Tag Archives: chamomile

Photos from June & July


I’m feeling very blessed over here as I process the fruits and veggies we’ve purchased as well as the bounty from our garden. God is providing for our earthly needs in a very lavish way this year! I’m working around the clock on peaches and blueberries, dehydrating chamomile and mint teas, eating out of the garden every day and sending my kids out for hours of snacking fun in their own backyard.

Here is a glimpse of the garden. These photos have been taken over the last month or so.

The lettuce patch in mid-June.

The lettuce patch in mid-June.

The lemon tree in mid-June, full of big, healthy, growing lemons!

The lemon tree in mid-June, full of big, healthy, growing lemons!

When my pak choy bolted instead of developing a head, I used the flowers to decorate the dinner table.

When my pak choy bolted instead of developing a head, I used the flowers to decorate the dinner table.

Making strawberry mint water.

Making strawberry mint water.

The finished strawberry mint infused water was completely refreshing.

The finished strawberry mint infused water was completely refreshing.

Making flower confetti in the dehydrator.  Will use this to top salads, appetizers or even ice cream.

Making flower confetti in the dehydrator. Will use this to top salads, appetizers or even ice cream.

The lettuce patch on July 8th.  Big, beautiful heads of romaine and butter lettuce.  Now I have to eat them before they bolt.

The lettuce patch on July 8th. Big, beautiful heads of romaine and butter lettuce. Now I have to eat them before they bolt.

My experiment with these buckets is a complete success.  Amish paste tomatoes, purple runner beans and fava beans are thriving.

My experiment with these buckets is a complete success. Amish paste tomatoes, purple runner beans and fava beans are thriving.

Everything is growing so well in this warm weather with near daily bursts of well-timed rain.

Everything is growing so well in this warm weather with near daily bursts of well-timed rain.

A view of the patio garden area.

A view of the patio garden area.

Nasturtiums spill into the yard while fennel and tomatoes are getting very tall.

Nasturtiums spill into the yard while fennel and tomatoes are getting very tall.

My first attempt at growing broccoli seems to be going well.

My first attempt at growing broccoli seems to be going well.

A healthy crop of chamomile.

A healthy crop of chamomile.

An Italian heirloom tomato.

An Italian heirloom tomato.

The purple clematis vine I planted after my daughter was born almost four years ago has really taken over the space--in a good way!  The view from the window in the nursery is so pretty.

The purple clematis vine I planted after my daughter was born almost four years ago has really taken over the space–in a good way! The view from the window in the nursery is so pretty.

Mint in the left foreground, eggplant in right foreground and raspberries in the background.

Mint in the left foreground, eggplant in right foreground and raspberries in the background.

Food preservation projects abound!

Food preservation projects abound!

Cherries gleaned from the neighbor's tree.  Aren't they beautiful?

Cherries gleaned from the neighbor’s tree. Aren’t they beautiful?

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Turning Herbs Into Beverages


When we moved into this house four summers ago the only herb I’d ever grown was a small pot of basil.  I knew that had to change, so the very first thing we did that next spring was install a raised bed specifically for growing herbs.

Construction of the herb garden was a priority when we moved in to our new house.

Since that time I’ve really developed a love of herb gardening and especially a love of cooking with herbs.  I can’t even imagine NOT having herbs now.  Food would not be the same.

This year I’m looking for even more ways to use my herbs.  Since eating them is such a delight the natural next step would be drinking herbs.  This past week my kids picked chamomile flowers for me so I could preserve them for chamomile tea.  The process was simple.

My son picking chamomile flowers.

After soaking them in some salt water for 10 minutes to get the bugs off, I laid them out to dry on a towel.  Once the water had evaporated off, it was time for the oven.

I preheated the oven to 200 degrees then turned it off.  I place the chamomile on a parchment lined baking sheet and put it in the oven for a few hours.  When the oven was completely cooled again I took the sheet out, preheated again to 200 degrees, turned the oven off once more and put the sheet back in for a few more hours.  In all, it took about 4 hours to dry the chamomile.

Dried chamomile ready to be put in a jar for later use.

Then, all I had to do was put it in a jar with a nice tight lid and store it for a cool fall evening in the future.  I do love time traveling food.

Chamomile tea!

As chamomile flowers continue to blossom on my plant I’ll continue the process and hopefully fill up my jar.

The lavender was looking equally inviting this week so I decided to use it in a simple syrup recipe.

Lavender buds are best harvested just as they open.  I carefully selected which stems looked the best and clipped those off with my kitchen scissors.  Once in the house I used the same bug removing process that I did with the chamomile.

Picked lavender, I used a couple teaspoons in the simple syrup.

Just right for harvesting, some buds are open, some are not.

Soaking the lavender in salt water to remove bugs.

The next day, when the lavender was dry, I removed all the purple buds from the stems.

To make simple syrup I combine equal parts granulated sugar with water and bring to a boil.  To make a flavored syrup, I toss in whatever herb I’m using before I turn the heat on.  This time it was the lavender buds that I put in.  Once the syrup comes to a nice rolling boil, I turned it off and let the lavender steep until the syrup was no longer hot but just warm.  At this point I take a coffee filter lined strainer and putting that over a container I pour the syrup through it so that the lavender buds are left behind and syrup drips through.

The result is a nice clear lavender-scented simple syrup perfect for a cup of tea or a classy cocktail!

I used mine with some rum and club soda for a refreshing summer drink.  Yum!

This process works great with all herbs.  I’ve tried it with mint and the results were delicious.  Makes a potent mojito or mint julep.

My next herbal beverage project will be drying mint for mint tea.  I have a very healthy chocolate mint plant that is ready to be harvested.  The best time to harvest mint (and most leafy herbs) is just before it bolts and produces flowers.

It’s nice to use a large quantity of mint too because cutting the mint actually keeps the plant healthy.  And I’d much rather use the mint to make tea than toss it in my compost.

These are just a few ideas, there are so many ways to use herbs.  Can’t wait to hear YOUR ideas!  If you’ve got a good one, please leave a comment.

Photos from the second week of July.


The tiny flowers of the allysum are perfect in my pots.

Beans in the making.

This sunflower has two heads!

Fennel is ready to be harvested. Young fennel is more tender than the larger bulbs later in the season.

Lovely little chamomile flowers.

Within the last few days the dill has produced flower heads.

This purple clematis is tucked in between our fence and house, about 3 feet between the two. The flowers can be viewed from my daughter's nursery window and are putting on quite the show!

This has been the best year so far for my hydrangea, so many blooms!