The Incredibly Tasty Tulip: Chèvre Cheese Balls — Gather Victoria

I’m not sure about you but Vancouver Island is awash in tulips! From pale yellows, crimson reds, pumpkin oranges, deep purples, lustred pinks and snow-white, their luminous colours are stunning. The most unsung of tulips many spring charms, however, is her edibility. With flavours and textures as diverse as her colours, her blooms offer not…

The Incredibly Tasty Tulip: Chèvre Cheese Balls — Gather Victoria

Chervil – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Maryann Readal

chervil plantChervil, Anthriscus cerefolium, is similar to parsley but has a milder, anise flavor. It is sometimes called French parsley or garden parsley. The Romans named it cherifoliu, the ‘cheri’ part meaning delight and the ‘folium’ part meaning leaves—the joy of leaves.

Chervil is important in French cuisine, where it is an ingredient in classic sauces such as béarnaise and ravigote. These sauces pair well with fish, veal, or chicken. Along with parsley, chives, and tarragon, chervil is in the French herb combination, herbes fines. Chervil is better used fresh as it loses its flavor when dried. It should be added at the end of cooking to get the most out of its flavor. It is a good addition to omelets and salads and can be sprinkled over fresh fruit. Chervil makes a flavorful and colorful butter. The leaves and flowers can…

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Cheesy Dandelion Spirals: Serpentine Spring Magic — Gather Victoria

Note: This recipe was originally shared on Gather Victoria on Patreon. It was originally a recipe for Imbolc but for reasons that will soon become apparent- I thought I’d share it here for St. Patricks Day! St. Patrick was said to have driven all of the snakes out of Ireland – which is odd. While…

Cheesy Dandelion Spirals: Serpentine Spring Magic — Gather Victoria

Sacred Trees in the Americas: Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin) Magic, Ecology, and Sacred Uses

The Druid's Garden

Spicebush leaf and berry in August in Western Pennsylvania

As I continue to explore some of the most important understory trees in the US East Coast and Midwest region, we turn our attention today to the amazing Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin).  Historically, Spicebush was an incredibly important plant, medicine, and spice both to Native Americans and early white settlers in the US and yet today has largely been forgotten in history. Spicebush is a native understory tree with a large range in North America, spanning from Maine to Florida and all the way across the south and Midwest to Texas and up to Ontario. While I’ve taught this plant routinely on my plant walks, and what amazes me is that nobody can even identify it, much less recognize how it might be used. Spicebush has an incredible flavor, medicinal value, and offers much in the way of magic and mystery. It…

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Exploring Vanilla in the Rainforest and in the Kitchen: Part II

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Belsinger

(Adapted from her article, “Exploring Rainforest Spices at Villa Vanilla,” featured in the 2019 issue of The Herbarist, the annual journal of The Herb Society of America.)

“Plain vanilla is very much like that little black cocktail dress—always welcome, simply chic, so quietly dramatic.”

                —Lisa Yockelson, from Baking by Flavor

Vanilla in the Kitchen

P1110888Although I am a chocolate lover, I have always adored the fragrance of vanilla. More than once as a child, I tasted vanilla extract straight from the bottle—knowing full well that I wouldn’t like it—I just could not resist, because it always smelled so good.   

Back in my early adult years—and the beginning of my lifetime association with natural foods, herbs, and spices—I used vanilla beyond the kitchen. I found the aroma alluring, so why not use it like perfume? I…

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A Witches Garden | Why You Need One and How to Make it

Happy Full Moon!

Spirit de la Lune Seed Moon A Witches Garden | Why You Need One and How to Make it

This full moon takes place in the earthy sign of Virgo. We can feel the earth begin to wake up as we shift from the colder, darker months into the warmer season of spring.

You might feel yourself beginning to wake up from your own winter season too. Move your body and stretch often. Drink plenty of water (especially during the full moon) to help facilitate movement for changes that are surfacing at this time.

The Full Seed Moon falling in the sign of Virgo this cycle can be beneficial towards the transformation you’ve been yearning for.

Virgo is the healer of the zodiac. Her eye is sharp and she is able to see the things others may miss. Virgo sharpens our eye as well and makes us more detail oriented. This full moon helps shine light on the areas in our lives that are going well, and on the areas that may need some cleansing or weeding.

Virgo is an earth sign, making this full moon the perfect time for working with the element of earth. As the earth wakes up, we wanted to do a Full Moon Ritual that helps honor the rebirth of Spring…

Read full article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ A Witches Garden | Why You Need One and How to Make it

Exploring Vanilla in the Rainforest and in the Kitchen: Part I

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Belsinger

(Adapted from her article, “Exploring Rainforest Spices at Villa Vanilla,” featured in the 2019 issue of The Herbarist, the annual journal of The Herb Society of America.)

Vanilla in the Rainforest

P1110204Before going to Costa Rica, I researched gardens, restaurants, herbs, spices, botanicals and the rainforest—places where I wanted to go, see, and experience. Once I visited Villa Vanilla’s website, https://www.rainforestspices.com/, I knew that I had to go there. I made reservations for the farm tour in advance. It was one of my favorite things in Costa Rica—I loved seeing the tropical spice plants up close and personal—and I got to smell and taste so many things, which was a memorable sensory experience!

During the half day Spice Plantation Tour, visitors experience the sights, tastes, and aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, and other tropical spices, essential oil plants, and a wide variety of…

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Herbs are expensive – Grow your own

Town & Country Gardening

Herbs Fresh or Dried purchased from your local Supermarket or Farmers Market are exceeding expensive.

These are sample prices taken from Walmart

The best solution is to grow your own Herbs. Herbs take up little space and are very forgiving if neglected.
Most herbs will do well in containers, window boxes and planted directly in your garden soil.
If herbs are conventionally located to you and your kitchen you are more willing and more likely to use them when cooking and serving meals.

Herbs Make Common Foods Taste Special

Sage is a herb that does well if properly cared for. It requires a lot of pinching and cutting to keep it from becoming woody. As a rule, sage will need to be replanted about every 3 years since it will become woody with few leaves no matter what, so keeping it in a pot makes this change that much easier…

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Brigid’s Magical Blackberry Scones w/ Bay Leaf Infused Custard Sauce: A Matter Of Celestial Timing — Gather Victoria

This Imbolc recipe might appear to be late (considering it is February 3rd) but I suggest it is right on time. After all, Imbolc or Imbolg, ( an ancient Celtic holiday welcoming the first stirrings spring) was originally a “moveable feast” determined not by fixed dates on the calendar but by shifting heavenly events, specifically…

Brigid’s Magical Blackberry Scones w/ Bay Leaf Infused Custard Sauce: A Matter Of Celestial Timing — Gather Victoria

Parsley – Herb of the Month and Herb of the Year

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

The spotlight is shining on parsley this month. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for January and the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year for 2021. The three most common varieties of parsley are P. crispum or curly-leaf parsley,  P. crispum var. neapolitanum or flat-leaf Italian parsley, and P. crispum var. tuberosum or turnip-root parsley which is grown for its root and is used in soups and stews.

Parsley has an interesting history dating back to Greek and Roman times. To the Greeks, parsley symbolized death and was not used in cooking. However, according to Homer, the Greeks fed parsley to their chariot horses as they thought it gave them strength. The Greeks believed that parsley sprang from the blood of one of their mythical heroes, Archemorus, whose name means “the beginning of bad…

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