Out on our Froglife reserves the pathways are carpeted with lots of wildflowers and plants. Hampton is extremely lucky to have a blanket of narrow-leaved birds-foot trefoil which is great for lots of invertebrates.
Here our Reserve Warden, Chantel, gives us some information on a very common plant that you can forage even if you do not have access to a green space, as they grow on kerbsides!
Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) is a very common wild flower that grows on most soil types and thrives in urban wasteland and roadsides. It contains blood-sugar-controlling insulin, antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C along with nourishing our skin and airways.
Historically marshmallows were made using mallow root but it is now replaced with gelatine. Here is the traditional marshmallow recipe:
- 500ml of water
- 10cm of fresh mallow root
- 125g of sugar
- 75g glucose syrup
- 1 egg white
- Flavouring of your choice (vanilla, orange blossom, rose water etc.)
- Small amount of oil
- Boil the 500ml of water in a pan and add the fresh mallow root. Leave on a low heat and stir occasionally until the liquid thickens.
- Strain and pour 100ml of the mallow root liquid into a saucepan, adding the sugar and the glucose syrup. Bring to boil until reaching 121 degrees on a sugar thermometer.
- In a bowl whisk 1 egg white to form stiff peaks, then slowly add the mallow root-infused syrup. Keep whisking for 10 minutes.
- Add your choice of flavouring
- Use your oil to oil a dish and pour your mixture into it. Leave to set overnight