AKA Cheese-cake, Flibberty-Gibbet, Pick Cheese
Don’t be fooled by the sugary sweet appearance of these pretty pink flowers, they are powerhouses of the wildflower world. Peppering grassy fields and hedgerows from June through to September, these beauties range from soft, barely-there pearly pinks through to vibrant mauves with deep purple veins.
It gets its cheesy nicknames due to its eventual fruit looking a bit like a truckle of cheese (allegedly!)
It’s got a long history of folklore, including the Celts, who would use its fruits to protect the body of dead holy men from troublesome spirits. In the medieval times, mallow flowers were strewn in front of houses as symbols of happy homes, and were also used for love potions (both to attract and repel it - go figure). More convincingly, it was used to heal sore and inflamed skin, and actual still shows up in some cough remedies.
But you probably know it better for its confectionery exploits - no prizes for guessing this one - the marsh mallow! In the mid-1800s, a French confectioner whipped up the gummy sap of mallow root with sugar to make the first iteration of the beloved sweet.
Whilst it’s not commonly found in love potions or marshmallows today, it does make a lovely soothing bath milk (great for sunburn if you’ve overdone it in the garden). Here’s how:
You will need:
- Leaves and flowers of about 30 mallow plants (remember, only pick where you find them growing in abundance and not on private property unless its your own!)
- 3 tbsp oats
- Boiling water
- 500ml milk (plant or dairy based - we like almond for this!)
Dry the mallow leaves and flowers out gently on some baking paper. Airy spots, out of direct sunlight works best.
Once dried out, chop them up and put them in a pan with the oats. Cover with boiling water and allow to steep for about 10 minutes off the heat. Mash the steeped flowers with a potato masher, then add the milk and gently heat whilst stirring constantly to warm through. Strain out the mallow and pour the remaining liquid straight into a nice warm bath and relax!
Sadly it doesn’t keep, so you’ll need to use this one immediately!