Prepared by: Roman Karpecki
Main ingredient: Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica):
People often curse the plant for its stinging pain that it caused by the fine hairs at the base side of the nettle leaves. These hairs contain number of chemicals such as serotonin, acetylcholine, histamine. Some of these chemicals can be very irritating.
However, the plant is actually an extremely beneficial perennial that treats or can relieve a lot of health discomforts, ailments. The plant due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, diuretic, kidney trophorestorative, astringent, hemostatic, nutritive properties benefits building blood,kidneys, weak hair/teeth/bones, urinary tract infections, arthritis, eczema. It stabilizes blood sugar, eliminates chronic headaches, lessen allergic and menopausal problems and many others.
Caution: It is recommended to test first if you are not allergic to the nettle. The recommendation applies to all herbs when starting using for the first time.
Recipe: the recipe is actually my wife´s one. Since I got married I have learned a lot about healthy life style from her. We cook using home-made ingredients/products especially prepared from our garden harvest such as vegetables, fruit and lot of herbs of course. Our neighbours or my wife´s parents, who have a farm, support us with eggs, meat or cheese. We really appreciate we can take advantage of nature gifts and what´s more important we add nutritive values to our childrens´ and our organisms that do not contain chemicals that people consume from the products they buy in supermarkets.
The recipe of De Luxe Soup of Nettle
Yield: 4 servings
1,5 handful of nettle
1 onion; finely chopped
1 small celery
a pinch of chilli powder and pepper*
½ teaspoon salt
*you may add chilli or pepper only or no spices at all depending on your taste
First, peel root vegetables and potatoes (fig.1).
Boil the vegetables.
Boiled vegetables will be used to thicken the soup.
Don´t pour out the vegetable bouillon.
Wash the nettles and let the water drain away (fig.2).
Chop onion finely (fig.3).
1. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot over a low heat (fig.4).
2. Fry the chopped onion gently using high-quality oil or until softens and golden browns.
Add the washed nettles and stew into the pot and stew for about 1 minute. Add spices (chilli/pepper or ground ivy) when stirring (fig.5).
Add water and stew for about 5 min (fig.6).
Liquidize it with an immersion/stick blender. Stir the nettle mixture (fig.7).
Add boiled vegetables, vegetables bouillon (the amount depends on the thickness of the soup you demand) and liquidize all the ingredients with the immersion/stick blender again. Warm again. After a while the soup changes the colour and allows the tastes to combine. Flavour with spices and salt if not spicy enough (fig.8).
Enjoy your meal! It really tastes great. During the festivals we hold the visitors really appreciate the taste of the soup including the beneficial natural substances for the health..
Hungarian cattle farming goes back many thousand years in history. This is attested by more than 50 ancient words in the language that relate to this area of activity. The robust gray cattle were originally brought from inner Asia to the Carpathian Basin by ancient Hungarians. The Hungarian Gray Cattle (Bos taurus primigenius podolicus) is closely related to Podolian cattle species (a territory that once belonged to Poland, and it is now part of Ukraine). Abu Hamid, Arabic merchant gave the following description of the grey cattle a thousand years ago: “In Bazsger (Hungary), there lives a beast, huge as an elephant. Its skin itself weighs as much as two strong oxen. Its head is as large as a calf; its horns are as large and as long as the trunk of an elephant. People hunt it, and call it “attakda”. A beautiful animal.”
Male and female species are rather different. Males are gray, and weigh around 1500-2000 pounds (700-900 kg), the color of females has a blue touch, and they weigh around 1200-1300 pounds (550-600 kg). The large animals are robust and strong, but at the same time, amicable.The meat of the gray cattle is widely known as excellent. They are the toughest of livestock. They were never stalled, but lived on open pasture all year round; eating grass and reed during the summer, and finding moor beneath the snow during the winter.
Stockmen (cowboys; gulyás – from whence comes the word goulash) were in charge of keeping and driving the herd. It was a complex and dangerous job; they had to keep alert against attacks from rascals (betyárok) and wolves. On occasion, they drove the herd on foot as long as 620 miles (1000 kilometers) for a fair.
The largest cattle fairs were held in Vienna, Munich, Strasburg and Venice. To cross the Danube River, animals either swam by thousands, or were transported on ferryboat. In King Matthias’s time (1458-1490), Hungary was just as prosperous as Europe’s leading states, and this is in part due to the prevalence of gray cattle keeping. In the Kiskunsag region, cattle herding remained a tradition up to the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, cattle are grazed across the pastures of the National Parks year round, being integral parts of the puszta scenery as is the above mentioned sweep well or the legendary mirage. The cattle brave the often extreme weather conditions of the puszta – winter freezes, summer heat, thunderstorms –, the cows often giving birth to their calves on the February snow. Gray cattle herds are essential for the upkeeping of the protected grasslands; therefore, Kiskunsag National Park owns a herd of 1500, to preserve the gene pool, and to maintain the protected natural environment. Their meat is used for fine Hungarian specialties, such as salami, ham, and fatty.
Aquaponics is defined as a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish (or other aquatic animals) supplies nutrients for plants that are grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. This makes aquaponics an inexpensive, eco-friendly way of efficiently producing a lot of food in a small amount of space, especially in metropolitan environments.
The word aquaponics comes from the melding of two slightly more familiar terms: aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture is often defined as fish or shellfish farming, while hydroponics refers to growing plants in a water solvent (i.e. without soil). Aquaponics combines these two ideas together.
Aquaculture can often be problematic because it produces a lot of polluted water and disease due to excess fish excretions, which have nowhere to go. Hydroponics usually relies on chemical inputs for the nutrition needed to grow plants without soil. Cleverly, aquaponics takes the fish poop and uses it to feed the plants, and the plants clean the water.
By blending natural nutrient cycling and food cultivation, aquaponics can produce tons of food in a small fraction of the area used by monoculture farms. Impressively, it does so without creating the myriad pollution and disease problems that often come from feedlots.
Even large-scale versions of well-designed aquaponics systems typically require just one small pump in order to keep the water cycling from fish tank to growing bed. Even a basic solar-powered pump will suffice. From the growing beds, the filtered water is fed back down to the fish tank using gravity. In other words, these symbiotic systems require very little energy.
In aquaponic systems, fish are farmed to provide food. Plants are grown from the waste of fish to produce more food and help clean the water. Unlike in land-based agricultural systems, this water can then be reused. So the system also requires much less water overall. Many believe this type of eco-friendly system is what the future of food is going to have to look like.
Integrated landscape management is a way of managing a landscape that brings together multiple stakeholders, who collaborate to integrate policy and practice for their different land use objectives, with the purpose of achieving sustainable landscapes.
Integrated landscape management is one approach to addressing the major global challenges of poverty, food security, climate change, water scarcity, deforestation and loss of biodiversity at the local level. Proponents of integrated landscape management argue that as these challenges are interconnected, coordinated approaches are needed to address them, in order for landscapes (heterogenous geographic areas) to generate multiple benefits. For example, one river basin can supply water for towns and agriculture, timber and food crops for smallholders and industry, and habitat for biodiversity; the way in which each one of these sectors pursues its goals can have impacts on the others.The integrated approach goes beyond traditional sector-based practices that manage these different land uses independently of each other, even where they depend on the same resource base. The intention is to manage landscapes in a joined-up way, so that society's needs can be met in the short term, and in the long term.
Integrated landscape management is increasingly recognised and taken up by intergovernmental bodies, government initiatives, research institutes, and some of the world's largest conservation NGOs, resulting in an increase in the number of examples of the approach in practice. However, barriers to uptake include difficulties in monitoring integrated landscape management and the proliferation of definitions and terms relating to it.
There aren’t many ingredients needed to make cheese; milk, rennet (used for the coagulation of milk into curd), lactic ferments and salt. Certain flavoured cheeses contain other ingredients, either in the cheese itself or in the rind, like thyme, chives, paprika...and sometimes even ingredients considered slightly more ‘exotic’ like seaweed or edible flowers.
To be classed as organic, the milk is subject to strict regulations. The breeding part of the process can involve big restraints. The production and transformation of the milk is also strictly regulated but to a lesser extent.
An organic herd that eats organic food
Concerning breeding, organic regulations opt for extensive farming.
The herd must consume organically certified crops. Several principals aim to develop the natural fertility of the soil. The soil-enriching agents cannot contain chemical fertilizers and instead, the spreading of manure is preferred. The use of pesticides and other chemical products as well as GM products is forbidden. Even if certain corn crops or silage are suitable for organic farming, it is highly advised to sow species which encourage good fertility in the soil, such as legumes and those which are naturally resistant to bad weather and diseases etc.
Daily food ration must be composed of dry matter, 60% of which must be high fibre, such as grass, beetroot and corn, either fresh, dried or ensiled.
The well-being of the animals is taken into account, including the size of grazing pastures, and living space. The maximum number of dairy cows per hectare is 2 (13.3 for sheep and goats).
Even though it isn’t obligatory, organic farming strongly encourages the use of local breeds, adapted to the climate. This detail is linked to the controlling of prophylaxis (the prevention of the appearance or development of a disease), since treatments of chemically based medication or antibiotics are very restricted (only three treatments are permitted during the year, because of isolation of the animal and increase in waiting time)
Salt doesn’t have to be organic, as it is not a product of agricultural origin but of mineral origin.
Micro-organisms such as rennet and lactic ferment cannot be organically certified, and is therefore not important in production. However, they must not be genetically modified.
For products of agricultural origin, a list of ingredients and additives which aren’t organic but authorised exists, and appears in the 2008 regulations.This is only possible if an organic version of the product does not exist and does not exceed 5%. On this list you find vegetable carbon, for example, used to make ash-coated goats cheese and morbier. However annatto (used as a food colouring), thyme and all other herbs, and also seaweed etc. must be certified as organic.
Blue cheeses are made with certain bacteria such as penicillium roqueforti, which are made with micro-organisms that cannot be certified as organic.
And finally for cheeses made with alcohol, only organic alcohol can be used.
Chicken that’s labeled “organic,” must be raised according to strict EU rules from its second day after hatching.
These rules include:
- No antibiotic use. It is prohibited to give drugs, antibiotics and hormones to organic birds. (You should also note that it is not legal to give hormones to any chicken.) If a chicken being raised organically gets sick and needs antibiotics, it has to be taken out of the organic program. More than half of the antibiotics fed to factory-farmed animals, including chickens, are identical to the ones administered to humans. There have been major advancements from the chicken industry to reduce the amount of human antibiotics fed to chickens. Overuse of such antibiotics can lead to strains of bacteria resistant to the antibiotic, opening doors wider to the potential for human disease.
- Access to pasture. Organic rules do not say how much time a chicken must spend outdoors, rather that it must be able to access the outdoors. This outdoor access could be through a small door in a large warehouse that contains thousands of chickens or it could be that the chickens are pasture-raised throughout their whole lives.
- Organic feed only. Chickens must be fed certified-organic feed for their entire lives. This includes organic grains, feeds and supplements approved by the NOP rules. Organic grains are not genetically modified and are produced according to NOP standards. Certified-organic chicken feed will not contain animal by-products; grains treated with synthetic chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers; or synthetic amino acids. Organic chicken feed is, of course, antibiotic-free.
- Organic pasture land. Pastures where organic chickens are kept have to be certified organic and managed according to NOP standards.
- Third-party inspection. Organic chicken farms are inspected annually by a third-party certification body to ensure those standards are met. These certification inspectors might come from a state department of agriculture, a nonprofit agricultural organization or a company that offers organic consulting services.
In the Western world, organic livestock production is often claimed to be more sustainable. Many agricultural professionals, however, state exactly the opposite. Is it possible to figure out who is right? A team of Dutch researchers dived into the matter to find an answer. Below you can find the conclusions collected by the researchers of Wageningen University, Netherlands.
Advantages of conventional systems:
• Lower labour requirements per unit product;
• Lower income risk per animal;
• Higher production per animal per time unit;
• Higher reproduction numbers;
• Lower feed conversion ratio (FCR);
• Lower land use;
• Generally lower acidification and eutrophication potential per unit product;
• Equal or better udder health for cows; and
• Equal or lower microbiological contamination.
Advantages of organic systems
For organic systems, the researchers found a different range of advantages. They touched on the following:
• Higher income per animal or full time employee;
• Lower impact on biodiversity;
• Lower eutrophication and acidification potential per unit land;
• Equal or lower likelihood of antibiotic resistance in bacteria; and
• Higher beneficial fatty acid levels in cow milk.
Both systems are winners
For most sustainability aspects, sometimes conventional and sometimes organic systems performed better, except for productivity, which was consistently higher in conventional systems. As with many scientific research, the authors closed off stating that more data are needed to conclude on a difference between organic and conventional livestock production systems.
Starting a cattle farm for organic meat requires a set of application. Organic beef is one of the fastest growing sectors of the natural foods market. If you want to start a cattle farm for organic beef the cattle must have free access to the outdoors. The organic cattle farming defined as the animal that feeds only on certified organic herbs and grains. And also free of hormones and other potentially harmful medications, which is popular in conventional livestock production.
Steps to raise beef cattle organically:
- Keep calves that have large pelvises, and remember to choose a bull whose mother also had a large pelvis. These statistics should be available at the test stations.
- Test bulls for STDs, scrotal circumference, the number of sperm and general physical health before breeding.
- Use the bulls that known to have fathered quality calves. Keep only the bull the best for your herd. The artificial method allows you to choose from a much wider range of bulls. It is also quite laborious. It requires that you synchronize the estrus cycles of the female and that it can detect the first signs that the cows are in heat.
- Keep your cows and heifers in good condition.
- Breeding record dates accurately. So that you will be able to feel for signs of pregnancy and determine if a cow has conceived as soon as possible.
- Inspect potential livestock carefully to make sure they are organic before buying them. Sometimes cow’s hormones can ruin their organic character.
- Do not limit the movement of your livestock. Organic cattle should have ample freedom to roam and graze at will, making a large. Enclose necessary for the comfort of your organic livestock.
Achillea millefolium –Common Yarrow
Achillea refers to the hero "Achilles" of the Trojan War. He is said to have discovered the plant and used it for wound healing. Millefolium means thousand-petalled and refers to the many finely branched leaves, in the doctrine of signatures an dication of the finely branched blood vessels.
The Common Yarrow flowers from the beginning of June until late autumn. Healing plant part is the flowering herb without root.
The Common Yarrow is especially beneficial for women and helps with typical gynecological problems. In homeopathy, Common Yarrow is also used for varicose veins, cramping pain and itchy skin conditions. A Common Yarrow in the bath water relieves pain in gout and rheumatism.
Use: as a tea, for baths, wraps, rinses, spice, face washes on skin problems (even psoriasis), for yellowing wool, …
Common Yarrow tea
The flowers are harvested exceptionally for noon heat. Then the essential oil is strongest in all plant parts. The Common Yarrow contains the essential oil not only in the flowers, but in the whole plant. That's what makes them so valuable.
Common Yarrow essential oil
The oil is very kind to the skin, has a strong mental stabilizing effect and leads back into the middle. It is only slightly dosed. 1 drop in a mixture with 50 ml base oil is sufficient.
Common Yarrow syrup
From the flowers can be made an aromatic syrup.
Common Yarrow oil extract
A massage on the scalp also helps with hair loss, either due to hormonal disorders or after chemotherapy. Even after irradiation, yarrow oil helps to rebuild the sensitive skin.
Fill fresh flowers with the upper part of the stalk and the leaves in a jar and pour over olive oil or almond oil (all parts must be well covered).Cover the glass with a cloth and leave it in a warm place for 14 days.Then filter the oil and fill in a dark bottle.
The time of waiting is over. The spring sun lets the first springblossoms sprout.
How about a spring cure?
Especially after the winter, Christmas and the carnival season, a spring cure is advisable. The early bloomers provide important vitamins and other ingredients that detoxify the body and make the humors flow.
One of the most important wild herbs in spring is certainly the wild garlic. The wild garlic is a true vitamin C donor and is used in many detoxification treatments. In addition to essential oil with sulfur compounds, it contains iron, magnesium and manganese. As soon as the first leaves sprout, you can collect them and prepare many great dishes. Most famous are wild garlic pesto, wild garlic potatoes or wild garlic strudel. But for a detoxification cure, it is advisable to apply a wild garlic tincture, as the time for collecting the leaves is very short. Many people think that the flowering time of wild garlic is over, but that's not true. So later, the buds can be collected and further processed into spread or put in vinegar. After flowering, the seeds can be collected and ground into wild garlic salt. The Wurzen can also be pickled. Defacto the whole plant can be used.
Wild garlic tincture
Collect young, fresh leaves before flowering and chop them, then pour into a screw-top glass and top up with alcohol (40%). After three weeks, the mixture can be filtered and bottled in dark bottles, preferably dropper bottles. As a cure, 10 - 20 drops can be taken three times a day. A wild garlic cure is also recommended by some physicians for heavy metal removal. Other plants that help us to say goodbye to poison are the dandelion, the nettle, linden leaves, yaw, etc.
Eat 3 leaves as soon as the leaves of the dandelion sprout every morning before breakfast. Chew these until no bitterness is felt, then swallow them. Dandelion stimulates especially the bile activity and helps the liver. You can also make tea from the leaves or dig up the roots, dry them and process them into dandelion coffee.
The roots of the dandelion are cleaned, minced and dried. Then you can roast the dried roots as needed in a pan without oil and then grind. Now you can prepare coffee as usual. With cinnamon and cocoa, the coffee can be refined.
The stinging nettle purifies the blood and stimulates kidney activity. Stinging nettle is great for pesto or nettle quiche, etc. But watch out, too much of it can hurt the body and irritate the kidneys too much. Therefore, nettle tea should not be drunk for more than three weeks.
100 g nettles, 200 g cream cheese, 2 cloves of garlic, some lemon juice, salt and pepper
Mince the nettles, press the garlic, mix all ingredients, season to taste - done!
The Bishop's weed has always been a popular spring plant, has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and fortifying. He is a great wild vegetable / spice and can be used in the kitchen in many ways, as a spread, in soups, in strudels, etc.
Bishop’s weed herb cream
2 cloves of garlic
8 - 12 pieces of rusk
50 young leaves from the bishop’s weed
10 stems of parsley
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
125 ml sunflower oil
100 g curd cheese
Honey at will
Salt, pepper, Tabasco
Crumble the rusk, mince the garlic cloves, clean the yaw, carrots and other herbs and cut them into small pieces. Mix with the mixer, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and oil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and honey and then finish with the curd cheese and season again.
Fresh tree leaves revitalize our body forces and provide important selenium. Linden leaves fit in every salad and are freshly picked buttery. Have fun detoxifying!