Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

  • Biennial plant (though may live up to 3 years if not allowed to flower).
  • Semi-shade plant that grows 5-6 feet tall and produces gorgeous yellow/green pom pom clusters of flowers in a round head.
  • Historically used as a confectionery plant. The seeds and hollow stems were used in baking since the 10th century in Europe. The stems were candied and sometimes made into a jelly. Benedictine monks used the plant in their wines and liqueurs, most notably Chartreuse.
  • Medicinally, the plant was historically used as a digestive and in respiratory concoctions.
  • The fragrant root used to be used by hunters and fishermen to attract their prey.

Candied Angelica Stalks

2 cups angelica roots and young stems
1/2 cup salt
2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place angelica in a bowl and cover with the salt and boiling water. Let sit about 24 hours. Drain, peel, and wash in cold water.

Cook the sugar in the water to 238 degrees F. Add angelica and lemon juice, and cook 20 minutes. Drain angelica and put syrup aside.

Place angelica on a rack in cool, dark place for 4 days and refrigerate the syrup. Then combine the syrup and roots and cook to 238 degrees F 20 minutes or until candied. Drain on a rack until thoroughly dry. Store in a tightly covered container. (from “Herbs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia” by Kathi Keville)

Post by Colleen Gondolfi of The Blooming Artichoke Herbary.
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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Rosemary

native to: Mediterranean region
in season here: all year

Rosemary is traditionally used to flavor chicken, lamb, pork, salmon, and tuna. It is a member of the Labiatae family and related to mint, oregano, and thyme. Historically, it is associated with memory; in ancient Greece, students would place sprigs in their hair while studying. The link to memory also made it a symbol of fidelity in England, where it was once used in wedding decorations and gifts. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was a popular digestive aid. Fresh rosemary can be frozen in water or broth in ice cube trays as an alternative to drying it.

Rosemary stimulates the immune system and improves digestion. Its anti-inflammatory compounds can mitigate asthma attacks and it stimulates circulation, increasing blood flow to the brain and helping concentration. The flowers contain the phenolic anti-oxidant compound rosmarinic acid and a number of volatile essential oils that work to soothe painful ailments such as gout, rheumatism, and neuralgic conditions. A recent study suggests that a compound in rosemary, carnosic acid, could help prevent macular degeneration. It also fights inflammation, allergies, and fungal infections, and acts as an antiseptic. It is high in many B vitamins, folates, and minerals such as iron and calcium, and is a good source of vitamins A and C. Rosemary extract can stimulate hair growth and prevent dandruff, while rosemary tea has been used to treat nervous headaches, colds, and depression.

In large amounts, rosemary can cause miscarriage and might worsen neurological conditions such as epilepsy and neurosis. Rosemary oil can cause allergic skin reactions in some people, but this is not common. Rosemary should be used with caution by those taking anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, or lithium.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for fresh rosemary
mercola.com
Medical News Today
a history of rosemary at Our Herb Garden
lots of rosemary recipes atabout.com

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.