Savor Oregano in Many Ways

Oregano is a wonderful herb, with many uses – culinary, medicinal, ornamental, and aesthetic.  And it grows well in the Southwest. Origins From the arid mountains of the eastern Mediterranean, including present day Greece and Turkey, oregano grows well here in the Southwest forming a lovely low mounding landscape plant with a little added water. It is planted outside the fence in my landscape and the javelina, rabbits and other critters all leave it alone. Harvest Oregano Like many herbs, the best time to harvest oregano is just before it […]

Use Herbs & Spices Carefully

A dear friend is in hospital today and may not make it. Not Covid-19 – some herbal tea served to him by a neighbor. He is on blood thinners for health reasons, and she served him a herbal tea rich in coumarin – a natural blood thinner. Tasty  Tea There are any number of tasty herbal teas. Some you can grow in your yard. Some you can harvest in the wilderness. Many you can simply buy in the supermarket! Just because it’s sold in the supermarket does NOT make it […]

Epazote – A Handy Herb that Loves Southwest Summers

Epazote is a summer growing herb that’s easy to grow and use. It is useful because it helps predigest the “gassy” bean compounds. What’s in the Name? Epazote is basically pronounced “eh-pa-zo-tee.” There. Now you know a word in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs! * The name is the same in Nahutal, Spanish, and English. *Word-Nerd Note: If you can say Mazatlan, you are also speaking the Nahuatl name of the town, it translates to “deer place.” Epazote (formerly Chenopodium ambrosoides, now renamed Dysphania ambrosioides) is in the same […]

Basil is for More than Pesto!

Basil grows well in Southwest summers, and can be used for so much more than just pesto.  What, you wonder? Read on! Sharing This post part my own, but mostly shared courtesy of Peg Riccio, who lives in the DC area.  Her website is called Pegplant – and is subheaded “Gardening News, Resources, and Plants in the VA, MD, and DC Area.”  This is the link to her full post – but fair warning – it is more about growing them in the DC area.  To learn about growing this […]

Not All Sage Is

With apologies to English teachers everywhere, I hope I caught your attention with the title. I used it to call attention to the fact that while many plants are called “sage,” only some of them should be used for food or culinary purposes. What is in a Name? The culinary sage you purchase in the store is Salvia officinalis. The name “officinalis” means that it was once considered the medicinal sage, not the “official” sage. The word officinalis is Latin for “of or belonging to an officina.” An officina was […]