Marsh Mallows

Marsh Mallows

Scottsville, Virginia

Was paddling around in a swamp a few years ago and dug one of these plants up to bring home. Just a stalk and a bag of smelly black mud. Stuck it at the edge of the pond in the yard.

Now in summer you can’t see the pond for the flowers. Bushes five feet tall, flowers as big as your head.

A sort of wild hibiscus, these are the original Marshmallows from which the confection derives. The ones we put in smores and hot chocolate are synthetic now, but the originals were made from the roots of these flowers more that 4000 years ago in Egypt, and were reserved as food for gods and royalty. Back then it took two days of laborious processing to make marshmallows, not including the harvest and drying and prep of the roots.  It wasn’t until the 1800’s that they could be produced on a scale that plain folk could have them, too.

 

postcards from the road

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