Gardening Recipes Share Your Ideas!

IMG_0443-3IMG_0440-2 Tea

 

As an avid tea drinker, I love to grow my own herbs throughout the summer and add them to my teapot. There are so many herbs that can be used, but the ones that I like are mint, garden sage, pineapple sage, and catnip. However, you can also use lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, lemongrass, and many more.

I usually make my tea one pot at a time, and because of this I do not dry my herbs, I just pick them and put them in the pot. You can dry them if you want; they keep better. Drying can release more flavour from the herbs. However, for my tea, I usually use store-bought tea bags as a base and then add the herbs to bring a unique flavour to my drink.

I start with a mix of black tea and green tea, usually store bought bags but loose leaf also works. Then I add one good-sized sprig of mint, a few leaves of garden sage (as much as your plant will offer. I have one growing in Tsawwassen that is very small so I only use a little. I also have access to a plant in Summerland that is very large so I can use quite a bit), a sprig of pineapple sage, and a sprig of catnip. I pick all the leaves off of the stem and add the leaves to the pot with the tea bags. Then I pour in the hot water and steep for a good length, usually between five and ten minutes. After that, it is ready to serve.

This mix also makes a great iced tea. What I do to make my iced tea is first pour a cup of hot tea from the pot to free space for ice. Then I add two heaping teaspoons of honey (sugar also works) and stir it in the pot with the tea bags removed. I add the tea bags back in when the honey is dissolved. Then I fill the pot up with ice. This cools the tea enough that you could have a glass of iced tea right then, if poured into a cup also full of ice. Usually, though, I keep adding ice until either the teapot is full again or the ice no longer melts quickly. Then I put the tea into the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. This makes delicious sweetened iced tea.

Adding herbs to your tea has many benefits. Each herb will make your tea taste more unique, and they allow for a lot of creativity and variation with each new batch. Each herb also has its own soothing effects. Mint, for example has a calming effect and helps with digestion. Catnip also has a calming effect. Pineapple sage adds a natural sweetness to your tea, while garden sage adds an earthy flavour to your brew. Some herbs can have a detoxification affect when added to tea, like milk thistle and nettles. Lemon balm will add a lemon scent and slight flavour to your tea as well as having a calming effect.

Tea is a great drink no matter the season. It can be drunk either hot or cold and it is a great, natural way to relieve stress. If you are growing herbs this summer, definitely try to make your own homegrown brew. As stated, I start with a couple tea bags as a base and then add my herbs for a unique flavour.

 

Websites consulted for this article:

http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/1339/

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/hgen/herbal-tea-plants.htm

http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/create-tea-time-in-your-tea-garden-best-herbs-to-grow-for-tea.aspx

Gardening Recipes

Tomatoes

 

As the end of summer approaches in British Columbia, our tomatoes are beginning to ripen. This means the time is upon us for caprese salads, pasta sauces, fresh salsas, and pizza sauce. It is easy to know when to pick tomatoes, simply wait until they turn the colour they are supposed to (usually red, sometimes yellow or green) and pick them before they split. They can be picked after they split too, but it is ideal to pick them before that happens. A split tomato is one that has had its skin opened by its insides; it simply means the tomato is overripe.

If you planted tomatoes earlier this spring, and have a surplus, one great use for them is roasting. Mama Friesen has a fantastic roasted tomato recipe, and it is found below. Roasted tomatoes add lots of flavour to soups, sauces, and basically any tomato-based dish. They can also be saved for the winter by freezing.

Roasted Tomatoes:

7-10 Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 cloves Russian Garlic

3 tablespoons Fresh Herbs

Line a baking pan with sides with foil. You want a baking pan with sides because there will be lots of juices and it can make a mess. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil-lined baking pan.

Slice your tomatoes. Put the sliced tomatoes on the foil and roll around in the oil until they are covered. Crack some fresh pepper and some sea salt onto the tomatoes. Snip some fresh herbs – any combination of herbs will do but basil and oregano are the best. Again, feel free to use any fresh herbs you desire. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs onto the tomatoes. Mince your garlic and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Add a little more olive oil on the top.

Roast in the oven for 2 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At the 1-hour mark, pull the tomatoes and check them out. Stir the tomatoes around so that the ones on the outside of the pan get to the inside, and the ones on the inside of the pan get to the outside. Put back in the oven. Wait until you see that they are starting to crisp and blacken around the edges.

 

If you did not grow your own tomatoes this year but still want to find farm fresh tomatoes, there are a number of farms around the lower mainland that have you covered. Taves Family Farm in Abbotsford has heirloom tomatoes. Coft Produce in Mission has tomatoes. Cropthorne Farm in Delta has heirloom tomatoes. Olera Organic Farm, also in Abbotsford, grows over 40 varieties of tomatoes. Silverhill Orchard in Mission has heirloom tomatoes.

As is well known, there are many varieties of tomatoes, and some are best used for certain things. Small, sweet cherry tomatoes, for example, are best used in salads. Roma tomatoes are excellent for pasta sauce. Beefsteak tomatoes make great toppings for sandwiches and hamburgers. Heirloom tomatoes, with their different colours, add nice colour variation to all sorts of salads. Heirlooms can be used as their own salad too, or in a tomato tower. All you need for a tomato tower is heirloom tomatoes, all in different colours, some small basil leaves, some nice cheese – perhaps an aged, smoked cheddar – and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice the tomatoes and the cheese, then stack it together going tomato slice – cheese slice – basil leaf until you have a tower, about six layers. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar on top and you have a tomato tower.

 

Taves Family Farm – www.tavesfamilyfarms.com

Croft Produce – 29750 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission BC (604-308-2065)

Cropthorne Farm – www.cropthornefarm.com

Olera Organic Farm – 356 Defehr Road, Abbotsford BC (604-856-7572)

Silverhill Orchard – www.silverhillorchard.com

 

 

 

 

Community Gardening Recipes

Tomatoes

 

As the end of summer approaches in British Columbia, our tomatoes are beginning to ripen. This means the time is upon us for caprese salads, pasta sauces, fresh salsas, and pizza sauce. It is easy to know when to pick tomatoes, simply wait until they turn the colour they are supposed to (usually red, sometimes yellow or green) and pick them before they split. They can be picked after they split too, but it is ideal to pick them before that happens. A split tomato is one that has had its skin opened by its insides; it simply means the tomato is overripe.

If you planted tomatoes earlier this spring, and have a surplus, one great use for them is roasting. Mama Friesen has a fantastic roasted tomato recipe, and it is found below. Roasted tomatoes add lots of flavour to soups, sauces, and basically any tomato-based dish. They can also be saved for the winter by freezing.

Roasted Tomatoes:

7-10 Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 cloves Russian Garlic

3 tablespoons Fresh Herbs

Line a baking pan with sides with foil. You want a baking pan with sides because there will be lots of juices and it can make a mess. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil-lined baking pan.

Slice your tomatoes. Put the sliced tomatoes on the foil and roll around in the oil until they are covered. Crack some fresh pepper and some sea salt onto the tomatoes. Snip some fresh herbs – any combination of herbs will do but basil and oregano are the best. Again, feel free to use any fresh herbs you desire. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs onto the tomatoes. Mince your garlic and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Add a little more olive oil on the top.

Roast in the oven for 2 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At the 1-hour mark, pull the tomatoes and check them out. Stir the tomatoes around so that the ones on the outside of the pan get to the inside, and the ones on the inside of the pan get to the outside. Put back in the oven. Wait until you see that they are starting to crisp and blacken around the edges.

 

If you did not grow your own tomatoes this year but still want to find farm fresh tomatoes, there are a number of farms around the lower mainland that have you covered. Taves Family Farm in Abbotsford has heirloom tomatoes. Coft Produce in Mission has tomatoes. Cropthorne Farm in Delta has heirloom tomatoes. Olera Organic Farm, also in Abbotsford, grows over 40 varieties of tomatoes. Silverhill Orchard in Mission has heirloom tomatoes.

As is well known, there are many varieties of tomatoes, and some are best used for certain things. Small, sweet cherry tomatoes, for example, are best used in salads. Roma tomatoes are excellent for pasta sauce. Beefsteak tomatoes make great toppings for sandwiches and hamburgers. Heirloom tomatoes, with their different colours, add nice colour variation to all sorts of salads. Heirlooms can be used as their own salad too, or in a tomato tower. All you need for a tomato tower is heirloom tomatoes, all in different colours, some small basil leaves, some nice cheese – perhaps an aged, smoked cheddar – and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Slice the tomatoes and the cheese, then stack it together going tomato slice – cheese slice – basil leaf until you have a tower, about six layers. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar on top and you have a tomato tower.

 

Taves Family Farm – www.tavesfamilyfarms.com

Croft Produce – 29750 Dewdney Trunk Road, Mission BC (604-308-2065)

Cropthorne Farm – www.cropthornefarm.com

Olera Organic Farm – 356 Defehr Road, Abbotsford BC (604-856-7572)

Silverhill Orchard – www.silverhillorchard.com