Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Days 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 of 25 Days of December Herbal Celebrations!

Dear Folks,

I apologize for not getting this segment of my 25 days of Herbal Celebrations up on time.  Distracted with under-the-weather-days for us, and I lost track of where I was with this series.

Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration.

A note about the herbs and spices I selected. There is agreement on some of the herbs (garlic, onion and mint for example) and some continuing discussion on which plant the Bible referred to.  After many years there is a consensus - although still discussed by some - that the Hyssop of the Bible is Syrian Oregano (Origanum maru).  Since Hyssop (Hyssopus officionalis) is not indigenous to the lands of the BIble but Syrian Oregano is, I have included it as the Biblical plant.

References to Hanukkah are listed in some of the posts but may not fall within the celebration time because the dates vary each year.

Day 15
Herb: Mint, Mentha from the Lamiaceae (Mint)family which includes its relatives such as Basil and Lavender.  Mentioned in the bible Matthew 23:23, Luke11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”  Mint along with other herbs were so valued they were used as a form of currency.

"As for the garden of mint, the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes our spirits" --Pliny the Elder

Meet The Neighbors – The Lamiaceae Family – The Mint Branch!
By Catherine, The Herb Lady - originally from my Newsletter  January 18, 2003
     Lamiaceae (formerly labiatae) is the well-known and well loved mint Family.  Botanically, the members of this family have a square stem, two-lipped flowers, and simple usually undivided leaves. Many are herbs such as lavender, basil, thyme, rosemary, and of course the mints--and it is the mints we will visit with today.
     As neighbors, mints are an old established family. Grandma planted them under an old leaky faucet, because they just love to playin the water!  One of the few herbs that likes its feet wet, mint needs damp (not wringing wet) soil and a bit of shade in the western summer afternoons.  Once established this family of herbs can easily take over the neighborhood. The incredible list of scents and flavors is due in part toits willingness to make new friends, i.e., plant two different side-by-side and you will eventually have a third kind--one reason for separating your beloved favorites to keep them really separated.  Cross-strains can produce wonderful results or something not quite so wonderful.

Read More Here

Day 16

Herb:  Hyssop – of the Bible is generally recognized as Syrian Oregano Origanum syriacum aka Origanum maru, is native to the lands of the bible.  Leviticus 14:52 "He shall thus cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and with the running water, along with the live bird and with the cedar wood and with the hyssop and with the scarlet string. 53 "However, he shall let the live bird go free outside the city into the open field. So he shall make atonement for the house, and it will be clean."

Syrian Oregano is a superior culinary herb and can be usedin place of Greek Oregano Origanum vulgare.  Where Greek Oregano has a distinctive “bite”the Syrian is slightly sweeter, still having all of the culinary and medicinal properties of oregano.

If you have enjoyed the authentic Middle Eastern spice blend Za’atar, then you have tasted Syrian Oregano, known as “Za’atar in that region. The blend is a combination of ground sesame seeds, sumac berries (a specific plant -- Rhus coriaria -- known asthe “lemonade tree” for the tangy flavor of the ripe berries – not to be confused with poison sumac) and Syrian Oregano, and is the “go-to” blend for seasoning many dishes.  Many Za’atar blends substitute some form of Thyme for the Syrian Oregano.

Read More Here

Day 17

Herb:  Garlic (Allium sativum) Numbers 11:5 “"We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt,the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,”

Both regular garlic (Allium sativum) and elephant garlic (Allium empeloprasum) are members of the onion family.  Elephant garlic is not actually a "garlic" but rather a Leek on Steroids, and has a milder (some think too mild) garlic flavor. You can't see the leaves in the picture, but they are 'strappy' like leek and could be used to flavor foods.  In fact, even the stalk and leaves of either plant, which are generally disposed of after harvest, can be used to flavor soup, stews, and broths.

Other “named” garlics are Garlic Chives, aka Asian or Chinese Chives, Allium tuberosum, and Society Garlic, Tulbaghia violacea. Garlic Chives like onion chives are grown for their leaves and flowers to be used in cooking and has a milder garlic flavor.  Society Garlic is a totally different plant family and is grown for its beautiful orchid like flowers and leaves in cooking.  Society Garlic is said to have the Anti-Garlic affect on your breath.

Garlic is best known for its edible cloves contained in a ‘head’ which have from 6/8 and up to 14 cloves depending on the variety grown.

Read More Here

Day 18

Herb:  Leek, Allium porrum, Number 11:5  "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt,the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.”
The biblical reference aside, leeks have been recorded as early as 2000 BC.

The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, worn along with the daffodil(in Welsh, the daffodil is known as "Peter's leek," Cenhinen Bedr) on St. David’s Day.The Welsh leek appeared on the coronation gown of Elizabeth II.  It was designed by Norman Hartnell; when Hartnell asked if he could exchange the leek for the more aesthetically pleasing Welsh daffodil, he was told no. -- wikipedia

Think of the leek as a scallion on steroids – bigger with strappy leaves.  The leek’s mild onion flavor lends itself well to many dishes where the onion flavor is desired but not as pronounced.

Easily grown from seed, it does take about 100 days from sowing to harvest time, so it is best to seed in every 2-3 weeks through end of February in the desert garden for a supply going into late spring.

My first sowing are usually right at peek (BIG – but can be harvested sooner) just in time for St. Patrick’s day feasting and making colcannon, a mixture of leeks, cabbage and potatoes that is just plain comfort food.

Read More Here

Day 19

Herb:  Sage - (Salvia sp.) Jeremiah 18:18 – “Then they said, "Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words."

The word Sage has long been used to denote a wise person.

2016 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of the Pulses, to celebrate all the great benefits of eating legumes.  See the references for beans in recipesbelow.

The Bible describes the belief, even then, of the health value of eating pulses.

Daniel 1:12 --"Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.  13 "Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see."

During captivity, Daniel shows the benefits of eating only pulses (vegetables etc.) and water, so effective "And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm." --

Sage, Salvia officinalis, is a member of the prodigious mint family (Lamiaceae formally Labiatae).

Read More Here

Day 20

Herb:  Nigella, Nigella sp.   Isaiah 28:26, different translations of the Bible refer to Cumin, BlackCumin, or Black Caraway, which of God’s instructions for sowing and reaping.  25. Does he not level its surface And sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area? 26  For his God instructs and teaches him properly. 27 For dill is not threshed with a threshings ledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club.

Two plants share the name Black Cumin, Bunium bulbocastanum and Nigella sativa. For the purposes of this post we will discuss Nigella, aka Love-In-A-Mist.

Nigella --Love-In-A-Mist (also called Black Onion Seed) is an unusual and striking flower, also called Black Onion Seed, and Black Cumin and used in East Indian foods.  The seeds smell like strawberries and taste like pepper, a most interesting spice.

Read More Here

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe below by entering your email, to get all my posts!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Disclaimer: Clicking on links on this blog may earn me a small commission if you purchase something. Your price does not change.

No comments: