the penalty corner this greenery finds itself in these days.

At Les Pierres we also have the pleasure of its company, both in the stone circle in front of the house (which actually may be an ancient primitive mill, but that’s a different story and could also very well be fiction) as at the back end of our orchard and it is spreading rapidly.

From April to June, Honesty blooms with many purple flowers. The whole plant is edible, for example in salads, with the flowers as an eye catching garnish. It is quite strong in taste, like cabbage. What really gets me excited however, being a firm believer in the power of fermentation, are the seeds that apparently make for an excellent mustard. I know it’s a bit silly, but I love it when nature starts dictating my to-do list. 

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Laura Lamb
3 years ago

Beautiful rendering of your dream.

Lou Scott
Lou Scott
3 years ago

Frank, speaking of fermentation, do you know this book? Sandor is perceived to be the guru of the practice.


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