Lime/Linden: Tilia sp.
The Linden or Lime tree, spread across much of Europe, at the end of the last ice age, around 8000 BC. In fact, it was the dominant broad leaved species across much of England and Wales, not Oak, as many would believe. Once a common sight in our woodland, it is now much rarer, due to it’s preference for damp, nutrient rich soil, it’s inability to re colonise secondary woodland and the destruction of much of it’s natural habitat due to farming, agriculture and industry. For these reasons, the presence of Linden is often used as an indicator of ancient woodland, that is present since at least 1600 AD, when the first mapping of forests began. Don’t worry about struggling to find a Linden though. They are still hugely popular trees in cities and towns, especially in parks and residential streets.
Linden was a popular tree of our ancestors and was associated with fairness and justice in Celtic traditions, so became the meeting place to discuss and deliver sacrifice and ritual. In Baltic traditions, Linden represented Laima, the goddess of childbirth, marriage, pregnancy and fertility and across Eastern Europe, the Linden was held at the heart of communities where common decision making and matters of importance would be made.
Perhaps it’s the tree’s properties that inspire such traditions, as teas made from the leaves and blossom can reduce palpitations, blood pressure and high cholesterol. The heady honeyed scent of the blooms, from the middle of June until the end of July can soothe and calm the nerves and reduce anxiety, helping the mind focus and become clearer and more rational. Or maybe it was simply the delicious scent, that encouraged our ancestors to gather, enjoying the respite from a blistering summers day, under the cooling heart shaped canopy of leaves. Whatever the reasons of the Ancients, I am always drawn to Linden and look forward to the short window of time each year, when I can enjoy the lush gifts this beautiful tree bestows upon us.
Linden Blossom Empire Biscuits
½ a cup of icing sugar
½ a cup of cornflour
1 cup of plain flour
¾ of a cup of dairy free butter
½ a cup of wild blossoms of your choice
½ a cup of icing sugar
Approximately 2 tsp of wild blossom jam/jelly
Wild blossom jam/jelly to sandwich the biscuits together
2 baking sheets
Biscuit cutter/not essential as you can always freestyle
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/gas 5 & line your baking sheets with the parchment
Cream the butter & sugar together & then add the rest of the ingredients & combine to make a dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface & roll out to about 1 cm thick.
Cut out desired shapes & place on baking sheets. Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make your icing simply combine the icing sugar with the jam/jelly. Once your biscuits are cool enough you can sandwich them together with blobs of jam or jelly & then spread your icing on to top of the biscuits.
Linden Blossom Jam
Collect your blossoms/plant material the day before you want to make the preserve. If using blossoms place in a jug, the day before, in alternate layers with the sugar to allow optimum infusion.
2 cups of Lime/Linden blossoms, leaf bracts removed
1 ½ cups of water
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 cups of jam sugar, (make sure it has added pectin).
1 medium saucepan
A couple of sterilised jars.
Place all your ingredients into a saucepan & heat gently until all of the sugar has melted. Bring the pan to a gentle rolling boil & continue heating until the setting point is reached which is 105 degrees Celsius. This usually takes about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer you can drop a blob onto a plate which has been in the fridge & if it’s ready the mixture will crinkle on the surface when you push it with a spoon.
Allow to cool slightly then pour into your jars. Should keep well for up to a year.
You can use both of these recipes with any type of edible blossom.
Recipe credit @thelittleforagerskitchen