Herb or Spice?

herborspice

Is it a Herb or is it a Spice?

The difference between herbs and spices is simply the part of the plant used.

The leaves and flowers of a plant are generally regarded as the herbs, while the seeds, roots, stigmas and even the bark are considered to be spices.

For many thousands of years, herbs have been considered magical plants – humans have used them for millennia as food and as medicine. Those whho knew what to do with herbs were sometimes treated with suspicion and sometimes revered.

Spices, on the other hand, were shrouded in mystery until recent times – their exotic nature and origins were mythologized by the spice traders over the centuries to keep the prices as high as possible.

in our present information-packed world we can have it all, and growing herbs and spices at home is one of the most satisfying projects anyone can take on.

The wonderful taste of herbs and spices can encourage even the most jaded palate to enjoy good food again. And the more good food we eat the less we want the stuff that is not so good for us!  ( extract from Herbs & Spices Herbs and Healing  )

herborspiceblog-pin

 

Herb Growing Kit

Found this fabulous herb gift pack at Thompson & Morgan UK

The kit features five unique packets of seeds allowing you to grow Rocket Salad, Basil Sweet Garden, Parsley Moss Curled, Coriander (leaf) to Garlic Chives.

Basil Sweet Green is an interesting alternative to traditional sweet basil, this variety has hints of mint and clove.

The packet of Parsley Moss Curled Seeds produces tightly curled, rich green leaved parsley that is ideal for using as a garnish or for adding to soups and sauces.

Garlic Chives, also known as Chinese chives, differ from traditional chives, they bare flat leaves and a delicate mild garlic flavour, making an excellent addition to salads, stews, fish, egg and meat dishes.

The Coriander Seeds (Leaf) provide an extremely quick growing herb that is particularly popular in Asian Cuisine, it bares aromatic leaves that can really add flavour to a dish.

Rocket Salad is a leader in the salad market for its peppery flavour, this is the perfect contrast to other salad leaves.

Simply soak the peat disks provided in water, they expand to roughly seven times their original size, crumble it into the peat starter growing pots and add the seeds. There are even handy garden tips to instruct you on how to grow and care for your new colourful crops, maximizing your potential yield.
This kit contains:
1 x Packet of Rocket Salad Seeds
1 x Packet of Basil Sweet Green Seeds
1 x Packet of Parsley Moss Curled Seeds
1 x Packet of Coriander (leaf) Seeds
1 x Packet of Garlic Chive Seeds
1 x Pair of Garden Snips
5 x Starter Growing Peat Pots
5 x Plant Markers
5 x Peat Growing Plugs

Treat someone you love to this gorgeous gift (UK delivery only) Herb Kit

Happy Herb Gardening!
Linda x

 

Parsley Power

parsleypower-pin

Parsley is one of the best known herbs, but strangely probably one of the most under-used ones.

It’s generally used as a garnish and left on the side of the plate which is a shame because parsley is one of the few herbs that is high in iron content, as well as vitamins such as vitamin C.

In fact, gram for gram parsley contains more vitamin C than most citrus fruits.

There are various types of parsley. The most common home grown ones tend to be the curly leaved type and Italian flat leaved parsley. Both are equally delicious and nutritious.

Parsley is a great breath freshening herb and should be eaten, preferably chewed, after a meal containing garlic to dispel any lingering odours.

Chop fresh parsley leaves and mix them into salads and other dishes, or instead of using a sprig to garnish, finely chop the leaves and sprinkle over the meal. It will definitely get eaten then!

Parsley was used to adorn head-dresses as well as meals in Roman times, and was, and still is, a very decorative herb to have growing in a pot on your windowsill or outdoors in the garden.

(Extract from Growing Herbs at Home)

Have a great day!

Linda x

This is my most popular herb download 🙂 and now available from:

growingherbsathome

 

Amazon US

Amazon UK

iTunes

Kobo

Payhip

Barnes & Noble

*NEW* Healthy Living Books at Etsy

 

 

 

Just Basil

Just Basil pin

Basil has that gorgeous smell of summer and can and should be added to your meals every day – unless you have an allergy, then definitely ignore that!

Basil is native to southern Asia and the Middle East but will grow as an annual plant in most moderate climates. It was introduced to Europe as a culinary herb in the 16th century.

Basil has, for centuries, been considered to be a herb of love and purity and myths and legends have often been attached to it such as:
The belief that it will open the gates of heaven, or
That a sprig worn in the hair will attract your loved one.
Well, anyway….

It’s been cultivated for thousands of years and been used medicinally as well as in the kitchen for just as long. It was believed to cure many different ailments from coughs and colds through to digestive aids. Perhaps the most common use of basil today is its addition to tomato dishes and many people refer to it as the tomato herb.

Medicinal uses for Basil
Basil belongs to the same family of plants as mint and is considered to be a good digestive aid. Herbalists use it to help cure headaches, constipation and sickness.
A small cup of basil tea after a meal aids digestion.
It has also been used cosmetically to add shine to dull hair.

Storing
Basil is always tastier if used fresh but can be stored by freezing or drying.

To Dry:
Hang sprigs or small bunches upside down in a dark, warm but airy room until dry. Crumble leaves into a sealable glass jar and label. Store out of direct light.

To Freeze:
Freeze whole sprigs quickly on a flat tray and store in the freezer in sealable containers. Label.

Growing
Grow a pot or two on the kitchen windowsill, outside in your herb garden or anywhere in between!

Enjoy 🙂

Linda x

P.S. This is kind of an extract from ’20 Everyday Herbs’ where there’s lots of growing info along with nineteen other everyday herbs you could be enjoying at home… Pop over to Herbs and Healing and you can download from iTunes, Barnes & Noble. Kobo and yes, even Amazon!

Daisy Love

Daisy Love!

Daisies aren’t as rich in uses as dandelions but shouldn’t be ignored. The daisy family of plants includes many healing herbs such as chamomile and feverfew. The common daisy has been the subject of many myths and legends over the centuries and has been part of the landscape for as long as records can be traced.

In the 14th century, with daisies as the main ingredient, an ointment was used to cure wounds, and the daisy was considered to be a cure for all aches and pains for many years.

In Medieval times it was thought that seeping daisies in wine and drinking for 21 days would cure liver problems – this seems a little counter-productive now, but you never know!

The leaves of a daisy can be eaten and have been grown as a pot herb, but the sap inside the leaf is very bitter and is not widely eaten these days.

A tisane made from daisy flowers, drunk regularly, is said to help cure:

-coughs
-arthritis
-headaches
-muscle pains
-mouth ulcers

The flower essence may also be valuable in treating symptoms of shock and calming the nervous system. A few daisies infused with your favourite herbal tea can calm the system and encourage a good night’s sleep.

Daisies symbolize innocence, gentleness and purity and have been adored by children for pretty much always.

Leave them to grow in the lawn and make daisy chains this summer 🙂

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. Please don’t self-medicate unless you check with your GP first or you really know what you’re doing! This post isn’t a medical cure, but simply an overview of a pretty flower and it’s history.

Pink Loveliness

clematisThese beautiful clematis flowers bloomed after just a couple of days of Cornish sunshine. I couldn’t remember what they were called – and I call myself a gardener, tut tut!
My daughter suggested pink loveliness 🙂 which I think suits them much better than the real name which, according to a gardener friend, is actually
‘Clematis Montana Rubens’
It may be too late to plant this year but if you’re planning a pretty garden next year, these must be worth considering. I had a quick look online at Thompson & Morgan’s website – they have a huge selection of clematis and other flowers. Here’s the link if you feel like admiring the beautiful blooms 🙂 Thompson & Morgan

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today

Linda x

Lazy Cook got Tasty!

Lazy Cook got Tasty! pinterest

I am a lazy cook. My excuse is that after cooking for a family of six for years, I’m slightly allergic to kitchens… but really? Actually I used to love to bake, which is probably why I’ve been binge watching the Great British Bake Off on Netflix… ho hum….

So, down to business. I’ve very recently re-located to a beautiful house in Cornwall and sharing it with my grown up son who’s been cooking for the super rich in the south of France for years and puts my lazy dinners to shame! But the best part of this new home is that I have a garden … pure bliss … and I can start growing herbs again.

Herbs can cover a multitude of sins and bring super tastes to an otherwise bland meal. When I lived in France and grew plenty of herbs (and fruit and vegetables) I got away with my lazy cooking skills and now I’m learning from a top chef I can’t wait for my plants to get going.

So, if you’re longing for tingling taste buds and nutritious and delicious dinners, get some herbs growing now. Herbs can be grown on a windowsill or in a bright spot in the house as long as you remember to water them. The house I lived in before this one was painfully dark, damp, cold and oh dear I’m not going there. I was grateful for the roof over my head but that’s about all!

There are a few herby downloads over on this page that you can be immersed in within minutes .. oh, and also I’ve put together an overview of everyday herbs (FREE!) if you would like to check out which herbs to grow before you start.

Happy Eating!

Linda x

P.S. If you grab the Free everyday herbs download I’ll send you an extra surprise gift 🙂

Gardening for Health

healthyhomehobby-pinterest

“In the past few months I’ve been kind of ‘on the road’ but settling nicely into my new house now and thought it was about time I started blogging again! Maybe I’ll write about my exploits another day but for now, having my own garden, but still feeling a bit overweight and sluggish, has inspired and reminded me of all the wonderful health benefits of gardening and a quick article came pouring out 🙂 ………”

 

If you are trying to lose weight and busy counting calories every day. And if you are stressing because you can’t get to the gym, or don’t want to be forking out for gym fees, take heart…. there’s a revolutionary new way to lose weight without the struggle and you’ll tone up your body too.

Actually, it isn’t revolutionary at all, but simply a natural way of life that probably kept our ancestors from being overweight and will benefit you and your descendants for generations to come… yep – get out in the garden!

Gardening For Health on a regular basis:

Weather permitting, you should aim to get into the garden for at least 30 minutes every day, even if you ‘re just pottering or planning next season’s flower display. Regular gardening actually burns about the same amount of calories as cycling. It also provides you and your family with food, herbs for medicinal, cosmetic or culinary preparations, and flowers to brighten up your home and keep that ‘feel-good’ feeling right through the year.

The healthiest foods are organic fresh fruit and vegetables and you can eat just about as many as you can without fear of putting on weight. Fruit and veg are high in vitamin and mineral content and most have barely a trace of fat, if any.

*************************************

Grow your own organic vegetables to make the finest meals for your family….Gardening for health at it’s best!

gardeningforhealth

Thompson and Morgan (UK) are online award winning suppliers of seeds and other products and they have some great pictures to drool over!

Gardening for health with Thompson and Morgan UK 

Gardening For Health continued…

Raw foods are great for the digestion and the chewing reflex. Chewing for longer makes us feel fuller and so we don’t feel the need to supplement our diet with a bag of crisps or other snacks.

A bar of chocolate takes very little time to bite, chew and swallow, so when it’s gone we look around for more. A plate of salad will take ages to chew and swallow, satisfying the chewing and all digestive needs so we feel much fuller. If you ever thought salad doesnt fill you up and is only good for rabbits (?!) think again! It’s full of vitamins and minerals so will feed your body with the fuel it requires, it contains so few calories they are hardly worth counting and it will fill you up.

The vitamins in fresh fruit and vegetables are, in their raw state, the best fuel for your body. Tomatoes are an exception to this rule.

Cooked tomatoes are said to be better for you than raw, but the difference is minimal so don’t feel you have to have cooked tomatoes with your salad! When you’re gardening for health, you don’t have to be too fussy – the vitamins and minerals are there for the taking 🙂

Mix in a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds for the natural oils, and even more healthy vitamins.

If you have the time stroll around the garden in the morning before breakfast and pick a few veggies to eat on your walk round. Chew on a few mange tout, or sugar snap peas and you’ll probably find by the time you go back in the house for breakfast, you’ll only need a yoghurt or a small bowl of cereal to keep you going for the whole morning.

Don’t get hung up with fad diets or crazy exercise routines. Although, having said that, a short exercise routine every day does benefit you in that it will give you more energy and help tone those dodgy bits :-). And a balanced low fat (and low sugar) diet should be enough to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds if you need to.

If you do need to lose a fair amount of weight simply reduce your portions, drink lots of water and be aware of what you’re eating – fresh raw vegetables straight from your garden will satisfy that snacking habit anytime.

NB: Don’t overdo things in the garden. Remember gardening for health not backache!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x
P.S. This quick download will help you get the most from your crops. Ten everyday vegetables are included with healthy reasons and a few easy recipes for every veggie!

Growing EverydayVegetables

 

Growing Everyday Vegetables
Choose from your favourite supplier

Amazon USAmazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

Enjoy!

 

Growing Apples & Pears

GrowingApplesandPears-pinterest

I’ve been having a bit of a tec-detox recently but now it’s that time again – Spring just around the corner bringing with it some blue skies and sunshine we hope. Many plants are getting ready for their growing season so, depending on your regional climate, some trees and shrubs can be planted now – in milder climates you could even be planting out your garlic cloves or onion sets around.

If you have a little backyard space, start your own organic fruit crops this year. How about apples and pears? There are many different varieties available. Do a little research in your area and see which types local growers are having success with – or ask at your local garden centre.

tandmfruit

If you are in the UK and prefer to buy online, Thompson & Morgan has this wonderful collection of fruit trees on special offer at the moment saving nearly £20.

Fruit Tree Collection

 

Here’s an extract from one of my growing guides – Apples and Pears – I’ll P.S. the details

Choosing your plants

Apples:
From sweet soft varieties through to large hard cooking apples, the choice is huge. Choose a variety you like to eat! Many hybrid varieties are designed to be trained on a fence or similar structure.
Always check on pollination requirements as you may need to buy more than one tree. Often apple trees are sold as one or two year old plants. Apples will produce fruit from its third year of growth and in the right conditions will produce fruit for decades.

Pears:
Varieties of pears sold in supermarkets are usually limited to one or two but there are many varieties you could grow at home.
Conference pears are self-pollinating but will produce more fruit if pollinated by another variety. Check on pollination requirements before buying.
Pear trees are usually sold as two or three year old plants. They don’t produce fruit until their fifth year of growth but can go on to produce fruit for sixty years!

Checklist for both apple and pear tree buying:
-Check pollination requirements
-Look at planting and pruning instructions
-Make sure the bark and roots are healthy and undamaged before buying
-Consider the potential size of your tree.

Apples and pears can be bought as ‘cordons’ that stay small but crop well. They are ideal for a small space and can be grown successfully against a south facing wall or fence.
Small bush varieties are suitable for a slightly larger garden and if you have an acre or two, you could always go for the full-sized versions!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This growing guide will help you get the most from your apple and pear trees.

ApplesandPears

 

‘How to Grow Apples & Pears’

Amazon USAmazon UKiTunesKoboPayhipBarnes & Noble

 

 

Herbal Rescue

herbalrescue-pinterest

 

Companion planting helps with maintenance in a garden. Certain plants grow well together and will get along happily without you having to do much. Herbs deter many pests because of their strong scent, and other useful components.

 
Here are a few examples of herbs with their good and bad companions…

Basil:

-Good with tomatoes, peppers and asparagus
-Avoid growing near sage
-Repels many insects, including mosquitoes and flies
-Attracts butterflies
-Grown with chamomile, the essential oil will be stronger
Borage:

-Good with almost anything, especially strawberries and squash plants
-A magic herb. Welcome everywhere in the garden.
-Repels insects
-Attracts honeybees
Chives:

-Good with apples, brassicas (cabbage, broccoli etc;) and carrots
-Avoid growing near peas and beans
-Repels carrot fly and aphids
Dill:

-Good with cabbages, lettuce and cucumbers
-Avoid growing with carrots and tomatoes
-Repels spider mite and aphids
-Attracts wasps and honeybees
-Same family as fennel and is one of the few plants that will grow with fennel. Fennel should be planted away from most other plants in the garden, although it does attract ladybirds.
Garlic:

-Good with cucumbers, apples and pears, lettuce and peas
-Will grow happily with most plants
-Repels aphids, ants and rabbits
Lovage:

-Another magic herb, good to grow with almost anything
-Lovage doesn’t like to grow too close to rhubarb
-Attracts wasps and ground beetles (good bugs)
-Lovage, like borage, is said to improve the health of most plants.
Oregano:

-Good to grow alongside many plants, including tomatoes and peppers
-Repels aphids
-Allow to spread around pepper plants for extra humidity
Mint:

-Good to grow with brassicas (including all kale varieties and cabbages.)
-Repels cabbage fly and ants
-All mint varieties have similar properties
Nasturtium:

-Good to grow with many plants including squashes, tomatoes, beans and some brassicas,
-Avoid planting near cauliflower or radish
-Said to be one of the best herbs for attracting predatory insects
-Repels aphids, cucumber beetle and white fly
Rosemary:

-Particularly good to grow with beans, as well as carrots, cabbage and sage
-Repels the bean beetle
-Perfect companion herb for deterring many bean bugs
Sage:

-Similar to rosemary, good with beans, carrots and cabbage
-Avoid growing basil near to sage. The basil probably won’t thrive.
-Attracts honeybees
-Repels black flea beetle, carrot fly and cabbage fly

website-herb garden

 

Text taken from The Herb Garden

Choose your favourite supplier:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, iTunes, Kobo, Payhip, Barnes & Noble,

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

 

Grow your own Beans

Although green beans have been cultivated for home use since the 16th century, string-less varieties weren’t really known until the turn of the 20th century. Most hybrids we buy now are string-less unless left too long on the plant.

Delicious green bean types include:
Runner Beans
French Beans
Broad Beans
And there are plenty of varieties of each.
Some bean plants grow as a small bush, others need to climb. Make sure you know what type you are growing as you may need to put up a structure if you have a climbing variety.

If you are in the UK, Thompson & Morgan have a whole range of beans to grow at home, including this variety:

beanstandm

 

Dwarf Bean ‘Delinel’

 

 

Healthy Reasons
Green beans are a good source of vitamins A and C, and Folate. They should be cooked before eating to remove any toxins in the skin.
Beans are also high in protein and dietary fibre.

Try this quick and delicious recipe. All quantities are approximate. Go with your instincts!

Green Beans with garlic and basil
Ingredients:
1lb (450g or 2½ cups) of green beans, washed and cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Black pepper

Method:
1. Cook beans in boiling water, or steam, until just tender. Drain well
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok
3. Cook garlic for a minute then add beans, basil and black pepper
4. Stir thoroughly and heat through gently for a few minutes.
5. Serve immediately

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. Recipe and intro from How to Grow Beans

Beans

 

Download from your favourite supplier

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,