In this week’s parcel, we have included:
Winter is still a long way off, but it’s never too soon to be aware of its imminent arrival.
This week’s selection of herbs, though used through many seasons, strikes at winter’s heartstrings, calling for deep, savory dishes.
Rosmarinus officinalis, the name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”.
Fresh or dried leaves are used in traditional Italian cuisine. They have a bitter, astringent taste and aroma which complements many cooked foods. Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When roasted with meats or vegetables, the leaves impart a mustard-like aroma with an additional fragrance of charred wood compatible with barbecued foods.
Scientific evidence suggests that rosemary does in fact stimulate the memory centers of the brain. So use a sprig of rosemary as a book-marker and wear rosemary oil when studying and on test day to help you remember what you need to know.
Furthermore, keep some Rosemary oil on hand to dab behind your ears on those days that you wish to make a lasting impression, such as opening night, a job interview or a hot date. Wear rosemary oil whenever you want to be unforgettable!
Laurus nobilis, Bay Laurel’s scientific name comes from the Latin Laurus meaning “verdant” and nobilis meaning noble, or of high rank.
It is slightly bitter and strongly aromatic. Add it to soups, stews, roasts, sauces and other dishes that simmer for a while and remove it just before serving. This allows the flavor to infuse into to the dish. For a stronger flavor, the leaf can be crushed and added to dishes.
While most herbs should be added at the end of cooking for the best effect, bay imparts the best flavor when simmered for a long time.
If you don’t use all of your bay, please dry it and think of us this winter.
A tea made of the leaves and/or berries aids in digestion, helps to rid the body of impurities and makes a good general health tonic. It is particularly helpful to women who are having trouble urinating after childbirth. Pregnant women, however, should not use bay laurel beyond the little bit we might use in cooking.
Satureja montana, winter savory has a stronger flavor than summer savory, but it still blends well with thyme, sage and rosemary as well as most mints. Fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor vinegars, herb butters, bean dishes, creamy soups, and tea. Imparts a spicy, peppery flavor to dishes in which it is used. Its aromatic scent repels harmful insects and pests while attracting bees and other pollinators.
The genus Satureja was named by the Roman writer Pliny. It is derived from the word satyr, the half-man, half-goat creature in mythology who owned the savories.
In Europe, candles were traditionally placed inside turnips and other vegetables to keep them from blowing out. These candles had to have openings for the light to shine through, and from this the human face of the Jack-O-Lantern evolved.
We don’t have pump-a-kins just yet, so let’s eat the flower!
This edible flower can be used in many ways! Most harvest the male flower, as your pumpkin comes from the female blossom. Our pumpkins have run amok, and we were not so particular.
Upland Cress is also called Winter Cress, or Creasy Greens in the South. A member of the mustard family, upland cress packs a sharp, peppery heat more akin in flavor to horseradish than the tea sandwich staple. Leaves, shoots, and flower buds are all delicious.
Upland Cress is high in phyto-nutrients as well as antioxidant vitamins C and A. It can be used in soups, salads, sauces, on sandwiches or as a garnish. Its flavor is peppery and will add a zing to your favorite dishes.
Traditionally gathered by foragers in the Appalachian Mountains who started looking out for the hearty winter leaves while there was still snow on the ground, the leaves were believed to have medicinal benefits and used in many folk recipes to help heal wounds.