Thursday, September 24, 2009

Herb Drying Rack

This time of year my workshop is taken over with herbs that are drying everywhere so I've been trying to come up with more compact ways of drying them. Here is one of them.
I took an old cloths drying rack that was actually broken and glued it back together. Unfortunately, this means it is no longer collapsible, but that is ok. By setting it up I am able to put a screen across the top as well as the bottom rods. Now I can lay herbs across these screens and they have plenty of airflow from above and below. I could also tie bundles of herbs to the rods. You can see I also have a grass woven bag hanging from the rack. The open weave of this bag allows airflow and I can have dry herbs inside of that as well.
In addition to this I have a few hooks on the backside of my bookshelves to hang herbs from as well as hooks under a cupboard.
Do you have any space saving ideas for drying herbs?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Simply Super Tomatoes

Here is a recipe that my Mom used to make alot that I just love. We had this tomato dish this week.
Simply Super Tomatoes
2/3 cup oilive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1-2 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
1 teaspoon chopped dill weed
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
shake this together and pour over 6- 8 fresh tomatoes sliced.

We've grown quite a few different tomatoes this summer but the one's that have really taken off are the cherry tomatoes. Unfortunately, we did not do a good job at staking them and they are laying on the ground alot. One winter project will be to build sturdy tomato cages.

The weather here is becoming a bit chillier and tomorrow night may dip close to freezing. We will keep a close watch on it and pick and cover where necessary. Although I've been able to cut quite a bit of calendula from my garden to use in products over the winter, Jason at Aspen Moon Organic Farm has allowed me to pick some of the calendula from his farm as well. Its nice to be well stocked with this important herb.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Harvest Pizza

I love going out to the garden in the afternoon and deciding what to make for dinner when I see what is out there. This week we had a harvest pizza that was loaded with zucchini, fresh onion, and lots of roma tomatoes. Its good to have a basic pizza crust recipe because this can be used for a number of things including frittata. Here is my recipe:
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
3 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoons salt
First mix the water and yeast together, then add the rest and mix. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or so (times are only a guideline). Knead, split in two (or more) and roll dough out on a floured surface to the size/shape pizza you want. Top as you wish!
I made this dough one time and covered it with onions that had been stir fried and topped that with feta cheese and herbs. Yum!
Wish I'd remembered to take a picture. But try going out to your garden to find something to top a pizza crust with. Let me know what you find.

Friday, September 4, 2009

15 Flowers/Herbs in 15 Minutes

As I was thinking of what to blog about I was glad to see I was tagged for this exercise which sounded fun. Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen flowers or herbs you've worked with or been touched by that will always stick with you. You don't have to have used the plant medicinally (heck, you don't even have to like it), you just have to have been deeply impacted by it in some way. First fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

1. Daisy – this was my Mothers favorite flower

2. Lilac – I love the smell. I fell in love with lilacs as a young child, we had one near our back door.

3. Rose – The thorny beauty, a beautiful flower and a beautiful smell.

4. Lavender – has been one of my favorite herbs for its aroma, appearance and hardiness. I have planted significant numbers of lavender here on our farm.

4. Calendula – a medicinal flower that has become an important part of many of my skin care products.

5. Chamomile – first loved this from Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time tea, well actually before that in Mo’s 24. I now grow it and distill it for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

6. Rosemary – although it never blooms in my climate when I once saw a rosemary bush in full bloom it was quite impressive. I use rosemary extract for its antioxidants.

7. Grass – Since I live on the prairie grass flowers are common. Very unobtrusive yet most grasses can only be identified by their flower. Of course many grasses such as wheat are used as food and having a pasture I need to pay attention to what grasses are there.

8. Strawberry – again, a small flower but I know that each of those flowers will yield a juicy fruit.

9. Lemon balm – I love how eager it is to grow and use it in many of my products as well as distill it.

10. Basil – its spicy taste has to be my favorite. Recently I am learning of other varieties of basil as well as its medicinal benefits in helping with stress.

11. Echinacea – a beautiful, easy to grow flower and a must when it comes to cold/flu prevention. A picture of this flower also graced the cover of my book “The Antibiotic Alternative”

12. Hollyhocks – I was pleased to see this flower coming up in the garden at my first house. I love its tall stature in the garden and its old fashioned appearance.

13. Yarrow – this is native here in the west so it is easy to grow and it has great medicinal properties.

14. Linden – the aroma of the Linden tree flower is overwhelming in the spring and certainly brightens a mood.

15. Pine – I love the peacefulness of being in a pine forest. The aroma reminds me of living in Flagstaff, Arizona. These trees also remind me of this song we sang in Girl Scouts called Canadian Wilderness:

Smoke rising from the fire
Up through the trees in a stately spire
All is well as evening lows
Sun goes down as north wind blows


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