Elaine lives in the little Bedfordshire village of Tingrith.
Her passions are roaming in Mother Natures fields, going for long walks in sunshine, wind or rain.
Its where she finds much inspiration for her poetry, and also many wild and wonderful ingredients that she adds to her culinary creations and homemade cleaning/beauty products.
She can often be found along, and sometimes in hedgerows and ditches; holding conversations with nettle, which is one of her favourite ingredients she uses in her bread recipes.
Elaine loves nothing more than wandering slowly through the woods and fields, where she finds connection to the local fauna and flora.
She loves the simple approach to life, why complicate things? Enjoy the ride, wake up, smile and smell the flowers.
So this afternoon I decided to chop up conkers to make washing liquid for washing clothes.
I did this last year too, but I chose to use a food processor.
I broke my food processor!
The saying ‘tough nut’ is indeed most apt!!
But, nevertheless, still bonkers for conkers!
So this year, I slowed right down, and as I cracked the nuts by hand, using a um….nut cracker, I thought of my ancestors: my grandmothers, great great women who may well have used conkers to wash their clothes with.
Taking time to do this by hand, brought to mind how much, and how many things we take for granted in our modern day to day lives.
Rush rush rush!
Autumnal fruits nuts and berries are gifted as a reminder to us to slow down, contemplate the long dark nights ahead, and of course, to save seed, make and store.
The conkers are the seeds of Aesculus hippocastanum (Horsechestnut tree) and contain, (amongst other things) saponins, which create bubbles when water is added and the liquid is strained.
I have used this instead of usual washing powder and it is very good. (I’ve also added lavender oil to the liquid for a nice scent on the clothes, but it didn’t really smell any different so was kind of wasteful really)
40grms of dried conkers in a 500ml jar.
Fill jar to top with boiling water and soak for 30 mins
You will get a lovely creamy thick liquid. – this process can be repeated a couple of times to get the most out of your conkers.