Grandma had a cure for almost every common ailment when I was a kid growing up in the rural woods of Muskoka. Folks would come from miles around to seek her advice for treating their health complaints. As a girl, I took as much pride in grandma’s doctoring skills as she did, for I was the one who helped tend her herb gardens and trek through backyard woodlands in search of the “medicinal pickings” that she used in her concoctions. Here’s an excerpt from her doctoring journal.
“Drink a cup of rose hip tea everyday all winter long and you’ll never catch a cold.” This is preventive medicine that’s easy to swallow and since rose hips are so plentiful and easy to gather, it’s old advice that I live by. Rose hips are at their best for gathering in the autumn after they have been nipped by frost. Gather the hips, thumb out the seeds and discard (they contain tiny bristles that can irritate the mouth and stomach if eaten). Spread on a cloth and let dry in a warm place until they are shriveled and moisture is gone. Or dry the whole hips and strain the tea, if you’d rather. Rose hips contain more vitamin C than oranges and are a rich source of iron, calcium and phosphorous. They make a nourishing cup of tea. Put about 3 Tbsp dried hips in the teapot and cover with boiling water. Steep 15 minutes. When the teapot is empty, I always sweeten the hips with honey and eat them for good measure!
Linda Gabris is an avid cook who enjoys sharing her grandmother’s old recipes and medicinal preparations as they were recorded in the handwritten journals passed down to her. Linda also enjoys gardening and foraging for edible wild foods. Over the years, she has taught cooking courses in Prince George, B.C., with a focus on healthy eating, food preparation, and International cuisine.
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