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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Comfrey fritters

We have a large comfrey plant in the garden (I'm not sure there's any other kind) which apparently is good for making plant food, especially for tomatoes.

comfrey
Comfrey growing in the spud patch. I was rather proud of myself for recognising this last autumn, and so not digging it up

I recently discovered that humans can eat it too, so I decided to have a go at making comfrey fritters. It's pretty simple - you pick leaves, dip them in batter, and fry them. I didn't have any eggs, but I'd heard that vegan pancakes can be made with beer, and I did have a bucketful of half-brewed beer.


Comfrey leaves and beer batter (Put flour in bowl. Add beer. Mix.),
all ready to go.

The results were pretty tasty, but I had a headache and felt a bit peculiar afterwards. That could have been a complete coincidence, or because I didn't have lunch until four in the afternoon, or something to do with the sheer volume of oil those things absorbed when cooking. I thought I'd better try them again before telling you about it. There are some concerns about the effects of comfrey on the liver (as well as a list of claimed benefits as long as your arm), not that that would make you feel odd after eating them. Alcohol isn't too good for the liver either, and I'm not going to consume either of them in large quantities every day.*

I had them for lunch again yesterday and felt fine afterwards, so it was probably nothing to do with the comfrey the previous time.

confrey leaf fritters
Comfrey leaf fritters

They're nice and pretty filling, but not hugely exciting. I can't really describe the taste - it's fairly bland, but there's more to it than the batter alone. It's good to have some kind of sauce to go with them - I tried ketchup and sweet chilli sauce, and both were good. They are a fiddle to cook because you can't get very many in the pan at the same time and being thin, they tend to fold up. Some of them stayed crispy while I cooked the others and some went floppy - I guess it was something to do with how hot the oil was when I cooked them. I'm not entirely sure they're worth the effort but on the other hand...

... I was about to say this is really cheap, then I started to work it out (mindful of the fact that £1 a day challenge I wimped out of is this week):

2 oz flour - about 1p, so far so good
100 ml home-brew beer - 5p (it might not have been that much beer)
65 ml sunflower oil - 10p (again, possibly an exaggeration, but it was a lot!)
10 ml chilli sauce - 6p
Total : 22p

OK, 22p isn't a lot, but it's more than twice as much as the bread and butter that Ian had for lunch at the same time. So... quite a fiddle to cook (and frying sets off the smoke alarm), OK but not particularly exciting flavour, and cheap, but not as cheap as what I'd usually have. I'm not sure I'll bother with these very often, though I'll probably have them occasionally.

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*This is my judgement. If you want to try them for yourself, you should look up what people say about the risks and benefits and make your own decision. Or you can follow my example if you like, but that's still your decision not mine.

2 comments:

  1. Another interesting read - I've never eaten comfrey so thanks for experimenting. Shame they weren't too exciting though.

    Perhaps you could try a more pancake-y batter? My (grand)mother-not-in-law makes courgette flower fritters with eggs and flour -- again, possibly not the most exciting thing in the world but possibly a little more substantial than the flat leaves (although I guess it would be more expensive if you don't have your own chickens). If we had our own comfrey here, I'd experiment too - but I have the fear about sowing comfrey (the fear that it'll take over!).

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  2. With very fresh eggs, a pancake batter would be an improvement, but otherwise I'm not sure it would make much difference. The batter is fine, it's the leaves that are a little dull. They are surprisingly substantial, though. Don't get me wrong, they're quite nice, but for the amount of effort involved, I'd like something more than that. Come to think of it, when they're hot and crispy, they're very nice. Maybe I just need to get better at making them ;-)

    I'd like to try courgette flowers too sometime, but I'm not growing any this year.

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