Russian comfrey

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vivienz
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Russian comfrey

Postby vivienz » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:28 am

We have a variety of comfrey, which I believe to be Russian comfrey, growing abundantly on our site. It's lower growing, more compact and more decorative than the standard variety. Other than the size difference, is anyone aware of whether I shouldn't use this for making comfrey tea?
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Westi
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby Westi » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:52 pm

Oops - never heard of it! A couple of decades growing & still learning!
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vivienz
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby vivienz » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:59 pm

Well, it's in the bucket, so I will post on it's state of stinkyness in about 14 days time!
Lockdown seems to have led me into a fervour of fermentation. I often make bread and have always had a reasonable stock of flour in my cupboard but was dismayed when, along with bread flour, all the yeast ran out in the shops, too. There was only one thing for it - sourdough. I will say now, this was a dangerous experiment. Dangerously delicious, tempting (irresistable!) and easy bread. Just so good. Then I moved onto milk - homemade whole milk yoghurt using milk from cows about 3 miles up the road. Too good. Hubby now sees it as carte blanche to eat as much of the stuff as he likes - 1.5l in the last 7 days. He will start fizzing soon, at that rate! Comfrey is just the next logical step, really, although I've found a couple of tins of homebrew concentrate that will have to be used up and next month, of course, there will be all those lovely elderflowers to chuck in a bucket with some yeast.
I may have to investigate the joys of kimchi next, although I've heard that it can almost rival comfrey tea so I shall have to think about that one!
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Stephen
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby Stephen » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:49 pm

Yes, the absence of yeast in the shops - what has come over everyone? After all the baking show has been on for ages.
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vivienz
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby vivienz » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:22 pm

It turns out that sourdough makes the most amazing pizza base, too. I say again - DANGEROUS!

Actually, I forgot another bit of scheduled fermentation. I acquired some cheese starter culture and rennet, so when I get a spare moment and my sourdough is at the right spot, I plan to have a go at making mozzarella. Or ricotta. Or both. Or some new clothes with larger waistlines.
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Geoff
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby Geoff » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:36 pm

My wife has been making cheese from raw milk supplied illegally I guess from a nearby farm but the whey makes amazing bread.
Back to thread, I think comfrey is comfrey when it comes to fertiliser / composting use, I haven't heard of Russian comfrey but perhaps it is just one with fertile seeds so is not often grown.
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Colin2016
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby Colin2016 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:53 am

I have Russian comfrey which I make tea with, very smelly. I believe it does invade the plot as has no seeds.

"It is a member of the Borage and Forget-me-not family (Boraginaceae). Our researches have shown that ‘Bocking 14’, a cultivar of Russian comfrey, has a higher nutrient content than the common wild comfrey, and its leaves can be cut several times in a season. It also produces very few seeds for germination, and therefore it won’t dominate your growing area."

Regards making "sourdough" what doe you use as alternative for buttermilk?
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vivienz
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby vivienz » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:05 am

Thanks, Colin, very helpful.
I don't use buttermilk for sourdough,it's just the culture, flour, water and salt. I get a little whey off the yoghurt I've been making but nothing much else.
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Johnboy
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby Johnboy » Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:40 am

The HDRA through Lawrence Hill put out first Bocking 4 which can be quite invasive and best cut before any seeding can take place then Bocking 14 which doesn't seed in UK and what you grow is what you get. I have been using Comfrey for over fifty years and there are many different varieties of Comfrey and as far as I am aware even the dwarf variety grown as a perennial flower as ground cover in flower beds still has the same fertilizing qualities. Russian Comfrey has a blue to almost violet coloured flowers and if you are canny you can get up to five cuts from either Bocking 4 or Bocking 14. Our Comfrey gets a very good feed of Pigs Slurry every autumn after the last cut. When I grew potatoes my very first cut of Comfrey, which is a little sparse, my seed potatoes were always wrapped in just one leaf to help it on it's way. We now grow potatoes on the farm in some quantity so the back breaking days are over. (some years now!)
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vivienz
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Re: Russian comfrey

Postby vivienz » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:01 am

Thanks, Johnboy, good to know! From your description, ours may not be Russian comfrey as it has white through to pink flowers and is only about 30cm high at maximum growth. We let it do its thing as the bees and pollinators love it and it comes into flower early, plus it's one of the few plants that seems to survive our native heavy clay soil here. My first bucket full should be ready in a week or two. I've got my eye on the nettles next so that I can feed them to my brassicas when they're ready.
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