Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Herbs



Spring is a time of joyous anticipation, which in Colorado comes between major snow falls. Under that snow however, I know the herbs are starting to stir and getting all the moisture they need. Chives for me is the first sign of spring. I have a small clump near my back door and the sun shines there to melt the snow pretty quickly. I'll probably snip a few inches of chives to put in cream cheese to have with my bagel. They don't dry well so enjoy your chives now (or freeze some). Clary sage, mint and parsley are also visible at times.

At this time of year I am also thinking about what herbs I didn't have enough of last year so that I can plan to put more in. Among these are calendula, mint, lavender and rose. Calendula I probably use the most of in my skin care products. It is high in carotenoids which help skin cells grow to promote wound healing and help replenish the epithelial cells. This is always important but becomes more so as we age.

Given one extra year mint will probably grow quite sufficient this summer so I won't worry about putting more of that in. I make a mint infused oil to use in many of my products as mint helps to soften the skin and leaves a nice feel. I’ll be putting in more lavender of course, probably one to two more rows. Perhaps another rose bush, but again, with one more year’s growth my roses should be flourishing this summer. I choose my roses based on having high fragrance.

Here are some other things I've seen around the beds.
Sorrel is up, maybe this year I'll remember to make some sorrel soup.

Dandelion is always one of the first to appear. I'll pick a few leaves off these to add to a salad. They are quite good when young, especially among other salad greens.And here is salad burnett which I can also pick now for a salad along with what looks to be like calendula leaves starting to pop through.

Besides planning for this year’s plantings I like to go through what dried herbs I have from last year and use up what is left. One fun way to use up these herbs is to do a steam facial. Almost any herbs will work for this but rose petals, chamomile, mint and fennel are some favorites. Put a handful of dried herbs in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Hold your head over the bowl with a towel over your head to help hold in the steam. Let the steam rise to your skin to hydrate, clean your pores and relax your body. What herbs do you have to use up before you harvest this summer?

This is part of a blog party hosted by Cory Trusty. Who by the way is a Floridian so probably is doing lots with herbs right now and may not understand the northerners snowy spring! You can see what she is up to here:
http://aquarianbath.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Sarah said...

To list what herbs I had left from last year would go on for quite a while - I try and throw out what I haven't used once I harvest fresh and it's dried ok, but I keep as much as I can just in case the whole harvest of one herb doesn't work out - had to do that with burdock leaves last year as I lost them all to mould whilst drying. If you want to try something new with your chives, make a vinegar - I made one using just the flowers and the whole vinegar is crimson - beautiful and smells good too.

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