Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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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.

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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.

 
 
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