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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Blackcurrant leaves and grandmother’s tea

Here is again something that had never occurred to me before, only after I started to write down my memories of my grandmother’s garden for you: I never realised that my grandmother never drank black tea. The black tea tradition in Eastern Europe is very strong. And everyone knows what a samovar is. My grandmother had one that was electric. But it just stood on top of the cabinet in the living room, where it presented its fully unused self. This metal container used to boil water was never used because my grandmother has always made tea from blackcurrant leaves and branches, raspberry leaves and a little bit of mint. She dried the leaves for use in the winter months. Nowadays you can just freeze the fresh leaves. The best time to collect them for this is in June.

I remember the taste very well. As a child I had always thought that the tea somehow tasted like chicken soup; I mean, the tea felt greasy in my mouth. I was convinced that raspberry leaves made the tea greasy; today I know that both the raspberry but also the currant leaves have essential oils in them that make tea have a "greasy consistency". The currant leaves make the tea incredibly aromatic. There’s a reason why currants are called "smorodyna" in Old Russian. The word "smorod“ means "strong odour".

But a strong odour is a matter of taste. My mother did not like such a tea and yet my father, although we only drank black tea, had to bring back plenty of blackcurrant leaves from my grandmother’s garden. They were then added to the countless jars of canned cucumbers, courgettes or tomatoes. Incidentally, the fresh, crushed leaves also help with insect bites. And for non-tea drinkers, here is something wonderful: blackcurrant “wine”.

It can be prepared as follows: chop up 70 fresh leaves and pour 150 ml of vodka over them. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for four days. After that, add 0.7 litres of red wine and 300 grams of sugar to the mixture of leaves and vodka. Stir carefully and allow the mixture to stand for 10 days before sieving and bottling. 

One sees that blackcurrant leaves are very important! My grandmother never ate the fresh berries; she probably did not like them. I am the same way. And she did not just want to throw them away. When they were really 100% ripe, my grandmother harvested them quickly (it is very important to be fast because those who are late with the harvest by two weeks lose up to 70% of the vitamin C content). She put the berries through a meat grinder, mixed them with lots of sugar, poured them in canning jars and placed them in her cold basement.

Cold basement? In hot summers, I loved to sit with my friends in the basement. It’s a really great thing, just to sit in the basement! Mysterious, like a fairy-tale. My grandmother took the opportunity and brought us bread with butter and currant jam, which we devoured with enthusiasm. It really is true: even unpleasant things tasted delicious in the basement. My grandmother knew this and waited for these short moments – in the very cold basement – to strengthen our immune systems.

And while we are talking about currants, I'll tell you about a somewhat strange, but – I am sure – very effective method of planting using eggs that my grandmother used:

Add a thin layer of ashes to the planting hole, then a 2 cm thick layer of soil; add three eggs, cover them with soil and then plant the plant itself. Add more soil and water sufficiently. Oh yes, it is best to soak the roots for about one hour in water before planting.

Lesya Kochubey


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