Did you know there are edible plants growing in Elgin High Street, ready for you to pick and use?
As part of REAP’s Grow Elgin project to grow more food locally, and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have stocked eleven planters along the High Street with a variety of edible plants.
There is a range of different kinds of herbs, as well as a few strawberry and currant bushes. We invite you to help yourself to a bit of fresh food;
- A few parsley leaves or chives to go in your sandwich,
- A strawberry or two or a few currants to go with your lunch.
- Make a cup of fresh herbal tea with a few herb leaves – try the pineapple mint, lemon balm, camomile flowers or fennel.
- Pick some fresh herbs for dinner. Try some leaves of the thyme, marjoram or rosemary (or all three!) on your pizza or in your pasta sauce.
Please don’t try eating plants out of any of the other High Street planters, just the ones with the REAP logos on the signs!
Can anybody just help themselves?
Yes! The plants are there to be used by anyone and everyone. Be sure to wash what you pick before eating.
How much should or can I take?
Just harvest small amounts for your immediate needs. Three or four herb leaves in boiling water is enough for a herbal cuppa, a small sprig or two of marjoram or oregano will add flavour and vitamins to an Italian style sauce for two. When cooking or making tea with fresh herbs chop or tear them up to help release the flavour.
When shouldn’t I harvest?
Most of the plants are perennial so they will keep growing year after year if they’re looked after. If you decide you would like some marjoram, but the marjoram plant in the planter you’re looking in looks as if it has already had a few pickings and needs to recover a bit, have a look for the same herb in a different planter – almost all the types of herb are growing in more than one planter. There will be lots of growth on the plants from spring through to autumn and the plants will benefit from pruning. In winter the plants may need to be used more sparingly.
Where are the edible planters in Elgin?
Along the High Street:
- Three planters at the west end of the Plainstones, outside Shoezone,
- A planter outside Thomas Cook,
- Two planters outside Ladbrokes,
- One planter outside Royan butchers,
- A planter outside M&S,
and in Thunderton Place:
- One outside Cluny estate agent,
- Two outside TKMax.
Which herbs are which?
The pictures below will help you identify which herbs you are looking at. There are also some suggestions for what to cook with each.
As well as the herbs there are strawberries and currants to eat straight off the bush, or in yoghurt or muesli.
Herbs in the planters include:
Borage: Freeze the blue flowers into ice cubes for drinks.
Camomile: Makes a calming tea before bedtime.
Chives: Oniony flavour great as garnish, in dips, with potatoes.
Chervil: Use raw in salads or with eggs or cottage cheese.
Nasturtiums: Use the flowers and young leaves as a colourful addition to salads.
Fennel: Use in salads, to flavour sauces and mayonnaise, and with fish.
Lemon balm: Makes a refreshing lemon-flavoured tea.
Marigold: Use petals (can be orange as well as yellow) to add a colourful flourish to salads.
Marjoram: Use on pizzas and in Bolognese sauce, and in vinaigrette.
Parsley (leaf and curled): Use as a garnish, on potatoes,
in salads, sandwiches or soups.
Pineapple mint: Makes a refreshing tea, use in sauces with meat, in pea soup.
Rosemary:Use in stuffing and with roast meats, in scones or dumplings.
Sage: Use in stuffing, sausages or stews, and Italian-style sauces.
Thyme: Adds flavour to vinegars and oils, on pizzas and as all-purpose seasoning
REAP’s Grow Elgin Project is funded by the Climate Challenge Fund