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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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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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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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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HSA Webinar: Growing and Using Herbs of the Southwestern Missions

The Herb Society of America Blog

Author Jacqueline Soule will be presenting this month’s webinar on Wed, March 25 at 1pm – click here to register. This article is excerpted from her book, Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today.

Epazote – An Efficacious ‘Erbcover kino

By Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule

Did you know that you can speak at least one word of Nahuatl, the language spoken in Mexico pre-conquest? Epazote is the Nahuatl name for Dysphania ambrosioides (formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides). English common names include wormseed, Jesuit tea, American wormseed, Mexican tea, and Jerusalem oak.

By the time of contact between the New and Old Worlds, epazote had been cultivated for well over a thousand years in southern and southeast coastal Mexico.  It was, and still is, a principal flavoring for a large number of Yucatan and Veracruz dishes and is indispensable for cooking black beans.

Epazote in Cooking

Like the Old World herbs…

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The Herbs and Spices of Thanksgiving! — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Originally posted on The Herb Society of America Blog: By Susan Leigh Anthony If we are lucky enough, most, if not all, of us have sat down to an annual Thanksgiving feast with our loved ones in late November. The house is filled with familiar aromas of the season that evoke a sense of warmth,…

via The Herbs and Spices of Thanksgiving! — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Herbal Recipes for Thanksgiving – Urban Moonshine

Good Witches Homestead

It’s the time of year when many of the simple joys of life become the heart and center of this season; spending time with family and friends, the coziness of winter, warm fires, mugs of mulled wine, and lovingly prepared meals.

So much of herbalism is about celebrating the life and benefits of the plants, and the way they support us throughout the seasons. Autumn, especially around Thanksgiving, is our time to enjoy the gifts of this year’s harvest.

Classic holiday meals can be enhanced by adding herbs to support your health. These dishes are sure to be crowd-pleasers with your nearest and dearest.

Enjoy, and cheers to good health!

MEDICINAL HERBAL STUFFING 

A classic holiday stuffing recipe made with rye bread and medicinal herbs and mushrooms.

Servings: fills two casserole dishes, about 15 servings. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 loaf of good dark rye bread
  • 1/2 cup sage, minced
  • 1/2 cup rosemary,

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Strawberry Tree Crumble Cake…The Magical Forgotten Fruit! — Gather Victoria

The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is an ornamental shrub that grows all over Victoria but its abundant, plush, juicy fruits just end up littering sidewalks. Seems no one remembers we’ve been eating these succulent fruits for thousands of years! Right now in the PNW the fruits are bright red, ripe and sweet (up to 40% sugar!)…

via Strawberry Tree Crumble Cake…The Magical Forgotten Fruit! — Gather Victoria

All Hallows Eve ‘Soul Cakes’

Hedgerow Vintage Shop & Blog

These little cakes are an old English tradition, Halloween (All Souls/All Hallows) is derived from the ancient Celtic festival called “Samhain” or “Feast of the Dead”. It has traditionally been celebrated with fasting and bonfires, especially on high ground, in order to light the soul’s way to heaven. “Souling” would take place the night before All Soul’s day, where “Soulers” would travel from door to door begging for soul-cakes and spiced ale in return for prayers and songs. It is thought this is the precursor to the ever popular trick or treating.

These are the words to the little song they would sing….

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!
Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, any good…

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