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The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

HSA Bk The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking With Herbs

            More than a cookbook and more than a gardening manual – a delightful combination!

Are you searching for a great gift idea for a gardener, an accomplished cook or someone who is a combination of the two? How about a gift for an herbal enthusiast? Are you looking for an informative herby read?

The Herb Society of America’s The Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs provides detailed information for cultivating a variety of popular herbs, along with simple herbal recipes that will satisfy even fussiest gourmet. 

The book is divided into 3 sections: 

The first part provides horticultural information for 63 herbs found in the National Herb Garden’s Culinary Garden. Descriptive information includes the common and botanical names, family, origin, and growing requirements. 

In the second section of the guide, Herb Society of America members offer over 200 classic and creative recipes incorporating a variety of herbs. 

The final portion of the book features a personal tour of the 2.5 acre National Herb Garden, located at the center of the United States National Arboretum, in the heart of Washington, D.C. The descriptive narrative spotlights the themed gardens which illustrate the various uses of herbs and includes complete plants lists for each area. 

The sale of this book is to benefit the National Herb Garden, so you see your purchase is truly a gift that keeps on giving. 

As a Lifetime Member of the Herb Society of America, I am pleased to be a part of this benefit for the National Herb Garden, with one of my recipes selected and included in this book. 

Read more about The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs

Winterizing the Herb Garden

Christmas Candle Winterizing the Herb Garden

A few hours tidying up a garden at season’s end saves a lot of unnecessary hard work for the spring, when you are anxious to plant and till some new soil! As the weather has been so unseasonably warm in many parts, if you have not yet attended to some of these chores, it’s not too late!

Prune and shape – artemisia, marjoram, oregano, lavender, thyme – don’t cut back severely, but light pruning after frost is fine. Cut off spent flower stems and dead limbs throughout the garden. Avoid severe pruning late in the fall, as winter hardiness is reduced until the cuts have healed. Woody plants should not be severely pruned within 4 – 6 weeks of the first severe freeze.

Pull up annuals and tender perennials you do not plan to over winter, placing them into your composting pile. Remove dead, damaged or diseased plants, to lessen the spread of disease to other plants in your garden now, or next growing season. This minimizes over wintering insects and disease problems.

Prior to first frost: Pull tropicals, scented geraniums, other plants you may wish to pot and over winter. (Tender perennials are best potted up in the late summer.) Cuttings might be taken to root, rather than trying to pot up and keep a well established tender perennial, or if you should lose it during the winter, trying to over winter it.

Clean up garden beds, by raking and removing leaves and trash. Transplant “orphan” herb plants you may discover along the way, to a better spot, or mark with a plant stake. Let the beds remain clean and clear for a week or so. Many insect pests and some weeds seeds are destroyed when exposed to the sun and to chilly nights.

“Pull the covers up”, by spreading 1-2″ of compost or topsoil over the garden beds; then top with loose organic mulch, which acts like a blanket. Woodchips or sawdust should not be used, as they absorb the nitrogen, necessary for plants to grow. Winter mulching helps to maintain a uniform soil temperature around the plant’s root system, while providing protection against heaving caused by the freezing and thawing of soil.

Flat, heavy stones may be used to “mulch” around lavender plants, to help keep the soil from heaving, in areas where winter is more severe. Leaves, straw or a simple cut pine bough placed around French tarragon, germander, Roman chamomile, silver and lemon thyme, winter savory, large lavender or sage plants, help provide protection. In areas of large amounts of snow or ice, teepees of twigs, sticks or bamboo may be constructed, and the leaves or straw mounded within for greater plant protection.

Rewrite or replace plant markers, as you go…

Cared for properly, many herbs (and other perennial plants!) will thrive in your garden for seasons to come! Enjoy!!!

TIP: Use clippings to make an Advent Wreath and other seasonal decor!

Tomato-Basil Soup Recipe

HT Kit  Tomato~Basil Soup 

½ cup onions, chopped                                                        

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 

1 Tbsp garlic, crushed                                                           

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 

2 Tbsp olive oil                                                                     

½ tsp dry mustard powder 

5  28 ounce cans “fresh cut” tomatoes, plus juice        

1 cup grated Romano cheese 

2/3 cup pureed or finely-minced basil                                    

4 cups vegetable stock 

2 teaspoons sugar 

In heavy stock pot, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil, until soft. Add all other ingredients except Romano, and bring to simmer.  Continue simmering for about 20 minutes. Remove 2 cups of hot soup, whisk Romano into it, returning it to the stock pot. Adjust seasonings and serve. 

Note: Enjoyed at Herbal Treasures’ “Herbs in the Kitchen” Luncheon!

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack Gardener’s Glossary – Hardy:

Able to withstand year-round climatic conditions, including cold, without protection.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: We discussed the importance of this in this post

Advent Wreath Making

Advent Wreath Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas. This year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 2, 2007.

I am very excited to be teaching an Advent Wreath Making workshop for area homeschool moms as a special “Mom’s Night Out” this month!

The result will be a uniquely lovely Advent Wreath centerpiece-size and scale appropriate for most homes. Each mom will receive an Advent Devotional to take home, to use with their newly-created wreath.

This time of the year is incredibly busy with preparations for Christmas programs, events and plays, but it will offer all a great time of fellowship and fun. What better time to slow for just a bit, enjoy some special time and remember the Reason for this Season?

Are you interested in receiving instructions and an Advent Devotional? Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath Making Workshop is now online!

For Herbal Treasures Advent Wreath Making Workshop Online and Advent Wreath Making Guide and Devotional, click here:


A Thyme for Sharing: Reader Recipe – Marinade

Turkey  A Thyme for Sharing ~ An Herbal Treasures Reader Writes…

“I’d like to share a turkey marinade that I concocted about 10 years ago, and have shared with tons of folks. They in return have passed it on to guests in their homes. Recipes only get better and better when shared with friends. This works well with turkey or chicken, in the oven, or on the barbeque. I submitted it to Allrecipes.com a couple of years ago.”

Here it is:

Chicken and Turkey Marinade

A 24-hour marinade, guaranteed to please every time. Chicken or turkey is always moist, tender. Use half of a recipe for a chicken, or the full recipe for a turkey of any size.

Everyone will clamor for this recipe!!!

Makes 5 cups of marinade.

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup minced fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and mustard. Add the chives, sage, oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic, paprika, and herb seasoning. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend before marinating your favorite meat.

Submitted by: Elaine Maxwell, Herbal Treasures reader

Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe with us, Elaine!

More about cooking turkeys may be found here…