Ivan tea - pink fog
When a fireweed blooms, pink fog swirls in forest clearings, meadows, sunny edges for more than two months. This savage is very beautiful! And for its amazing properties fireweed was called Ivan tea. Thanks to him, the village of Kaporye became famous in Europe. The local peasants prepared leaves and flowers of the fireweed and prepared amazing Russian tea. In color and taste, it did not differ from Ceylon and Indian, but it did not contain puric acids and caffeine. But the set of useful vitamins and minerals is the richest. Properly dried and brewed willow tea will appeal to the most inveterate teapot.
© böhringer friedrich
My grandmother harvested a young sheet of willow-tea in the mornings, washed and dried on a sieve. Then it dried for five hours and folded leaves in dense tubules on the palm or wooden board until juice appeared. These tubes were laid on a wooden baking sheet with a thin layer, covered with a damp canvas and left in the sun for a couple of days. Only after that did she cut open the dried tubes with a knife and put in a hot oven or oven for final drying.
Such tea was stored in wooden boxes in a dry, cool place.. By the way, they began to drink Kapor tea only in the fall, they say, should ripen. He brewed at the rate of 1 teaspoon with a top in a glass of boiling water. It was a golden color and a delicious aroma. But even more aromatic, sweet taste was tea with the addition of dried flowers of fireweed. The flowers were dried separately on a sieve, covered with a canvas, in a ventilated room. A pinch was added to their tea. And on a winter day, before my eyes immediately appeared pictures of a sultry summer filled with pink fog of fireweed.
© Delphine Ménard
Not only tea was prepared by peasants from a fireweed. In the early spring, when tender leaves just appeared, they were collected and salads made. By the way, before they knew that it was possible to eat fireweed leaves only in the first weeks of spring. In a hungry year, roots were dug, ground and added to flour. Tortillas made from such flour had a sweet taste. The household peasant women even collected the fluff of the fireweed and stuffed pillows for them, and made fiber from the stems and spun threads for the canvas.
And what does this useful plant look like? It has straight, slightly branched stems up to 1.5 meters tall, with narrow dark green leaves. Pink flowers, gathered in long brushes, are located at the end of a long light green ovary. Seeds are small, with a bunch of white, from prolonged lying yellowing hairs.
The rhizome of the fireweed is powerful, the roots go to a depth of 2 m and form a dense network of thick pinkish horizontal roots. The plant gives a large number of buds, from which shoots are formed. That is why such an ornamental plant is rarely used in garden design. Only in large parks can one meet glades planted with a fireweed.
© Frank Vincentz
Nevertheless, this plant can be tamed, and then it will become a decoration of the garden. Firstly, it can be planted on moist soils, where there is no shade in the morning. Secondly, it is very unpretentious.
The main thing - when landing, you must immediately dig a cut-out wide metal barrel into the ground with drainage holes made in the bottom. It is advisable to dig it to a depth of at least 1 m. It is in this capacity that the fireweed will grow without harming other plants. Once every 2-3 years it will be necessary to dig up plants, remove excess ones and plant again. In addition, there is a form with white flowers - Alba, which is not so aggressively distributed in the area. Fireweed is not only beautiful, but also fills the garden with a delicate honey aroma.