Summer Savory – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Satureja_hortensis_Prague_2011_3 by Karelj via wikimedia commonsIt is summer and a perfect time to learn about summer savory, Satureja hortensis. If you have this spicy herb growing in your garden, plan to start using it this summer. It is an easy-to-grow, low-growing annual with white to pale pink flowers and narrow leaves. When in full bloom, the plant looks to be “covered with snow” (Clarkson, 1990). Summer savory requires full sun and good drainage, and can easily be started from seed. It may reseed if given enough sun and water. The leaves are very fragrant and have a warm, peppery taste, which is stronger before the plant flowers. Trim summer savory throughout the summer to encourage new growth. The leaves dry easily and can be stored for later use. Winter savory, Satureja montana, is its stronger, perennial cousin.

Like mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, summer savory is in the Lamiaceae…

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Herbal Trees and Shrubs of the Plains and Prairies

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Katherine Schlosser

From place to place, season to season, and year to year,

the colorful mixtures and combinations of flowering herbs

are influenced by permutations of weather, grazing,

competition with grasses, and seed abundance.

~David S. Costello

Since childhood the words “For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties, Above the fruited plain” colored my impression of the landscape of the western part of our country. Visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and masses of cousins didn’t disappoint my vision. It wasn’t until adulthood that I fully understood that those words were essentially a drone fly-over.

For some of us, it takes paying attention not only to the larger landscape, but to the details as well to appreciate the enormous botanical diversity of our country. From the tallest coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) to the tiny littleleaf pyxie moss (Pyxidanthera brevifolia)and its 1/4-inch flowers peering…

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Heavy Metal Contamination Of Wild Mushrooms — 6 Things To Know

Harvesting edible mushrooms is rewarding. 

Harvesting edible mushrooms that are contaminated with impurities is disappointing and potentially dangerous.

One of the most common questions I receive from concerned foragers is this: 

“I hear that mushrooms bioaccumulate all kinds of substances.  How do I know that the edible mushrooms I’ve harvested are safe for consumption?”

This is an issue that requires a lot of attention.  Fungi, like many living organisms, can harbor all kinds of contaminants, including synthetic chemicals (e.g., pesticides and herbicides), radionuclides, and heavy metals. 

While many factors remain outside the personal control of foragers, several actions can be taken to mitigate harm caused by these contaminants.

To shed light on heavy metal contamination, I created a video in which I answer 6 important questions.  Information in the video includes:

  • The most problematic heavy metals.
  • Habitats that are known to be contaminated.
  • Edible mushrooms that hyper-accumulate heavy metals.
  • Specific parts of mushrooms that are most likely to concentrate heavy metals.
  • Cooking techniques we can implement in the kitchen to reduce contamination.

…and lots more.

The following video is one of over 80 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 24th at midnight.  After May 24th, 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, check out this video.

Please note that this video is available until Monday, May 24th, and will only be available to registered students afterwards.

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

—Adam Haritan

HSA Webinar: Exploration of Spice

The Herb Society of America Blog

Sponsored by The New York Unit
by Jen Munson, HSA Education Chair

spice imageThe Herb Society embraces spices as herbs, but what distinguishes an herb from a spice? An herb is the leafy part of a plant, whereas a spice is the “hard” part. So, herbs might include oregano, sage, rosemary, sorrel, and basil, to name a few. Spices, on the other hand, include the bark, root, or seed…think of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg. Notable exceptions to the herb vs. spice conversation are coriander and dill. Coriander and dill seed are the seeds of the cilantro and dill plants, respectively. 

While herbs take the culinary spotlight for delivering immense flavor to our food, spices often get relegated to fall holidays when cinnamon, allspice, and other favorite spices get used. However, spices can be enjoyed year-round to ramp up the flavor in food. To learn more, join us on Tuesday…

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Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Enrollment Opens Monday

Greetings,

The spring mushroom season is well underway for many of us, and although morels have called it quits in more than a few parts of the country, plenty of additional edible mushrooms will faithfully appear over the next several months.

In anticipation of the late spring/early summer mushroom season, I’m excited to announce that registration for my online course will open on Monday, May 17th.

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is a four-season course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  This course is presented entirely online and it features over 70 exclusive videos that cover all the essentials for beginner-level mushroom hunters, including mushroom ecology; mushroom biology; common edible mushrooms; medicinal mushrooms; poisonous mushrooms; cooking techniques; medicine-making; and more.

Registration for Foraging Wild Mushrooms will be open for one week only, from midnight on May 17th to Monday, May 24th.  After May 24th, registration will be closed.

Upon registration, you can watch the videos at your own pace and you will have access to the course forever.

If you are interested in signing up for Foraging Wild Mushrooms, mark your calendar for Monday, May 17th and visit this link.  All additional information — including course outline and tuition — will be posted on Monday.

I look forward to seeing you on Monday!
-Adam Haritan

HSA Special Program: Foodscaping with Herbs

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Jen Munson, HSA Education Chair

image-assetFoodscaping–it’s so simplistic. In its most basic form, it is landscaping with an edible twist. It’s the intersection of the purely ornamental garden with the purely edible or vegetable garden. Herbs, vegetables, berry-producing bushes, and fruit trees intertwine with ornamentals to become design elements. 

Join us for Foodscaping with Herbs with bestselling author Brie Arthur on Friday, May 14th from 12pm to 1:30pm ET. Brie will share creative ideas about foodscaping with herbs in this lively, virtual session. Lemongrass suddenly becomes a replacement for other tall grasses, providing beauty and enjoyment. Blend Thai basil with lemon basil for a stunning border. Use chives and garlic for structure and as natural pest deterrents. Discover how to plant beautiful and bountiful designs for year-round use, and learn easy-to-apply strategies to deter browsing mammals, including voles!

Brie Arthur - 2Food in our landscapes is not new. Cottage gardens and the…

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Pineapple Mint – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

A Two-Color Mint

by Maryann Readal

The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for May is pineapple mint, Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’.

With its lime green leaves edged with a creamy white ruffle, pineapple mint is a perfect plant for the spring garden. This mint is a variegated cultivar of apple mint (Mentha suaveolens). However, its taste and smell does not remind one of apple mint. It has a sharp initial taste that fades into a light fruity flavor. Like other mints, pineapple mint thrives in a moist, rich soil. It does well in sun or in partial shade. In the south, it may need to be grown in partial shade. Also similar to other mints, pineapple mint can be a fast spreader, so containing it in a pot is a good way to control its growth. It is a nice plant to add to a hanging…

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Bewitching Maibowle Cream Cake For Walpurgis Nacht (May Day Eve) – Gather Victoria

Good Witches Homestead

Soon May Day Eve will be upon us – so I’m sharing this recipe posted last year at Gather Patreon. (Patrons will see a new recipe coming soon!) This Maibowle Cream Cake – made and…

Source: Bewitching Maibowle Cream Cake For Walpurgis Nacht (May Day Eve) – Gather Victoria

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Welcoming Spring in the Year 1400

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Zainab Pashaei

Haft-Sin tableI’m not talking about time travel. Nowruz—the equivalent of the New Year—was just celebrated on the spring equinox in Iran as well as in numerous other countries and among ethnic groups in the Middle East. In Iran, the first month of the year is called Farvardin, which began on March 20, 2021 (spring equinox). Although the year is specifically 1400 in Iran, Iranian traditions for Nowruz are thousands of years old and pre-date the emergence of Islam in the country. In contrast to Western nations, the importance of nature and spring plays a critical role in new year festivities of the nation. Many of these festivities are symbolic and involve herbs, nature, and light (fire).

JumpingDuring the festivities, which start on the Wednesday before the spring equinox, Iranians will gather and jump over fires and light fireworks in observance of Chaharshanbe Suri (loose translation =…

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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