Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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The Tansy Fairy

??? The Tansy FairyWaste areas, roadsides, and meadows...my gardens, that's where you'll see the Tansy Fairy. My common 'vulgare' friend and her petal-less humble yellow buttons with tattered leaves and pungent humor have adorned many of my gardens and roaming paths since I could remember. And she always will. Because she's immortal. She's tall, strong, feisty and youthful.....and sometimes very pushy.  She goes where she wants. She spreads out and leaves a trail.  She tells it like it is. She magical and likes to mingle....and her clean, camphorous scent has followed me to all of my gardens. And to my neighbors.

I must say, Ol' Bitter Buttons is one of my favorite plant fairies to have around, as she likes to live amongst the humorous Cucurbits, you know, the cucumbers the squash, those juicy melons and those gourds. Oh and the feisty bramble: those roses and the berries because of course she gets along well with the thorns and the prickles. They are best of friends. Companions really. She likes to play with the bees and the caterpillars and tell them all her stories, but if you watch, she's quite snotty to the ants and beetles and squash bugs, oh and the flies....oh well. We cant get along well with everybody now can we? 

Tansy

Be Well
~Jessica Morgan


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Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
 
 

Morgan Botanicals is on Pinterest!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.I've been slowly adding photos to Pinterest....and learning a bit. It's all brand spankin new for me over here, but fun is happening!  I'll be adding it to my new website too, so go on over and let me know what you think.

 

I've pinned lots of goodies that I like, so here's a way to get to know me a bit better. Check out my pins and boards and likes and such!

 

 

You can find me here:

Pinterest~ Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Follow me on Pinterest -Jessica Morgan

Fan me on Facebook - Morgan Botanicals

View my photstream on Flickr! - Morgan Botanicals


Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, Herbalist

 

 

 
 

My gardens. My legacy.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.My gardens are my legacy. Somehow or another I've wandered. I have to wander. I have to give. I get antsy and dreamy. I love excitement, new land and change and growth. Barefoot and barehanded from the ground up, I build a new garden. It's what I do.  It's a gift to myself and my kids and the community for those here now and those to come. I like to start gardens and play in them for a while and pull people into them. Show them the miracle.  That's what I love....and then I move on. I leave this beauty for those wandering in after me.  I'm a vagabond gardener and I guess I'm ok with that. I leave a bit of my heart in the land where ever I roam...it's my gift.


I can picture each and every garden I've tickled, or has tickled me...

From that old neglected acre of fruit trees in my high school Ag class, to the mini alfalfa garden for the fat little guinea pigs, or my own little food and medicine gardens that tend to get bigger each and every year, and the community gardens that I give my heart to and ask nothing in return and all the gardens of friends and loved ones I've dug my hands into and beyond. Heh, I even dream of new ones waiting for me. Each unique. Each very special. Each stuffed with food and medicines and those lessons that can't be found anywhere else ever. Tons and tons of lessons. Lessons for those who wish to learn....

There is hard earned sweat and joy. Disappointment. Patience. Oh and those blackberry claws that reach out for your attention, and the spruces that wanna braid your hair and those milk thistle pokies arguing with you over their trusty seeds. And callouses....lots of callouses and mud filled finger nails. Smiles. Good health. Muddy sweat smeared foreheads. Hose drinks and tears. That big ol silly raven turd on the one flower you waited all damn season to get a peek of or the green nibblings stuck in your teeth that only another garden nibbler would tell you about. Bounty and reward. Abundance. Giggling kids and the neighbors' recommendations and stories and those dandelion warnings. Questions. Once you get someone in the garden, they see the miracles. And they don't wanna leave.

I like to build gardens and memories and give them away....



Spiral

I like to take a piece of dry, un-loved, dusty cracked dirt and breath my life right into it, water it with my sweat, tears and spilled cups. And feed it silly plant jokes and childlike laughter. Well, and probably some animal poo or two...and some comfrey tea.  I like to introduce myself to the land, give to it and let the land introduce herself to me. She gives me a garden to love and to learn from, and then we pass it on.


Sometimes I get a little sad. I'll sit and recall past gardens and green-spots and lush flowery nooks and just long to revisit them, like I long for a long lost childhood pet or old friend. I know some grew into other earth caring hands and some were neglected and some probably turned into happy wild thriving green motherwort, tansy and lemon balm beasts by their own will. Nature does have its way of doing what she wants. I suppose some have even been destroyed, but I created them, it's my keepsake and that's good enough for me.

Garden My life is my dream, my dream is my work, my work is my gardens, and my gardens are my legacy. Each day I wake and want to share my world. I want to excite children and really big children about the soil and the worms and the veins or hairs on a leaf and the free and wild foods and medicines. I want to make a whole new playground for the moths and the snails. I want to see my hair up there in the birds' nests. It might be a tiny domestic garden or the earths wild gigantic garden but I want to share all about it, teach about, squeeze hug it and pass this love on. I want to grow more intriguing garden eyes.  I want to share the miracles.

I've been enjoying watching my life unfurl and spiral on. Seeing where it goes and what I accomplish and learn. The lives I'm lucky to wander into and the children who constantly remind me to live fearlessly and in awe. And to leave a trail....a trail of bird seed that always spouts up free gorgeous orange safflowers and yellowy sunflowers and pink and purple thistles galore. And that one must leave a trail of muddy toe prints through the kitchen in order to get to mommas icy mint tea. Because all toe tracks are cute. And to chomp those juicy tomatoes and peaches and munch the pineapple weed and blow those dandy seeds to the sky. And that all gardens need a watering hole. And a mud hole. And I will remind them to leave a trail....a trail of amazingness. And a garden.

And I've come to find that with each new home and each new place, that I rarely walk into a garden made by someone else. No I don't. So I build one because that's what I do. The bare lonely soil likes to seek me out. It pulls me to it. It tells me what to do and what to grow and what to just watch grow. It teaches me balance. It tells me that the lamb's quarters and purslane are just as beautiful and remarkable as the calendula and roses and that they taste even better..... and that the yarrow fixes dang near everything. And that cayenne will stop bleeding in two seconds and make your homegrown yummy pinto beans better. And by golly, everything likes to be tossed into soup! And that trees are perfect shoulders for hammocks and give their free shade and food and medicine. And the malva....it taught me to never neglect. Everyone should love the malva. She's gonna grow whether you like her or not anyway. I like to be a gentle pushing reminder of these things and I will continue down my mossy green path and toss little food and medicine gardens here and there until I can't anymore.

Curves



















So I do, I'm a vagabond gardener and I guess I'm ok with that. I leave a bit of my heart in the land where ever I roam...it's my gift.

And here I am. Starting over again. Working the land, working on my next garden, my next legacy. Tickling it and letting it tickle me....one I know I soon will leave. But the neighborhood kids play in it. The birds and the bees and the squirrels sing in it. The mailman passes it each day with a smile. It's got my trusty yellow sprinkler and my piggy watering can and my foot prints embedded in it.  And it's small and it's wild and it's frugal... but it gives. Just like me.

wheelbarrow





























As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Fan me on Facebook - Morgan Botanicals

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, Herbalist

 

 

 

 
 

There’s Just Something About Clary

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Clary sage was once thought to make people immortal and many believed that it could clarify the brain, the eyes and even the “inner eye”, and that those who drank a tea of the leaves and flowers could see the future. Today, clary sage is used as a flavoring in everything from cigarettes and omelets to muscatel wine, but it does have many medicinal properties too. In fact, it has a medicinal pedigree going back to the ancient Greeks, but it's probably not the first herb you think of to treat complaints like hot flashes, indigestion and anxiety.

The young tops of Clary were used in soups and as pot herbs. It gives a new lift to omelets, and was used to flavor jellies. The leaves were chopped into salads. Culpeper recommended a 17th century sage dish where the fresh leaves were first dipped in a batter of flour, eggs and a little milk, fried in butter and served as a side dish. The flowers have an aromatic flavor and make a lovely contrast in salads. All sage flowers are edible after removing all greenery and stems.

The Romans called it sclarea, from claurus, or “clear,” because they used it as an eyewash. The practice of German merchants of adding clary and elder flowers to Rhine wine to make it imitate a good Muscatel was so common that Germans still call the herb Muskateller Salbei and the English know it as Muscatel Sage. Clary sometimes replaced hops in beer to produce an enhanced state of intoxication and exhilaration, although this reportedly was often followed by a severe headache. It was considered a 12 th-century aphrodisiac and still today, the essential oil is said to give you dramatic dreams or make you feel euphoric. Clary Sage has a beautifully herbaceous, sweet, flowery scent. Some people also characterize it as “nutty.” I lke to call it the Clary Sage buzz. It's dreamy, relaxing and intoxicating. Simply one of my favorite smells.

 

Susan Weed says, that like its relative sage, clary tea, the leaf juice in ale or beer, was recommended for many types of women’s problems, including delayed or painful menstruation. It was once used to stop night sweating in tuberculosis patients. An astringent is gargled, douched and poured over skin wounds. It is combined with other herbs for kidney problems. The clary seeds form a thick mucilage when soaked for a few minutes and placed in the eye, helps to removed, small irritating particles. A tea of the leaves is also used as an eyewash. Clary is also used to reduce muscle spasms. It is used today mainly to treat digestive problems such as gas and indigestion. It is also regarded as a tonic, calming herb that helps relieve premenstrual problems. Because of its estrogen-stimulating action, clary sage is most effective when levels of this hormone are low. The plant can therefore be a valuable remedy for complaints associated with menopause, particularly hot flashes.

Clary sage is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial,  astringent, sedative and antidepressant, and may lower blood pressure, aid indigestion and relax both muscles and nerves.


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Fan me on Facebook - Morgan Botanicals

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.


 

 
 

Oh My.....Tomatillo

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Tomatillos are perhaps one of my favorite and most prized fruits. They're not only fun to grow (as they are incredibly beautiful plants) but they are rich in flavor and yummy to eat.

This native of Mexico, which is much like a tomato, dates back to at least 800 B.C. and has for a long time been cultivated there, but has never really caught on elsewhere. For a plant which is so rich in flavor, productive and easy to grow, this is surprising. In Mexican cuisine the tomatillo is important, replacing tomatoes which have come to be used in their place in other countries, particularly in salsa or other sauces for meat. I love how they impart a unique tanginess which tomatoes never quite attain.

The tomatillo is a member of the Solanaceae family (the nightshades: tomato, potato, eggplant, etc.) and should be taken into account for your crop rotation plan. Physalis ixocarpa and phladelphica are the most common varieties grown but there are several. Most nurseries sell Physalis ixocara as the principal Tomatillo species. But, you can find many varieties of seeds which may include large yellow or green fruits as well small purple ones.

If you have never grown tomatillos before just remember that they are sun loving, warm weather crops and love the heat. You'll want to choose a site that gets full sun and has well-drained soil that’s not too rich. A pH reading that’s close to neutral (7.0) is good for them. Simply water and feed while fruits are forming. I pick my tomatillos as soon as they are large enough to be useful and continue picking until frost.

So for those of us who are picking our tomatillos right now (and I say this in pure excitement!) thank goodness there are so many ways to use this abundance of fruit. I myself enjoy salsas, verdes, fried, or any where I want some tang.

Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Tomatillo Jam - Enjoy!

 Tomatillo Jam

  • 3 cups cleaned tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 1/2 cups organic sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic butter (optional)
  • 2 pouches of powdered fruit pectin
  1. Follow basic instructions for Jam making. (cleaning jars and preparing canner)
  2. Finely chop or grind tomatillos. Measure exactly three cups into sauce pot and add lemon juice.
  3. Stir in sugar, add butter if desired, (this reduces foaming) and bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin and return to full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any excess foam.
  5. Ladle jam quickly into clean jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe, seal and place into canner. Water must cover jam jars by at least and inch.
  6. Cover and bring to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to completely cool. After cooling, check for proper seal, if lid springs back refrigeration is necessary.

This is the perfect spread across Chili Scones or homemade Corn Tortillas.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

I Companion Plant.....Do You?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

As a vegetable and herb grower; plus wanting to actually enjoy everything I've grown, I have found companion planting to be one of the most important strategies to incorporate into the planning of all my gardens. I strive to have a beautiful nontraditional garden yard with brilliant displays of focal point corn and mullein reaching to the sky, all the while protecting and being protected form their own plant friends. My tomatoes with their display of juicy plump goodness and the nasturtium that's trailed its way through it....I'm serious. All of this in the front yard too! Really though, plants' themselves can offer protection from pests and diseases, can help build the soil, control weeds and even improve the growth and flavor of their neighbors. One could easily pull this off in any style of garden from a messy cottage (which I like) to an elaborate formal masterpiece.

By mixing your plantings you have a better chance for insect control than with the traditional row vegetable gardens that we're so used to seeing. In a monoculture environment plants become vulnerable as they have no assisting plants to protect them. This is why we see such high pesticide use in our farm fields. Take a look at how plants grow in the wild; they don't grow in perfect little rows all exposed, and neither should yours. By companion planting you can completely disregard the need for pesticides.

I'm a firm believer that wild plants, herbs, and even ornamental's play a vital role in the plant community. Some plants have the ability to bring valuable trace minerals from deep within the soil up to the surface. Look to the common dandelion for this, as these deep diggers send their roots into the ground and actually penetrate the hardpan and condition the soil. Some can work as valuable herbicides and fungicides by putting off smells that deter pests, others attract or lure pests keeping them off the plants we value, and some just contribute to successful growth.

I love to plant calendula and nasturtium everywhere since they are known to help with beetles, tomato worms, squash bugs, whiteflies, aphids, nematodes and other harmful insects. Onions and all Alliums are another favorite of mine that are scattered throughout the garden as they provide protection from moles, cabbage butterflies, tree bores, mildew, black spots, aphids and many other pests....not to mention that they're winter hardy and their flowers are spectacular.

Plant tansy with roses, raspberries, potatoes and squash because it is a deterrent to beetles, squash bugs, flies and ants.

Sage and rosemary are worth growing as companion plants; they discourage slugs, beetles, cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.

Parsley is a good "lure plant". It invigorates the growth of roses, tomatoes, and asparagus while repelling beetles, flies, and aphids.

Basil contains camphor, which confuses and repels hornworms and other munching insects. Also improves flavor of tomatoes, onions and peppers.

Feverfew contains pyrethrum, so plant several as "lure plants" near flowers and veggies because it will attract and kill feasting aphids.

Hyssop, thyme and wormwood are good companions with the Brassicas as they help repel the white cabbage butterfly.

Lovage is known to improve the overall health and flavor of many plants.

Stinging Nettle helps neighboring plants be more insect-resistant. Helps with lice, slugs, snails, strengthens growth of tomatoes and mint, protects fruit from mold, and important in the compost pile.

I wish I could go on forever but there are  many useful websites and books out there all about companion planting. Mix and match your borders with herbs, vegetables, and ornamentals, and you'll be surprised by how many fewer aphids are sucking the life out of your brussel spouts and mint....I'm serious.


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Can You Say "Alice Advocates Alluring Alliums"?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Alice advocates alluring alliums, and so do I!

Well, it's that time year; time to start planting those Alliums, like onions, chives, garlic, shallots and leeks. Did you know Allium, the onion genus, has over 700 species, making it one of the largest plant genera in the world.

I love planting alliums for their flowers as well as their bulb vegetable. They are amazing specimen plants in the garden, and if you don't mind the smell, these umbel shaped blooms might become one of your favorite flowers too. Whether fresh-cut or dried, they are a favorite of flower arrangers as well. Alliums come in so many different colors from, pinks, yellows and whites, to blues and purples.

There are so many Alliums highly recommended for decorative purposes, so why not enjoy their unique blossoms and fragrance in the garden as well as grow them for food. These bulbs are among the easiest of all vegetables to grow and most of them store well, so it is not difficult to maintain a year-around supply.

 

But, some of my favorites Alliums grown for their flowers include:

Blue of the Heavens (Allium azureum) for its small summer blossoms in the purest cornflower blue.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) for their short, fluffy, pinkish-lavender blossoms and edible use.

Ornamental Onion ( Allium giganteum) which can reach 4 feet with very large violet balls highly prized in the bouquet.

Lily Leek (Allium moly) for the half-shady garden, its foot high spring yellowy-gold umble flowers can't be beat.

Blue Globe (Allium caerueum) for its production dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide.

Daffodil Garlic (Allium neapolitanum) this heirloom has been grown since the 1800's for its fragrant smell and purest white globes.

So try growing some of these "Flowering Onions", because they are exotic, unique and great fun. 


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

My Tree Spirits: Bruce, Abner, and Ralph

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Amongst our yard live three of the strongest souls I know: My tree spirits, Bruce, Abner, and Ralph.

Our trees live in what is called "The Avenue of Faces" which is a row of several dozen carved trees and stumps in and across the street from City Park in Tehachapi. However these faces show up all over town hidden here and there. They're at the lake, tucked into peoples yards and gardens, all over the parks, and peeking out where you'd least expect them.

All of these are the work of local artist Kent Holmgren. He's been sculpting wood with chainsaws for over twenty years. These sculpted trees are also known as "tree spirits" and every tree's face is unique. Our tree faces are over six feet long and watch over our garden, it's just amazing.

I have to admit that beyond the amazing location of our little home, and even the land, it was the trees that convinced my husband and I to buy our house. Everyday I go outside and wave hi or pat their hairy chins. Abner never smiles, but I know he likes the attention anyway.

Take a little peek at our friends, they wanted to say hi.


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Sea Kale: The Perennial With Multiple Edible Uses

 

Jessica Morgan, M.H.I love sea kale: not only for its edible shoots, leaves and flowerbuds, but for its ornamental presence in the perennial garden as well. Sea kale was quite the rage in the late 1700's but sadly has lapsed into minor-vegetable status. I personally like having a garden made up of unusual plants with multiple edible parts. I enjoy tucking perennial vegies here and there into the landscape border.

Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is a clump forming perennial growing about 3 feet high and wide. The plants grey-blue foliage is much like true kale (Brassica oleracea), but the flowers are white and produced in large masses. I think it's a beautiful plant in any garden as well as the vegetable garden, as these plants can provide good harvests for up to 10 years.

The main crop of sea kale is in the spring shoots. The blanched asparagus-like shoots are cut at 6-9 inches and have a slight hazelnut flavor. The flowerbuds, resembling broccoli heads, are not only beautiful and fragrant but also have very good flavor. The leaves of first and second year plants can also be eaten, and taste like collards. In the fall, after flowering is complete, the leaves of more mature plants can be eaten. Roots can be used raw or cooked, usually boiled or steamed like asparagus and served with butter.

Sea kale is hardy to Zone 4 or colder, and also succeeds in Mediterranean climates as well as South to about Zone 8 on the East Coast and cooler summers on the West Coast. You can easily propagate by division or multiply by using root cuttings. But, like asparagus, sea kale is slow to grow the first and second year, and should not be harvested until the third year. This perennial thrives in a rich fertile soil and performs best in full sun.

Although sea kale has never achieved commercial success, it's still an enduring vegetable and well worth the space in your garden.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Oh My.....Tomatillo

Jessica Morgan, M.H. Tomatillos are perhaps one of my favorite and most prized fruits. They're not only fun to grow (as they are incredibly beautiful plants) but they are rich in flavor and yummy to eat.

This native of Mexico, which is much like a tomato, dates back to at least 800 B.C. and has for a long time been cultivated there, but has never really caught on elsewhere. For a plant which is so rich in flavor, productive and easy to grow, this is surprising. In Mexican cuisine the tomatillo is important, replacing tomatoes which have come to be used in their place in other countries, particularly in salsa or other sauces for meat. I love how they impart a unique tanginess which tomatoes never quite attain.

The tomatillo is a member of the Solanaceae family (the nightshades: tomato, potato, eggplant, ect.) and should be taken into account for your crop rotation plan. Physalis ixocarpa and phladelphica are the most common varieties grown but there are several. Most nurseries sell Physalis ixocara as the principal Tomatillo species. But, you can find many varieties of seeds which may include large yellow or green fruits as well small purple ones.

If you have never grown tomatillos before just remember that they are sun loving, warm weather crops and love the heat. You'll want to choose a site that gets full sun and has well-drained soil that’s not too rich. A pH reading that’s close to neutral (7.0) is good for them. Simply water and feed while fruits are forming. I pick my tomatillos as soon as they are large enough to be useful and continue picking until frost.

So for those of us who are picking our tomatillos right now (and I say this in pure excitement!) thank goodness there are so many ways to use this abundance of fruit. I myself enjoy salsas, verdes, fried, or any where I want some tang.

Here is a simple and delicious recipe for Tomatillo Jam - Enjoy!

 Tomatillo Jam

  • 3 cups cleaned tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 1/2 cups organic sgar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic butter (optional)
  • 2 bags of powdered fruit pectin
  1. Follow basic instructions for Jam making. (cleaning jars and preparing canner)
  2. Finely chop or grind tomatillos. Measure exactly three cups into saucepot and add lemon juice.
  3. Stir in sugar, add butter if desired, (this reduces foaming) and bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin and return to full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off any excess foam.
  5. Ladle jam quickly into clean jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe, seal and place into canner. Water must cover jam jars by at least and inch.
  6. Cover and bring to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to completely cool. After cooling, check for proper seal, if lid springs back refrigeration is necessary.
This is the perfect spread across Chili Scones or homemade Corn Tortillas.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Very Interesting Veggies

Jessica Morgan, M.H. There is a sense of excitement that comes from growing something new in your garden each year. Why not explore your creative side and plant something unusual this year. I've put together some extraordinary vegetables with unusual flavors that will be worth the extra effort it takes to find these magnificent plants.

  • Asparagus Bean, also know as yard-long bean. A beautiful addition to any vegetable garden, and as good to eat as they are strange to behold. Easy to grow, produces abundantly, and has a pleasing taste all their own.
  • Borage is not the prettiest of plants when mature but useful to say the least. Leaves possess a mild, cucumber-like flavor guaranteed to perk up any salad.
  • Burdock doesn't need much water and is easy to grow. Slice the roots up for refreshing, sweetish, unusual aromatic flavor in stir-fry dishes or soups.
  • Chayote is low in calories and high in trace elements plus a good source of fiber. This vegetable pear is a tasty stand in for asparagus, or use it as you would potatoes or French fries.
  • Dandelion is enjoyable all year, and a closer look at its nutritional value should persuade you to do just that.
  • Horseradish root is useful both as food and medicine. Cook as you would parsnips or spice up a pot roast or baked ham. In the spring, the first leaf shoots of the plant can be picked for an unusual and pungent potherb.
  • Jicama tastes very much like water chestnuts, but with a slight hint of sweetness. These tubers can be used in a multitude of ways.
  • Luffa is a member of the cucumber family and is seldom seen growing in America, but spa-bathers and boat scrubbers are undoubtedly familiar with this sturdy "vegetable sponge." Grow some to scrub your veggie's!
  • Nettle if handled with care will make a valuable addition to you garden. Arm yourself with gloves and harvest away.
  • Orach has a mild flavor and contains much less acid than most other types of spinach. Add to quiches, roll up in crepes, toss into soups, or enjoy this delicious vegetable by itself.
  • Rocket is an excellent late crop with the flavor quite distinctive- sharp, spicy, pungent. Enjoy it at its best raw in salads.
  • Salsify has a multitude of uses. These roots can be baked, boiled, fried, or served in soups.
  • Scorzonera is delicious served hot with melted butter or a cream or mushroom sauce. But like Salsify can be baked or fried as well.
  • Sea Kale shoots have a delicate, nutty, slightly bitter flavor. They are yummy when eaten raw with cheese or in salads, or prepared like asparagus.
  • Skirret responds well to interplanting with salad crops such as radishes, onions, and leaf lettuce. Boil these roots up with salt and mash like potatoes.
  • Tomatillo's are the first cousin of the ground cherry. These sticky green berries are the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican dish.
The best part about planting unusual veggies is tracking down the seeds! Love you garden and it will love you!

Please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Don't Toss It......It's Full Of Nitrogen!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Making and using compost is not only a life-changing experience, but it is the world's best soil conditioner. I use my spent tea leaves as compost for my house plants; cactus, succulents, and herbs, plus I toss them in the garden. Tea leaves are full of Nitrogen, which is always needed for the healthy growth in plants. Its been known that by putting them in the soil that it helps with color development in flowers too, especially in red varieties.

I throw all my spent leaves either in the compost bin or directly on the garden as mulch. Both are very beneficial.

Using tea compost on your garden means:

    * You’ll spend less time weeding and watering your garden

    * You’ll need to use less artificial fertilizer in your garden

    * Your soil will be healthier, so you’ll grow healthier plants

    * You’ll save time and money

    * You’ll be keeping green waste out of landfill

 

All Morgan Botanicals loose-leaf teas, baths and soaks are compostable, it’s even on the labels! Look for Morgan Botanicals herbal products here at Local Harvest. So next time you buy tea, whether loose leaf or in tea bags, don’t forget to toss it in the garden. Does any one use their brewed leaves for anything interesting? I would love to hear your comments.

Please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

 
 
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