It was far too frickin freezing this morning to be outside. It was so cold that I even invited a Jehovah’s Witness in for a cup of tea. He politely declined, sensing I was a woman who simply couldn’t be saved and carried on his way. He was after all on a mission from God.
The gentleman did leave me some reading material that, surprisingly, did catch my botanical interest. Awake magazine’s July 2011 issue has an article about cork. I haven’t paid much attention to cork, even though it is an often-met hurdle between me and a glass of some sparkling elixir. But the JW magazine has, and here I summarise some of the most interesting tidbits.
- The outer layer of bark from the cork oak tree is phenomenally useful due to it’s light, fire-resistant, insulation and elastic properties.
- Harvesting is done completely by hand and top-quality corks are still punched by hand.
- The trees are first harvested at 25 years. The bark regrows and is harvested every 9-10 years after that. The best quality wine corks are taken from trees that are at least 50 years old.
- Spain and Portugal’s cork forests support several birds in danger of extinction – the imperial eagle, the black vulture and the black stork -as well as the Iberian lynx.