When you have a subsistence economy, if you have something that there is lots of, then you find a great many uses for it. You will probably give it a large selection of different names, too. Here we have Ground Ivy, naturally it is completely unrelated to ivy, in fact, it’s a member of the mint family. It is one of those herbs that can be used to treat almost any ailment. You can make a tea from the leaves with a high vitamin C content. You can eat the young leaves raw in a salad. You can use the dried leaves to flavour and clarify beer. It grows anywhere and everywhere, if it’s given the chance.
This is possibly the place to mention something we came across last year, Meadowsweet. This was the herb used, to refine and flavour mead, by the Saxons. Ground Ivy, under the pseudonym Alehoof, they used to flavour and clarify their ale. I had hoped to be able to give you a recipe here, but no one seems to know exactly how much the Saxons put in to produce the required end result. Interestingly, a fermented grain drink made with hops used to be called beer, as against a fermented grain drink flavoured with something other than hops – which was called ale.
Ground Ivy is here a little early, its table is actually booked for March – but the door was open, so it came in and sat down.