What do you use clover for?

I like clover! I like white clover and red clover, I can remember as a small child the pleasure on a warm sunny summer day to pick big fluffy heads of the most wonder purple and sucking on the sweet at the bottom of each tiny flower nub..  I have never been quite sure why red clover is called red, as the flowers are purple to my eye..

Clover in the pasture was a good thing, clover pulled and tossed to the chickens or given out to grandpa’s rabbits, would make critters cluck and coo or nibble in the most happy way.. but my mother never used clover in the kitchen that I am aware of.

Credit for the first time I had homemade clover tea goes to Miss T back when she was my roommate just as I hit my 20’s,  and I have never looked back, I missed clover something fierce when I lived in the artic and there was none.. no clover flowers for years in my life, I traded them for a different world view and culture and don’t regret it, it has helped make me who I am.

But now that I am back on a farm again, I seek out and grow my clover patches, some white, some red, some a mix of both, I use it as a green cover, I use it for bird feed, and for six months of the year, some is picked for the rabbits daily greens, I dry the flowers for my own use and I make at least a batch  or two of clover flower syrup. This is special to me, no using it one pancakes or icecream or as a meat glaze.. not this one..

Its used for when I have a cold, I mix up a couple tbsp of this with hot water and sip away., its a wonderful  sweet flower with nutty undertones 

This is a basic flower syrup but I have a few helpful hints to make sure it turns out the best possable for you.

  • Pick your flowers early in the morning, and be picky about them, you want young just coming out flowers with no damage or brown on the bottom of the flowers. yes it takes time to hand pick the flowers and you will need a good size patch of them.
  • Pick your flowers when they are dry, not wet from rain or dew
  • Pick only from patches you know have not been sprayed
  • Don’t overpick your patch, no more then half at any given time.
  • Use good quality water(I know, I know this one seems basic, but not everyone has the right water in their home wells to make good canning products!)

Clover flower Syrup Recipe

  • 4 cups of flowers (all Red, all White or a mix of both)
  • 2 cups of water

Put your flowers after carefully checking them over, and removing any green leaves or stems or brown spots on the flowers into your steel pot, cover with water and bring to a slow soft simmer for 20 min by which time all color should have leach out of the flowers, and you will be left with a very pretty yellow fresh flower tea.

Measure out your water, it should be two cups, if you want to use it right away, just bottle and cool and add honey or sugar as you use it, if you want to perserve it for winter, its a one to one rato is what I use.

So back into the cleaned steel pot goes the two cups of flower tea and two cups of sugar, bring to boil and simmer for two min, and then jar and process the pint jar for ten min and cool and store in a cool, dark place.

So you make clover flower tea? Do you dry clover? Do you make syrup and have a favorite way to use it?  Do you grow clover as a ground cover?A green Crop for the garden? or how about a big old patch for your smaller barn critters?

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20 Responses to What do you use clover for?

  1. Once again you are bringing light to the shadowy expanses of my not knowing. Until reading your blog, just quite how huge these shadowlands were was a mystery, but you keep finding new bits to reveal. I have never done anything with clover other than curse it and rip it out of beds that were supposed to be growing other things. I shall look at it in a whole new light now and add it to my collection of things I learnt on your blog. Oh, and as an aside, your very splendid pastry recipe will be debuting at our farmers’ market this Saturday :-).

    • Hi Queen

      Thanks for your kind comments and that’s Awesome news about the pastry recipe being at the farmers market this saturday, what are you making with it?

      Next time you rip out that clover, at least chop it up some and add it back to the bed to feed the soil or add to the compost pile etc.

      • Deb W says:

        Great advice!
        Ed Lawrence, CBC Radio One’s gardening guru, recommends 1/3 of your lawn be seeded with White Dutch Clover (the short kind) so you’ll never need to fertilise your lawn again because clover fixes nitrogen (takes it from the atmosphere and puts it into the ground).

      • Hi Deb

        Thanks for talking about the Nitrogen, I had said to use it for a green cover (by which I mean grow in the garden so that you don’t have bare soil) but one of the big reason’s to pick it as a green cover, which then gets turned into the dirt itself to rot, is because it fix’s Nitrogen in the ground.

      • You’ll be pleased to know that all our weeds ( except the bind weed) are composted :-). For the farm market, I think I’m going to make some individual size fruit pies, some cookies and something else, maybe a traybake/bar kind of thing. Any suggestions welcomed! These are to go with the market bags and washcloths and things we already make. I wanted to make pretzels, but they’re only really good fresh that day, and I dont really want to get up at 4am to make them :-D.

  2. Deb W says:

    Hey Farm Gal! Thanks so much for bringing back a wonderful childhood memory! Tell me, does Red Clover syrup taste the same as that sweet nectar I remember sucking out of each tiny little flower tube as a child?

    • Hi Deb

      I know, its a great memory is it not? I wish that it did taste like that sweet nectar, but it does not, its a light flower with a depth to it, and a nutty undertone, or at least that is what my take on it is.

      • Deb W says:

        Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to take the time to get out there and taste them again while gathering some for later!

  3. rjwoodland says:

    Never done anything with clover except feed it to the chickens and watch my busy bees gathering supplies from the flowers. How about the clover tea you mentioned – just take the flowers as they are and pore on boiling water? Or do you dry them?

    • Hi RJ

      You can make it with fresh flowers, by poring in the boiling water and letting it steep and then I tend to add a drop of honey and enjoy or yes, you can dry them, and use them in a flower mix or on their own, I use one heaping tbsp of dried to get the strength I like.

  4. Megan says:

    I used to pick a small purple part off and suck on the other end, which was almost always sugary and tasty.

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  6. Kat says:

    If your into making wine, red clover head wine is fairly easy to make, and tastes pretty epic too! Not to mention it turns a beautiful red color

  7. Keith says:

    It may be a lot more work but try to gather a bunch of clover and pull all the flower petals off the bud and then boil them, it might give you a bit more taste of the flower since your really only using the nectar part.

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