Category Archives: Easy Care Perennials

Plants That Thrive On Benign Neglect

Print PDFWorkhorse Plants For Tough Places A few years ago, I was asked to plan and plant beds at the entryway to Bainbridge Island, a new pocket park above the ferry dock. Created by a team of Rotarians and community … Continue reading

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Herbal Oils And Vinegars

Print PDFGarden To Kitchen: Beam Me In In the Seattle area, the recent heatwave was sadly mellowed by a dense haze of smoke from Northern wildfires. On the worst days, you could taste the tang of burning trees at the … Continue reading

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Simple Garden Syrups

Simple syrups are just that; extremely simple mixtures of cane sugar and water, boiled for a few minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Before electricity and freezers were common, most fruits were canned in simple syrups, which helped preserve their quality and flavor. Simple syrups can be flavored with all sorts of things, from vanilla beans and peppercorns to toasted fennel or coriander seeds. In summer, it’s delightful to capture the fleeting scents and tastes of herbs, flowers, and even fruit in such syrups. The primary rule here is to use only organically grown fruit, flowers, and foliage, as pesticide residues are definitely not edible.
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Harvesting & Preserving Herbs

I like to wander through the garden clipping a little of this and a bit of that, then grind the herbs with flaked sea salt to create seasonal blends that grace anything from fish or poultry to desserts (but of course; sea salt with lavender, chamomile, and pepper is brilliant on berries). As a rule of thumb, you can add anywhere from a teaspoon to a quarter cup of goodies per cup of sea salt. However, it is imperative to oven dry the more richly endowed blends or they can mold despite the preservative qualities of salt. You can use any kind you like, but I prefer to use medium flaked sea salts over coarse ones (which don’t melt evenly) or very fine ones, which don’t maintain their relationship to the herbs very well. But that’s just me.
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