Monday, December 31, 2012

Healing Herbs, Motherwort

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

This beautiful pink fuzzy plant, as its name implies, has a host of special benefits for women. Females from puberty to old age find this herb indispensible! If you suffer from PMS, get to know motherwort. It consistently quiets the nervous irritability associated with the premenstrual condition. Motherwort helps restore emotional balance when feeling stressed and tense. It soothes and strengthens the entire nervous system. Motherwort is an excellent tonic for the uterus and reproductive organs, is unfailing at relieving menstrual cramping, and will consistently bring on menstruation when late. Motherwort is a very good herb for girls just coming into puberty and just 10 drops in water a few times a week will help regulate menstruation and ease their transition into womanhood. Also an ally of high repute for the menopausal women, motherwort will balance hormones, moderate mood swings, ease hot flashes, depression and heart palpitations. Motherwort is a gentle heart tonic and very strengthening to the heart and circulatory system. Tests conducted in China have shown motherwort’s ability to relax the heart and other studies have demonstrated this herbs ability to prevent internal blood clots that trigger heart attack. German tests show motherwort’s sedative action and Russian researchers found that it contains chemicals that reduce blood pressure. Typical dose of motherwort is 10-20 drops twice daily, or as needed.

 If preferred a tea of dried leaves can be made into motherwort tea. Place 1 to 2 tsp. of dried leaves, slightly crumbled, in an 8 ounce cup. Pour boiling water over the leaves, and let cool 10 minutes. The leaves infuse the water, making the tea. Use a mesh tea strainer, and pour the infusion into another cup. Discard the used leaves.

As with all medicines, there are side effects. With Motherwort, as you can see, the beneifits outweigh the side effects. Some side effects of an excess of motherwort include diarrhea and stomach irritation. In more severe cases, uterine bleeding can occur. Some individuals report an increased sensitivity to light after taking motherwort. The leaves can have an irritating effect and cause inflammation when in contact with theskin of some individuals. Taking motherwort during pregnancy can lead to uterine contraction and potential miscarriage.

This is never a replacement for your doctor's care, but is a good option to discuss with him/her.
Motherwort tincture (to order tincture) and ( two company to order seeds, there are many more)

Look for more healing herb posts!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pecan Pie Recipe


You got to try this pecan pie recipe!


3 eggs

1 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup dark Karo syrup

1 stick of butter or margarine (softened)

1 cup pecan halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs until light and fluffy.

Add sugar and beat again.

Add syrup, butter, pecans, salt and vanilla.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes; then reduce temperature to 325 for 30 minutes.

Temperature reduction is to keep crust from burning.

Ovens vary in performance and cook times should be adjusted accordingly (I had to cook mine an additional 10 minutes).

Pie is done when center jiggles like jello when you shake the pie.

Make sure the pie cools completely before you cut it.

It is your comments when you try it!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Store Food Without Plastic

Great information from the Berkeley Farmers Market!

HowTo:  Store Fruits and Vegetables
Tips and tricks to extend the life of your produce without plastic.

Apples‐ store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a
cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.

Apricots‐ on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe

Cherries‐store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any added
moisture encourages mold.

Berries-Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a
single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating

Dates‐dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the
paper bag they were bought in.

Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored
over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it’s porous to keeping the
moisture away from the skin of the dates.

Figs‐ Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess
moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.

Melons‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be
in the fridge, an open container is fine.

Nectarines‐ (similar to apricots) store in the fridge is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day
or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.

Peaches(and most stone fruit)‐ refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen
on the counter.

Pears‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the
ripening put an apple in with them.

Persimmon‐Fuyu‐(shorter/pumpkin shaped): store at room temperature.
Hachiya‐ (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The
astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the
ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and
then, but don’t stack‐they get very fragile when really ripe.

Pomegranates‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.

Strawberries‐ Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a weekcheck

the bag for moisture every other day.


Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to
allow them to breath.

Artichokes‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.

Asparagus‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature.
(will keep for a week outside the fridge)

Avocados‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in
the bag with them.

Arugulaarugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lay flat to
dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any
extra moisture.

Basil‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The
best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp
piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.

Beans, shelling‐ open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if
not going to eat right away

Beets‐ cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on
root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness.
Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.

Beet greens‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.

Broccoli‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in
the fridge.

Broccoli Rabe‐ left in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.

Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge
or leave it on a cold place. If they’re bought loose store them in an open container
with a damp towel on top.

Cabbage‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off
outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to loose its moisture after a
week , so, best used as soon as possible.

Carrots‐ cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with
plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water
every couple of days if they’re stored that long.

Cauliflower‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has
the best flavor the day it’s bought.

Celery‐ does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.

Celery root/Celeriac‐ wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.

Corn‐ leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best the day it’s

Cucumber‐ wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within
a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.

Eggplant‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it, eggplant doesn’t like any extra
moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper.

Fava beans‐ place in an air tight container.

Fennel‐ if used within a couple days after it’s bought fennel can be left out on the counter,
upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few
days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

Garlic‐ store in a cool, dark, place.

Green garlic‐an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before
dried out.

Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight
container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard
even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

Green beans‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or
loosely closed container.

Green Tomatoes‐ store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use
quickly or they will begin to color.

closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

Lettuce‐ keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

Leeks‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup
of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).

Okra‐ doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well,
best eaten quickly after purchase.

Onion‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them.

Parsnips‐an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the

Potatoes‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark
corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.

Radicchio‐ place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.

Radishes‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture
from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel
placed on top.

Rhubarb‐wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

Rutabagas‐ in an ideal situation a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the
crisper to keep their moisture in.

Snap peas‐ refrigerate in an open container

Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach
loves to stay cold.

Spring onions‐ Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.

Summer Squash‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.

Sweet peppers‐ Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases
storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple a days, place in the crisper if
longer storage needed.

Sweet Potatoes‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet
potatoes don’t like the cold.

Tomatoes‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two
weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.

Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an
open container with a moist cloth.

Winter squash‐store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Many growers say winter
squashes get sweeter if they’re stored for a week or so before eaten.

Zucchini‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth
and refrigerate for longer storage.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Ways to Water

  Watering is a critical part of gardening—too much and plants drown, too little and plants bake.  But, before you water, get to know your soil’s water-holding capabilities.  Clay soil holds more water than sandy loam and takes longer to dry out.  Clay soil also produces more runoff than sandy soil because the soil surface is tighter and doesn’t allow water in as quickly as loose sandy soil.  Read on for details.   
Conserving Water
  Water conservation is an increasingly important concern in many parts of the country.  Limited water supplies and periodic droughts often cause water districts to place restrictions and bans on watering lawns and gardens.  It is in everyone’s best interest to conserve water in the garden by selecting plants that are well adapted to natural moisture conditions and by using conservative watering methods.

Select Plants Appropriate for Your Moisture Conditions
  Most vegetable, annuals and perennials will need supplemental water through the summer months as will shallow-rooted shrubs such as azaleas.  However, many trees and shrubs grow well with nothing more than natural rainfall.

Place Plants with Similar Moisture Needs Together
   Place thirsty plants together and drought-tolerant plants together so that no plant receives too much or too little water.  Place less drought-tolerant plants in area where they are protected from drying winds and hot afternoon sun.

Use Mulch to Conserve Water
  A two to four inch layer of organic mulch placed over the ground around plants helps keep the soil cool and conserves moisture.  Mulched plants can go longer between waterings than unmulched plants. 

Water Early in the Day or at Night
  Wind and sun can cause supplemental water to evaporate before it moves into the soil.  Water when the air is still and the sun is not hot.

Use Efficient Watering Methods
  Soaker hoses, drip irrigation pipes, hand watering and sprinklers that cover a specific area waste very little water when they are properly used.   Read on for more details on these methods.

Soil Soaker Hoses
  Soaker hoses weep water through small holes in the walls of the hose, so they deliver water at a slow, even rate.  Soaker hoses are ideal for watering rows of plants or you can lay them on the ground in a circle around trees or shrubs. 

Drip Irrigation Pipes
  Drip irrigation systems are generally made from plastic pipes studded with special devices that emit water a drop at a time.  Drip systems work at low water pressure similar to soaker hoses.  You can easily design a drip system tailored to meet the needs of your garden. 

Overhead Sprinklers
  When you’re trying to coax seedlings out of the ground, there is no better way to maintain even moisture than to use an overhead sprinkler that emits a fine spray.  But because sprinklers are notorious for watering sidewalks and driveways in addition to garden beds, look for more efficient methods for routine watering.  Impulse sprinklers that work by pushing a powerful jet of water through the head are water wasters.  They are most appropriate for watering lawns.

Hand Watering
  If you must do a lot of hand watering, invest in an adjustable nozzle that emits water in different patterns—a gentle shower for watering containers, a light mist for seedbeds, and a strong stream for filling buckets and watering cans.  These types of nozzles also have a shut-off valve so you can turn the water on and off without walking back to the faucet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Column, April 18, 2011

Grow A Salad Garden 

     It’s easy to have healthy gourmet salads right at the kitchen door.  The favor is much better than the bagged lettuce shipped from across the country.  Salad ingredients can be grown in containers or in a garden bed, and the leaves ready to be harvested when you need them. 
     Lettuce is a cool season crop, spring and fall, as are many other salad greens and vegetables.  It is best to make several small sowings instead of one large one.    Keep the soil evenly moist, because dry soil leads to slow growth and bitter flavor.  Below is a guide to salad ingredients, experiment to discover your favorites.
     Looseleaf lettuce form loose heads that mature very quickly.  They are easy to grow.  Leaf color, shape and texture vary with variety.
     Crisphead lettuce is the classic iceberg type, but is slow and difficult to grow.
     Butterhead lettuce, also called bibb, form loose heads with soft texture.
     Romaine lettuce has upright heads that shed water, so they are great when springs are wet.  The hearts are very flavorful.
     Arugula, also known as rocket, has a peppery flavor, and is best eaten with leaves are small.
     Endive/Escarole is a lettuce-like green with a nutty and bitter flavor.  The broadleaf type is known as escarole and the curly as endive.
     Mache, also known as corn salad, the small, dark, tongue-shaped leaves are very tender and mild-flavored.
     Mesclun is a blend of gourmet baby salad greens that can be mild, pungent or bitter, depending on the mixture.
     Spinach is a dark-colored, uniquely flavored green with oval, smooth to crinkly leaves.
     Swiss Chard, closely related to beets, produces greens throughout the growing season.
     Carrots, baby or minis are sweet in salads and adds variety to the salad.
     Cucumbers are cool, mild and refreshing.   They add crunch to salads.  A trellis or cage will be needed for this vining plant.
     Peas, shell, snow, and snap peas are all sweet, crunchy additions.  Sow very early in spring, needs support to hold the vines up.
     Radishes are ready to pull in less than four weeks and add a crisp, zesty bite to the salad.  Varieties differ in size, shape, and color.  Leaves may be added as well.
     Scallions, also called green onions, are a perennial, and is a wonderful addition to the salad.  Chives may be used instead, taste is milder.
     Turnips, slice or shred the sweet tender bulbs at 1-2 inches in diameter.  The leaves may be used as well.

Colmnn, April 11, 2012

A favorite from my garden.
Bearded Iris

     These lovely irises are my favorite flower in the spring.  Bearded irises are old-fashioned, cottage garden favorites.  I look forward to their smiling faces, and their rich colors.  Their exceptionally beautiful flowers range in color from white and yellow to blue, violet, purple, and bi-colors. 

     They combine well with peonies, poppies, and roses.  Bearded Irises produce broad fans of wide, flattened leaves and thick, flowering stems from fat, creeping rhizomes.  The unique flowers have three segments, called falls, ringing the outside of each bloom.  The falls are usually reflexed downward and bear a fringed “beard”.  The center of the flower boasts three slender segments called standards. 

     This late spring to early summer bloomers grow to 1-3 feet and spreads 1-2 feet.  Plant bearded iris in evenly moist, average to humus-rich soil in full sun or partial shade.  Set out bareroot irises in late summer or container-grown plants in spring, summer, and fall.  The foliage can be cut back by half after they bloom.  To keep breaded irises looking their best, you should divide plants every 3-5 years.  Discard the old parts of the rhizomes and replant the vigorous sections.  Remove the dead foliage in spring and fall.  Use in formal or informal gardens.