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Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces Paperback – February 7, 2012
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Featured Recipe: Chive Blossom Vinegar
Chive blossoms are a short-term crop that come and go in the spring before you can bat an eyelash. Capturing their mild chive flavor in a good-quality vinegar is the perfect way to enjoy them well past their season.
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup chive blossoms
- 1 cup white wine or white Vinegar
- Harvest the chive blossoms in the spring just after they open. To prepare the chive blossoms, snip off the stems and gently jostle them in a bowl of cool water to remove all dirt and debris. Pile the wet blossoms into the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel, pull up all of the corners to create a sack, and shake vigorously until the blossoms are dry.
- Stuff a clean pint-sized Mason jar with the clean blossoms.
- In a small saucepan, gently warm the vinegar over medium-low heat. Do not bring to a boil. Pour the vinegar over the blossoms, making sure to submerge them completely.
- Once the liquid has cooled, cover the jar with a lid made of nonreactive material such as glass. Alternatively, protect a metal canning lid by first placing a square of waxed paper between the jar and the lid.
- Store in a cool, dark cupboard for a week or two and strain into a second, clean or sterilized jar when the vinegar suits your taste buds.
Frankly, all herbal vinegars are delicious--experiment with several edible flowers, leaves, and seeds and keep a medley of flavors on hand.
"Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers for Small Spaces is a scrumptious book. Blogger Gayla Trail, author of You Grow Girl and Grow Great Grub, knows what to share and how to show it so that anyone—from beginners to experienced gardeners—will want to dig right in."
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This book would make an outstanding gift to anyone, whether they garden or not. It's inspiring for all levels and would appeal in particular to readers under 30, because the author has a youthful style and appeal herself. That's not to say it won't appeal to older readers--it certainly does--but gardening books with a youthful spin are hard to find when you're looking for a gift. For even more detail and for expert advice on herbs and edible flowers, check out Lois Hole's "Herbs and Edible Flowers" too. It's also a great book.
First off, if you love edible flowers like I do, or just want to plant flowers that aren't poisonous to your children or pets, this book has great recommendations. It includes information on what to plant, how the different flowers (& herbs) taste and some recipes for how to use them. Besides all of this- I love that it's written from an American perspective since most books on edible flowers these days seem to come from Britain. Nothing against the Brits, but I want to know what grows well here (and I don't want to have to convert things from Metric.)
The second point in the books' favor relates to her rating system for projects. Approximately the first half of the book covers gardening basics. Chapters 4-7 include a variety of projects which are rated for difficulty. This is a boon to both beginner gardeners and experienced gardeners alike. Start with something simple.
Pictures throughout the book show what the plants should look like at maturity, and I am impressed that each recipe has an accompanying picture as well. Over all, the book is a good investment of your $20. This is not just another gardening book to fill your shelf, it's a beautiful handbook to use again and again.
You can learn more about Gayla Trail, and gardening, at her website: [...]
This review was originally posted on [...]
Section One: Growing an Herb Garden. This section provides concise instructions on the basics of growing: preparing pots, soil requirements, growing in the ground, air flow, heat, water, sunlight, drainage, fertilizer, aesthetics, pests, diseases, choosing herbs, keeping weedy plants under control, seasonal maintenance, starting from seed, cloning, growing under lights, extending the season, and preparing for dormancy.
Section Two: The Plants. In this section Trail describes the uses and particular needs of 29 of her most indispensable plant families and some species within that family. For example, under the family moist soil umbellifers, she includes chervil, lovage, and parsley. Each plant description includes a legend indicating the plant's growing requirements and which part of the plant is edible.
Section Three: Keeping Stock: Gather, Preserve, Eat. So what do you do with all those herbs and flowers you've grown? This section discusses using and preserving the bounty and includes several recipes, such as sorrel and potato soup, chive blossom vinegar, and orange rosemary and honey ice cream. Yum!
Easy Growing is a great guide that will help you decide which herbs and edible flowers you want to grow within the space you have available and how to bring them successfully to harvest.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
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