Turn waterside pests into wine!
- Credit: Archant
Not content with sending out ‘balsam bashing’ volunteer work parties to clear the invasive Himalayan Balsam plants which threaten to take over our canal and river banks, the Inland Waterways Association has found a use for the balsam plants – home made wine!
In recent years the non-native plants have spread along the banks of many waterways, driving out native species – and then leaving the banks exposed and at risk of erosion in winter when the balsam dies down. They can spread very rapidly thanks to their seed pods which ‘pop’, scattering seeds some distance. So every July and early August, the IWA balsam bashing season sees volunteers pulling up the plants before they get a chance to go to seed.
But now, rather than simply disposing of the plants, the Association has come up with ideas for putting them to good use: the seeds can be used in curries or to make a peanut butter substitute, while the petals can be used to make wine. All you need is a litre of petals, plus sugar, raisins, lemons, water and yeast. For the recipe see: