Our Group Head Kitchen Gardener, Ollie Hutson is a true expert in the garden, having worked in the Kitchen Gardens at THE PIGs since we opened nearly ten years ago. Ollie has overseen the design and management of all seven Kitchen Gardens at our PIGs and his team of twenty-five Gardeners produce upwards of fifty tonnes of produce annually – all of which are served in our restaurants.
There are all kinds of health benefits to be had from leaves found in the garden – from detoxing to fighting off colds. For all these infusions, just add a handful of leaves to freshly boiled water and steep for 10 minutes. Ahh, that’s better.
A handful of blackcurrant leaves mixed with boiling water makes a lovely infusion. You can even add some of the currants themselves to add a bit of colour and intensify the flavour. Like many similar plants, when blackcurrant leaf is consumed as an infusion, it can be very rich in antioxidants and in vitamin C. It’s said to fight viruses, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory.
The linden tree, or small-leaved lime, is one of the most common trees throughout Europe. Many parts of the linden tree have been used medicinally since ancient times, but nowadays it’s mainly the flowers that people use in infusions. These are generally used for treating coughs and colds, insomnia, anxiety and heart conditions.
To most people it’s just a nuisance, but the common stinging nettle has a surprising number of health benefits. With the right preparation, the leaves can be consumed raw, but they’re far easier to eat when cooked, as the stinging hairs are destroyed by the cooking process. Due to its high mineral and vitamin content, when drunk as an infusion, the humble nettle can be a fantastic detox, while simultaneously boosting the immune system. It’s also used to prevent or treat urinary infections, high blood pressure and gout.