Fall Container Gardens – Hard to Find Medicinal Herbs, Let’s Plant

It is August and is now typically Texas HOT and I’m talking about gardening.  We have just put out a limited amount of beautiful medicinal herb plants to use as container gardening for this fall and winter.  I want to tell you about them.  They are beautiful for container planting, some of them are so fragrant and all of them are helpful.

First let me tell you about the few plants we have in one gallon pots.  They are already of a nice size so put into a lovely pot these are ready to make a statement now.

GYNURA SPINACH – aka longevity spinach. Research shows that it is an efficient regulator of blood sugar.  Leaves eaten in salads or cooked in dishes, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

This is a fast growing plant. Is vining in nature but can be cut to bush.  It is a good candidate for growing indoors as it is a tropical. It is easy to grow, just give them lots of light. You can enjoy these leaves raw or cooked. They are very high in protein.  Good for vegetarians to know.
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WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA – I am so excited about this plant!! White Chrysanthemum Tea – Chinese Gong Ju Hua Cha, is made form the dried flowers of this plant.  Did you know all Chrysanthemum flowers are edible?  They are!

An evergreen and hardy to 0 degrees. Flowering occurs in the fall in zone 7.  The plant prefers full sun, well drained soils and frequent watering.

The flowers are steeped in hot water and a herbal tea is made.  This is highly medicinal and thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, help with eye problems like – blurred vision, spotty vision, watery eyes and maybe even help with cataracts. May help with high cholesterol, blood pressure and alleviate cold symptoms.
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CURRY TREE – this smells delightful!!! This is another great container tree.  In a container it will grow about 3’ in height.  It likes to be fed and pruned for a strong bushy plant  Unless you live in zone 9 or higher the container is the way to go.  It can be outside here all summer and then moved indoors for the winter.

The leaves are thick so normally always fried in oil alone before adding any other spices to the dish.  Make a pesto or use on your BBQ.  Experiment with this one.  A beautiful fragrant plant.  A conversation piece for sure.
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TEA TREE – we are all familiar with Tea Tree Oil, well this is the tree it comes from.

The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small evergreen that likes warm climates. It is attractive and fragrant, with an exotic look. The oil from the foliage of this tree is widely used.  Melaleuca tea trees attract attention in your garden, with the trunk being one of the most attractive features is the trunk, with its gorgeous, papery bark.  Living here in Texas where it is mostly warm it can be planted in the gardens.  This can also be grown in containers and is a good way to control the rapid growth of this tree. This also ensures its survival. It must have a lot of sunlight.  This is a fast-growing tree.  It takes a few years before you will see the flowers.

It is recommended you don’t plant this tree outside unless you live in a zone 8 or above. The trees need sun, sun, sun.  They will not do well in the shade. Make sure the soil drains easily. These trees like water.  You need to keep that soil a bit moist at all times.

It is an evergreen and can grow 8 to 15 feet and does like the Texas heat.  It is cold hardy to at least 16 degrees.  It is used in products like soap, toothpaste, oils, etc. Anti-fungal/bacterial.
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The following plants I have in 4″ pots.
HIBISCUS “ROSELLE”
Hibiscus Roselle This bushy shrub can grow 4 to 7’ tall in t he ground but is also a good candidate for container growing. Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. To reiterate, water only enough to make the soil moist, not wet. It is critical to use the right type of fertilizer. The fertilizer needs to be one with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium. Fertilize every two to three weeks.

The calyx is harvested and steeped to make a tea.  Hibiscus Roselle tea is reported to lower blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol. This may be worth trying. The beautiful tea is red in color and tastes delicious.  Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine and is reported to help you relax, making it a good drink for those that are sensitive to caffeine.

ZA’ATAR – this is a wild oregano in Israel. It is in the oregano/thyme family.  This is also called the bible hyssop. This herb can be put into a delicious olive oil to enjoy dipping a fresh crusty bread in. It can be used as an herb in many culinary dishes.  Commonly used in Mediterranean dishes with yogurt, meats and veggies.

TOOTHACHE PLANT – Acmella Oleracea – It has daisy like flowers in the summertime.  It has been used medicinally for a long time. It has been used been used for generations to manage the pain of toothaches. Both the leaves and the attractive golden flowers can be used as a natural anesthetic. Simply chew the leaves or flowers for a few seconds then you’ll experience a tingling and numbing sensation in your mouth. An infusion or tincture made from the Toothache Plant is said to promote gum and throat health due to its strong antibacterial properties. Also called Spilanthes oleracea.

This herb is a good candidate for container growing.  It gets to about 18” tall, fast grower and takes well to pruning.  It needs a lot of light but don’t overwater.  Wait until the soil is dry to the touch then water. Provides pretty yellow flowers. Enjoy this one.
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ST. JOHNS WORT – This plant is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. Research indicates St. John’s wort is most often used as a dietary supplement for depression. People also use it as a dietary supplement for other conditions, including menopausal symptoms, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-disorder. It is used topically for wound healing.  The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. Topical preparations are also available.  This plant likes a lot of water. Is a small shruby plant.

Easy to grow it is not too particular.  Gets to about 3’ tall and provides yellow flowers in the  summer time.
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HOLY BASIL, RAMA TULSI – We have two types of Holy Basil – Rama Tulsi – True Holy Basel, held sacred by the Hindus.  Enjoy in tea, cooking, and salads. Both of the Holy Basil (Tulsi) have a delightful fragrance.  I enjoy them very much for that one benefit alone.  They have been very easy for me to grow and will be a delight to have in your indoor herb garden.

It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for generations. This variety has been found to be one of the highest in medicinal compounds; adaptogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and immune enhancing. Enjoy a tea, tincture, extract or syrup.
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HOLY BASIL, KRISHNA TULSI – It acts like an annual, and is even known to self-seed in temperate climates, which is quite unusual for basil.  Eat one fresh leaf daily, or pick the leaves and flowers and dry them and make the tea. Most excellent. Adaptogenic, immune enhancing, antifungal and antibacterial.

This is easiest of all Tulsi types to grow in temperate gardens and is highly aromatic. Enjoy this too in your kitchen herb garden.  Enjoy this in your kitchen garden in the winter and set out on your porch the rest of the year.  Keep the flowers cut for a bushier plant with a lot more foliage.

Come out and get these hard to find plants and have them for this fall and winter.

 

 

 

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SLOW COOKER HAWAIIAN LUAU PORK WITH PINEAPPLE CILANTRO RICE

Prep Time: 1 minutes

Cook Time: 1 day

Total Time: 1 day 1 minute

 

Ingredients:

1 5-6 pound bone in pork shoulder

2 tablespoons C&J Farms Pink Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

 

Rice:
4 cups rice
1 bunch of cilantro
1 pineapple
¼ tsp C&J Farms roasted garlic salt

 

Instructions:

  1. Put pork in the slow cooker, fattier side up.
  2. Season with salt all over.
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 24 hours.
  5. DO NOT ADD any water.
  6. If you aren’t going to be eating it right away, try and remove it in one piece after it cools and store in a pot with the cooking liquid.
  7. Heat gently in a 300 degree oven.
  8. Discard fatty liquid before serving.

 

Rice:

  1. Cook rice
  2. Prep and chop pineapple finely
  3. Chop cilantro
  4. Add pineapple and cilantro to cooked rice

 

Serve pork over a bed of rice.

Greek Eggs

This morning it was C & J Farms Greek Seasoning for breakfast.  Chop up 1/2 cup of bell pepper (I used yellow), 1/2 cup of red onion and 1/2 up of tomatoes.  Get your eggs ready. I show four eggs but actually used 5 so my husband and I could share. Grab the Greek Seasoning and some Feta cheese.Greek eggs 1I put all of this in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and simmer until soft.  GARLIC – I almost forgot the garlic.  Chop up 1 large clove and add to veggies simmering.

Greek eggs 5

Mix your eggs and add 1/4 teaspoon of the Greek Seasoning to your eggs. You can add more go by your taste.

Greek eggs 2

Greek eggs 3

Once the veggies are soft add in the eggs to the skillet and stir until cooked through.  Add a little bit of Feta right before the eggs finish. Then plate.

Greek eggs 6Finish by adding Feta cheese, chopped tomatoes and some C & J Farms fresh dried parsley.

Enjoy!!

Ultimate Bake Potato Soup

This Ultimate Bake Potato Soup Recipe – by Michelle Tyler

4 -6 red or gold potato cubed & cooked
1 package of bacon fully cooked
1 – 1 1/2 cups of C & J Farms Chives
2/3 cup of butter
1 ½ – 2 cups of cheddar cheese shredded
1 cup of sour cream
2 tsp C & J Farms Sea Salt
2 tsp of C & J Farms Scarborough Fair
1 tsp black pepper
5 – 7 cups of milk
2/3 cup of flour

Keep skin on the potato’s; cube and cook until soft. Melt butter in a large soup pan, whisk in flour then slowly stir in milk one cup at a time. Mix well between adding milk. Cook until thicken.

Add potato’s, chives ( or fresh green onions), C & J Farms Scarborough Fair, Sea Salt and bring to simmer. Now add all other ingredients (bacon, sour cream, black pepper)and serve hot. Garnish with fresh or dried chives and cheddar cheese.

potato soup

Autumn Spice Blend our Fall Favorite

I love when we bring out the fresh and full flavored blend of Autumn Spice. Combination of Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg and Clove is simply delightful in and on your Autumn and Winter favorites.

These warm flavors evoke a comfort at the thought and certainly when you taste them.

Think of your dishes for the season this year and add our favorite to make your dishes unique and different this year. We give you some details on how to use this below:

Add to:
pancake, waffle or french toast batter
to your sweet breads, cake and muffin batter
to your vanilla yogurt
to your oatmeal

Quick dessert or snack recipe: Saute fresh fruit ( pears, banana’s, apples, pine apples, etc) in butter, brown sugar and Autumn Spice blend. Have your skillet hot, sear for a couple of minutes on each side (if applicable) serve and enjoy. Eat as is or put on top of ice cream.

Autumn Spice Apples 2

Pancake with Autumn Spice. Yum!!! Pancake with Autumn Spice. Yum!!!

Savory:
try in your dumpling batter
add to acorn, butternut or spaghetti squash
sweet potatoe’s or yams with butter and/or marshmallows
enjoy on any root vegetable including carrots and turnips

Acorn Squash with Autumn Spice Blend, brown sugar and butter.

Acorn Squash with Autumn Spice Blend, brown sugar and butter.

What about Brussel Sprouts? cut your fresh sprouts in half, coat with your favorite oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and Autumn Spice Blend. Roast in a 450 degree oven until crispy brown edges and the sprout is soft.

Steak too?
Get your cast iron skillet nice and hot after you have oiled it up. Coat your steak with Autumn Spice Blend, add salt and pepper to your taste. Sear in the hot skillet on both sides until your desired doneness. (Is that a word?)

Don’t forget pies and cobblers – berry, pumpkin, peach and cherry

Coffee Lovers – add a small amount to your coffee grounds before the coffee brews.

Enjoy!!

Keyhole Gardening Beginnings at the Farm

We entered into using a new method of gardening on C & J Farms last fall. Having attended a tour and seminar on this method last year (www.debtolman.com) I was fascinated and had to try it. Keyhole Gardening.
We purchased some cider blocks (but you can use anything from broken up concrete, limbs, landscape timbers, glass jars, etc.) to begin our first keyhole garden. I am encouraged but not yet proficient. We began in September thinking we were ready to put one together. We knew we had to have a lot of cardboard but we really didn’t realize what a “lot” of cardboard was. We had to ask our local neighbors for help. We were able to get cardboard boxes from a local Country Store. They were happy to be able to save the space in their dumpsters.
The keyhole garden takes a few, but required, elements – it must be 6 feet in diameter and approximately 4 feet high. A wire center cone is also required. So required, walls, cardboard (brown matter) and green matter (green grass, leaves, scrapes of green foods from your kitchen, etc.) in a 6 to 3 ratio for composting properly. Note: this does change if you start a garden in the heat of the summer then the ratio should be 6 to 1.
Determine what the outer wall will be made out of. We chose cider blocks. We then worked with our neighbor, Aggie General Convenience store, about a mile from us to save their cardboard boxes for us. They were happy to help as this relieves storage space for them in their dumpsters. Collecting and storing all of this cardboard is the part of this process I like the least. I don’t like clutter. We break down the boxes and store them outside next to where the keyhole garden will be created. You need a full commercial dumpster load to begin.

We chose cider blocks.

We chose cider blocks.

The wall structure is built using a six foot long board on the ground to determine the diameter. We use cinder blocks and begin to stack the blocks in a circle but creating a notch in the wall, thus the “keyhole”. This is necessary to be able to access the center cone.
Look for the center wire cone.

Look for the center wire cone.

Once the wall was completed we made a center cone out of small holed wire. The cone is approx. 10 to 12 inches in diameter and 5 feet tall. This is put into the center of the keyhole structure. This is where you put the green scrapes from your kitchen or garden to feed the garden. NOTE: we learned the hard way to use a small holed wire. We used a 4” holed wire in one of the gardens and we have had the composted earth in that garden collapse into the center hole. That prohibits the green matter from being able to go all the way to the bottom of the garden.
Now begin layering wet, soaking wet, cardboard in the interior of the garden. Layer the sides and up the center cone. Step on the wet cardboard to pack it down as you go. Layer in the green matter between layers of cardboard and do this until full. Once you have reached the top of the wall, continue to layer the cardboard, and keep level with the wall but tilt the layering up towards the top of the cone going about half way.
Now, add soil, manure and plant full. Watering in well, feed the center cone and watch things grow.

kh filling 5

Here the earth has receding during composting. So we add waded up paper to fill in around all the plants. Then add mulch or rabbit manure on top.

kh filling 3

This is a keyhole once filled up with the newspaper.

kh full

A successful garden.

Roast Beef with Cardamom – Tara Tyler RD

Tara enjoyed the smell and taste of Cardamom so much she made this great seasoning for your roast.  Don’t be afraid of cardamom, it’s delicious!

Roast Beef of your choice
Mix together the following ingredients:
2 to 2 ½ tbs. ground cardamom
1 tbs. ground cumin
½ tbs cinnamon
1 tbs dried onion
1 tbs dried garlic minced
2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Cardamom, cumin and cinnamon seasoning mix

Cardamom, cumin and cinnamon seasoning mix

Rub the mixture liberally all over the roast. Even pack it on to make a crust. You can sit this in the fridge or cook immediately.

Cardamom mixture patted onto roast.

Cardamom mixture patted onto roast.

Put in your crock-pot on low and let it cook all day.
Simply delicious and just a hint of different, a must try!

Sliced and ready to eat. Yummy!

Sliced and ready to eat. Yummy!

Dill in the Summer Time – *Series

Dill in the summer time

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Dill, what a beautiful fragrant herb to having your garden and on your table. It is lovely to have access to fresh dill but to ensure that you get the most of the plant we like to dry it, of course we dry a lot of herbs here at C & J Farms. Using fresh, or fresh dried, dill is so good in summertime meals. Most of us recognize dill as used in making fresh pickles, but it’s so much more than just that.
From now through the weekend we will be outlining some great recipes and some simple uses for this wonderful herb.

Here are some simple uses to get you started and be sure to stay tuned for some great recipes to follow in the coming days.

*Try adding 1 tablespoon of dried dill to 1/4 cup of yellow mustard and stir. Use as a dip or spread for fish and pork, or on a sandwich .

*Sprinkle dried dill to your chicken or potato salad for a delightful addition.

*Combine dill with plain yogurt and chopped cucumber tray cool dip great for crackers or chips.

*Add to your vegetables, coat with good olive oil and then roast in 425° oven for around 20 minutes.

*Sprinkle on any variety of fish just before cooking.

*Put dill seeds in a dish on your table after meals to be enjoyed. It is said that it sooths the stomach after meals.

*Add fresh or dried dill to your egg salad, scrambled eggs for breakfast, or in a quiche.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started on some great uses for dill this summer. Be sure to be watching our social pages for new updates on recipes that will be posted in the coming days. With summer finally in full swing here in Texas we can’t wait to keep sharing ideas with you on how to use so many of our great herbs.