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Archive for the ‘herbs and other green bits’ Category

I know it’s summer when herbal things abound around my house.  I have catnip drying, comfrey oil steeping, and flower waters infusing all simultaneously.  This time of year is so abundantly wonderful!

The comfrey oil is a concoction of the healthiest leaves and flowers from my comfrey plants, first wilted a bit and then covered in extra virgin olive oil.  This mixture sits on a sunny porch step for two weeks, gets filtered of the old plant material and then gets another two-week round of fresh comfrey parts.  This yields a wonderfully potent medicinal oil that will be used to make salves and ointments for fast healing of cuts and scrapes.

The catnip gets dried in an out-of-the-sun location (my pantry seems to work perfectly for this) and then chopped up and jarred for winter use in teas.  Catnip tea cools a fever, soothes the nerves and, when frozen into pops, is the perfect remedy for a teething baby.

My floral waters are a mixture of 3 parts distilled water to 1 part witch hazel.  The flowers steep in this mixture on a shady shelf for two weeks (I add the freshly opened blooms as they appear daily) and then get strained and put into little spray bottles for me to use as a facial toners.

So much herby goodness abounding and it’s just the beginning of the season….

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I know the dilemma of how to get kids to eat their vegetables is nothing new.  There are millions of picky eaters out there.  I just never expected my kid to be one of them.  I’m a mama who has been known to eat kale for breakfast.  I’m in love with vegetables.  All of them.   Okay fine, turnips aren’t my most favorite, but I will still eat them.  Really it has felt like a not-very-funny joke that it’s my boy who won’t eat a single vegetable.

The past few years I’ve gotten very tricky about how I get his vegetables into him.  They get pureed and baked into just about everything (chocolate zucchini cake, anyone?).  They get made into pasta (sweet potato gnocchi is a bit hit around here).  And slipped into smoothies (it’s nothing short of miraculous that beets can go totally undetected in a berry smoothie).  But I’ve never lost the desire to see him actually nosh down something green in a form true to its own vegetal nature.

So you can surely share in my delight when I exclaim that Eli, as it turns out, is a forager by nature.  He will glad eat anything that is wild and edible.  Dandelion greens?  Check.  Violet and nasturtium blossoms.  Most definitely.  Herbs of any kind.  And now, thank my lucky stars, he’ll pick the mesclun that he planted in the garden early this spring and actually, you know, eat it.  Not in a salad or anything.  Heavens, no.  You can’t mix things all up like that, Mama.  But Eli will sit and eat, leaf by leaf, petal by petal, a dinner plate of freshly foraged green things.  Green things, people!  My son is eating green things!

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My six-year-old has this word delishum.  It’s his little hybrid of delicious and yum that he reserves as the highest form of food praise.  He’d hardly touch radish pâté with a ten foot pole let alone use the holiest of words to describe it,  but this springy mix of fresh chives, carrots and radishes is where it’s at for me right now.My little garden is bursting forth with tender shoots of chives, so naturally they’ve been making their way into our springtime meals.  A simple dice of carrots and radishes mixed up with some chopped chives, a touch of mayo, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper and you’ve got an easy little pâté to put on anything your heart desires.  Or to eat right out of the bowl which I am so fond of doing.Radish pâté makes a great little filling for sandwiches and a tasty addition to quesadillas.  It’s spunky and fresh and way easier than pie.  It’s totally delishum.

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chive vinegar 4chive vinegar 1chive vinegar 5chive vinegar 7chive vinegar 2Pungent, but so pretty, these vinegars were  a delight to make.  I gathered up chive blossoms in abundance along with bits of purple and varigated sage for the first batch.  I cooked up the vinegar to near boiling and then poured it into  jars stuffed with the beautiful blossoms and herbs.  The next batch became nasturtium-thyme.  My nasturtiums this year are the heirloom variety ‘Alaska’.  The plants bubble over their pretty varigated foliage with red, orange and yellow blooms.  I love how the different colors of the blossoms infuse the vinegar with varying levels of peach, orange and red.  Together the bottles all look like the most gorgeous sunset.

I made up some tags, tied them on with ribbon, and now these dashing vinegars are ready to give as hostess gifts at this party or that bbq throughout the summer.

Oh, and they taste really good.  As far as vinegars go, you know.  They’ll make  worthy and punchy contributions to plenty of marinades and dressings.

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