I always have a hard time describing the scent and flavour of roots. Mostly earthy, some with a hint of sweetness (like yellow dock) or spicyness (like wood avens - somewhere between cloves and cinnamon). And even though it's a rather warm January, there's nothing like a warming cup of chai in the winter, is there?
Does it get more intimate than this, foraging? Digging up deep roots, burying our hands into the soil, slowly feeling with our fingers how the roots are growing and then slowly slowly, dig them up. Carefully. It's an exercise in being humble, as we need to kneel down for this work and get dirty. This is not the time of the year when we pick what the earth grows, no, this time we are directly in contact with the earth.
Even though the green parts of the plant we can see, are wilted or dead, the plants are still very much alive, and very powerful. Things aren't always what they seem in the first place.
- 2 yellow dock roots (Rumex crispus, aka curly dock)
Dutch: Krulzuring - French: Oseille crépue - German: Krause Ampfer - Italian: Lapazio, Romice - Spanish: Rumex crispus
- 2 wood avens roots (Geum urbanum, aka bennet's root, old man's whiskers, colewort, cloveroot, St. Benedict's herb)
Dutch: Gewoon nagelkruid - French: Benoîte commune - German: Echte/Gemeine Nelkenwurz - Italian: Cariofillata, Erba benedetta - Spanish: Hierba de San Benito
- a handful of dried white mulberries (Morus alba) Dutch: Witte moerbei - French: Mûrier blanc - German: Weiße Maulbeere - Italian: Gelso bianco - Spanish: Morera blanca)
- two sticks of cinnamon
- a piece of fresh ginger root (quite large)
- a tablespoon green tea or dried wood avens greens
- optional: some black pepper
- 1 l water (that's 4 cups)
Bring the water with all the other ingredients to a boil. Then wrap your cooking pot (lid on) in a warm blanket and let simmer for a while. After 10 to 30 minutes (depending how strong you want this to be), take of the lid. You'll see the water become darker, and the aromas will hit your nose. Strain.
Drink as it is (if you love intense bitter) or preferably: serve with some honey and home made almond milk, and notice how this one cup in your hands has all the four elements of nature: earth (the roots), water, fire (used to heat the water) and air (see that damp swirl from your cup?). Enjoy.