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Monday, November 26, 2012

Elderberry, the Herb of the Year for 2013

Elderberry blossoms have many uses.

Ozarks Gardening
Copyright© Jim Long, 2012

Every year since 1994 the International Herb Association has designated a specific herb as the official Herb of the Year. Both the IHA and the Herb Society of America spend an entire year creating articles, books and educational materials around that specific herb, publishing the material on-line and in books for schools and businesses to use.
Elderberry clusters are often 14-18 inches across with hundreds of berries.
The elderberry is an excellent choice for next year’s focus. This native plant grows across Missouri, Arkansas and many surrounding states. Additionally, related varieties grow in Europe, North Africa and Asia. The berries are popular for their unusual taste in jellies, jams, syrups and pies.

Elderberries have many medicinal uses, both in folk remedies and in modern medicine. The berries are good antioxidants, meaning they help lower cholesterol, as well as boosting the immune system, fighting coughs, colds and flu and fighting off bacterial and viral infections. Elderberry syrup was always a reliable for coughs in olden times.

In addition, elderberry flowers are used in making wines, syrups and the old-time Ozarks favorite - elderberry flower fritters (much like a funnel cake, but better). Elderberry bark salve is an old-time folk remedy for cuts and bruises.
Birds and many animals also like the berries.
Elderberry extract can be bought on-line or in most whole foods and health stores. You’ll find it listed as, “Black Elderberry” or “Sambucol.” (Sambucus is the Latin name for elderberry). While buying elderberry juice, tincture or “extract” might sound more official, you can just as easily grow your own berries and make your own extract, juices or syrups.

Elderberries, in their natural setting, grow in ditches along country roadsides. The plant will grow in full sun or part shade and likes somewhat moist conditions but will also thrive in a regular garden setting. It’s also a good edible-landscape plant for growing at the back of the garden. The plants generally bear fruit the second or third year after planting, and when they start fruiting, will produce bushels from just 5 or 6 plants (that’s bushels of the clusters, you won’t have that much if you were to pluck off the individual berries).

If you’d like to grow your own elderberries, I recommend Pense Nursery, a family operation that offers a wide variety of berry plants. The plants are already acclimated to our Ozarks conditions. They’re located in Mountainburg, AR and you can reach them by phone: 479-369-2494 (call and leave a message, they’re good to call back). You can see what they offer on-line but you’ll have to call to place your order: www.pensenursery.net.
Elderberries growing on the Taberville Prairie, near Taberville, MO.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What we do at Long Creek Herb Farm

Long Creek Herbs

I'm constantly startled when someone who follows me here or on FaceBook or Twitter, says to me, "Oh, I didn't know you had a website or wrote books." Really? How can you miss my blatant, self-serving advertising down the right hand column of this blog page? :-) I list some of my books, my Dream Pillows, my famous Herbal Nail Fungus Soak, with links to my web pages along the side of this blog page. But, friends who've asked those questions, have finally convinced me, it's time to tell you more about what I do. So here goes.
One view of part of my garden.
I garden and collect rare and unusual culinary herbs from my travels in places like Thailand, India, Indonesia, etc. I grow around 200-300 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs each year, along with many Native American and Asian vegetables, along with 30 varieties of hot peppers, figs, muscadines and lots of other things. Those not only provide the photographs I use for the magazines I write for, but food for our table and inspiration for my books. You'll find my books in several seed catalogs including Pinetree Gardens, Richters Herbs, Lehman's, Baker Creek Seed and others. Or you can see them here, on my website, http://www.LongCreekHerbs.com I have 24 books in print with 2 more coming in the next couple of months.

Here are a few of my books. You can see more of them by clicking this link: http://www.longcreekherbs.com/products.php?cat=7

You'll also find my best-selling product, Herbal Nail Fungus Soak. I created the formula for myself almost 20 years ago to cure cracking heel, a kind of athlete's foot. It was only by accident that I discovered how well my formula works on nail fungus, thanks to my father who developed a case of fungus on his nails. His doctor told him there was no cure and to be prepared upon Dad's next visit to the doctor, to have his nail removed. (Imagine going to that doctor if you had a broken arm!!!)

Over the years lots of doctors, pharmacists and even some Veterans Administration podiatrists, recommend my product.

One of 3 books I have with Storey Publishing
It works, I guarantee it!
You can read more, including comments from customers, our guarantee and more about Nail Fungus Soak by clicking this link:  http://www.longcreekherbs.com/products.php?cat=12
You may see my ads for Nail Fungus Soak in Mother Earth News, Countryside, The Heirloom Gardener and The Ozarks Mountaineer magazines as well as in many state electric magazines and elsewhere.

In addition, I travel and lecture from Coast to Coast throughout the year. I've spoken for a wide variety of flower and garden shows, regional herb conferences, State Master Gardener Conferences, Perennial Plant Assoc, Garden Writers Assoc. and many, many more. My programs are reserved about 9 months in advance. To see the programs I offer or to download my programs brochure, click here: http://www.longcreekherbs.com/workshops.php

I have 6 other blogs - the links are on the right hand column of this blog. I write for 17 newspapers, as well as The Heirloom Gardener, Missouri Gardening, and The Ozarks Mountaineer, have written for The Herb Companion since 1990, The Herb Quarterly for several years, and do free-lance work for  several other magazines.

So there you have it, a bit of what I do. For those who already knew, my apologies; for those who asked, I hope this is helpful and that you will visit my website! (There's also a place on  my website where you can download photos for your desktop/wallpaper if you wish, and a garden tour, as well).
Another view of our garden at Long Creek Herb Farm.
Thanks for checking my blog today!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Bulk Herb Specials

If you make Herb Crafts, Teas, Dream Pillows or Herb Gifts for the Holidays, we're having a ONE-TIME-ONLY-SALE of our top quality organic bulk herbs. Great bargains on things like Greek and Italian Seasoning, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, Cajun Spice, and more. When we sell out of the quantities listed, they'll gone and we won't be restocking. These are fresh, organic, non-GMO herbs and spices. They make good Holiday gifts, too!

Click on this link: LCHerbs Specials

 

3 inch cinnamon sticks

Bay leaves for cooking or crafts.

 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pickled Peppers

Peppers of all kinds can be pickled.

Before we had the first hard frost here on the farm, I pulled up all of my pepper plants and brought them into an unheated room. The peppers continue ripening, drawing strength from the plants, and I can collect the peppers as I need them. 

Hot sauces and pickled peppers.
I’ve been working for several months on a new book about making hot sauce, including how to can and freeze homemade hot sauces. I’ve been testing the recipes for several weeks and the kitchen counter is stacked with little jars of varying kinds of sauces. I’ve also been playing around with pickled pepper recipes and if you still have peppers, try this recipe and tell me your opinion of the flavor. I think it’s pretty good. I like to mix sweet and hot peppers for this and these pickled peppers are good on sandwiches of all kinds.
Pickled peppers, the flavor improves with age.
Pickled Peppers 
(hot or sweet peppers, either one)

About 30 jalapeno peppers, stem removed and peppers slit open on one side
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon whole yellow mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
1/3 cup sugar
*Pickle Crisp (available at Wal-Mart, and makes crisper pickles)

1 - Combine all ingredients (except peppers) and heat the liquid in a non-corrosive sauce pan (stainless steel, glass or enamel, not aluminum nor cast iron). When the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat and add the peppers then continue simmering for about 5 minutes.

2 - Pack the peppers tightly into sterile, hot, glass jars. Pour in liquid and leave 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1/8 teaspoon *Pepper Crisp to each jar. Wipe jar rims with damp cloth and screw on new jar lids to finger-tight, then lower into boiling water, with enough water to cover the tops of the jars by an inch.

3 - Start timing when the pan of hot water begins boiling. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a towel on the kitchen counter for the jars to continue sealing. Don’t re-tighten or bother the lids as it will break the seal and cause the pickles to spoil. This makes 4 pints.


Click here to visit my website for my books and products.  Our special blend of Chili Seasoning is on special this month. 

Click here to see our specials. You won't find it fresher, or more tasty anywhere, and 1 pound for $12 is a great price!