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.

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