Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: marshmallow
From: (Dale Woika)
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 05:40:44 GMT

charles.hersey writes:
> > Are there any recipes for making marshmallows from real marshmallow.
>It seems to me that Mallow is a wild growing plant. In late spring they give off these large white flowers, sometimes pink. A short time later they develop what are called <<mini-mallows>>.
>If the weather doesn't knock them off, these can become regular size marshmallows. Of course, wild marshmallows aren't as good as the commercial ones. Just kiddin'.
>The" fact" is that marshmallow is a misnomer.
>The real name is <<Musk Mallow>>. It's from the Malva family <<Malvacae>> in Latin.
>The real name is actually <<Mallow>>. The Musk is for the odor of the wild Mallow. Malva is a name given to a domesticated Mallow plant, that does not have the odor of it's ancient wild cousin.
>Folks who call Mallow, by the name marshmallow, are not misleading people like you. They are enchanting you.

OK, OK, I'm getting tired of this.

The Marsh Mallow, Althaea officinalis, is a familiar plant around brackish marshes & along the bays of the eastern USA seaboard. It is not particularly abundant, so use discretion when harvesting it. The plant grows in clumps, & the roots are these big carrot-like objects, which are easy to dig out of sandy soils. The roots are mucaligous (semi-slimy). Gather a few of these and wash them carefully. Remove the outer layer of the roots & cut the inner core into bite-sized sections. Drop these pieces into a boiling very heavy sugar syrup & cook until the syrup gets very thick, but stop before the sugar carmelizes. Spoon the pieces onto a prepared cookie sheet to cool.

We tried this two times. Both times the final product was interesting, sweet, chewy, but not exceptionally good. We found, however, the roots can be parboiled to reduce the slimyness & then added to other veggies like a stir-fry. It was better this way.

FYI, the Musk Mallow, Malva moschata, the Common Mallow (cheeses) Malva neglecta, & the High Mallow, Malva sylvestris, are common all over the U. S. & CN. The young seed pods are pretty good to eat when young, but it takes a lot of them to make any kind of a meal. Only the Marsh Mallow has the rootstock which is big enough to use as a vegge.