In the medieval times, meadowsweet was a very popular stewing herb. Meadowsweet forms a basal clump of pinnate leaves, and bears dense, frothy, tall corymbs of almond scented, creamy white flowers to 1.2m in summer. The leaves smell like wintergreen when crushed. The plant occurs in moist meadows and around freshwater and is widely distributed across Asia and Europe.

Hardy meadowsweet will grow in full sun provided the soil is very moist. It prefers a well enriched alkaline soil. Propagate the species by seed in autumn, or by stratified seed and plant in spring, or by division in spring. Every 3 to 4 years lift and divide in autumn.

Cut the flowers when in full bloom and use fresh for culinary use. The flowers are used to flavour jams, stewed fruits and wine, as well as mead and Norfolk Punch.

Blackberry Mead

Filipendula ulmaria was originally grown purely for household use. Traditionally it was thrown on floors to create a pleasant aroma. It was a favourite herb of Queen Elizabeth 1 who had the herb strewn over the floors of her palaces. When walked on, the fragrance was released.

Information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs and The Essential Aromatherapy Garden.
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25 thoughts on “Meadowsweet

  1. I’m sure – correct me if I’m wrong – but wasn’t Meadowsweet used as a strewing herb (i.e. one which got thrown on the ground in communal eating halls etc.), rather than as a stewing herb? So far as I know, it’s culinary uses are as a flavour for beer, wine, vinegar and sometimes for jams. I just thought I should mention that, before someone decides to throw a great bunch in with their beef stew! LOL

    1. Jenny, thanks for popping in! I have the book at my office and I am home for the weekend but I will double check it on Monday 🙂

  2. What a lovely name. We used to gather these flowers from the country lanes, when we were children in England, and my mom would put them in a vase. Soon, the flowers would drop bits everywhere. 😉 I didn’t know that they had a use in the kitchen, but they’re very pretty.

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