Posts tagged ‘mint’

La Gran Cosecha

Today there was much harvesting to do in the Beach Flats Garden.  The squash have been growing in the heat of the sun, getting sweet and tender to please the gardener’s tastebuds.  We harvested two for ourselves, but at least a dozen more tasty specimens were hiding under the broad pointed squash leaves.  The first cabbage was ready today; a large light green head was harvested.  This cabbage will last for several weeks in the fridge, giving a sweet fresh crunch to tacos, salads, soups and sandwiches.

The main harvesting task was the herbs.  We have a long row of oregano, thyme, mint, and tarragon on the east side of our parcel.  These herbs form an aromatic hedge that is abundantly delicious.  They have been growing feverishly all spring, and now the long sprigs of oregano and thyme need to be harvested.  the oregano is growing secondary stems and and the thyme is starting to flower.  We cut them down to the base with garden clippers, leaving a little bit of of the plant to grow back for the next round of harvesting.

June 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Drying Herbs

When I have excess fresh herbs from my garden, I like to dry them and save them for the winter.  Harvesting is the first step in the process, much time can be saved by using appropriate techniques.  The best time to harvest most herbs is when the herbs have long stems with lots of large developed leaves on them.  The longer the stem, generally the easier it is to remove the leaves from the stem once dried.  It is important to harvest before the main stem starts growing smaller stems; the extra stems are harder to remove.  Remove distressed leaves while harvesting to save work later.

As soon as possible after harvesting, rinse the herbs under running cold water.  A quick pre-soak will clean up more dusty herbs very nicely.  To be extra green, save the wash water to use for irrigating later.  Give your herbs a good shake and then arrange them in a colander, or drying rack with lots of room for air flow.  In a few hours when your herbs are completely free of the rinse water, arrange them into bundles and tie them with string or ribbons. As the herbs dry you may have to retie them to keep the bundle together.  Hang these bundles in a cool dry dust-free place for a few days or weeks until the leaves are dry and fall off easily.

To remove the leaves,  hold the herbs over a large cookie sheet or baking dish with a lip.  Grab the stem of the herb with one hand and with the other, pinch the stem and slide your fingers down to the other end.  The leaves should fall right off.  As you work, pick out any stems that make it into the cookie sheet.  When you are finished, put the leaves in a jar and label it.  These little herb jars make great gifts.

May 19, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Harvest of Fresh Mint and Fresh Oregano

Wow! What amazing growth occurs in Spring in El Jardin! We have longer days. The sun rises about six am and falls beyond the line of sight between eight and eight-thirty. Because sun light feeds the plants, the plants “eat,” grow, get sick, heal, and fall similiar to all living things.

Our oregano consistantly gives 10-12 inch springs. I cut 3-7 inch sprigs from our mint plants everytime we work in our garden. Before I grew food plants and food, I did not use fresh mint or fresh oregano. Now I use as much frest mint and fresh oregano as possible.

This seems to be the moment to suggest a few ways to use fresh mint and fresh oregano in your daily life. After I harvest fresh herbs, I add them to my salads – to taste! Everyone differs in opinion on flavor. I suggest you experiment with your preferences. Fresh mint will add flavor, refreshment, and a sense of cooling to your daily water intake. Of course, you can steep mint in hot water for nurturing, relaxing tea. A bit of mint also brings out the flavors of other vegatables and spices you cook at the same time. Fresh oregano can be added to stir fry, soups, salad dressings, etc. Toss oregano fresh onto your freshly made pasta with olive oil, salt, garlic and a bit of lemon and savor the goodness. In fact you can do this with any grain of your choice: brown rice, amerynth, couscous, quinoa, etc.

Spring offers growth, refreshment, and beauty. While these qualities abound in our organic garden, some plants, insects and other beings fall down or fall away. The winter harvests (chard, kale, beets, etc.) die, seed, and continue giving food. The non-food plants (aka “weeds”) grow and the gardeners daily destroy the useless plants. Arugala, lettuces and perenniel herbs offer themselves for harvest. Meanwhile, young basil, tomatoes, chiles, broccolli, letuces, squashes, corns, and beans begin their lives on this earth.

May 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

I love Herbs

Fresh herbs are a joy in the kitchen.  Many common culinary herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, and mint are easy to grow and harvest.  Around our parcel you will find all these herbs and more.  We harvest these and use them fresh, or if we have a surplus we dry them.

April 27, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment