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Beautiful, Bountiful Basil

basil lemonade

 

The big heat of Summer is here, the time that Basil begins growing with beautiful bounty! We’ve just started delivering bunches to the co-op and I’m happily munching as much as I can.

I’m a pretty serious Basil hound, using fresh leaves like lettuce and smearing pesto on anything I can. Good old sweet ‘Genovese’ Basil is my standard, but it’s fun having the different flavors of different varieties so we also grow ‘Lemon’ (makes an incredible sun tea), ‘Dark Opal’ (a purple-colored variety of Italian Sweet Basil), ‘Thai’ (a spicier Asian cousin that holds its flavor better when cooked with heat) and ‘Sacred’ (native to India, also called ‘Holy’ Basil or ‘Tulsi’).

Basil has been traditionally used as herbal medicine, and is good food being rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

So delicious! And it’s good for you! Enjoy some new recipes this Summer- you might get addicted like me but it’s kindof hard to see a downside to that 😉

Frosty Basil Lemonadehttps://www.vitamix.com/recipes/frosty-basil-lemonade

Purple Pestohttp://www.gardeners.com/Make-Your-Own-Pesto/7686,default,pg.html

Thai Basil Sangriahttp://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria

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First Herb Harvest

fresh-cut chives, catnip and thyme

I might deny I said this come the rose blossom days of sun-filled June, but I love Spring the best.

(Wait, I already have to take it back. The rushing in of summertime in the weeks around Summer Solstice is what I really love. Spring is just thrilling in a different way.)

The garden is jumping up fast and we we were able to start cutting some herbs today. Chives are always the first to fully grow out, but our well-loved Sorrel isn’t far behind. We hope to be cutting Sorrel and Garlic Chives next week, so wish us some rain 🙂

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Happy Spring!

garden tools and flowers

We’re celebrating the first day of Spring by starting our planting today. (Indoors only! There’s still snow on the ground.)

Kale is first on the list, and in a first a for us, Lemongrass.

Every year I swear off tender plants that have to be overwintered in the house, but I’m making another exception for Lemongrass.

We fell in love with Lemongrass when we saw it growing wild on the island of Dominica. It was everywhere! Blew our minds to see it growing like, you know, grass on the side of the road, instead of the hothouse plant we know it as.

And if you know Hawkeye, you know Dominica has become the place that’s first in his heart. He can’t wait to get back there. Until then, we’ll keep practicing a stuffed breadfruit recipe, drinking rum with lime juice, and catching some sights of the West Indies on these fun sailing channels on YouTube:

Wishing you Caribbean sunshine and a very Happy Spring!

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Can’t find Spring? Make it yourself

forsythia flowers

If you have access to a forsythia bush, you can make your own Spring a little ahead of the calendar.

Forsythia flowers will bloom early if you cut some stems and bring them inside. They’ve lasted over a week on my kitchen table and have been such a treat to have as we’ve just gotten another foot of snow!

It’s really easy- Here’s how:

Cut forsythia stems on a mild day when the temperature is above freezing and put them in a bucket of warm water.

Once inside, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot get in, will promote water uptake.

Keep them in a bright spot and you’ll start to see flowers in about 6 days.

Happy Early Spring!

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Signs of Spring

spinach and chickweed

We have a big patch of green in the middle of the foot of snow in the backyard- a bumper crop of chickweed growing in our cold frame with the spinach I planted last Fall.

Hawkeye still kindof thinks of chickweed as a nuisance, but for me, it’s a favorite!

One of the first plants to appear in Spring, you can eat it like spinach and it’s a very helpful medicinal. Awesome in bodycare too, I love using soothing chickweed in oils and salves for irritated skin.

Learn more about chickweed the way I first did, from herbalist Susun Weed: “Chickweed Is A Star

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World Fire Cider Making Day!

fire cider, tradition not trademark

Fire Cider is a popular traditional herbal remedy freely shared, made, produced and sold by hundreds of herbalists across the world. The remedy has taken on many different amendments over time, somewhat like chicken soup. Many people have their favorite version, but the base consists of fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish and chile peppers that sit in vinegar for the desired amount of time, are strained, and then a bit of something sweet is usually added at the end. The remedy is used to help warm up the body, and generally acts a stimulant and antimicrobial used during cold and flu season. Recently, a large company decided to trademark the name and is forcing small businesses who have made and sold it to change their product names. Some of the companies and individuals in question have made and sold this remedy for many years longer than the company that trademarked it has even existed. Many people feel this is a dangerous precedent to anyone who creates and shares recipes anywhere on the web or in books and this led to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office asking that the mark be deemed generic. Until the company agrees to freeing Fire Cider from trademark restriction, a boycott of their product has been launched.  -from the Free Fire Cider blog

February 2 is the half-way to Spring mark and is also World Fire Cider Day of Action. Join thousands of anti-trademark fire cider supporters by making your own batch and boycotting Shire City Herbals to show you believe traditional herbal remedies belong to everyone and cannot be owned.

Here’s the basic recipe:

fire cider recipe

 

I use golden cayenne peppers and substitute black radish because we grow those. I also love adding beets for that fiery red color and use maple syrup as the sweetener. Other great additions/substituitions to the basic recipe are:

  • Rosehips
  • Elderberry or Schisandra Berry
  • Elder flowers or Hibiscus
  • Leeks or Green Onions
  • Thyme, Oregano, Basil or Parsley
  • Mustard Greens or Seed
  • Astragalus or Burdock root

 

January 25, 2017 marked the 3 year anniversary of the Fire Cider trademark battle. For information about this ongoing issue and the boycott against Shire City Herbals, please go to Tradition Not Trademark’s Free Fire Cider website.

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