Saturday, February 24, 2024

GardenDC Podcast Episode 183: Elderberry

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with herbalist Susan Belsinger all about Elderberries. The plant profile is on Dill and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events and this week's garden tasks in the What's New segment. We close out with the Last Word on Winter Dreams of Spring by Christy Page of Green Prints.

See Susan's elderberry recipes at: https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2024/02/elderberry-recipes.html

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Podcast Episode 157: Ginger and Turmeric

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2023/07/gardendc-podcast-episode-157-ginger-and.html

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 62: Edible Flowers

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2021/06/gardendc-podcast-episode-62-edible.html

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 148: Serviceberries and Saskatoons

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2023/04/gardendc-podcast-episode-148.html

This episode is archived at: 

BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month! 

SHOW NOTES will be posted on 2-27-2024.

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/gardendc/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

And be sure to leave us a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform plus share us on social media with #GardenDC, so other gardeners can find us too!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Interview Edit and Show Notes: Hannah Zozobrado

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Friday, February 23, 2024

Elderberry Recipes

Elderberry berries photo by Gary Houston, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Susan Belsinger

Elderberry Juice


By cooking down freshly harvested or frozen elderberries with just a little water, and allowing the contents to cool, the concentrated juice can be extracted from the berries and the juice will be ready to use in recipes, or frozen for a future use. This juice concentrate can be the base of many recipes from jams and jellies, shrubs, syrups, cordials, and much more. It must be refrigerated and used within 24 to 48 hours or frozen (for up to 6 months). Or process in a boiling hot water bath in canning jars: pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes. Here is a recipe for extracting the juice using 6 cups of berries—it is easily multiplied or divided—depending on the quantity of berries you have. Makes about 2 cups of juice


Ingredients:

6 cups stemmed elderberries or 2 cups dried elderberries

1 cup water


In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the berries and water and place, cover and place over medium heat. Bring the berries and water to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set the lid askew and let cool to room temperature.


The berries and water will have cooked down to between 2 1/2 to 3 cups. Once cooled, strain the juice through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze the contents gently to extract all of the essence. There should be about 2 cups; you can add a little water to equal 2 cups if need be for a recipe. Use in a recipe or process in canning jars in a boiling water bath immediately.


Elderberry Syrup


Prepare the juice above to make this syrup. It can be made in smaller or larger quantities. I do not make large quantities; if you do, it will need to be refrigerated (for up to two weeks) or it is best to process it in canning jars in a boiling water bath and it will keep for up to 1 year. This syrup has so many wonderful uses. I use it straight by the teaspoonful for the symptoms of cold, flu, cough. I use it as the base for cordials and shrubs. It makes a delicious natural soda with sparkling water, combines well in punches, cocktails, with tea or lemonade, as a syrup for pancakes and waffles, drizzle over cakes and fruit, as a base or topping for ice cream. Note: sometimes I prepare this with pure maple syrup, which is yummy; it will be thinner than syrup prepared with honey. Makes 1 quart of syrup


Ingredients:

2 cups elderberry juice

2 cups local honey


In a deep bowl, combine the juice and the honey with a whisk. Take your time to combine it so it doesn’t slosh out of the bowl. Pour the syrup into a jar, label, and store in refrigerator for two weeks or process in canning jars in a boiling water bath: half-pints for 10 minutes and pints for 15 minutes. Be sure that they have sealed; if not refrigerate and use within two weeks.


Elderberry Shrub with Honey

This recipe is excerpted from the creative herbal home, Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox, herbspirit, 2007. We have been preparing elderberry shrub for years with only beneficial effects. Awhile back, we found out that elderberries should always be cooked before being eaten to avoid the possibility of ingesting unripe berries. Unripe berries contain prussic acid that causes cyanide poisoning if the berries are not cooked first before being consumed. http://www.herbalsafety.utep.edu/herbs-pdfs/blackelder.pdf. In the past, we made shrub without cooking the berries. We select only the ripe berries and carefully remove them from the stems before adding them to the vinegar. However, to be safe, we recommend that you bring your vinegar to a simmer and pour it over the elderberries, then proceed with the recipe. 


Recipes for shrubs, also referred to as “switchel” and “beveridge” vary greatly and date as far back as pre-colonial times. Shrubs can be made with sweetened fruit juice, fruit, vinegar, honey or sugar. Some suggest adding spirits such as rum or brandy to the shrub. We have never used spirits to make our shrubs but find the idea seductive.  


Generally shrubs are sipped from a cordial glass, poured over ice, or served with a bit of sparkling water. They are a wonderful remedy for congestion, sore throat, and an excellent tonic for the body. They tend to make us perspire when we drink them. Of course, we choose elderberries for this shrub, however, you may substitute other berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, or a combination thereof.  Makes about 2 quarts


Ingredients:

2 cups ripe elderberries

1 quart apple cider vinegar

1 quart honey


Wash and pick over the berries. Put the berries in a non-reactive pan. Pour the vinegar over the berries, cover and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and let stand until room temperature. Transfer the contents of the pan into a clean, canning jar and cap with a lid. Let stand two to four weeks; we shake our shrub daily.  


Mash the fruit vinegar and strain through cheesecloth or muslin. Add the honey and blend well. Bottle in dark glass, sterilized jars with non-metal lids. Label contents in bottle; keep out of reach of children.


Store in a cool dark place. We have never known of shrub to go bad in storage however, it will do the body more good if it is used rather than stored. Use it within one year.


Source: Susan Belsinger ©2013 Elder, Herb of the Year 2013™ See more at: https://susanbelsinger.com/

and on the Elderberry episode of the GardenDC Podcast at: https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2024/02/gardendc-podcast-episode-183-elderberry.html


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Elderberry marmalade image by saponifier, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Calendula Plant Profile

Calendula Plant Profile

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) also known as Pot Marigold or Poet's Marigold. It is a half-hardy perennial plant that readily re-seeds itself. It is hardy to USDA zones 2 to 11.

Plant it in full sun and in well-draining, loamy soil. Water it only during periods of drought. Deadhead it frequently to encourage continual blooming. Calendula is also a long-lasting cut-flower.

You should occasionally weed around the plants and carefully pull out any new seedlings to pot them up and pass them on to other gardeners.

It was named Herb of the Year in 2008 as it is both edible and beneficial. Snip off the colorful ends of the flower petals to add a pretty accent to any salad or as a decoration on baked goods. It has a very light taste -- like a spicy pale honey. The dried petals can be used to color broths, cheeses, and butter. They are a thrifty substitute for the much more expensive saffron spice.

Calendula tends to sulk in the summer heat here in the Mid-Atlantic US, but that is just a pause in its robust routine. In my garden plot, I cannot recall any month of the year that it doesn't have a few blooms opening up. This is a tremendous workhorse that belongs in every edible and cutting garden.

Calendula: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine as part of our Plant Profile series for Mid-Atlantic USA gardeners.

Audio, photos, and text by Kathy Jentz

Video and editing by Carrie Peo

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~ Podcast: GardenDC

Monday, February 19, 2024

Monday Thoughts: “The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.” ~ William P. Bryant

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.” 

~ William P. Bryant

Saturday, February 17, 2024

GardenDC Podcast Episode 182: Amsonia

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with Sam Hoadley, Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center, all about Amsonia. The plant profile is on Coralberry and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events and this week's garden tasks in the What's New segment. We close out with the Last Word on Craving Summer Flavors by Christy Page of Green Prints.

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Podcast Episode 134: Carex for the Mid-Atlantic Region

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2023/01/gardendc-podcast-episode-134-carex-for.html

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 99: Trilliums

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2022/04/gardendc-podcast-episode-99-trilliums.html

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 69: Garden Phlox

https://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2021/08/gardendc-podcast-episode-69-garden-phlox.html


BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month! 

SHOW NOTES: 01:05 Catching up with returning guest Sam Hoadley, Manager of Horticultural Research at Mt. Cuba Center 01:48 Developments in Mt. Cuba Center’s trial garden 03:03 “Mt. Cuba's mission is to inspire people by the beauty and value of these native plants for us specifically in the trial garden, so we're looking at the ornamental qualities and also their ability to potentially benefit wildlife in the Mid-Atlantic region.” – Sam 03:39 Sam talks about growing straight species of natives, along with the cultivars 05:11 Where is Mt. Cuba Center? 07:20 Common names for Amsonia 07:57 Amsonia’s foliage 09:07 “Their foliage is really kind of an underappreciated part of the Bluestars ornamental appeal...” – Sam 12:14 “All examples of all 20 Amsonia that we planted in 2013 were still there in 2023, and some of them just continue to get better and better.” – Sam 12:55 Sam talks about their rating scale 14:22 Sam talks about trialing natives and what is in the garden 16:37 “Through observation and, again this is over 10 years, ‘Blue Ice’ and Amsonia orientalis performed in a near identical way: bloomed at the exact same time, [and] they were the only plants in the trial that had any disease issues…” – Sam 18:05 Sam says that ‘Blue Ice’ is not recommended for a native garden 18:23 What to do about rust in the garden 19:14 Ideal planting site conditions for Amsonia 20:42 These are incredibly durable, low-maintenance plants. 21:37 “What if [the Amsonia] is starting to emerge new foliage and I haven’t done my cutback?” – Kathy asks Sam 24:50 Sam talks about the Amsonia seed heads 26:08 Sam talks about Amsonia as a host plant for native pollinators 29:14 They are also deer-resistant 30:12 “Why is this not more grown?” — Kathy asks Sam – since it is low-maintenance, deer-resistant, and has great pollinator benefits 31:52 Sam’s favorite Amsonia companion plants and where he places them 34:16 Sam’s favorite Amsonias (at the moment) 35:27 Sam’s Amsonia recommendation for beginners 36:46 The direction of breeding and improvement for Amsonias 40:52 You can access the Amsonia trial’s full research report at https://mtcubacenter.org/ 41:24 Register for Sam’s Classes on Amsonia in May and in the autumn on their website, some Mt. Cuba Center talks are in-person and others with a virtual option 43:05 Wildflower Weekend event at Mt. Cuba in late April Reach out to Sam via information@mtcubacenter.org or email at shoadley@mtcubacenter.org 45:03 Volunteer program at Mt. Cuba with the pollinator watch team 47:20 Plant Profile: Coralberry 49:05 What’s new in the garden this week? Winter aconite, Hellebores, and flower-arranging tips 49:52 Register at https://homesteadgardens.com/ to hear Kathy Jentz speak about Roses on Sun. March 3: 10AM in Davidsonville, MD, then at 2PM in Severna Park 50:32 Local gardening event: 2024 Spring Garden Kickoff on Sat. March 9 at 10AM to 1PM at the Arlington Central Library in Arlington, VA is the 51:16 Kathy Jentz’s book “Groundcover Revolution” 52:36 Kathy Jentz’s book “The Urban Garden” 53:36 Christy Page on Craving Summer Flavors on a Very Wintery Day 56:40 How to support the GardenDC Podcast

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/gardendc/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

And be sure to leave us a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform plus share us on social media with #GardenDC, so other gardeners can find us too!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Interview Edit and Show Notes: Hannah Zozobrado

PIN THIS FOR LATER!

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