Phlowers – Deluge of Pink Flower Showers

Who would believe this gorgeous deluge of pink florets is atop the humble herb Oregano? I have quite a few Oregano plants in the front of my herb garden border. Not only flavorful, this member of the mint family is a healing herb. Oregano is a wonderful herb to use for its preventative/medicinal qualities. As with most foods and herbs, organically grown Oregano is the best choice.

Oregano florets draw pollinators by the dozens. Today, along with the honeybee, I also spotted wasps, bumblebees, cabbage white butterflies, hoverflies and sweat bees on the blossoms.

The Oregano blossoms are my entry into Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Plant Tips – Bountiful Herb Harvest

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Autumn has arrived, winter approaches, I have been purchasing potted herbs to grow on my windowsill through the colder months. I will still take cuttings for rooting from my outdoor herbs, but they will not reach harvest size until Spring of 2015. In the meantime, when I need fresh herbs through the winter, I will “pinch” them from my lovely windowsill garden. Another plus in growing herbs indoors is the scent they “whisper” into the air when you run your hands over them…heavenly!

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Photo collage courtesy of Picmonkey.com

Our area of the country experienced a very cool summer, but my herbs didn’t seem to mind and have thrived. I don’t want to waste the bounty of my gardens so over the next few days I will be harvesting everything I have room to store. I will hang aromatic herbs such as lavender, catnip, and a portion of my mints, in dark closets to dry. Those I use in cooking I will freeze in ice cube trays.

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Step 1

Soak herbs in a bowl of water for a few minutes. Remove the herbs from the water, check for debris, refill and repeat process at least three times.  There is no need for scrubbing or agitation, the water floats the dirt away leaving the essential oils intact. (Organic potted herbs grown inside do not need to be washed.)

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Step 2

There is no need to dry sprigs when they are finished soaking. Break leaves away from the stem, place inside empty ice cube trays, add water and freeze.

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Step 3

Remove frozen cubes from tray.

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Step 4

Place inside a labeled zip-lock freezer bag and store in the freezer. Your “fresh” herbs are now available anytime you are ready to cook a good meal.  The cubes are terrific for making soups and stocks. I also freeze onion, scallions, peppers and other produce for quick stocks.

Pots & Pans & Plants – Crockpots and the Joy of an Herb Garden

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Over the years I have grown herbs, both culinary and medicinal. I use my fresh herbs constantly. During the last few winters I have been able to purchase organic herb plants in the produce section of my local grocery store. I now use fresh herbs year-round.

In the summer I am often busy and need to make a quick meal that will not heat up the house. To cook a delicious and super-easy dinner, I place four turkey legs and a dozen small red potatoes into my crockpot. I add about a cup of water to these ingredients. As the turkey cooks juices will mix with the water and create a delicious broth for gravy. Salt, pepper, a touch of garlic powder, and some wedges of onion complete the meal. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or at high for 5-6 hours. The house will smell like Thanksgiving even if it’s summertime. An added bonus for me is heaping the top of my food with freshly-picked herbs. The herbs in this photo are: chervil, oregano and thyme. (Sage & parsley are great additions too.) The smell is intoxicating. Happy Cooking!

⭐ This crockpot meal will feed four adults. It is easily halved for two people. The amount of water added should stay the same.

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