Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simple Herb Harvest--Chives!

Start with a Basket of Chives
Makes About Two Containers for the Freezer
I Just Mark What Herb It Is and the Date In Case I Lose My Mind!
Well, now that I'm out of the jam/jelly fog, I have to get down to the serious business of cutting herbs before the cold weather hits.  Yesterday I started the process by cutting one of my favorites, chives.  Really I have a lot of chives, but I have found only a couple of containers with cut up chives are needed for winter use.  I love them in my eggs and in sour cream for baked potatoes and as an onion substitute in soups and stews.  Going to do an herbal vinegar 101 post soon because that is another quick way to preserve your herbal harvest.

A reader of Carolee Snyder's herbal book series (because my pineapple sage jelly recipe is in her latest herbal book), Susan contacted me with questions about my pineapple sage jelly recipe.  She made the jelly and got through the day yesterday with some coaching from me.  I was like a proud herbal jelly parent!  She is moving on to lavender jelly so maybe she will share the recipe with me if it turns out.  I'll let you know.

I have so many posts I could do and I have sort of lost my way and need to get back on track.   Besides the herbal vinegar post, I'm going to try to finish up my English trip that was in May!  I also want to do some Christmas related posts to give you some ideas for herbal holiday gifts.  So those are the things I'm thinking about at the moment.  I'll post again soon.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Almost 100 Pounds of Sugar Later!

Enough Left to Fill My Sugar Canister!
Last Certo Ready to Go!
Pineapple Sage Made My Kitchen Smell Heavenly!
Oh, Yes and One More Batch of Raspberry Jam Tomorrow
Well, some years it takes this long in the season to get to the end of my jam and jelly making.  It has been a long season, but I really have enjoyed it.  I'm doing this post because I had a new reader ask me some questions about my pineapple sage jelly recipe.  I'm glad I could answer her today because she might have ruined her attempt tomorrow.  You see she thought she should make all three batches of jelly at one time.  Because I used reconstituted pineapple juice and said it made three batches, she was thinking that all three batches needed to be done at once.  One batch at a time, four (sometimes more or less) jars at a time.

I always knew that you couldn't double or triple a jelly recipe particularly because it might end up in a runny mess.  Glad you wrote to me Susan.  I hope everything goes according to plan tomorrow. Hope you have had a great day.  I was freezing picking berries today.  Really going to be going around the garden fast and furiously, herbally speaking this week.  I have added some garden videos on my YouTube Channel so please check them out.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Western Reserve Herb Fest at the Cleveland Botanical Garden!

Will Lynch, a 16 year old that Has His Own Design Business!
One of Mulberry Creek Herb Farm's Miniature Gardens!
A Mini Garden for Halloween!
One of The Reasons We Came to the Herb Fest, The Herb Garden!
Millstones in the Thyme Garden
Pineapple Sage in Full Bloom
A Large 'Snowflake' Scented Geranium
A Lovely Lemon Verbena
The Cleveland Botanical Garden As a Backdrop to the Herb Garden
The Knot Garden
The Dye Garden
A Beautiful Tangerine Sage!
The List of Herbs for the "Garden Square"
The "Garden Square"
Hyacinth Beans in Bloom
Basil Bed Doing Pretty Good
Our Favorite Herb Lady, Kathleen Gips!
Wonderful Herb Rolls and Lemon Tarragon Butter, Yummy!
With apologies for my tardiness in posting this, Bonnie and I took a road trip to Ohio for the Herb Fest at the Cleveland Botanical Garden last Saturday.  The ladies (and maybe gentlemen) of the Western Reserve Unit of the Herb Society of America did an outstanding job making tons of herbal products for purchase.  Bonnie and I do a lot of our own stuff.  We both came home with herb bread and rolls!  We are always happy to see our herb friend, Kathleen.  She was busy answering the public's questions as she was herb lady for the day.

The other thing that we were anxious to see is the fabulous herb garden that is maintained by the unit!  Can I tell you that it is one of my favorite herb gardens in the eastern half of the United States.  Really! They have done their research and have really maintained a quality herb garden.  I told Bonnie that we will have to come back in the summer because it would even be better and it was really good now.  Looking forward to it already!

I am in the homestretch of making jelly.  I made lemon verbena jelly yesterday and today I set up the rose geranium jelly that I will make at the end of the week.  Then I will just have pineapple sage to go.  The pineapple sage is just so beautiful that I can't cut the leaves yet.  I will have my eyes on the temperatures at night.  I think we are going to have a succession of 30's and I will have to cut it then.  Oh, I almost forgot I have another batch of raspberry jam to do (136 jars)!  I was also thinking about making lemon geranium jelly.  So many flavors, so little time!  Maybe next year!

I still have a lot to cut in the herb garden, chives, lovage, salad burnet (going to make vinegar).  And tonight as I was posting this, I remembered there were German chamomile flowers to cut!  So had to turn on the outside lights and work in the shadows to cut the flowers that were ready.  Crazy or dedicated?  I'll let you decide.  Hope you have had a great day and evening!  Talk to you later.
The Pineapple Sage This Morning

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Herbal Blooms of Fall!

Not Today, but the Bees Are Still Around Enjoying the Nasturtiums
I Can't Believe How Well The German Chamomile is Doing
Lovely Pineapple Sage Blossom

Calendula Always in Bloom This Time of Year Sometimes until Thanksgiving
The Pink 'Fairy' Rose
Borage is Still Going Strong
'Lemon Gem' Marigolds Are Not Looking Good, but Still Blooming
The 'Peruvian' Sage with its Black Blossoms
Chives Are Still Blooming!
The Herbal Husband commented to me the other day that I use way too many exclamation points!  But I'm happy when I'm talking about my herb gardens!  Oh, well, I will try to be less enthused.  Made another batch of raspberry jam this morning.  Probably one of the last.  132 jars of raspberry jam!  That deserves an exclamation point.  By far and away the best year we have had in raspberry production.  The canes are 'Heritage' variety.  Our friends who introduced us way back when gave them to us and they have been morphing every year.  Oh, got side tracked.  Forgive me.

This time of year, I am looking for anything that is blooming in the garden.  I always think that I never have enough annuals in the garden, but I think you can see by the photos above that we have a lot of annual and perennial blooms in the garden.  I am working in the background trying to get some books read for gift giving ideas.  So stay tuned.  I'm still making herbal jelly.  The weather has been so good that I haven't been too anxious about cutting herbs to make jelly.  Now I'm going to be in a rush soon when the weather goes downhill!  Never a dull herbal moment.  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Annual Herbal Ritual--Making Cinnamon Basil Jelly!

Cinnamon Basil Just Waiting for Harvest
One and One Half Cups of Leaves
Into the Processor for Chopping
After Chopping
Two Cups of Water and Chopped Leaves-Boil for Ten Seconds and Steep for 15 Minutes
Three and One Half Cups of Sugar, Two Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar and a Pinch of Salt
One and One Half Cups of Steeped Cinnamon Basil Liquid and Sugar Mixture
Mixture Coming to a Boil That Can't Be Stirred Down
Take Off Heat and Add Certo and Return to Boil and Boil for Exactly One Minute
Foam Waiting to be Skimmed Off
I Take Out My Jars and Lids from Hot Water and Then Skim Off Foam
Finished Cinnamon Basil Jelly
You know by now that this time of year I am either making jam or jelly or both.  This year has been an exceptional year for raspberries and making jam.  Tomorrow I will make my 31st batch of raspberry jam.  That translates to 124 jars!  I have finally started to make some herbal jelly because the weather is going to turn nasty over the weekend.  Basil doesn't like it below 50.  Just wanted to mention that you need to wash both your jars and lids/rings in warm soapy water and then boil your jars for 10 minutes in hot water and your lids (not the rings) can be placed in hot water.  Ball Canning is saying you can skip this step, but I'm just going to keep on with what works.  Then you pour your jelly or jam and then boil the finished product in hot water for 5 minutes or whatever time it says on your recipe.  Then if the lid doesn't make that popping noise after you take them out, you will need to get a new lid and boil it again or refrigerate that jar and use it promptly.

So in the early 1990's when we had just moved into our house, The Herbal Husband asked what I was going to do with the lemon basil and cinnamon basil.  I said confidently I'm going to make jelly.  Having made some grape jelly with a friend, but not very well.  I had found Renee Shepherd's scented basil jelly recipe in Phyllis Shaudy's book, Herbal Treasures.  It has been my go to recipe for basil jelly and other herbal jelly for years.  I just went to Renee's link above and found a photo of my lemon and cinnamon basil jellies!  Thanks Renee!  It is a wonderful and delicious recipe.  Tomorrow I will be making one of my last raspberry jam batches and then the lemon basil jelly.  I'm thinking I will have three or four batches to make!

Hope you have had a great day in your herb garden.  Keep watching the chores list as I will try to keep it up to date with what I am doing.  We are starting to work on what we are digging up and taking cuttings from to come inside!  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Visit to Indiana County, PA with Piccadilly!

Yarnick's Farm Stand
Lynnette Yarnick Describing How They Grow Produce for Eat 'N Park Restaurants!
Some of the Tomato Vines Are 100 Feet Long!
They Have Some Good Looking Squash and Pumpkins for Decorating!
They Grow Herbs in Stacks Hydroponically!
Romaine Lettuce is Also Grown This Way!
One of Several Covered Bridges in the County Still in Use!
Thee Village Eatinghouse Where We Had An Amish Wedding Feast!
The Drying Shed

A Cat at The Drying Shed Found a Perfect Napping Place!
The Smicksburg Pottery!
Entrance to the Studio and Garden at Smicksburg Pottery!
A Lovely Terraced Garden!
A Beautiful Clump of Nasturtiums!
'Walker's Low' Catmint
Reminds Me I Need to Plant More Annuals-Zinnia Closeup!
Beautiful 'Wooly' Thyme!
I Have Always Killed This Agastache!
Broken Pottery Lines the Driveway!
The Mahoning Creek Pottery by Chance or Appointment or Festival Time!
The Amish Have Made Smicksburg and Surrounding Areas Their Home!
Thought I had better do a post about my visit along with the Piccadilly Herb Club to Indiana County, PA.  I grew up in the county next door and had never been to this part of Indiana County.  Lots to see and do.  Our first stop was to Yarnick's Farm and it was probably one of my favorite stops we made.  They have a lot going on every day in the growing season.  They grow produce for Eat 'N Park restaurants which is a local chain along with produce for their farm stand.  They have a Halloween Boo-Grass and Hog Roast coming up on Sunday, October 12, 2014 featuring the James King Band.  A great family owned business that you should support if you are in the area.

We next went into Smicksburg and had an Amish wedding feast at Thee Village Meetinghouse.  Not a very good blogger, didn't take any photos of what we ate.  Too busy eating!  We then had time to shop.  Patty who described the Amish wedding feast at the restaurant has the shop next door.  Lots of country items and a cat who found its spot for a long afternoon nap.  We then walked across to the Smicksburg Pottery and discovered they not only have beautiful pottery, but a lovely garden near the studio.  I think this was my favorite spot.  Lots of annuals which I always keep telling myself I need to plant and just a lovely space to spend some time.  The owner's husband came out and told us that he has trouble getting his wife to make pots in the springtime because she would rather be in the garden!  Duh! 

The other pottery, The Mahoning Creek Pottery is only open by chance or appointment or during one of several festivals they hold in Smicksburg.  Hopefully Bonnie and I will get back there next year and take The Herbal Husband with us!  We also stopped at the Cheese Shop where they make their own cheeses and the Windgate Winery.  All in all it was a great day.

I'm still picking raspberries and making jam.  Tomorrow's batch will bring my total for the season so far to 120 jars and the raspberries are still producing!  I need to get more sugar because I haven't even done all of the herbal jelly yet!  Our weather is going to change by the end of the week.  We may not have our first frost, but my pineapple sage has started to bloom so frost can't be too far behind!
Finally, the Pineapple Sage is Blooming!  It Must Be Fall!
  Hope you are having a great day!  Talk to you later!