Showing posts with label reference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reference. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

10 Spices That Are So Easy to Grow & Great in Recipes

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, there are so many spices that are so easy to grow!  Let's review some of these spices and maybe they might help trigger some creative cooking too!

spices, easy to grow, spice bible, tasty cooking, review, flavor bible

Gardening is about enjoying what you and the earth can produce.  Nothing tastes as good as fresh from the garden.  That's why many people decide to go out to the country on the weekends to stock up on fresh from the farm goodness.

Having a spice garden is relatively easy and when it really starts to grow, it can become bountiful.  What a tasty treat for all your home cooked meals.  Let's get on to the list of easy to grow and great to enjoy spices that are just a few steps away from the kitchen.


10 of the Most Used and useful spices:


1.  Parsley:  either curly or flat leafed.  Wonderful for dressing up salads, potatoes, stews, and more.

2.  Chives:  Great with stuffed baked potatoes, salads, soups and more.

3.  Peppers:  These can be hot (hotter than Hades) or sweet as in bell peppers.  Some can be used for a meal as a vegetable and others for spicing things up.  Be careful, some of the peppers that are being grown today are so hot, you need to handle them with rubber gloves.

4.  Basil:  There are several varieties of Basil, from large Green Leafed Basil, to Purple Basil and even small leafed basil.  One thing is certain, tomatoes with fresh basil is a little bit of heaven right here on earth.

5.  Dill:  Great for making home made pickles, but also added to salads it adds just a little bit of a different taste sensation.

6:  Cilantro:  This is one spice that you either love or dislike(dare I say "hate").  It depends totally on your own taste buds.  Some people when eating anything with cilantro will taste a "soapy" flavor.  They are sure not to like this spice.  But others find cilantro to be refreshing with a crisp clear taste!  Great in salads and stews, soups and even sandwiches.

7:  Mint:  There are all kinds of mints available and all of them are really easy to grow.  Some might even be considered invasive.  Mints can be used in cooking as well as making teas (hot or cold) to enjoy on a hot summer's day.

8:  Sage:  Pretty in green or purple sage has a very strong flavor that will pack a punch of flavor in your cooking.

9:  Oregano:  Easy to grow and will often overwinter.  A great spice for all Italian dishes from spaghettis to pizza.  Added to soups and stews it adds a lot of flavor with a tangy zesty taste.

10: Rosemary:  this spice is easy to grow and can be used not only for cooking but as a decorative plant.  It prunes really easy and can be used as small topiaries.  This spice is great for lamb and grilled or roasted vegetables.  Taken indoors for the winter months, it will continue to grow without any problems.

This is my list of 10 favorites, but there are so many more and each one will add a dimension to your cooking that you may not have realized yet.  Below you will find a "cookbook" to help you make the most of the spices you grow yourself and the ones that you need to purchase because they just need a climate that we don't have.  Either way, home grown spices will definitely make you think twice about the way you cook and the way you enjoy your meals with your family.


Guide to Using Spices


If you are looking for help in pairing spices to make your recipes pop and sizzle, then I would highly recommend this Cookbook!  I use the term "Cookbook" with a certain amount of caution, it is not so much a "cookbook" as a real guide to using spices in combinations that will make your food preparation and your family's taste buds sing.


With a rating of 4.5 stars from Amazon, and over 1,000 verified purchases (mine included), I know that you will enjoy this addition to your cookbook collection!  As with many books today, there is a "Kindle" edition.  Alas, the Kindle version does not get very good ratings at all. (This decline in ratings I'm sure dropped this from a 5 star to 4.5 star rating) With the Kindle book, there is not the same ability to skip to other pages easily and quickly.   Some books just need to be in a paper version!

This truly is a REFERENCE BOOK  that every kitchen should have.  You will use it more often than you ever thought possible.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Green Thumbs Love Day Lilies!

What grows without too much trouble, looks beautiful and makes gardeners all over the world smile?

You could answer with a multitude of plant names and I'm sure that some gardeners, somewhere, would agree with almost any suggestion.  The answer I'm looking for right now is Day Lilies!

With over 30,000 different cultivars, you know that the plant world has taken this plant and just loved it so much that developing a new cultivar is like finding gold.

Hemorocallis is the proper name for the genus of Day Lilies and comes from the Greek words Hemera (day) and Kallos (beautiful). So the Latin name is very appropriate and a straight translation. They are called Day Lilies because each flower usually lasts only one day.  One every stem though you can have 5 to 10 buds.  So they last a lot longer than one day.  July and August are the greatest months for Day Lilies.  They are  blooming like crazy during the summer months.
                                      Picture from my garden, please don't copy.

With over 30,000 different cultivars, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see all of these beauties in one place.  There are gardeners all over the world who use their gardening skills to breed new cultivars of Day Lilies in the hopes of bringing another beauty into being.

green thumbs love day lilies
Picture Wikimedia Commons


Developing new cultivars is not for the faint-hearted gardener.  It can take 3 to 5 years and sometimes longer to develop a new strain and then it must be tested to make sure it comes true to it's cross and does not revert back to one of the parent lilies.

When I first fell in love with Day Lilies, they just happened to be the most ordinary Day Lily. Ordinary in the sense that they are common and found all over the world.  They are just plain orange, but bloom with lots of buds on each stem, so they flower for a long time.  Most people call them Tiger Lilies.  

Today I have a few more Day Lilies that are quite beautiful.  I have fallen in love with one called Devil's Delight, that is a dark red/burgundy with a green throat.  Ruffled edges on the petals make it look like a ladies evening gown.  That root cost me a small fortune and looking at my pictures I realize I have never taken her picture.  Sorry, I would have loved to share her with you.

I have neighbors go by my garden asking me for a root of that particular Day Lily, but I am not so keen to share it.  

The other one that I really like is called Moonlight Dance ( see the picture above)  and she is yellow with a halo of darker orange and the edges are also the dark orange and ruffled as well.  They remind me of ballerina tutus.

This weekend June 24-26th there is a Day Lily Festival in Tennessee.  If you are close by, I would say go and be prepared to be awed by over 200 varieties of Day Lilies.


green thumbs love day lilies
Photo by Ken Oakes 

Why Grow Day Lilies?


As I was telling you earlier, there are so many Day Lily cultivars, that I'm sure no one has seen them all in one place at one time. Why are there so many?  Well I'd like to guess that it's partially due to the ease with which you can grow this plant. While it is originally from the Eurasian area, China, Korea and Japan, day lilies have found their way around the world and can grow in a variety of settings.
They can be large flowered with multiple petals, or large with singular petals. Some have stripes or rings, some are ruffled and others are not. Colors vary from the common orange, to dark reds, violets, pinks, yellows and everything in between.

Their root systems are so strong that they will get denser and denser as the years go by.

If you leave a clump of day lilies growing without any interference, it may take a pick ax to dig it out again. I tend to let mine grow for a year without disturbance, and then the next year, I will go in and remove some of the roots for planting elsewhere or sharing with friends and family.

The large strap shaped leaves look like a giant spider plant, until the spikes of flowers begin to show in mid-July. Then prepare yourself for some breath-taking beauty.

Some are scented and re-bloom later in the year as well, but not all of them. It's hard for any plant to be this beautiful and smell nice too! Whatever you don't get in scent is certainly made up for, by the depths of colors and intricacies in this plant.

Can I make some suggestions for your garden?


If you have never grown Day Lilies I would start with this one, The Stella d'Oro is a rebloomer, meaning that it will bloom more than once.  It is beautiful in it's golden color and it smells nice too! You will not be disappointed with this plant.


25 Bareroot Stella D'Oros Daylilies--1-2 fan











Do you want to learn more?


I only made one suggestion for your garden because I could not possibly choose the others for you.
Rather,  I would suggest getting this book, for some really nice summer time reading and dreaming.

You will enjoy seeing the multitudes of day lilies within the pages and the descriptions of what makes each one "special".  It will also open your eyes to at least 1700 different cultivars that are available.

This book will become bookmarked with your choices in colors and types of day lilies.  Leave it out in the open for your children to see, so next time there is a gift giving opportunity, they will know at least one thing that you would love to have in your garden. If you are inclined you could even use some sticky notes to mark out your favorites.........Sneaky, right?



The New Encyclopedia of Daylilies: More Than 1700 Outstanding 
Selections

I prefer to be this kind of sneaky and get something that I really want in my garden than to have my kids bring me cut flowers that will surely last only a few days.  This way, your plants will come back year after year becoming more beautiful with the passing of time.  They will be a living reminder of the gift given once and enjoyed ever after.




Just one word of caution, once you have one day lily in your garden, you will want more!  




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.