Saturday, May 31, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Drying Parsley: 2 minutes in the microwave - truly! Cut the pieces you want to dry straight from the plant. Lay an evenly distributed layer (small handful) on a paper-towel on a paper plate. Cover with a 2nd paper towel. Microwave 2 minutes on high. Be very careful though near the end of the two minutes. If the parsley is overdry, it'll spark and try to start a fire (no joking here!). So its critically important you watch it for the last minute.
I started growing parsley mainly for my mother, but the environmental benefits of parsley are equally beneficial. The plant itself attracts the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly larvae that is truly one of the most beautiful caterpillars to see and watch. They munch and crunch parsley leaves, dill, and also fennel -- all the plants in the umbel family. It's a bienniel plant and will easily overwinter for the 2nd year of growth. In the second year though, be quick to cut and dry as it goes to seed rather quickly. Once seeded and flowering, a plethora of butterflies and beneficial insects will cover the plant, feasting until their hearts are content. Parsley is very easy to grow from seed. Soak the seed overnight, and plant as early in the spring as you possibly can. Its a cool weather plant and tolerates frost easily. Most common is the flat-leaved, and there's a curly leaved which is our preference. The curly leaved parsley dries into an award winning jar of dark green, colorful herbs. My mother has won 1st place at the local county fair many years with her dried parsley. A top-of-the-list herb for your garden.
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is an interesting perenniel -- egyptian onions, or "walking onions." The tops are starting to form the small onion bulblets, which will fall to the ground from the weight, and sprout new plants from each bulb. What's cool about this plant is its an edible, perenniel onion! They are small, but have a nice mild flavor and are there all the time. I made a lovely greens soup this weekend with the onions and chives -- its was delightful.