Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Herb Garden Planning

Now is a great time to plan which herbs you would like to grow.  Making a list now will reduce the chance of you purchasing something you have not prepared a place for and the chance of buying something you won't be able to care for or find a spot to grow.

What herbs do you use now in cooking, for crafts, or for other purposes?  I would recommend starting with a few you are already somewhat familiar with even if you have only used them dried.  Chives, parsley, mint (if grown in a container), sage, lavender, tarragon, thyme, and oregano are some that are usually easy to find and grow. 

Once you have a list check to see if they will grow in your area by researching the herbs and finding what climate zone you are in.

Even if you can't grow an herb outside in your area you may still be able to grow it indoors.  I grow several herbs in pots that would not survive the winter in my yard.  I can still enjoy them and have some houseplants to eat over the winter.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wreaths, Swags, and Pomanders

Wreath


Swag
My daughter and I made our first Christmas wreath and swag.  I bought the frame, moss, and florist tape.  The boughs came from a tree lot.  I looked through books and online for ideas then experimented.  We added from our yard with juniper, hawthorne, mountain ash, and oregon grape berries and greenery.  Ribbon was chosen from my box of ribbons.  I think for a first try we did all right.   For the swag I just gathered boughs together with wire and decorated in a similar manner.  I think the swag turned out much better.



Pomanders - lemon, orange, pear
Potpourri and pomanders can be used for ornaments or placed in a dish for decoration and to add some seasonal scent.
I have made pomanders from oranges, tangerines, small lemons, small pears, and small apples.  Stick whole cloves into the fruit. For fruit with tougher skins you may need to poke a hole with a needle or nail before placing the cloves.  Either cover the entire fruit or leave areas for ribbon for hanging as I did in the ones pictured.  After adding the cloves roll the fruit in a mixture of ground spices - cinnamon, cloves, and/or nutmeg.  Leave in a dish of the spices turning regularly until dry.  Add the ribbon if desired after fruit has dried. 
Pomanders can also be made from a clay of applesauce and ground spices.  Mix throughly and form into balls or cut out with cookie cutters.  Set in ground spices turning a few times per day until dry.   I wrapped mine with sheer fabric and hung them from the tree.  They did not last as long as the fruit pomanders I made but were still fun to make.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gifts for Herb Lovers, Gardeners, Cooks, Crafters

Herb related gifts are a great choice for crafters, cooks, gardeners, and anyone who loves herbs or wants to learn more about or try using herbs.  

For some garden and herb related ideas including books, DVDs, dried herbs, herb posters and more check here.

Do you know someone who loves essential oils and/or natural personal care products?  
Therapeutic grade essential oils are best for crafts, aromatherapy, culinary use, and health improvement.

You can order directly from the above sites for delivery to your family or friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Herbs for Christmas/Chocolate Dipped ???

There are so many ways to use herbs during the holidays: ornaments, pomanders, potpourri, wreaths, and of course in food and drinks.

Ideas and directions for some of these - Squidoo

Some foods you can enhance with herbs are cheese balls, hot cider, butter, cookies, breads, soups, dips, and chocolate.

Ever dipped chocolates? 
What about chocolate dipped dried fruit or garlic? Chocolate dipped peppers?
I found two more recipes for chocolate dipped hot peppers - 1& 2

I am interested in trying all of them except maybe the habaneros. 
If anyone tries any of these please comment on this post.