Herb of the Month “Dill”

dillWhat I look like: Dill is a fragrant annual herb with thin thread like leaves and produces yellow flower heads.  Like fennel, dill is a cool weather performer and grows best if planted in fall; however you can continue to plant dill through the cool weather season to maintain a constant supply of dill.  Dill on average grows up to 4ft tall, likes well drained soil and full sun.

What I’m used for: Dill is mainly used for its culinary uses and is often added to salads, soups, baked potatoes, fish and chicken dishes and is most often used to pickle veggies. Aside from its culinary uses, dill has been used medicinally to aid in intestinal problems, insomnia, flatulence, and heartburn.

This container grown herb is currently available at Bluebonnet Herb Farms.

Dill Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 4 pounds waxy potatoes such as Red Bliss, Yukon Golds, or Blues
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced, including green ends
  • Dressing:
    • 1-1/4 cup prepared mayonnaise
    • Juice from one lemon
    • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill weed
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Additional paprika for garnish
Preparation

Boil whole unpeeled potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. (If you wish, you may peel the potatoes before cubing.) Toss with green onions.

Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, celery seeds, cider vinegar, dill weed, salt, and pepper.

Pour dressing over potatoes and green onions. Toss gently to mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into serving dish and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to let flavors mingle before serving.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Herb of the Month “Lavender”

French lavender Norfolk Lavender - French Lavender English Lavender
What I look like: There are many different varieties some of the most popular are the Sweet Lavender (36″ height, Purple blooms), French Lavender (24″ height, pale blue lavender color) Hidcote lavender (24″ height, dark purple), Munstead lavender (12″ height, deep blue-purple) , Goodwin’s Creek Lavender (24″-36″ height, lavender color).

History:Lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”. In ancient times lavender was used for perfume and baths. Queen Elizabeth used lavender as a perfume. She also drank lavender tea to ease her migraines. Queen Victoria used lavender to wash floors, and furniture. She would put lavender among her linens and used it to freshen the air. Even today, the French send their lambs to graze in lavender fields, to make their meat tender and fragrant.

Uses: English lavender is most frequently used in cooking because it has the sweetest fragrance. The flavor of lavender flowers increases when dried. A little lavender goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add to your taste. The best time to harvest lavender blooms is when the flowers begin to open up. This is when the essential oils are the greatest. Lavender is a very versatile herb not only can it be used for flavoring food but it also has some medicinal properties as well and is also used in aromatherapy. Medicinally it can help ease stress and headaches simply because of the scent.

Availability: Very easy to find. Lavender is carried at Bluebonnet Herb Farms throughout the year

Extra Tip: Lavender’s aroma is loved by bees. When planted in vegetable gardens and orchards, the shrub enhances pollination.

Lavender Mint Chip Cookies

The mint chips, lavender and chocolate in these cookies create a new and very interesting flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup Andes Crème De Menthe baking chips
  • 6 tsp. of ground lavender

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and ground lavender. Add to the butter-egg mixture – beat well for one minute. Add pecans and chips.

Mix well, and spoon onto un-greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the cookies look puffy with cracks on top. They should fall and flatten as soon as you take them out of the oven. Do not over bake.

Recipe Provided by: Chappell Hill Lavender Farm

Herb of the Month “Parsley”

Flat-leafed parsleyWhat I look like- parsley is a bright green, hairless herb with either flat or curly leaves (depending on the variety) and has tiny yellowish green flowers that eventually produce seed.

How I Grow-Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun.. Parsley can reach up to 12-18 inches in height and 9-12inches wide.

How parsley can benefit your garden- For those of you trying to achieve the ultimate butterfly garden, Parsley is a must have.  Some swallowtail butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae; their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies.  Bees and other nectar-feeding insects may also visit the flowers.  Birds such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds.

What I’m used for- Parsley has many medicinal and culinary uses.  Medicinally Parsley is used as a diuretic that purifies the blood and aids in digestion and metabolism.  Parsley can also over time if consumed on a regular basis lower blood pressure.

Parsley and its culinary uses has slowly become more of an underappreciated herb since it is most often used as a garnish.  Though it is a favorite in Italian cuisine, used in soups, breads, pastas, and on many meats, you can add parsley to most dish that you want a more savory flavor to.

Availabity: Very Easy to find

Savory Herb Spread

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 6 gherkins or 1 regular-size pickle, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup I Can’t believe its Not Butter! Spread
Preparation
  1. Combine all ingredients except I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spread in medium bowl.
  2. Combine mixture with Spread in medium bowl. Serve, if desired, with grilled bread or use as a dressing on any sandwich. Try a spoonful on top of grilled fish, roasted chicken or a bowl of pasta just before serving.   Enjoy!

Herb of the Month “Fennel”

Fennel Fennel stays the hiccough

What I look like: Fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It’s highly aromatic with a similar taste and smell of anise. It has hollow stems and the plant itself grows up to 4-5 foot tall. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean and thrives in well drained soil. Snacking on Fennel Fennel also has a very important role to play in the garden if you are trying to attract butterflies, since some species of caterpillars love snacking on it.

What I’m used for: The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions around world. The small flower of fennel is the most potent form of fennel.  For cooking, green seeds are optimal. The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. Fennel is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, where bulbs and fronds are used, both raw and cooked, in side dishes, salads, pastas, and vegetable dishes.

Aside from its delicious culinary uses Fennel also is used medicinally to treat intestinal upset such as gas, but should not be used long term.  Fennel is also really good for your eyes and can help aid in the treatment of glaucoma (or to clear cloudy eyes) and improve vision.  In other uses fennel is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables.

This container grown herb is currently available at Bluebonnet Herb Farms. We sell two varieties: Sweet Fennel & Bronze Fennel
*Note *Bronze Fennel is just like regular fennel but does not grow quite as tall and it has a darker bronze coloring on the foliage.  The bronze fennel has all of the same uses as your regular sweet fennel.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable & Shrimp Salad

Prep: 45mins.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
  • 2 Large tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 large shallots or 1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 8 cups arugula or baby spinach leaves
  • 1 lb. cooked large shrimp
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 Degrees
  2. Toss 1/4 cup Wish-Bone Mediterranean Italian Vinaigrette Dressing with tomatoes, fennel, zucchini, shallots and garlic in 13 x 9- inch shallow roasting pan. Roast, stirring once, until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in shrimp and lemon juice. Roast until shrimp are heated through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Toss arugula with remaining 1/4 cup dressing in serving bowl. Top with shrimp and vegetables. Garnish, if desired, with chopped fresh basil.

Comfrey Salve

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Comfrey Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons, Lavender flowers
  • 2 tablespoons Calendula flowers
  • ½ cup of Bees Wax
  • Strainers
  • Double boiler
  • Jars to store the salve
  • Cheese cloth

Preparing

Warm the olive oil, comfrey leaves, lavender and calendula flowers in a double-boiler for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow it to boil, only bubble around the edges.
Strain into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.
Remove the cheesecloth and carefully squeeze out all remaining oil and dispose of the flowers and cheesecloth.
Melt the beeswax in the double-broiler, and stir constantly until melted. Then add the strained oil and stir until it’s well blended.
Pour in prepared jars or tins.

Directions for Use

You may apply this salve as needed to wounds, blisters, and skin irritations.
This salve is for external uses only do not ingest.

Herb of the Month “Comfrey”

Comfrey-Cynoglossum officinaleWhat I look like: Comfrey is a perennial herb with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped flowers of various colors, typically cream or purplish, which may be striped.

Comfrey is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, on river banks and ditches. This little guy loves moist soil and a sunny location.

ComfreyWhat I’m used for: Comfrey accelerates the healing of tissue and the closing of wounds. Applying fresh leaves or salves to a wound causes it to contract and close quicker. Comfrey leaf has a long history for being used internally for many alignments from arthritis to ulcers. It does, however, contain a toxic alkaloid that if used in extremely large doses over long periods of time may cause potentially fatal liver damage (It is not recommended that you use comfrey plant internally). Comfrey promotes the rapid healing of both skin lesions and bone breaks.

Aside from its medicinal properties, Comfrey is also prized for its fertilizer uses. Comfrey is an excellent source of potassium, an essential plant nutrient needed for flower, seed and fruit production. Its leaves contain 2-3 times more potassium than farmyard manure.
Availability –Hard to Find

This herb is currently available at Bluebonnet Herb Farms- while supplies last.

Herb of the Month “Basil”

What I look like
Basil grows between 6″- 2½’ tall, and has light green, silky leaves. The flowers are small and are generally white or purple in color, depending on the variety.

How I Grow
Basil is very sensitive to cold, it grows best in hot, dry conditions. It behaves as an annual but will generally reseed itself.  Basil can be sown in soil once the chance of frost is past. It fares best in a well-drained sunny spot. Although basil grows best outdoors, it can be grown indoors in a container.

What I’m Used For
Basil is a very diverse herb.  Most of us are quite familiar with its culinary uses in Italian cuisine but it also has medicinal properties.  In the past centuries, basil was believed to have healing potential and was used to purify the mind and open the heart and even cure malaria.  Today it is recognized as a treatment for intestinal problems such as motion sickness, nausea, and flatulence.


Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Makes 24 small slices.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1½ lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French or Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Prepare the tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. , remove the skins of the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F
  3. Chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Slice the baguette and coat one side of each slice with olive oil. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down.  Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.  Spoon tomato mixture over toasted baguette then top with mozzarella cheese and heat till melted.
  5. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do so right before serving or the bread may get soggy. Enjoy!

Chives

Chives are a bulb high in Vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium.  Chives can ease stomach distress and protect against heart disease and stroke.  They can help the body fight off bacteria that can cause disease.  This herb can help the body to digest fat.  Combined with a low-salt diet, they can help lower high blood pressure.  They can also help to lower your blood cholesterol levels.  Here is a recipe to help you enjoy the benefits of chives.

Cottage Cheese with Chives
Makes 4 servings

8 oz.  Cottage cheese
1 T. mustard
1 shallot
1 bunch chives
1/2 t. paprika
Salt
White pepper

1. Blend cottage cheese and mustard.
2. Peel the shallot, chop finely and mix with cottage cheese blend.
3. Wash and dry chives and snip them finely.  Stir about 2/3rds of the chives into cottage cheese mixture.
4. Season the cottage-cheese mixture with the paprika and add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle the remaining chives on top.

Enjoy!