Fall has officially arrived, although its a little hard to believe, given the 80+ degree temperatures we are experiencing as we catch the last few whisps of summer air.
This is goldenrod time! These are the bright yellow blooms you have been seeing since mid August. There are over 150 varieties of this plant but, the traditionally used medicinal variety is Solidago Canadensis. Its often maligned as the cause of Fall allergies, but herbalists know, its actually an amazing ally for symptom relief.
I taught a class on allergies at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last Spring and to my delight, all student sniffles stopped after a few drops of the tincture. It’s also amazing for digestive ailments, strengthening the kidney and bladder area, and as a herbal oil, its exceptional for relieving muscle pain and that’s all before we have even talked about its sweet energetics as a flower essence, which we will save for another time:)
While I thought about goldenrod recipes, a recent decadent dessert I shared with my brother at Mourad in San Francisco drifted into my mind Made with, orange blossom and beeswax, it tasted of pollen and reminded me of goldenrod. I wondered if I could recreate an evocation of this confectionary decadence with my flower of the moment and coconut milk!
Goldenrod, with its aromatic tones, bitter notes and sweet nuttiness is similar to the pollen flavors I picked up on in my dessert memory…So, last night, with dimmed light, (hence the less than stellar photo captures), I set about creating nuanced flavors with entirely different ingredients…No cream, no orange blossom, and no beeswax..Just the memory of these tastes and my sensory curiosity, as the inspiration to create some kitchen mischief.
What I hoped for was the combination of all the nutty, sweet notes bathed in a creamy panna cotta like consistency.
Where to start?
First, I made some coconut milk with flaked coconut, hot water, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Blending these ingredients together, I then steeped fresh flower buds of goldenrod in the warmed liquid.
Had I not been so impatient to test the results, I would have likely infused the mixture overnight, but as it was, I waited 30 minutes. I then, squeezed the golden liquid through a fine mesh, and strained out the coconut bits, and flowers. I added some goldenrod infused honey to sweeten and then created the panna cotta texture by warming the mixture just gently enough to melt some agar agar, (an algae that gels like gelatin). I left the liquid to set in the fridge.
It could still do with a tweak here and there, but, its easy enough to play with and adjust to your personal taste with more sweetness, more coconut or even some more fat, by adding some coconut manna.
Here are the ingredients I used:
A cup of flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups of hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup of goldenrod flowers
1 heaped tablespoon of kanten flakes
Goldenrod honey or raw honey to taste
Extra flowers for decoration and honey to drizzle on top.
If you have been curious about how to use herbal medicine to enhance your well being or to build an at home apothecary then please join me at some of my classes. You can check out my full teaching calendar here