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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Crafting Herbal Extracts…. – My Herbal Adventures…

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

I shared Anne’s email with you and a bit of her website for she is my herbalist, my go-to for tinctures, extracts, balms, etc. I have complete trust in her expertise, the products she endeavors to create, her passion, and drive. I am honored and pleased to introduce you to Anne, my herbalist, and friend.

By the way, here is the link to Anne’s shop…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnnesBackyardHerbal

by aspiringherbalist

I have now been crafting herbal extracts, mainly; Tinctures, Glycerites, Vinegars & Skincare Oil infusions, for 4 years now. Even though I am no expert and consider myself a novice, I have learned a new lesson every year. As I learn and read and discover new ways of determining how to best create a plant extract that is both effective & well-rounded, I also have to consider its flavor, consistency and taste. I have experimented with different combinations of solvents over the…

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Peppermint – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Most of us, gardeners or not, are familiar with mint. But how many of us know that there is a distinctive difference between spearmint and peppermint? The difference between these two mints may be important depending on how you want to use them.

Peppermint, Mentha × piperita, is The Herb Society’s Herb of the Month for July.  Peppermint is really a hybrid of two mints, water mint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). . Being a hybrid, peppermint does not produce seeds. If you want to propagate it, you must either take cuttings or divide the plant. Like other mints, peppermint is a vigorous grower, so must be contained if you don’t want it growing everywhere in your garden.  It favors growing in rich, moist soil. Peppermint has a narrow, coarse leaf and flowers that are pink-lavender.  Spearmint, on the other hand, is…

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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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Botanical Brews – An introductory guide to using tropical specialty ingredients in beer

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Amanda Dix

(Blogmasters’ note: Experiencing craft beer is a high point for many connoisseurs these days. While beer in its various forms has been around for millennia, today’s brew-masters have taken beer to a whole new level by adding unique flavor combinations to their recipes. Capitalizing on that trend, many gardens and arboreta are incorporating special tasting events into their program repertoire that highlight the herbs that make each brew unique. Below are some of horticulturist and brewer Amanda Dix’s suggestions for upping your botanical beer game. Even if you don’t brew yourself, these might inspire you to try new things and understand how herbs are woven into this timeless beverage.)

Many culinary dishes and beverages are abundant with tropical herbs, spices, and fruit. Beer is no exception, and using unique ingredients alongside barley, hops, and yeast is very common these days.

When formulating a beer recipe, be sure…

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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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NAHA | Herbal Salves for Aromatherapy

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Herbal Salves for Aromatherapy

By Anna Pageau, NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®

What is a salve? A salve as defined by dictionary.com is “a medicinal ointment for healing or relieving wounds and sores.”1 Many over-the-counter remedies are salves such as Neosporin®. Lip balms are also a form of salve, so a salve doesnt have to be medicinal, just nourishing to the skin. Salves in general are a simple formula with just a few ingredients. They generally include an oil and a wax to create a semi-solid material. Today people use the terms lotion bars or balms to also describe salves.

These oil-rich salves are used to nourish and protect skin. They lock moisture in, keeping skin soft and smooth throughout the seasons. Salves can be made as thick as a bar of soap. A salve will remain in a solid state…

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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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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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