The harvest season is here and it’s time to savor the tastes, colors, and cooler temperatures of fall. It’s the last chance to enjoy summers bounty of peaches, plums, melons, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and so much more. Get thee to a farmers’ market and let fresh, sweet peach juice dribble down your chin, roast up some delicious sweet corn, and make a savory pesto from fresh basil.
The hills will soon be ablaze with color. Take a trip up to the mountains at the end of this month for the annual aspen display. Check out https://www.colorado.com/articles/10-places-see-colorados-fall-color for ideas.
Seats still available for: Building Your Home Apothecary Workshop
Building Your Home Apothecary Workshop, September 25
Building Your Home Apothecary Workshop, Denver Botanic Gardens, Sunday, September 25, 9 -noon, $68, $62 member
Have you always wanted to know how to make your own home medicine chest stocked with effective homemade remedies for you and your family? In this class, discover how to use easy-to-find ingredients from the garden and grocery for everything from colds and flus to digestive upsets, headaches, and skin rashes. From the many uses of apple cider vinegar to tonics, herbal teas, and baths, empower yourself with natural therapies that help restore health and accelerate healing.
Get ready for the winter nasties and learn the fascinating craft of the home apothecary. During this class make virus-fighting elderflower/echinacea syrup and spicy fire cider, a tasty digestive tea, and a soothing herbal salve and lip balm with samples to take home. Class includes an extensive handout with recipes.
The Herbalists Happy Hour
The Herbalist’s Happy Hour – Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the Garden is the perfect book for summer. A great reference for cooking up easy, fresh, delicious drinks, cocktails and appetizers for entertaining and enjoying. Get it here
Fun Things to Do!
Catch the last of late summer festivities.
A Taste of Colorado, Labor Day weekend, September 3-5. Food, food, and more food. Cooking demos, arts and crafts marketplace, carnival rides, and 3 stages of free entertainment. Denver’s end-of-summer blowout.
Longs Peak Highlands Festival, September 9 -11, Estes Park. Jousting, bagpipes, Celtic music, food, and more. http://www.scotfest.com/
Boulder Fall Fest -September 16 – 18, Food, music, microbrews, and market on Pearl Street Mall. https://boulderdowntown.com/fallfest
Denver Octoberfest, September 16-18, and 24-26. Games, food, and music on Larimer Street. thedenveroktoberfest.com
Colorado Mountain Winefest – September 17, Palisade, CO. Wine tastings, music, chef demos and grape stomping. https://coloradowinefest.com/
Mountain Harvest Festival, September 23-25, Paonia. Music, food, arts and crafts, and farm tours. www.mountainharvestfestival.org/
Pueblo Chili and Frijoles Festival – September 23-A25, Live entertainment, street vendors, cooking competitions, and chilis galore! https://pueblochilefestival.com/
Museum of Nature and Science – Wednesday, September 7, 5-9 PM. Monday, September 19, 9-5
Denver Art Museum – Saturday, September 10, Tuesday, September 13
Four Mile Historic Park – Sunday, September 18, 9-5
See https://scfd.org/find-culture/free-days/ for more selections.
The mint has swallowed the herb garden, the zucchini is reaching toddler size, and the tomatoes are causing structural problems on the porch. What to do? Use it! Collect nightly, share generously, and start using all those recipes you’ve been collecting. Consider freezing, canning, and drying for future use.
It is also time to start putting away your summer harvest for your winter pantry. You can freeze, can, and dehydrate. There are several great books out there on the subject. Go to the library, check a few out and then order the ones you like at your local bookstore or Better World Books, an Amazon alternative. Your county extension office also has free information and recipes for all kinds of food preservation.
Harvesting Your Herbs
It’s time to get your herbs cut and dried for your winter pantry and gift giving. Harvest plants in the cooler part of the day. Most aerial parts can be clipped, bound with a rubber band, labeled, and hung upside down to dry. When dry, store in glass jars and label with the name and the date. Store in a cool, dry place. Basil and cilantro are best made into a paste with olive oil and frozen in individual clumps on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Peel off when frozen and store in the freezer.
Herb of the Month – Purslane
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), is one of my favorite edible weeds. A succulent plant. it likes to lie close to the ground, spreading out on a low mat. Featuring thick, oval leaves and small yellow flowers, it grows in sunny locations and reseeds easily. Purslane makes a tasty green, just pick the stems and leaves and add them to salads, stir fries, soups, casseroles, or wherever you would use spinach. It is a great source of Vitamin E, omega 3’s, and trace nutrients. Purslane has a slightly lemony flavor, with even the older plants staying tasty and succulent.
Here are some great recipes on how to use this nutritious, tasty weed.
"I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
- Danusha Laméris