Thursday, July 31, 2014
The Magic of Herbs
I have enjoyed all of the River Cottage Handbooks that I own. Each written on history, experience, and thoughts about the given topic. I found myself quite enamoured with No. 10: Herbs. How can you not be taken with a book whose opening paragraph is: "Herbs are beautiful, life-enhancing, seductive things. Whether you see them primarily as plants or as ingredients, they are enticing. I find it hard to believe that anyone could look at a lavender bush nodding in the sunshine or sniff a torn bay leaf and not experience, at the very lease, a flicker of pleasure."
Maybe it is just us, but as we walk around nightly in our garden, or our yard, we constantly brush up against the greenery, pinch a plant between our fingers and sniff to identify it. Wild lemon balm, lambs quarter, catnip. After reading this book I am more enchanted than ever with herbs. As vital in cooking as salt and stimulating multiple senses, herbs can fix a state of mind. When harvesting lavender a few weeks ago, my whole home smelled of the woody floral beauty that was drying. I began to utilize it in recipes and found a whole new appreciation for it. I ran out immediately to Milaegers to fill in our herb plantings and bought up multiple varieties of sage, and I am currently on the hunt for a bay tree that I can overwinter indoors.
This evening as I snapped the flower head off of a dill plant for a cucumber salad, I smelled the intoxicating aroma on my hands. The oils released into the air and linger. Smell is such an important sense that can immediately calm a mood or send you to a different place. Herbs are magic, and I am only just beginning to realize how to use each individual to it's fullest.