Amazing Anise Hyssop

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Belsinger

Agastache foeniculum

——————–Agastache foeniculum——————-

While commonly called anise hyssop, the odor is more similar to French tarragon, though sweeter, with a hint of basil. The foliage and flowers taste similar to the aroma—sweet, with the licorice of tarragon and basil—and just a bit floral.

All of the thirty or so Agastache species are good for honey production and make great ornamental perennials. The flowering plants go well with the silver-leaved species of mountain mint (Pycnanthemum), which flower about the same time in the July garden and also provide good bee forage. The young, broad, dark green leaves of A. foeniculum, tinged purple in cool weather, are attractive with spring bulbs such as yellow daffodils.

Agastache species do not have GRAS status, even though the leaves of many species have been used for centuries as a substitute for French tarragon, infused in syrups…

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Cooking with Monarda

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Belsinger

(Blogmaster’s note: With Monarda currently in its full glory here in zone 7, we’re posting this recipe so you can take advantage of its unique flavors while it’s still in bloom. Serve these tasty treats at your next summer celebration!)

—————————–Monarda didyma—————————-

Monarda (commonly called bee balm or bergamot) is a native American herb named after a Spanish physician and botanist, N. Monardez, of Seville. Its unusual and ornamental flowers possess a distinctly architectural character with their rather bristly, shaggy-headed colorful appearance. All species attract bees and are good honey plants. Right now, my stands of the various bee balms are abuzz with activity from dawn until dusk. The twelve species of Monarda, all native to North America, offer a wide assortment of flavors and fragrances—from lemon to thyme to pungent oregano to tealike and rose—produced on annual or perennial plants. So sniff and…

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It’s A Lavender Season! Lavender Association of Colorado

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The cultivar of the Month

Lavender coloradoJune 2020 Cultivar of the Month
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote Pink’

Hidcote Pink is another versatile lavender grown in Colorado.  It is an excellent culinary variety.  It produces an exceptionally sweet oil that several growers use in conjunction with other lavender essential oils to make unique blends.  Planted with purple lavenders, the pink flowers make the purple flowers “pop” in the landscape.
Hidcote Pink is not really good for crafting as in drying it loses its pink color and dries to a brown.
Hidcote Pink plants are 30-40″ tall.  Stems are in the 6-10″ range.  Spacing the plants 36″ apart should allow them to remain separate over the years.
Hidcote Pink was developed by Major Lawrence Johnston in Gloucester, England, and became available around 1958.  It is hardy in zones 5-9.  It blooms once in the spring.

lavender dilution

Dilution The Key To Using Essential Oils Safely

We…

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Food as Medicine: Moringa (Moringa oleifera, Moringaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Moringa oleifera is one of the 12 known Moringa species in the horseradish tree family (Moringaceae) that flourish in drier parts of the world.1 Nine species occur in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia, of which eight moringa flowersare endemic to Africa, and three species occur in India.1,2 Belonging to the Brassicales order, this plant family is distantly related to cruciferous vegetables like arugula (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa, Brassicaceae) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica, Brassicaceae) and contains many of the same nutrients and sulfurous phytochemicals.1,3 Moringa species grow as stout-stemmed trees or shrubs. Some species are known as bottle trees and have a large root system that enhances water storage and aids the trees’ survival during periods of drought.1 Members of the Moringa genus have corky gray bark and distinct bi- or tri-pinnately compound leaves that have conspicuous swellings, or pulvini, at…

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4 Fascinating Orange Mushrooms Worth Learning

Greetings,

Orange is not the first word that comes to mind when most people think about a hemlock forest.  Greens, grays, tans, and browns are instead the colors that typify these densely shaded areas — especially as the early days of summer approach.

With careful observation, however, and with a directed focus on the fungal world, any color can easily make itself known in a dark forest.

On a recent walk through one of these areas, the only mushrooms that I encountered were orange.  Of course, I thought nothing of it upon seeing the first orange species, and I wasn’t too surprised after finding a second orange mushroom either.

But then I found a third, and eventually a fourth.

And I inevitably thought to myself, “Someone should document this.”

Fortunately, I brought my camera along for the adventure and decided to film the orange mushrooms that were appearing in succession.  All four mushrooms are fascinating, though a few of them are often overlooked and underappreciated despite their brilliant coloration.

If you are interested in learning more about orange mushrooms that may be growing in a forest near you, check out the new video.

When I am not looking down at the forest floor for plants and mushrooms, I am looking up into the canopy for birds of all colors.  Fortunately, I live in a region characterized by its avian diversity, and if you are interested in seeing some of the birds that have recently posed for my camera, check out the Learn Your Land Instagram page.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

NATIONAL HERBS AND SPICES DAY

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Celebrating flavor each year on June 10th, National Herbs and Spices Day recognizes the diversity and quality offered by using both fresh and dried herbs and spices in your cooking.

All year long, herbs and spices are essential to cooking. But as the summer heats up, developing a knack for cooking with fresh herbs will bring brightness and flavor to your grilling and your kitchen. They not only add flavor to your meals but herbs and spices also add color bringing a vibrancy that might otherwise be missed.

Raising your own herbs can be a form of relaxing therapy, too. Herbs and spices have been used for many hundreds of years, and besides making our food delicious, each has its specific health benefits. Growing your own herbs and spices is a great way to add fresh variety to your food. Herbs raised in your home add an aromatic and natural fragrance…

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Marchpane Cookies for the Rose Queens — Gather Victoria

Marchpane was one of the most popular Tudor confections – at least for those who could afford it. Created from costly ground almonds, sugar and rosewater, moulded into shapes and baked, decorated with coloured glazes, gilded fruit and “comfits”, then assembled into elaborate centrepieces, it was found only on the most aristocratic and royal tables. …

via Marchpane Cookies for the Rose Queens — Gather Victoria

Black Pepper – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Black pepper, Piper nigrum, is a ubiquitous spice that can be found on tables anywhere in the world where food is served. But what is the story behind this popular spice that is used in kitchens the world over? 

P. nigrum is native to the Malabar Coast of southern India. It is also grown in other parts of the tropical world, including Vietnam, which has taken the lead in production by exporting 287,000 tons of black pepper worth $722 million in 2019. This is about 35% of the world’s black pepper trade. 

pepppercorn drupe from Missouri Botantical Garden Pepppercorn drupes. Photo credit: Missouri Botantical Garden

Black pepper is a perennial vine with heart shaped leaves and pendulous flowers. It is grown for its fruit, which is dried and then used as a seasoning. The black pepper vine grows in my Zone 8b garden; however, it has yet to produce any peppercorns, although…

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Wild Food Profile – Eastern Hemlock Buds: Fresh Eating, Tea, and Eastern Hemlock Bud Dressing

The Druid's Garden

Eastern Hemlock is one of my very favorite trees.  The tall, regal personal, the needles and branches that offer a bluish light beneath them as the sun shines, the cathedral-like quality of the ancient ones. This time of year, you can see the bright green buds on the Eastern Hemlock that represent the growth of the tree for this season.  As the buds grow older, they darken to the beautiful viridian green that is characteristic of the Eastern Hemlock tree. But, for the short window of time when the trees are budding–right now–Eastern Hemlock buds are a delicious treat.

Harvesting Eastern Hemlock buds

We happen to have many of these trees on our property, and some of the branches are starting to grow into our paths and have to be trimmed back. There are thousands of beautiful tiny green buds on each of the branches to be trimmed, which…

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Be On The Lookout For This Elusive & Bizarre Edible Mushroom

Greetings,

Over the next few months, a strange wild mushroom will manifest from the trunks of oaks and other deciduous trees.  At first glance, this fungus resembles a scarlet-colored spaceship.  Upon closer inspection, however, and especially upon internal inspection, this mushroom literally looks like raw meat.

The Beefsteak Polypore is a mushroom unlike any other.  In some parts of Europe, this species is considered rare.  Here in North America, summer and autumn sightings of the Beefsteak Polypore aren’t infrequent, though they’re not incredibly common either.  The underside of this mushroom is comprised of tiny tubes that aren’t connected to one another, and the mushroom’s taste is mildly acidic… almost reminiscent of a tangy portobello mushroom.

Needless to say, the Beefsteak Polypore is one mushroom worth adding to your must-see list of 2020.

To learn more about this fascinating fungus, you can view the following video for the next few days.  This video is one of over 70 exclusive videos featured in Foraging Wild Mushrooms — a four-season online course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.

Registration for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open until Monday, May 25th at midnight.  After May 25th, registration will be closed.

If you’ve ever considered harvesting wild mushrooms but didn’t know where to start, or where to go, or how to discern between edible and poisonous species, Foraging Wild Mushrooms will equip you with the skills necessary to ensure that your harvests are safe and successful.

To get a sneak peek into the kinds of content found within the course, please enjoy this video.

A portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect and restore exceptional places and forests for the benefit of present and future generations.

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support.

-Adam Haritan