When I was bringing the washing in off the line on Tuesday, I took a few moments to wander around the garden and see which plants were doing what. The free mints (ordinary, Swiss, apple & spearmint) are running away as usual, although I need to divide the lime, eau de cologne and pineapple mints which are struggling in pots. The marjoram is large enough to pick for use and for drying. The lemon balm is growing well and soon will be ready for tincturing. The elecampane is half the size of the plants at the farm, despite the farm normally being 2 weeks behind the garden!
I also found a stray angelica plant hiding by one of the seats, so I shall have access to it, if needed. The black cohosh is waving its leaves around but there's no sign of the goldenseal. I replanted a heartsease from it's crack in the paving slabs on the patio into my hanging basket made from an old tractor tyre rim, but the wind blew away most of the seed when I tried to plant more!
It struck me when I was putting together the herb calendar, that those of you who don't read my blog might like some of my recipes. I have a whole handout on nettles, so if anyone would like one, let me know.
I made a new soup and pesto last weekend, so here they are.
4oz pine nuts
4 oz grated parmesan cheese
2 crushed garlic cloves
Leaves and flowers from six garlic mustard plants
Enough nettle leaves to fill a 1 pint saucepan
8 fl oz extra virgin olive oil.
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Blanch nettles and garlic mustard leaves for one minute in boiling water. Drain. Transfer leaves, pine nuts, cheese and garlic cloves to liquidiser and keep adding olive oil until the mixture blends easily. The original recipe calls for about 4 oz of olive oil, but my leaves were in such a compact block, I had to use loads of oil. This made 2 jars of pesto and tastes really good.
Nettle and sorrel soup
4/5 pints rich chicken stock made by boiling a chicken carcass for 4 hours with 2 tablespoons winter savory vinegar, 2 dried bay leaves, 5 peppercorns, a sliced onion and 3 sticks sliced celery. When using stock, discard herbs and chicken bones but retain vegetables for the soup.
½ basket of nettle leaves removed from their stalks
2 large handfuls of fresh sorrel (I gathered most of my plant). You could use less and cook for less time than I did.
2 peeled and sliced carrots and potatoes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add fresh ingredients to the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are just soft. Blend, check seasoning and serve with fresh bread topped with pesto!
The white cherry blossom has faded now, so I've missed my chance to make a cherry blossom elixir for another year.
If you're planning to make dandelion flower oil or syrup, now is a perfect time. This was my favourite dandelion syrup from last year. The name arose because I was on holiday in the Peak District in the caravan when I made it.
Pick an amount of fresh dandelions, red clover flowers and stalks and hawthorn flowers. Remove the dandelion petals and centres from any green bits. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain and measure liquid. Clean saucepan. Return liquid to the pan and simmer with the lid off until the liquid is reduced by 7/8s. Add honey in the ratio of 1pint to1lb honey. Stir gently until honey is dissolved. Pour into heated, sterilized bottles. Seal when cold. Label and date.
I am loving this time of year especially with the sunny dry spell we have been having! Thanks for the pesto recipe I have made it and added some garlic mustard too mmm delicious.
My Peppermint has gotten massive I planted it in an old lorry tyre and you can hardly see any tyre.... I harvested loads of that yesterday along with the lemon balm tops, and generous amounts of ground ivy some of which I have tinctured. My fingers smelt amazing from the blend of picking those aromatics.
I am going to get the periwinkle later today as its flowering in the hedgerows near my house -I have never used it before so its always nice to make new friends the airing cupboard is full of trys of drying cleavers, plantain, nettle, yarrow and I need to get the raspberry leaves too as I said I love this busy herbal time o year after the long dormant winter I feel revived.
is the forum of the Herb Society (UK), the place to discuss
all aspects of herbs including their uses, cultivation, history, legislation
and much more. Run by and for the Herb Society (UK) and open to anyone to read, but posts will only appear once approved by a moderator.
Please note that the Forum Host and Moderators reserve the right to delete
any entry which is considered to be inappropriate for this forum, its members and the
Herb Society as a whole. IP's of spammers will be blocked.
The Herb Society is not qualified to provide medicinal advice. Useful contacts for such advice can be found on our contacts page. Officers and Council Members of the Herb Society (UK) accept no liability for any harm, damage, or illness arising from the use of plants mentioned or described on this forum.