Garden Project: Scarborough Fair

ht-gar-07-scarboro-faire-trough“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme.

Remember me to one who lives there

For she once was a true love of mine.”

Here is the Scarborough Fair trough garden project I planted, featuring the culinary herbs in the ballad: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Garden inspirations are where you find them, and part of the discovery are additional avenues to explore and learn more about!

Want to learn more about Scarborough Fair, the ballad, lyrics and interpretation?

Click on this link, to learn more…


Considerations for Planning Your Garden, Part 1

Garden guy“Planning” your garden is key, in having a successful growing season.

This includes:

* Know what you would like to grow

* What and what variety grows well in your area

* The growing conditions your garden will provide, once amended

Have you been studying the many seed and plant catalogs, now arriving nearly daily? The choices are astounding. In my 10 years of our Herbal Treasures Garden, I am observing increasing variety and greater numbers of seeds and plants available. This is a very exciting time to be a gardener!

At the same time, the possibilities and choices are staggering, and can actually serve as an obstacle to getting started, if a gardener is not careful.

Make preliminary preference-based choices on what you believe you and your family will most likely eat, and probably completely consume.

As previously discussed, some vegetables yield greater quantities. This reminds me of tomatoes and zucchini. If you are looking for greater yield (as in a larger family), this may be a consideration for you, as well.

Some vegetables are more difficult to grow. If you have limited time, space and inclination, perhaps growing your own corn would not be advisable. However, with the price of tomatoes and the relative ease of growing them, they might be a worthwhile addition to your garden

Of course this being the Herbal Treasures website, I would remiss if I did not include copious amounts of herbs on the list! They will add life and spark up any veggie dish you make.

Ramps: The Wild Leek of Appalachia

Ramps, (Allium tricoccum or Allium tricoccum var. burdickii, Alliaceae), often referred to as wild leeks, are native to the Appalachian mountain area in eastern North America and found growing in the rich, moist deciduous forest floors of North America. Ramps are often found growing in patches tucked away in cool, shady forests as far north as Canada, west to Missouri, and south to North Carolina.

Usually in late March to early April, new leaves sprout from the perennial bulb. Seasonally, ramp leaves begin to die back, with a flower stalk emerging in late May. The active growth cycle takes place for only a few weeks, when the plants emerge and the forest tree canopy closes. The flower blooms in June and the seeds mature atop a leafless stalk, shattering to the ground for germination near the mother plant. In my observation, the seed stalks closely resemble those of the Garlic Chive.

The ramp bulb is similar to that of a scallion, but also features flat, broad leaves. The word ramp is derived from “rams,” or “ramson,” first mentioned in English print in 1530, named after the “ramson,” or son of Ram, the spring buck, which represents the months of March and April.  Ramps are recorded as having been used by the early English immigrants of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Considered a springtime delicacy, festivals and events herald their harvest and celebrate their pungent addition to culinary creations.

One of the first emerging plants in the spring, ramps traditionally are consumed as a first seasonal ‘green.’ Once nourished Native Americans, ramps also provided an excellent source of Vitamin C that protected Appalachian settlers from disease. For this reason, they are considered a spring tonic, after long winter months of a diet lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables. Similar to spring onions, but with a well-deserved reputation for a strong garlic-like aroma, ramps are most often prepared sliced potatoes or scrambled eggs, fried in butter. Leeks may be substituted raw or cooked, in any recipe calling for scallions or leeks. Also used as an ingredient in other dishes such as soups, casseroles, rice dishes, pancakes, and hamburgers, ramps can be pickled or dried for use later in the year.

The leaves are a milder flavor than the ramp bulbs, and traditionally used chopped, along with the bulbs in various dishes. Ramps can also be preserved by being chopped and frozen, by chopping about half of the length of the leaves, air-drying them for a few hours, then freezing the chopped leaves in a well-sealed freezer container, to be used as a seasoning.

In order to meet the rising demand for ramps, while conserving native plant population, commercial cultivation practices are being developed. The goal is the ability to harvest ramps from concentrated, accessible plantings, which would benefit various ramp festival participants, chefs, and consumers, while creating a new marketable product for commercial growers. A collaborative effort by the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Plant Industry Division, resulted in a series of studies that were conducted, underwritten by the Golden Leaf Foundation.

More info:

Growing Ramps (leaflet)

Cultivating Ramps Commercially

Ramp Sources of Seeds/Bulbs and Festivals

Ramps Recipes

Southern Food Recipes

More About Ramps


Herbal Treasures Featured WordPress Blog

Gar Path  We received a cool surprise in our email today! 

Herbal Treasures’ blog was featured by WordPress — check it out

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

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!

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 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…

Gardener’s Inspiration: Fall Table Décor

Pumpkin Flwr Cntrpc  Gardener’s Inspiration: Fall Table Décor and Displays

Table Décor Ideas for the Season We Just Love:

Serve dip or herbed spread in a small, hollowed out pumpkin, with crudités and whole wheat crackers, from a rustic serving tray.

Ladle your pumpkin soup from a clean, hollowed out larger pumpkin!

Feature a seasonal flower arrangement in a hollowed out pumpkin, or place setting-sized arrangements in hollowed out mini-pumpkins or gourds.

Fall is a Time of Renewal

Fall Apple Bskt  Although in the latter portion of the year, fall has always seemed to be a time of renewal to me. It is a time of starting anew — a new school year, a new project, completion of the summer’s many responsibilities and chores, or looking ahead to a busy, new fall schedule.

Fall also seems to be a festive time of the year to me. The weather generally cools a bit initially, the days turn golden, and the colorful leaves make for a bright, happy time to celebrate!

Fall brings with it many traditions we anticipate and share…

Two Family Favorite Fall Recipes:

***Hot Spiced Cider***

Warm 1 gallon of fresh apple cider in a large pot, over medium heat.  

Thinly slice 1 orange and 1 lemon, and add slices to the warming cider.

Add 6 broken cinnamon sticks and a handful of whole cloves in the pot.

Cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer, allowing flavors to blend about 20-30 minutes.

Serve in pretty mugs. (Aromatherapy in a mug — and in the kitchen!)

***Roasted Pumpkin Seeds***

Cut a lid out of your chosen pumpkin. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp.

Rinse the seeds, removing the strings and pulp from them. Soak them for about 30 minutes in 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt added.

Remove the seeds from the salty solution and let them dry on clean papertowels.

Spread a single layer of pumpkin seeds on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle them with garlic salt, onion salt and chili pepper — or your favorite blend!

Bake 10-15 minutes in a 350-degreeF oven, until the seeds begin to lightly brown. Stir the seeds occasionally throughout the baking time.

Herbed Pork Chops

Garlic  Baked Herbed Pork Chops with Saffron Rice

4 thick center-cut or butterflied pork chops

a blend of your favorite fresh herbs (I used: Cuban oregano, garlic
chives, marjoram, thyme, true Greek oregano)

salt and pepper – to taste

2 packages Mahatma Yellow Rice: 1 Spicy Saffron; 1 Saffron, or
equivalancy of 1 2/3 cups to about 2 cups cooked saffron rice

20 ounces bullion broth (I use vegetarian vegetable; and do
recommend very low sodium variety, if you use regular `bullion’, so
as to let the herbal flavors through)

1 red pepper, sliced

1 14.5 ounces can diced tomatoes (I used “Italian,” with garlic and

1 whole medium onion, thinly sliced

Sprinkle pork chops with your favorite fresh herbal blend, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour uncooked rice into large covered casserole; place pork chops on top of rice; pour in bullion; layer onion slices on top of meat, then add diced tomatoes on top of onion slices and pork chops. Cover and bake 350-degrees F until cooked through (about 1 ½ hour). Serves 8.

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