A Garden Nibble Walk

What fun to walk through one’s garden and see all the plants coming back to life! Those of you who love and grow herbs will totally understand what I’m about to share, that is, nibbling on fresh spring herbs.  My garden is large enough that I can enjoy a leisurely walk around the perimeter, admire the growing plants and take a few nibbles of the edible herbs. Let’s see what we have on the spring menu from photos I took yesterday:

If I’ve just eaten a meal, I like to start with rue, a bitter herb which aids in digestion. Chewing a fresh rue leaf is known to also relieve tension headaches and anxiety.  The name rue comes from the Greek meaning “to set free” and therefore its ancient reputation “to set free from disease.”

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How about a little hyssop nibble, another bitter herb which acts as a digestive stimulant. Hyssop can also act as a nervine to calm anxiety, but it is better known for its anti-viral actions, especially effective for respiratory infections.

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Lemon balm leaves are a tasty little “snack” while walking or working in the garden. Just like the name reveals, it has a lemony flavor.  Those of you who are familiar with essential oils probably have used Melissa essential oil, which comes from lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and is known to have a calming effect (nervine).  I like to make an herbal tea with fresh leaves or from those leaves I have dried.

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A whole kale leaf (or more) is almost a meal instead of a nibble! 🙂 The kale is doing well this spring in spite of being set back by by a hard freeze because “someone” forgot to close the lid to the cold frame.

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And what would a garden nibble walk be without a couple chickweed stalks? Considered a weed, this little plant is very tasty, especially picked fresh and placed in your favorite sandwich. Flowers, stems and leaves are all edible. I like to add chopped chickweed to our lettuce salads. Nice mild flavor.  Eat weeds? You betcha! Learn more about which weeds are edible from an expert, Green Deane, here

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So what’s for dessert?  Peppermint! Nothing like a fresh peppermint leaf at the end of a pleasant garden nibble walk. The peppermint patch is growing well so I should have plenty of leaves to make peppermint tea for my family and friends this summer.

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Thank you for coming along with me on a garden nibble walk. Even though you didn’t get to actually partake, maybe you will be inspired to plant some herbs and enjoy your very own fresh nibbles.  Blessings to you all.

 

Herb of Grace

Here it is!  Lovely “Herb of Grace” blooming happily in my garden.  Several years ago I read that the herb “rue” (Ruta graveolens) was a good companion plant for raspberries as it repelled Japanese beetles, so I planted seeds.  Herb of Grace, or rue, has taken up residence in my raspberry patch.  I love its bright yellow flowers and soft green leaves.

008 Walking through my garden each day, I’ve gotten in the habit of stopping by to pick off a couple leaves and enjoy the spicy, aromatic flavor of rue.  It’s a flavor hard to describe.

Not knowing much about the plant, I was curious to know more, and guess what?  There is LOTS more.  How fun to learn about all the amazing plants God has given to us.  An endless adventure for sure.

Ruta graveolens (also known as herb of grace, rue, garden rue, and herbygrass) is a hardy perennial herb plant that is drought tolerant.  Ruta comes from the Latin meaning “bitter” and graveolens meaning “having a strong or offensive odor.”  Its aerial parts are edible and used to flavor salads, egg and cheese dishes.

Rue has been used as a healing herb since time immemorial.  During the early days of the Roman Empire, the herb was considered to be beneficial for over 80 complaints!  The Roman scholar Pliny claimed that using rue helped to protect the eyesight.  Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo claimed that rue improved eyesight and helped artists find their inner vision.

And why is it called “herb of grace”?  Some researchers claim it was used in the early Roman Catholic Church to sprinkle holy water on the people during worship, thus bestowing grace upon them.

011“Here did she fall a tear, here in this place I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.”

Shakespeare’s Richard II (III.4.104-105)