fall in colorado

The Herb Blurb September-October 2019

Yes, it still feels like summer but fall is fast approaching. Enjoy harvest festivals, turning leaves in the mountains, farmer’s markets overflowing with garden produce, and cooler days.
It’s time to start stocking up for winter. Collect the garden harvest, dry herbs for teas, seasoning blends and kitchen remedies, and prepare the garden for its winter rest.
I will be on an extended road trip for most of September and October, one of my favorite escapes, so this newsletter will cover both months.

The Herbalist's Happy Hour - Crafted Cocktails and Tapas from the Garden
Get your copy  at https://www.amazon.com/Herbalists-Happy-Hour-Crafted-Cocktails/dp/1732264805. For a fresh, healthier take on beverages, teas, cocktail mixes, delicious appetizer recipes and more, this is the book for you!

Fun Things to Do

September

Boulder Creek Hometown Festival, September 1-3, arts and crafts, live music, food court and beer garden, zucchini race, and more. https://www.bceproductions.com/boulder-creek-hometown-festival

Yampa Valley Crane Festival, Labor Day weekend, Steamboat Springs. Watch the cranes feast and dance before the big migration. https://www.steamboatchamber.com/event/yampa-valley-crane-festival/123/

A Taste of Colorado, Labor Day weekend  Food, food, and more food. Cooking demos, arts and crafts marketplace, carnival rides and 6 stages of free entertainment including top headliners nightly. Denver’s end of summer blowout. https://www.atasteofcolorado.com/

43rd Breckenridge Gathering at the Great Divide Art Festival, Labor Day weekend, ranked number 13 in the top 200 national fine art festivals. Over 100 artists in a wide range of mediums.
http://www.mountainartfestivals.com/

Longs Peak Highlands Festival, September 5-8, Estes Park. Jousting knights, bagpipes, music, food and more. http://www.scotfest.com/

Denver Octoberfest, September 20-22 and 27-29, Games, food, and music in the ballpark neighborhood. Voted best Octoberfest in the US by USA today.  thedenveroktoberfest.com

Mountain Harvest Festival, September 26-29, Paonia. Music, arts and crafts, farm tours and grape stomps. www.mountainharvestfestival.org/
October

Cider Days, Lakewood, October 5 and 6, Lakewood Heritage Center. Music, history, tractor pulls, pie-eating contest and more.  https://www.lakewood.org/Community-Resources/Arts-and-Culture/Arts-and-Culture-Events/Cider-Days-2019

Pumpkin Festival, October 6 and 7, Four Mile House, Denver. Pumpkin patch, hayrides, food trucks and more. https://www.fourmilepark.org/events/events-calendar/

Pumpkin Harvest Festival, October 11-13, Denver Botanic Gardens @ Chatfield Farms. Pumpkin patch, corn maze, music, food, and more. https://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/pumpkin-festival

23rd Annual Emma Crawford Coffin Race and Parade, October 26, Manitou Springs. The parade starts at noon with 70 teams racing coffins down Manitou Avenue. Beer garden, music, and costumes galore. http://www.emmacrawfordfestival.com/

Halloween Happenings, Great fun from cemetery tours, zombie crawls, Victorian horrors at the Molly Brown house and fright fests. Check out www.denver.org/things-to-do/fall-winter/halloween/  for all the options.

Free Days
September
For more free days check out scfd.org.
Denver Botanic Gardens, Tuesday, September 3
Denver Art Museum – Saturday, September 7
Four Mile History Museum, Friday, September 13, 12-4pm
Molly Brown House, Friday, September 27
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Sunday, September 30

October
Denver Art Museum – Saturday, October 5
Colorado Railroad Museum, Thursday, October 10
Museum of Nature and Science, Monday, October 14
Hudson Gardens - free admission daily

Herb of the Month - Sage

sage - herb of the month

Sage is a savory seasoning for poultry, pork, winter squash, pear and apple dishes, cheeses, stews, and chowders.

Antiviral and astringent, sage has long been used as a healing herb. Sage leaf rubbed on unhealthy gums will help tighten and disinfect. Sage tea is a delicious remedy for sore throats, will help with menopausal hot flashes and assist nursing Moms when weaning off breastfeeding. Sage is high in bio-available calcium and trace nutrients and helps the digestive system deal with fatty foods.

Legend has it that where a vigorous sage plant grew, the woman ruled the house. Go sage! It is an easy to grow perennial, a must for every herb garden. Put it in a sunny spot and don’t overwater and enjoy this useful, beautiful plant.

Now is the time to harvest your sage. Cut the stems, bind with a rubber band and hang upside down until dry. Store the whole stem and leaves in a glass jar and keep in a cool, dark place and be ready for those winter nasties with a steaming cup of sage tea.

Gardening

September Gardening -Harvesting Herbs
September is the month to get those herbs dried or frozen for your winter pantry.
Harvest your herbs in the morning or evening when it is cool. Bundle cuttings in a rubber band, rinse, slip a scrap of paper with the herb name into the band and hang upside down, out of direct light, until dry.
Once dry, remove the rubber band and store whole in labeled glass containers in a cool dark place.
Basil, cilantro, parsley, and chives do not dry well, though chive flowers do. For these herbs, make a paste in your blender or food processor with olive oil and freeze. I put tablespoon mounds of the paste on cookie trays lined with parchment paper. Once frozen just peel off and store in freezer containers.

October Gardening
Yes, it’s time to bid adieu to the garden as it settles in for the winter rest. The time for procrastination is over. Snow will fall, tomatoes will freeze, annuals will turn black. Get those houseplants in, the herbs and produce harvested, any perennials in your pots transplanted into the garden and your ceramic containers dumped out and stored for winter. Put in some fall bulbs for your spring show and plant some pansies and mums to brighten up the yard.
Mound up the soil from your emptied pots over your tender perennials and wait until spring to cut back your roses and grasses. I usually let all of my perennials stay unpruned and just cut back the messy dead annuals. The extra foliage adds protection and makes for some winter interest. Then it’s time to relax, those garden chores are over for a while.

Recipes of the Month

Overwhelmed with CSA and garden produce? Here are some recipes for herbs and produce to use or freeze for future use.

Herb Vinegar

Herb Vinegar
Another great way to preserve that herbal flavor is in vinegar. You can use my favorite, organic apple cider vinegar, or wine, champagne, or rice vinegar.
To make your vinegar, stuff a glass mason jar full of fresh, clean herbs, pour vinegar over the herbs, completely covering them, and cap with a coated canning lid. Place the jar on a shelf for 2-3 weeks, strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and voila! the vinegar is ready to use. You can store in decorative bottles from a winemaking store or use the original mason jar. No refrigeration is necessary. Herbal vinegar can be used in salad dressings, salsas, stir-frys, marinades, and sauces.

Here are some combinations that I have found to be quite tasty:
Lemon thyme, lemon balm, lemongrass, and lemon peel.
Summer savory, basil and minced garlic.
Opal basil, chives, marjoram, and oregano.
Dill, lemon thyme, rosemary, and minced garlic.
Nasturtium, lavender, peppermint, and minced ginger root.
Basil, chives, chili pepper, and garlic.

Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup herb vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado or  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of agave or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Combine in a glass container with a lid (used glass bottles work great) and shake well.

Garden Herb Blend- dried herbs

Garden Herb Blend- dried herbs

  • 1 part parsley
  • 1 part garlic flakes
  • 1 part thyme
  • 1 part granulated onion
  • 1 part oregano

A part represents anything from a teaspoon to a cup depending on how much you want to make. Blend some or all of the above herbs and store in glass containers. Substitute whatever herbs you like. Use in soups, casseroles, marinated cheeses, butter, roasts, chicken, and veggies.

 

Herb Cheese and Butter

  • 8 ounces cream cheese or butter at room temperature, could also use goat or feta cheese
  • 4-5 cloves of roasted garlic (optional)
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons herb mix or fresh herbs of choice
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Mix together and serve, decorate with fresh edible flowers and herbs.

Roasted Peppers

Roasted Peppers
Wash peppers. Place directly on grill over high heat, turning until all sides are charred. Enclose in a bag or a covered bowl and let steam until cool enough to handle. Once cooled remove skins and seeds. I just peel off with my hands and scrape out the seeds. To roast peppers inside, put in a 500-degree oven and repeat the above process. Add fresh marjoram, parsley, and chives, or whatever you have on hand, a drizzle of oil, and refrigerate or freeze.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 275. Cut fresh tomatoes into wedges and place in a bowl. Season with a pinch of sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs of choice and minced garlic. Toss gently. Place tomatoes on a rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer and drizzle with any leftover oil. Roast 2 ½ -3 hours until soft and sweet. Use on everything, desserts excluded.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad
Simple and delicious!

  • homegrown tomatoes, sliced
  • slices of fresh mozzarella to alternate with tomatoes
  • fresh basil cut with a sharp knife into ribbons
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • balsamic vinegar reduction
  • coarse salt and pepper

Alternate the tomato slices and fresh mozzarella on a serving plate. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle lightly with balsamic reduction and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and garnish with basil ribbons.

Balsamic Reduction
On low heat, simmer 1 cup good balsamic vinegar down to ¼ cup. Should be like a syrup. Nice on salads, chicken, fruit. and cheeses.

Green Beans with Garlic and Walnuts

Green Beans with Garlic and Walnuts
My favorite way to have green beans.

  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cleaned – (stem tip snapped off)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Olive oil
  • and pepper to taste

Steam beans until tender but still slightly firm. Remove from steamer.
In the same saucepan, heat butter until melted, add a drizzle of olive oil to keep the butter from burning.
Add nuts and garlic and stir until garlic is tender and fragrant.
Add drained beans back in, toss to coat and heat through.
Season with salt and pepper. 

You can serve with some freshly grated parmesan for extra flavor.

Posted in 2019, The Herb Blurb and tagged , , , , .

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