Desert Lavender Floral Syrup

Desert lavender is a pretty shrub that grows in much of the Southwest, and blooms with the summer rains. You can harvest the flower sprigs to make some simple yet tasty desert lavender syrup – great for TGIF Cocktails on the patio, or added to vanilla ice cream for dessert – or both! Finding Desert Lavender Hike the canyons, because desert lavender prefers to grow in sandy soils found in canyon bottoms. Hard to mistake the lavender fragrance of both leaves and flowers, which are more blue than lavender I […]

Brittlebush – A Useful Southwest Plant

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is one of the most common and conspicuous wildflowers of the Sonuthwest deserts; seasonally providing a glowing golden-yellow cloak. And yes, the wood is brittle, hence the name. I wrote about growing brittlebush on GardeningWithSoule (here) now lets look at how to use this lovely plant. Brittlebush Resins The resin of brittlebush collected from the base of the plant is often yellowish to brown in color. This resin can be heated and used as a glue. The O’odham and Seri used it for hafting, to hold points […]

Savory Scones with I’itoi Onions

Wintertime is the time to turn on the oven and bake some yummy treats like these scones with a hint of onion.  It’s just a hint of onion because we are using I’itoi onions – a mild-flavored perennial onion that grows well in the Southwest winter season.  They retreat underground with the heat of summer. Where to Find I’itoi Onions I’itoi onions (pronounced “e-e-toy”) are shared around Southern Arizona by gardeners and afficianados. They are also sold through Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S). NS/S says that the ones they offer “resemble the […]

Savory Sunflowers – An All-American Treat

Sunflowers are an American native plant, used for centuries by the Native people. The plants once grew only in North and Central America (the “New World”). Once Europeans “discovered” sunflowers, they were rapidly carried and planted around the globe. Indeed, sunflowers are one of the plants that were part of the “Columbian Exchange” that we discussed earlier this year in our post about Strawberry Fennel Salad (here). Many Sunflowers to Choose From There are over 70 different species of sunflower (Helianthus). Best known is the garden sunflower (Helianthus annus) which […]

Greens and More – Amaranth

Summer eating tends to be lighter than winter fare. In North America we tend to eat more greens and salads and less soups and stews. And what a collection of greens we can select from in the Southwest, including amaranth! Amaranth One of my (Jacqueline Soule) favorites – and easily found in many areas, is amaranth. It’s considered a weed, and abounds in vacant lots in Southwestern cities, as well as at the edges of agricultural fields. Where I live, alongside ample rabbits and javelina, about two seconds after an […]