Herbs in Cocktail Drinks – From Mixology to Mocktails

Herbs in Cocktail Drinks – From Mixology to Mocktails

A Cocktail Herb Garden

When it comes to cocktails, most people probably focus on the alcohol that goes into them. While alcohol is one of the major components in cocktails, you can take yours to the next level by adding various ingredients. After all, anyone can buy some liquor from the store if they have an id from fakeYourDrank.com, but it takes some creativity to make a beautiful cocktail. Things such as garnishes, rims adornments, herb infused syrups, and bitters can dramatically change the taste and flavor of a cocktail. However, herbs remain the most underrated when it comes to mixing cocktails. The good news is that you don’t have to be a connoisseur of drinks to come up with a great herbed cocktail or mocktail drink. Here are some of the herbs you can add to cocktails and how to go about it. Read below for the best herbs for cocktails to grow in your garden! (more…)

Biblical Herbs: Mints in the Bible

Biblical Herbs: Mints in the Bible

Plants are first mentioned in the Bible in the first chapter of the first book: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind…” (Genesis 1:11). Throughout the ages, the Hebrews have attributed holiness to many species of plants. The Scriptures associate feasts, rites and commandments with many plants and their cultivation. Early written information about herbs is found in the Bible back to the time of Moses or even earlier. In Exodus 12:22 Moses tells the children of Israel how to save their children by using the herb and lamb’s blood. “And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.” In Numbers 19:6, 18 hyssop is again mentioned. Also, in 1 Kings 4:33 God gave Solomon wisdom, “And he (Solomon) spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall…” Psalms 51:7 refers to this plant: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” While pride is symbolized by the majestic cedar of Lebanon in Jewish tradition, the lowly hyssop represents modesty and humility. At least eighteen plants have been considered for the hyssop of the Bible, but modern botanists have generally agreed that Syrian majoram (Origanum syriacum) is the likely plant. It seems to fit well with these verses. It was used to cleanse homes defiled by leprosy or death and came to symbolize cleanliness. Its fragrance and taste led it to be prized by the ancient Romans and the Greeks before them. Bridges and grooms wore crowns made of marjoram. It was also quite likely prized in the kitchen, as it is now.

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Planning and Prep: Tools of the Trade

Planning and Prep: Tools of the Trade

Is your gardening buddy ready…If you absolutely want to save yourself time and money, even a few headaches, it’s time to start taking care of those tools that help make your garden grow.  This is an excellent time to take a detailed inventory of what’s on hand, what needs some attention and what you may need to replace. 

Hand tools are filthy? Time for some oiling. The handles on the hoe and spade could use a little TLC; give that attention. Does your gloves need several cycles in the washing machine, now it that time to wash away! Make sure your shears are sharpen by using a stone. Whatever you can complete now… do it! So, why is it important to “take the Thyme” on cleaning and sterilizing, it helps to keep bacteria and fungi at bay! 

Aside from tools,  check-in with your oils, soaps, powders and granules make sure that the storage kept them safe and nothing “expired”. Don’t forget your sprayers! They need love, too! Now is also a good time to test the soil, get your plants ordered & reserved and your garden is all planned out in a notebook with more and more ‘to do’s’. There will always be a ‘last minute’ chore but over the years, we’ve learned that early preparation makes gardening, a lot more enjoyable. Get started on these little chores now, this way you are prepared for anything the season throws at you!

 

If you are new to the garden scene and need to know what tools you should have in your “gardening arsenal”. We have you covered, here our top favorite tools for gardening success

This is actually the best time to get out for a shopping trip. During the off season many companies run amazing sales on “non-green” gardening supplies. Below are a few suggestions from our Horticulture team to help make sure you have great success this coming gardening season. There is one thing that we can’t stress enough, that is make sure you buy tools that will help you in the garden! If you can’t carry it, lift it or it doesn’t fit your gardening needs. It will just collect dust in the cold-dark shed. “Take the Thyme” and shop for what YOU need!

Gardening Gloves:

Gardening Gloves

 

Simple and often just grabbed on the way out of the garden center. Make sure to “take the thyme” to get ones that fit. Bulky ones can be hard to work with! This simple purchase will just make gardening even more enjoyable and help against with any sneaky thorns or slippery splinters. 

 

Pruning Shears:

These will help you keep control of your plant! Allows you to easily to trim you plant. Important to try them out before buying! Even though they look pretty…make sure they can fit in your hand and you can easily use them. There are many types of shears for different purposes make sure to find the ones that work for you!

Watering Can:

 

For those plants that need little more water that the hose didn’t reach. These are very useful especially for potted plants! Like everything in the garden tool world their are so many options…small, large or plastic, metal…and don’t get us started on the colors. We LOVE them all! Make sure you get one that you can lift. You want a can that will work for you not against you!

 

Spade:

Spade
 
This is a must have for your garden! This tool is your “workhorse” making moving plants or soil easy as 1-2-3. This tool can be a pretty penny but we promise this will last many season for you…and your back will thank you! When shopping for one make sure that the Spade has thread on top of the blade, this will allow good hold for your foot! There are options out there for short and long handles. Again make sure to buy one that you can use. The longer handles are great for leverage but can be pretty heavy! 
 
 

Garden Hand Fork:

Garden Fork

 
 
 
This simply amazing tool will help you work the top of the soil getting old wanted root balls out of your gardening area, even help in removing the pesky weeds! The hand forks are great for working in small patches. If you are working in a larger area they do make large ones to help get the job done, too.
 
 
 
 

Trowel:

Trowel

 
 
This tool is a must when transplanting herb plants, planting in containers and eliminating weeds for the garden. Find one that fits your hand. Also while shopping keep these tips in mind for your gardening needs. You want the broader ones to move more soil or narrow ones to help with rocky soil. Wee strongly urge in purchasing one that has a stainless head, this will just last longer for you. 
 
 
 
 
 

Hose & Nozzle

Hose With Spray Nozzle

The most use tool and hands down the most important! You want to make sure your hose has access to all of your garden you do not want any spots left out. An adjustable nozzle is great because it puts you in charge of the water pressure and the radius of spray. There is many things to know before purchasing one. Make sure you know the length you need from your garden from the water spigot. Some more little tips top keep in mind. The longer the hose the water pressure will lower. Vinyl hoses are cheaper and lighter BUT will kink up on you more often than a rubber ones. Once you find the right one for you, storage of the hose is important, too. You want to make sure when it’s not being used it’s wrapped properly and kept out of direct sunlight.
 
 
 
Herbs Associated with Halloween

Herbs Associated with Halloween

Folks in my neighborhood have taken Halloween to a whole new level;  it is incredible what a bit of technology will do for a holiday. Back in my time, we’d have a Casper mask with an elastic strap.  Very hard to breathe in that thing, so you were forever lifting it up for a breath of fresh air. Moms gave away homemade popcorn balls and candy apples.  You knew who was going to have the ‘good stuff’ (Milky Way bars were a favorite) and who to avoid (the elderly neighbor who thought handing out pennies was acceptable).  Gone are those days – we’ve got big scary spiders climbing up the sides of houses, and tombstones with automated skeletons waving from the ground. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent close to 9 billion dollars on Halloween in 2018.

But, the origins of Halloween have little to do with candy and zombie costumes.  Most of the ancient festivals associated with Halloween had to do with the harvest and magic.  The Halloween that we celebrate today didn’t arrive along a single path; it is a combination of traditions that tie transitioning seasons to the thin layer between life and death.  All of these traditions, the broomstick, the apples, the witches, have ancient roots. No image of Halloween is complete without witches and broomsticks, and when it comes to witches, we need to talk about HERBS! (more…)

Herbal Aromatherapy: Do Scents Make Sense?

Herbal Aromatherapy: Do Scents Make Sense?

Inhale something lovely, a sprig of lavender perhaps. What happens? Better yet, open the bottle of perfume your mother always wore. Memories flood in. Why?

Our sense of smell has been vital to our survival. We, in 2018, may not rely on that sense as we once did, but think about it: sniffing food to see if it is still edible, smelling the smoke of an enemy’s fire, detecting the healing properties of herbs through smell.

Our minds are a creation of the inputs coming from our five senses, and our sense of smell has the power to both heal as well as awaken memories. No matter whether it is a plug-in air freshener spraying out a vanilla scent or bath bombs from Scentsy Scent Circle that smells like mangos, it can take us back in time and flood our brain with memories, both good and bad. (more…)

The New World: Medicinal Herbs in Colonial Times

The New World: Medicinal Herbs in Colonial Times

As much as I love growing herbs, I really love talking about them. And, believe it or not, I get lots of nice invitations from lots of nice folks who don’t mind listening to me ramble for an hour or two. My last show was for a group of truly dedicated gardeners at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. So, if you remember your American history classes, right around my farm is the birthplace of our nation. Jamestown! We even have a little competition going on about the site of the first Thanksgiving; in theses parts, we claim it was at Berkeley Plantation, a mere 20 miles down the road. But, I digress…

Bottom line: if you are speaking to a group of gardeners in Williamsburg, you better be prepared to toss in a bit of history so here goes; as the early settlers began to colonize these shores, herbs were among the most important cargo. Herbs for healing, herbs to improve the flavor a what would be considered a very bland diet, and herbs to disguise the smells that were a part of poor sanitation as well as spoilage. Herbs were vital to the establishment of a thriving colony. (more…)