Sunday, October 23, 2016

Been Busy in the Herb Garden and Celebrating the 2016 Herb of the Year with a Jelly Recipe!

Rosemary Sherry Jelly Was One of 19 Batches of Herbal Jelly Made!
Last Pouches of Certo Used for Hot Pepper Jelly!
Keep Finding the Ladies!  This Time on Mint!
Mexican Sage--A Late Tall Bloomer in the Garden!
One Last Monarch on the Butterfly Bush!
One Last Gasp for Our Grape Arbor!
My Favorite Flowered!
This certainly has been a different year for me in the herb garden.  I have probably had years like this before.  As I get older my May trips to England affect the herb garden and the stresses have been weather related as well.  All of the photos above are from October.  I had a brain freeze about my jelly choices and fortunately I have a couple of the Western Reserve Unit of the Herb Society of America's cookbooks which saved me for flavors.  Thanks to all of those wonderful herb ladies for their inspiration  The hot pepper jelly recipe is from The Herbal Pantry by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead.  As you can see in the photo, the peppers are suspended in the jelly which makes for a great presentation.  Here is their recipe with my notations in parentheses.

Hot Pepper Jelly
Makes 6-1/2 8 oz. jars (The half I will use for us.)
Recipe says it makes 8 8 oz. jars.  For me, it did not.

"An appealing combination of sweet and hot, this jelly is extremely good with chicken or lamb, or with cream cheese as an hors d'oeuvre.  Also you can use this as a glaze for ribs during the last 15 minutes of grilling or baking in the oven."

1 cup minced green bell pepper
1/2 cup minced hot red pepper, or to taste
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
6-1/2 cups sugar
6 ounces (2 pouches) liquid pectin

Combine the peppers, vinegar, and sugar in a non-aluminum saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and boil gently for 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  (Quickly stir in the pectin and return to heat and boil exactly one minute).  Remove from heat and (Stir for a couple of minutes at least.  I stirred for 5 minutes.  Probably too much time because the Certo really started to go gloppy.  I think when you see the pepper pieces suspended you will know it is enough.)  Put carefully (because it is already just about set up) into sterilized jars that have been boiled previously for 10 minutes and use two piece rings and lids to cover.  Place the lids in hot water until ready to use.  You don't have to boil the rings.  Place all jars into a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  As long as you hear that ping after the jars come out and the lids have sealed down, they are canned.  If the lid has not sealed, place them in the refrigerator and use them promptly.

"Note:  If the only hot peppers available are green, use a red rather than a green bell pepper."

In herb garden news, I did lose some herbs from the heat and dry weather.  We did have some winners from the annuals planted especially the Mexican sage which is blooming its head off at the moment.  Love those tall late blooming herbs!  And the beneficials are still around and you can participate just like me at Lost Ladybug Project, a project of Cornell University to find those lost ladybugs.  We also actually had a monarch last week as well.  Sadly not too many of them these days.  The grape arbor is finally going to be replaced.  Need the help of our neighbor, but hopefully that will happen in the next couple of weeks!  Maybe a Halloween treat!  And then finally our crowning achievement is that the lemon verbena both in the container and in the ground thrived so much so that they both bloomed.  Very excited!

Well, those are some of the high points of the herb garden this season.  Did cut my chives and chop them for my container in the freezer.  Did make a touch more purple basil vinegar.  Do have a small bush of mint marigold or Texas tarragon to harvest before the cold sets in.  Oh and some of the parsley will be cut and frozen for Parsley Dill soup.  And finally will clip back the lemon verbena in the ground and I am going to experiment with covering it with a fiberglass cover make for roses.  Maybe it will help bring it back.  It really like the space we put it in.

The herbal containers will be coming in the next two weeks.  Have also started several projects of cross-stitch, so I will post about the garden when I can.  The months are flying by with such speed and I don't seem to want to write as much as I used to.  A beautiful day in the herb garden and I'm inside posting here.  Hope you are doing well wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

One Last Gasp of Summer, Herbally Speaking!

Can't stay away for too long!  Had too much going on not to talk about it, herbally speaking!  Had an herbal brain freeze over what jellies to make this year.  So I pulled out one of my many herbal cookbooks and came up with ideas.  This is the last gasp for the cinnamon basil.  So one more time to make cinnamon basil jelly this year.  And BTW the photo in the recipe for scented basil jelly is mine.  Just tooting my herbal horn!  Will make this short and will clean up the size of photos at a later date.  Not every day blogging just when I think you will benefit from a post.  Lots of rain in a short amount of time!  We are going to have some sun this week.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you are!  Talk to you later!
Cinnamon Basil on the Chopping Block!