“But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Luke 11:42.
Seasoning Lent - As we continue into Lent, and think about the journey of discipline that helps us “both ‘take up’ and ‘give up” that we started last month, we also enter planting season. Whether you are planting a garden or looking for something new to try, this is the time of year that we become more aware of the use of herbs and edible flowers.
Did You Know? It is not known what kind of mint is spoken about in Luke 11:42, but many scholars believe it was probably Egyptian mint. There are many varieties of mint and probably the most popular and common use for Americans is its use in tea. It is used to flavor meats, in salads and to give a “fresh taste” to all kinds of things, including toothpaste. Mint is very versatile (obviously if they tithed with it!) and has had all kinds of uses for thousands of years.
Some scholars think that references to hyssop in the Bible may be referring to Syrian oregano, the strongest of all of the oreganos. Oregano can be used fresh or dried on pizza, eggs, baked in bread or cooked in sauces. Source: http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/bibleherbgarden.htm
Did You Know? Basil, a pungent and very versatile plant can be grown in a small pot on your kitchen windowsill. If you are using basil in a dish that calls for “chopped” basil, tearing it with your fingers makes for a more pungent effect from it. Basil is not only used in tomato sauces, but can also be used in salads. For tasty oil on the salad, pound the basil leaves before adding them to the oil. Some people use basil in tea to help with digestion. Basil is believed by those of the Greek Orthodox faith, to have grown near the Christ’s tomb after his Resurrection. They sometimes use it in their holy water. Basil is used for medicinal purposes as well---in tea for people with respiratory infections and even to ward off mosquitoes!
Did You Know? Edible flowers are a popular way to add color, texture, scent, and flavor to foods. Some flowers are edible and every part of them can be eaten, however there are precautions you must take.
Be sure that you know the difference between edible and poisonous flowers. Be very cautious about eating flowers if you are asthmatic, have hay fever, or allergies. For the best flavor from edible flowers, it is best to remove the stamens and pistils and often the sepals (unless they are violets or pansies). You must select flowers that have not been exposed to pesticides or flowers that grow along the roadside. There are natural insecticides that organic farmers use that are safe.
Impatiens is a sweet flower that can be used as a garnish in salads or floated on teas or punches for decoration. Purple Chive flowers are not only pretty, but have a mild onion flavor as well. They can be broken apart and the florets can be added to salads, cooked vegetables, casseroles, cheese dishes, eggs, potatoes, or cream cheese. Lilac flowers can be used to sweeten a variety of foods. Try lilac flowers with vanilla yogurt or candied as a cake or pie decoration.