3 Easy Himalayan Balsam Recipes (Jelly, Smoothie, Ice Cream)

  reading time: 5 min





Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of wildcrafting!

Not long ago I discovered that most parts of the "invasive weed" called Himalayan Balsam are edible: young leaves (only cooked with water change!), seeds, and flowers. I started by making a Himalayan Balsam syrup that will be used in two of today's recipes, so make sure to head over to the syrup recipe and prepare that first.

The recipes in this blogpost are all adapted from the German book Die Wildkräuter-Werkstatt by Peter Becker which translates to "The Wild Herb Workshop". They are tweaked to our vegan lifestyle as well as to our liking. If you speak German, I do recommend purchasing this book because I really love all the different wild foods such as acorns (I really want to do my first acorn harvest this fall!), ground elder, mahonia fruits, mock strawberry, Japanese knotweed Рand Himalayan Balsam. For next year I'm planning to collect and use the seeds of Himalayan Balsam ...

General Foraging Guidelines:

  • You should be 100 % certain you are identifying the correct plant. If you do not know what it is, DO NOT eat it! Do not pick if you're in doubt!

  • Don't harvest from contaminated areas such as busy roadsides, near industrial facilities, where dogs pee, along the edges of agricultural fields, old landfill sites etc.

  • Be mindful & harvest sustainably. Only pick from areas that have a plentiful supply, and never more than 1/4 of a plant, ideally only about 5 %.

  • Leave the harvesting area litter-free.


For more detailed information on identifying and foraging for Himalayan Balsam, check out last week's blogpost


HIMALAYAN BALSAM SMOOTHIE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Main ingredients: Himalayan balsam, coconut yogurt, non-dairy milk
difficulty level: easy
makes: 4 cups
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free, yeast-free

Ingredients:

250 ml (1 cup) coconut yogurt (or coconut milk)

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) almond milk
110 g (1 cup) raspberries, fresh or frozen (
strawberries, cherries or redcurrants would also work)
100 ml (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp) Himalayan Balsam syrup
50 g fresh Himalayan Balsam flowers * (2 to 3 handfuls of flowers, or about 2 cups)

Instructions:

To make this triple pink smoothie, simply toss all ingredients into a blender (a high-speed blender works best) and blend until smooth.

I bet this would also taste great topped with some vegan vanilla ice. Drizzle with some more Himalayan Balsam syrup if this is not sweet enough for your liking. Enjoy as a lovely refreshment on hot summer days!

* Himalayan Balsam flowers have pretty much no flavour, just valuable nutrients (such as anti-inflammatory flavanoids as well as natural antihistaminic properties) and a bold punch of colour, so you'll always need to add something that brings flavour to the recipe, such as sugar or berries.

*
 

HIMALAYAN BALSAM ICE CREAM

Preparation time: 20 minutes (+ 4 hours freezing time)
Main ingredients: Himalayan balsam, soy cream, soy milk, sugar
difficulty level: easy
makes: 2 cups (500 ml)
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, nut-free, yeast-free

Ingredients:

40 g fresh Himalayan Balsam flowers

200 ml Himalayan Balsam syrup

200 ml soy cream
(or full fat coconut milk)
200 ml soy milk (or full fat coconut milk)

100 g cane sugar, or less

1 tsp citric acid
1/8 tsp locust bean gum or guar gum (natural thickener, stabilizer and emulsifier)

Instructions:

Wash Himalayan Balsam flowers in cold water and pat dry. In a small saucepan, bring the flowers and soy milk to the boil, then stir in citric acid, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Strain soy milk through a fine sieve, pressing all the liquid from the flowers. Discard flowers or put them in a smoothie.


Add sugar and locust bean gum to the still warm flower milk. Whisk until it thickens. Leave to cool, then fold in the soy cream and syrup. Transfer to an ice cream maker to follow the manufacturer's directions. Freeze until firm enough to scoop, approximately 2–4 hours.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a freeze-proof storage container and put in the freezer. When partially frozen (after 1 or 2 hours), take it out and whip it with an electric mixer to break up the ice crystals. Repeat 3 or 4 times during the freezing process. Freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Remove it from the freezer 15 minutes prior to serving.

*


HIMALAYAN BALSAM JELLY

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Main ingredients: Himalayan balsam, sugar, citric acid
difficulty level: easy
makes: 1.4 litres
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, fat-free

Ingredients:

100 g fresh Himalayan Balsam flowers
(about 5 to 6 handfuls, or the equivalent of the bowl content shown in the picture above)
1 litre of filtered water
500 g jam sugar (I use 3:1 gelling sugar)
1 tsp citric acid
1 level tsp agar agar

also:
a large saucepan
a fine wire sieve
clean, sealable jars **

** I used a bunch of recycled jam jars that I heat sterilized by putting them in an oven on low heat of 110 °C / 230 °F for around ten minutes – if it is too hot, they’ll crack!


Instructions:

In a medium large saucepan, bring 1 litre of water to a boil. Add Himalayan Balsam flowers, and sprinkle with citric acid. Allow to steep in the boiling water for a minute or two. If you leave the flowers in too long, you'll loose their pretty pink colour. Strain liquid through a fine sieve, pressing all the liquid from the flowers. Discard flowers or put them in a smoothie.


Add the pink water back into the saucepan. Then bring to the boil along with the preserving sugar and the agar agar. Simmer on a low heat for about 4 minutes. Spoon a small amount of jelly onto a chilled plate. If the liquid holds its shape, it's done and ready to can, if it's still runny, simmer for an additional 2–3 minutes.

Pour the hot jelly into prepared sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace – make sure they're warm or else they might crack. Seal and label (content and date).

Himalayan Balsam jelly is sweet and slightly floral (J's aunt says it reminds her of mirabelle plums), and is lovely on buttered bread or on (vegan) cheese. And of course the magenta colour is an eye-catcher!

Keeps for at least 1 year. Once opened, store jar in the refrigerator.

This princessy pink jelly makes for a wonderful housewarming gift for loved ones. J and I are even thinking of making this as wedding favours for our wedding!

TIPS:
- For more flavour, add a handful of citrusy herbs such as lemon balm, lemon verbena, quender, lemon grass, lemon thyme etc., 1 sliced organic orange, 1/2 vanilla pod and 1-2 cloves. This will give the jelly a slightly tart taste that is a bit reminiscent of orange marmalade.
- Adding even more wintry spices like cinnamon, star anise etc. this jelly makes for a lovely Christmas present.
- Another option would be to add fresh mint for a more refreshing, summery taste.
- You could also experiment with substituting part of the Himalayan Balsam flowers with pink or red rose petals for a more floral taste!




Happy foraging!


Maisy


0 Comments