Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Herbs are beneficial, a must Have in the Garden.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Lamiaceae) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavours. It is also called Sweet Marjoram or Knotted Marjoram and Majorana hortensis.
The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major).[2]
Marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade. It is often used in herb combinations such as Herbes de Provence and Za'atar.
Although considered cold-sensitive, marjoram can sometimes prove hardy even in zone 5.Wikipedia

A bunch of fresh herbs to be dried.

Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is a small evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region.
It is much cultivated as a kitchen and medicinal herb, and, according to certain sources, grows in every field. Common sage is also grown in parts of Europe, especially the Balkans for distillation of the essential oil, though other species, such as Salvia triloba may also be harvested and distilled with it.
It is also called Garden sage, Kitchen sage, and Dalmatian sage. The word sage or derived names are also used for a number of related and non related species
As a herb, sage is considered to have a slight peppery flavour. In Western cooking, it is used for flavouring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses (Sage Derby), and some drinks. In Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavouring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. Sage is sauteed in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added (burro e salvia). In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.
The Latin name for sage: salvia, means “to heal". Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic.[1] In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.[Wikipedia

A close view, Italian Parsley, Marjoram, Rocket leaves, a couple of Comfrey leaves, Oregano not to much (bitter) Sage and petals of Nasturtium and Pineapple Sage.

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is a tender perennial plant with tubular red flowers and an attractive scent to the leaves. The scent has been compared to pineapple, while others have compared it to the odor of a martini. However, the German name of it means "honeydew melon sage". It produces numerous erect leafy stems and flowers in the late autumn. The red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds.
Pineapple sage does not normally produce fertile seed in cultivation. Commercial growers produce new plants asexually, through cuttings.
Older literature refers to this species as S. rutilans.
Pineapple sage leaves are edible and can be steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea.

The fresh herbs are stacked into the dryer. It takes about 24 hours to dry, check from time to time. The red petals are Pineapple Sage flowers. I like to use Nasturtium flowers as well but they do not flower yet, I found only a few. Calendula petals and Borage flowers dry well and add a few dots of colour and different minerals.

In cultivation, most varieties of nasturtiums prefer to be grown in direct or indirect sunlight, with a few preferring partial shade.
The most common use of the nasturtium plant in cultivation is as an ornamental flower. It grows easily and prolifically, and is a self-seeding annual.
It is also edible, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient, and is used in stir fry. All parts of the plant are edible, not just the flower and leaves. The flowers can be added to salads for an exotic look and taste; they have a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of Watercress. The unripe seed pods can be harvested and pickled with hot vinegar, to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers, although the taste is strongly peppery. The mashua (T. tuberosum) produces an edible underground tuber that is a major food source in parts of the Andes.
Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful companion plants. They repel a great many cucurbit pests, like squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars. They had a similar range of benefits for brassica plants, especially broccoli and cauliflower. They also attract black fly aphids, and are sometimes planted in the hope of saving crops susceptible to them. They may also attract beneficial, predatory insects. Wikipedia

This tray was choker block full and that's what it looks like after drying when all the moisture has disappeared.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a bright green, biennial herb, also used as spice. It is very common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although it has a milder flavor.
Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. Many people think flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavor, and this opinion is backed by chemical analysis which finds much higher levels of essential oil in the flat-leaved cultivars[citation needed]. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The use of curly leaf parsley may be favored by some because it cannot be confused with poison hemlock, like flat leaf parsley or chervil.
Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other umbellifers, it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. They are especially useful for protecting tomato plants, for example the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. While parsley is biennial, not blooming until its second year, even in its first year it is reputed to help cover up the strong scent of the tomato plant, reducing pest attraction.
In parts of Europe, and particularly in West Asia, many foods are served with chopped parsley sprinkled on top. The fresh flavor of parsley goes extremely well with fish. Parsley is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh which is the national dish of Lebanon. In Southern and Central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavor stocks, soups, and sauces. Additionally, parsley is often used as a garnish. Persillade is mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley. Gremolata is a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Wikipedia

The dried herbs are ready to be ground, or rub with fingers until crumbly.

The finished herbs will be mixed with Sea salt and be ready to use. This will improve salad dressings, to be used in soups, vegetables and meat dishes.

Believe it or not:
Be led by reason; Greek Proverb.

Organic tip of the week:Do earth, nature and yourself a favour and use plant based biodegradable products.
Clean out your cupboard and remove all cleaning products containing toxic cleaning agents and replace with earth friendly products.


Maddles said...

Being a herb fan I'd have to agree with your headline! Great blog posts and I love your photos, it's lovely to see such exotic plants and animals compared to ones here in England.

I haven't seen a herb dryer like that before, where did you get it?

sisah said...

Was für eine Fülle aus der Du schon schöpfen kannst, ich bin begeistert! Ich bin auch ein Kräuterfan und lese mit großem Interesse Deine Art der Kräutersalzzubereitung, bisher hatte ich das immer fertig gekauft, aber diese Jahr werde ich es auch mal probieren. Meine Kräuter werden meistens einzeln getrocknet und ebenso aufbewahrt, aber warum nicht eine einigartige Gartenmischung selbst herstellen.
Wo hast Du die Information her, dass man in Deutschland Salbei als Wurstgewürz verwendet? Mir ist das nicht bekannt, meine Mutter machte früher selbst Leberwusrt, aber da wurde meist Majoran und Thymian als Gewürz verwendet.

Anonymous said...