Herb Guide: Wild Thyme {Thymus serpyllum}

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Also, Known As:

  • Creeping Thyme
  • Mother-of-thyme
  • Wild Thyme

The wild thyme is native to the larger parts of Europe where the land is dry. The wild thyme is rare compared to the common thyme’s and is farmed extensively. Normally, wild thyme is found growing up to a certain altitude on the Alps, on high plateaus, in valleys, alongside trenches, roads, on rocks and also in infertile and dry soil. Wild thyme may also be found growing in moisture-laden clay soil that is improvised of chalk. Wild thyme’s can also be found in old rocky, deserted grounds, dried-up grass turfs and also on open lands. Particularly in England, wild thyme’s grow normally on moorlands and rocky terrains. Wild thyme is frequently cultivated as garden borders, in rock gardens or on the sunlit banks of rivulets and streams.

Wild thyme is a perennial herb. The herb’s sulky wooded stems grow up to a…

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Herb Guide: Oregano

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Origanum vulgare

Also, Known As:

  • Common Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • True Oregano
  • Turkish Oregano
  • Wild Marjoram
  • Winter Marjoram

The famous European herb called the oregano or the pot marjoram is a very familiar spice, botanical name Origanum vulgare. It is a common herb, and the European oregano is known to be a very hardy and perennial herb characterized by the presence of an erect, and somewhat hairy and well-branched stem, the leaves of the herb are also hairy. When fully grown, the plant can cross two feet in height, and is characterized by a very acrid and pungent odor, the fragrance of the plant is very strong, and has a sage-like an aroma, it also smells somewhat like another spice, the thyme – also used in a lot of European cuisines.

The oregano also refers to the pleasant and mint smelling European herb, the marjoram, or the wild marjoram as it is…

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Herb Guide: It’s About Thyme

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Thymus vulgaris

Also, Known As:

  • Black Thyme
  • Common Thyme
  • English Thyme
  • French Thyme
  • Garden Thyme
  • German Thyme
  • Serpyllum
  • Thyme
  • Tomillo
  • Winter Thyme

Thyme is a common name given to all the herbs belonging to the plant species called Thymus. The Thymus is indigenous to Europe and Asia and all plants belong to this species are usually low-growing and perennial. Among the different plants of this species, the common or garden thyme is regarded as the main variety and is used commercially for flowering as well as decorative purposes. The garden thyme is a small shrub bearing greyish-green leaves and flowers whose hues vary from white to pink or purple. Several countries in Europe, including Spain, Portugal, France, and Greece, as well as the United States, cultivate and harvest the thyme. Basically, there are three major types of thyme – French, English, and German, and each of them bears leaves of…

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Herb Guide: Growing and Using Rosemary

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Rosmarinus officinalis

Also, Known As:

  • Compass Weed
  • Dew of the Sea
  • Garden Rosemary
  • Incensier
  • Mary’s Mantle
  • Mi-tieh-hsiang
  • Old Man
  • Polar Plant
  • Rosemary
  • Rosemary Plant

Rosmarinus officinalis L. (family Lamiaceae), is also known as rosemary. This herb is an evergreen shrub, with lovely aromatic linear leaves. Colored a dark shade of green above and white below, the leaves of the rosemary give off a beautiful fragrance, and with its small pale blue flowers, the plant is cultivated extensively in many kitchen gardens across America and elsewhere.

The evergreen shrub originated in the Mediterranean area, but it is today cultivated almost everywhere in the world, primarily for its aromatic leaves. The shrub has several ash colored branches, and the bark is rather scaly. The leaves, as described earlier, are opposite and leathery thick. They are lustrous and dark green above and downy white underneath, with a prominent vein in the middle and…

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Foraging for Fiddleheads {Well, Sort Of}

Good Witches Homestead

After a long winter, we delight in those emerging specks of green that mark the start of the growing season. The air might still carry a chill, but that doesn’t deter us from heading to the farmer’s market to catch the first glimpses of fresh, local produce. Among the baskets of root vegetables and early spring herbs, you’ll often find fiddleheads, the coiled fronds of the ostrich fern {Matteuccia struthiopteris}. In the ground, these deep-green curled stems will later unfurl into tall ferns ranging from two to even six feet in height, but in this early stage, they resemble the neck of their namesake; the fiddle.

For Our Body

As with many spring greens, fiddleheads offer much-needed nutrients after a long winter. To start, they’re a great source of vitamins A and C {4,052 IU and 2.6 mg per half cup, raw, respectively}. They also contain potassium and manganese, which…

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Food as Medicine: Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, Asparagaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

History and Traditional Use

Range and Habitat

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, Asparagaceae) is a herbaceous perennial with stalks that can grow to several feet in height. Most asparagus is harvested once the stalk reaches 6-8 inches in height. The stalk is the edible portion of the plant, along with its pointed, budlike tip.1,2 If asparagus is not harvested, the stalks grow into finely textured, fern-like plants before going dormant in winter.3 In the United States, the primary asparagus producers are the states of California, Washington, and Michigan.4


Depending on the cultivation method, asparagus yields a crop in one of three colors: green, white, or purple. Green asparagus, the most common in the US, is allowed to grow exposed to sunlight until harvested. White asparagus contains no chlorophyll due to human intervention, which involves mounding dirt on the stalk as it grows to shield it from sunlight.

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Calendula – A Golden Herb for Garden and Kitchen

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Known also as the poet’s marigold or pot marigold, calendula brightens garden beds, pots, vases and culinary creations from spring to frost {or beyond} with its sunny flowers.

The flowers smell like honey, slightly spicy and woody- reminiscent of fresh rhubarb or angelica flowers- and their flavor is pleasantly mild and vegetable-sweet. Traditionally, the golden petals were used to flavor and color broths {hence the nickname “pot marigold}, butter, cheese. The dried petals even were used as a saffron substitute because they impart a rich golden color. In my own kitchen, I use calendula in vegetable dishes, salads- particularly egg salad- custards and puddings, herb butters, baked goods, with grains and in mild-mannered soups.

For best flavor, gather the flowers at their peak bloom. Gently pull the petals from the bitter center disk and discard it. The petals can be used either whole or chopped. {Note that the petals are…

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The Basics: Quick Guide to Every Herb and Spice in the Cupboard

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

INGREDIENT GUIDES FROM THE KITCHEN

Ever get coriander confused with cumin? Or wonder just what exactly curry powder is made out of? As much for our benefit as for yours, we’ve put together this quick reference guide to all the most common (and some uncommon) herbs and spices!

Saffron

For any herb or spice listed below, click on the name to read the full description. We’ll continue adding to this list as we cover more of the seasonings we use in our cooking.

Dried Herbs & Spices

  • Asafoetida (Asafetida) – Used as a digestive aid in Indian cooking, asafoetida has a strong odor that mellows out into a garlic-onion flavor.
  • Achiote Paste and Powder – Reddish-brown paste or powder ground from annatto seeds with an earthy flavor. Used primarily in Mexican dishes like mole sauce, cochinita pibil, and tamales.
  • Allspice – Similar to cloves, but more pungent and deeply flavored…

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Learn Your Land

By Adam Haritan

Continue reading

Cooking for Health

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Serving medicine for dinner may not seem terribly appetizing, but most cultures traditionally eat much of their medicine. It may not be a coincidence that nature has provided so many of our medicinal needs in herbs that taste good. When you want to take herbs over a long period of time – either to treat a chronic problem or to fend off disease – incorporating medicinal plants into your meals makes a lot of sense.

The next time you add a pinch of this or that, consider that you are doing far more than flavoring your meal. Throughout these posts and other websites, you have seen many familiar kitchen herbs and spices mentioned as medicines. For example, ginger relieves pain, garlic is “nature’s antibiotic” and ginger and turmeric, two of the main ingredients in curry powder, improve liver function.

Almost every cookbook is filled with recipes that rely on herbs…

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