So Succulent Gardens

  (Columbia Station, Ohio)
www.sosucculent.com
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LOVAGE AN HERB TO KNOW AND GROW



Large dramatic specimen plant used as a celery substitute in pickling, salad dressings, stir fries, stews and roasts. We often freeze some of the tender leaves in water and then use it making stock.  

The Greeks and Romans chewed lovage seeds to aid digestion and legend tells of seeds put into potion to conjure up love spells, an infusion of lovage seeds is said to erase freckles and a lovage herb bath is said to make you more beautiful.  The French call it céleri bâtard, or false celery.  Growing OVER 5 feet tall, once the flower spikes start showing, lovage becomes awfully strong,  using the leaves can be used sparingly in stock.

Lovage Butter
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of minced lovage
Salt & Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small pan and add the salt, pepper, and lovage. Heat gently for 3-5 minutes. Serve over vegetables

Lovage Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
12 lovage leaves, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper
Melt the butter in a pan with lovage leaves for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for a minute. Stir in the mustard and season. Use sauce is nice served over pork or chicken.

Lovage Soup  
    4 Tbsp. olive oil
stale bread
    1 bunch lovage leaves, chopped
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1/2 small bundle of parsley, chopped
    3 oz butter
    2 pints good chicken stock
    2 whole eggs and 1 yolk
Pour the olive oil over the bread and grill until brown. Sweat the lovage, garlic and parsley in butter until wilted. Pour on the stock and simmer for 2 minutes. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Place one slice of bread in each warmed bowl. Bring the soup to the boil and slowly pour in the egg, stirring gently to separate the egg into strands. Serve over the grilled bread slices.
.

 
 

Twp of my favorite recipes Blogs

I love reading great recipe blogs, and I had to share. 

http://bakerella.blogspot.com/

and

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/category/all-pw-recipes/

 

 
 

Herbal Bathing Brews From The Garden

Herbal Baths From The Garden
Herbal baths are a perfect antidote to combat impure air and water conditions. Smoothing, soothing and hydrating to the skin.
The basic bath: Place 1/2 cup of any combination of herbs in a non-metallic pot add water to cover. Bring to boil, simmer 10-20 minutes to extract the wonderful benefits. Strain. Pour the herbal fragrant brew into your bath water or use the brew as a last rinse in the shower. If you are bathing, soak 20 minutes. Do not have the bath water too hot will make you sweat and not allowing your skin to pick up the herbal
nutrients. Note: Allergic reaction can occur with any herbal product, as always test on a small area o the skin before bath.

Herb Plants to Gather:
Lavender-rejuvenating, fragrant
Peppermint-stimulating, cooling
Sage- astringent, Helps joints
Calendula-healing to dry skin
Chamomile-reduces swelling
Horsetail-anti-fungal
Lemon Balm-relaxing
Parsley-Soothes insect bites
Marjoram-stimulating
Rosemary-astringent
Thyme-muscle relaxer
Roses-hydrator
Chervil-revitalizing
Savory-stimulating
Hop-revitalizing
Spearmint-calming
Catnip-relaxing
Strawberry leave-cleansing
Basil-relaxing

 
 

Herbal Mint Recipes, as promised----

GARDEN PARTY MINTS
2 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
4 t. Whole Milk
2 T. Melted Butter
4 drops Peppermint Essential oil
1 ½ T. finely chopped chocolate mint leaves
8 oz Semisweet Chocolate
Mix powdered sugar, milk and butter, when smooth add chopped mint and peppermint essential oil. Form into patties and chill. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Dip patties into chocolate and allow to set.

MINTED SALAD DRESSING
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. mint vinegar
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper, ground
1/4 cup good olive oil
1. Combine all but oil in medium bowl.
2. Using a fork or whisk, gradually beat in olive oil.
Makes about 1 cup. This dressing is especially good with a fresh green salad of baby greens or spinach.

MINT SYRUP
2 cups water
1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
4 cups sugar Food coloring, optional
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the mint leaves, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out the leaves. Bring the liquid to a boil again and add the sugar, stirring until it is dissolved, simmer for 20 minutes, or until the syrup is reduced by about a third. Add coloring if desired. Pour the syrup into small, sterilized canning jars and seal. Place the jars in a boiling-water bath and process for 5 minutes. 1 ½ pints.


Moroccan Mint Meat Rub
2 tablespoons combination peppermint or spearmint leaves, or 1/2 cup fresh leaves.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Use on poultry or beef before grilling.

SWEET LAVENDER MINT VINEGAR
1 cup lavender mint leaves
Zest of 2 lemon
2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Put mint and lemon zest in a jar and fill with vinegar. Seal jar and let stand 2-3 weeks in a cool dark place. Shake from time to time. Strain and add sugar shake until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle on with fresh fruits.MINT SAUCE FOR FRUIT
½ c. honey 1/4 c. water 2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. fresh mint leaves, chopped Pinch of salt
Dissolve honey in boiling water. Add remaining ingredients and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover, and steep until cool, strain. Pour over fresh melons, berries, or kiwis. Allow fruit to marry in sauce before serving.

 
 

Over 20 varities of Mint Plants and still counting PART 1

I get crazed when it comes to certain type of plant groupings. I get obsessed and need to collect them all.  MINT was one I had to find every fragrant and tasty variety - it is still a collection in progress, but now I have around twenty varieties and my newest is mojito mint from Cuba.  I hope to have enough Mojito mint by fall to offer for sale at my website.


Here is some interesting notes about MINT:
The Greek God Pluto, ruler of the underworld, fell madly in love with a beautiful nymph, Mentha. His jealous wife, Persephone, pounded her into the earth. Pluto then turned poor Mentha into a wonderful healing, fragrant plant that gave him some consolation.

Fresh leaves make a pleasant addition to hot or iced tea, garnish for beverages or fruit deserts. Mint is cleansing and makes a nice addition to herbal bathing products.

Folklore: To carry a few leaves in the wallet is said to attract money, stuff sachets with mint leaves to ward off disease.

Mentha
LEMON MINT
Description:     Lemon scented with slightly ruffled leaves, perfect for blending or using alone in herb teas and savory recipes.
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Mentha aquatica citrata 'Eau de Cologne'
Eau de Cologne (Orange)
Height: 24"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun to part shadeDescription:     Refreshing citrus orange flavor and is tantalizing in teas, fruit salads and chasing those fleas and ants away. The oil is an ingredient in chartreuse liqueur and perfumes.
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Mentha avensis 'Banana'
Banana Mint
Height: 12"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun to part shade
Description:     Pale green, slightly fuzzy leaves with the unusual fragrance of bananas, add to fruit salads, breads or as a garnish. Blend with chocolate mint for a great herbal blend to add to baking brownies.
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Mentha spicata 'Chewing Gum'
Chewing Gum Mint
Height: 18"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun to part shade
 
Description: Extremely fragrant and flavorful, very similar to Wrigley's spearmint chewing gum.
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Mentha piperita citrata 'Lime'
Lime Mint
Height: 24"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun - part shade
Description:   Bright green leaves with a strong lime scent and flavor. Great as a garnish were a lime flavor is required. Try it in your salsa recipe  or guacamole or toss a leaf in your margarita.
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Mentha citriodora x. M. arvensis
GRAPEFRUIT MINT
Height: Zone: 3- 9 Light: sun part shade
Description: Crinkled, light grapefruit-scented leaves with mild spearmint undertones.
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Mentha piperata 'Blue Balsam'
Peppermint 'Blue Balsam'
Height: 12"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun to part shadeDescription:  Peppermint is an excellent digestive aid and has been used for the treatment of morning and motion sickness, as well as an inhalant to treat congestion. Flavorful herb tea, hot or cold. Blue balsamic is an improved peppermint with purple tinted, dark blue/green leaves; it has a much cleaner peppermint flavor.

THE REST OF ARE VARIETIES WILL BE POSTED WITH RECIPES==

KEEP LOOKING!
    

 

 
 

Comfrey HERB Plant Heals bruises and tonic recipe for your plants


Symphytum officinalis
Comfrey or Knit bone
Height: 30"     Zone: 3-9     Light: sun to shade
Description:     Comfrey herbs contain the active ingredient allantoin, a skin healer proven to heal wounds and skin ulcers. Allantoin adheres to the skin to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue. Beware: it heals the wound so fast that many times the infection is still in the cut. Softening and soothing, it is used in creams, lotions and bath brews. Use it to treat burns, bed sores, insect bites, athlete’s foot, psoriasis, eczema, and sprains. Fresh leaves can be mashed in a blender and applied to the skin. In folk lore it was carried for protection during travel and is used in money spells. Comfrey produces a brown dye with a mordant iron.

COMFREY TONIC
Comfrey significantly is high in potash and other essential for plant nutrition, which makes it ideal for feeding your plants. Put comfrey leaves and water into a water tight container with a brick on top to weigh the leaves down and allow the mixture to stand for 4 weeks. The result is a ready to use evil smelling brew that can be diluted and watered onto plants. I add 1/8 to 1/4 of the comfrey tonic to a watering can and fill the rest with water to use the comfrey spray, dilute 1 tablespoon with 2 pints of water. Add a drop of dish soap as a spreader sticker.

COMFREY SALVE 
    2 oz dried comfrey leaves
    2 cups olive oil
    1 oz pure beeswax
    4 drops tea tree
    4 drops lavender essential oils
    1 400 vitamin E
Heat herbs in olive oil over low heat for about 5 hours. Do not let the oil boil or bubble. A Crock-Pot or the lowest temperature setting on a range should be suitable for heating this mixture. (If the lowest setting is too hot, turn off the heat once it has warmed the oil...it should keep warm for at least and hour....then repeat the process twice.) After cooking, strain out the herbs while oil is still warm. Place 1 1/4 cups of the herb oil in a pan, add beeswax and heat just enough to melt the wax. Add essential oil and stir. Finally, pour the salve into wide mouthed jars. Store at room temperature. Use for minor scrapes and cuts, to protect and promote healing.

HINT:  DIP METAL SPOON IN SALVE BEFORE POURING IN CONTAINERS, TO SEE IF IT HAS THE RIGHT THICKNESS.

 
 

A little Ditty to help you remember how to cook with HERBS

The magical powers of herbs are such.
one's eagerness prompts one to use too much;
But tis wiser to taunt than to tire the taste,
And a nice moderation guards against waste.

A good rule to follow, in seasonings, therefore,
Is a scant fourth teaspoon to each serving for four;
And you soon will discover that herbs used with care,
Will glorify all that you cook or prepare.

Dishes that simmer, or bubble or stew
For long patients house - like soup or ragout -
Should be given their herbs the last hour or so,
For too lengthy cooking lets herb flavors go.

But dishes that cook while you hurry and fix,
Should receive their herb quota right in the mix;
While cold things - like cocktail - really should sleep
Overnight with their herbs to allow them to steep.

Author - M. Dunnigan

FOR MORE VISIT WWW.BLOSSOMFARM.COM/RECIPES.HTM

 
 

Lavender Laundry Softener Recipe - What mom wants for christmas -- Not

This is another interesting homemade item to add to you lavender gift basket. 

Lavender Laundry Softener

  • 32 oz. white vinegar
  • 32 oz. baking soda
  • 64 oz. distilled or purified water
  • ½ oz. lavender essential oil.

Mix the baking soda into the vinegar over a sink
or other contained area, in a large plastic jar. The two materials, when mixed together, will cause a "fizzing" reaction. Add water and essential oil and stir again. *As gifts, dispense into plastic bottles and label with the following directions: Use 1/4 cup per load. Add in rinse cycle.

 
 

Lavender - Lemon Cream Cheese Scones

Now you made the lavender sugar, here is a starter recipe.

  • 1/3 cup firm Butter
  • 2 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Lavender sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated Lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon  Royal Velvet Culinary Lavender
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 3 ounces soften  Cream cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • Lemon juice and additional lavender sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the margarine into the flour, lavender sugar, lemon peel, baking powder and salt with a pastry blender in a large bowl until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Gradually stir the milk into the cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth. Stir the cream cheese mixture, lavender and the egg into the flour mixture until the
dough leaves the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Knead lightly 10 times. Pat or roll into a 9-inch circle on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with lemon juice. Sprinkle with lavender sugar. Cut into 8 wedges, do not separate. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove from the cookie sheet; separate the wedges. Serve warm. 

 
 

Lavender Sugar a great Gift for yourself

I am making this today to have on hand for the holidays, it will last up to a year.   I will be posting recipes in the near future that uses lavender sugar since some folks are shy about eating buds....  


LAVENDER SUGAR
Ingredients
3.5 cups sugar 
4 tablespoons lavender flowers

I alternate the lavender in the jar and after about a month
you can pass it through a strainer to remove the buds or leave them in.

Strain it for things like whipped cream, cream brulee or sprinkling on berries,
But you can leave the buds in if cooking the sugar for example cookies.
You can also toss the sugar with buds in a food processor to grind it up a bit before using.

Stored in a dark place, mix well again and use as needed. The sugar is good to use for up to one year.


You can substitute confectioner’s sugar rather than granulated sugar. Use in icings and dustings.
Give as Gifts:
Once the lavender sugar is ready to be used, you can pour in decorative glass jars and give as gifts.
Attach cards giving ideas for use as well as provide the recipe is a nice touch, I have many lots and lots of lavender recipes post on my website located at www.blossomfarm.com/recipes_lavender.htm

 
 

Gel Air Fresheners - Great stocking stuffer

This would make great little hostess gift and of course stocking stuffer.  I hate to waste good vodka and have made them with rubbing alcohol and it is less expensive.

GEL AIR FRESHENERS

  • 1 packet of unflavored Knox Gelatin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka of grain alcohol
  • 1- 2 TBSP. fragrance oil

Food coloring as desired.  Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Allow to cool to room temperature then add the vodka, coloring and scent. Pour into decorative jar (I use 8 ounce canning jar)  with tight fitting lid, and refrigerate till set.   

Later put a piece of eyelet lace (or comparable breathable fabric) on the top and screw down the ring; if giving as a gift, I would put the canning lid on, then the lace and ring.

 
 
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