Garden Wisdom Blog — category: Herb Talk

About Catnip

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About Catnip

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) This perennial member of the mint family is native from eastern Europe eastward to China. It is a bushy, branching herb that grows to 50–100cm (20–39″) tall. Like many mints, its stems are square in cross section, and its leaves have a soft texture, being covered by minute hairs. Its white to pale-pink flowers are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Catnip is hardy to Zone 4, and works well in containers. Catnip has been celebrated for centuries as a medicinal herb, and it has come to be known by many names: Catmint, catnep, catrup,...

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About Dill

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About Dill

Dill (Anethum graveolens) This well-known herb has been cultivated since at least 3000 BC by the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians, and is mentioned more than once in the Bible. Dill was thought by medieval writers to provide protection from evil and enhance aphrodisiac potions. It has been cultivated in England since 1570, and used to be much more popular than it is today. Originally, it grew wild from southern Russia down through the Middle East and Mediterranean area. The word “dill” comes from the Old Norse dilla, meaning “soothing,” via the Old English word dylle. As with celery, the Latin...

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About Chives

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About Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Chives have been in cultivation since at least the Middle Ages in Europe, and there are references to their use in ancient Rome, but primarily as a medicinal herb. They were used to treat sunburn and sore throat, and it was believed that they would increase blood pressure and act as a diuretic. As a culinary herb, they did not really catch on until the late 18th century. Bundles of dried chive flowers and leaves were hung in some central European households to ward off evil spirits. Chives are, of course, small members of the onion family,...

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About Basil

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About Basil

Basil is a heat-loving annual plant grown for use as a culinary herb. Many varieties exist, with subtle differences in flavour, growth habit, leaf colour, and so on. All have a rich, pungent taste and scent reminiscent of anise and cloves. This plant has been cultivated for over 5,000 years, originally from India to Persia, but has spread globally. The ancient Greeks knew about basil and its culinary and medicinal properties. Curiously, many ancient Romans believed that basil seeds would not germinate unless without first being cursed. Though we tend to think of it as an Italian herb, basil is...

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How to Dry Herbs for Tea

category: Articles and Instructions category: Garden Resources category: Herb Talk

How to Dry Herbs for Tea

Drying herbs for tea, or culinary use, is fast and easy. Harvest on dry days, preferably in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun is strong, or pick at dusk. Rinse and pat dry, if desired. While herb bundles hanging upside down look pretty, this process can be messy and the herbs may attract dust or bugs. Instead, strip the herbs from their stems—which hold residual water—and dry them flat, preferably on a mesh screen or tray. Sprinkle the herbs no more than two or three layers thick on the screen. Store away from direct heat...

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