As the season starts to change and the weather starts to become cooler, that time of year when we get to sit around the campfire is finally here.To most people, that lonely pit the next day is just a reminder of a good time, but to some there is something very special lying there in waiting.
The wood ash that is left, pretty much defines itself, it is just that, ash from the burning of wood, I know that sounds very elementary but stick with me. The ashes from wood has been used for centuries as an additive to their food because they knew of the importance of minerals for good health.
This included such minerals as calcium,manganese,iron,copper,zinc sodium,magnesium,potassium and phosphorus. The native Americans were known to add ash to their bread as a leavener.I even found a simple recipe in case you want to get authentic.
The addition of wood ash to condition soil was so important that it was the very first patent in the United States, yes U.S. patent #1 ,was the process of making potash and pearlash for the use of fertilizer.The U.S. had a booming industry exporting potash and pearlash to Great Britain.
Wood Ash and Gardening
Today wood ash is being reintroduced to the gardening community as more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of growing your own food. With its aforementioned mineral content and the ability to balance pH levels this has become a welcome commodity to organic farmers.
There are a few exceptions with plants that thrive on acidic soils,but for the most part it is a perfect amendment. There is also a great use for ash as a pest deterrent such as slugs,snails and other soft-bodied invertebrates,just sprinkle a little around your plants and the ash will dry them up.
Wood Ash in History
There were so many uses for wood ash it’s a shame that it got lost in the pages of history and some think that this has a direct correlation with the mineral deficiencies that are affecting so many people.With the advent of fossil fuels to heat homes and cook with our knowledge of adding it to our food has been lost.
Even some indigenous tribes still add it to their salt to make their supply of salt last longer.Even roman and ancient greek women used it for hair lightening, but I would suggest a professional before attempting this caustic task.
It doesn’t seem possible that something you poured water on or covered with dirt after a night of camping or just having fun with marshmallows practically held up whole civilizations and helped create and fund a nation like the U.S. Maybe this will make a great story that can be told around the campfire.So untill next time remember to eat healthy,stay fit,read the labels and help Stop the Poisoning