A vinette to inspire a vinegrette for Savory:
"Keep it dry by you all the year, if you love yourself and your ease, and it is a hundred pounds to a penny if you do not." - Nicolas Culpeper, Culpeper's Complete Herbal 1652
Nostalgia Seems to have overtaken our herbal Instincts, with many of the herbs in your CSA shares from mid-July - August reminiscent of the Medieval Garden Enjoy a bit of herbal renaissance in your next stir fry, rice bowl or barbecued cornish hen and pay homage to your ancestors in carrying on such culinary traditions including:
Marjoram – This oregano look-alike in my opinion doesn't get the recognition it deserves in the kitchen. It's easy to grow, wonderfully aromatic, and makes me blush when I eat it fresh. In Medieval times it was a staple in every garden, it's poignant yet sweet aroma bringing out the flavor of anything it encounters whether 'Pegions Stewed' or 'Eeles in Bruet', or your modern day mac n cheese.
Dill – feathery green leaves, great pickling spice and spruces up even the most mundane salad. Pairs well with mustards, or add with breads. Fantastic on potatos and eggs.
Basil – Basil's bounty and signature addition to Italian cooking was also used as a strewing herb and added to sweet waters. A pot of basil was noted to keep off flies (Garland). Flies aside, we recommend enjoying basil with a slice of mozzerella and a fresh tomato, steep 2 C of leaves in ¾ C of sugar and 4 C of water for a simple syrup. Serve it up with your next round of lemonade or gin and tonics.
Sage – hardy versatile perennial, most notable for its ability to transform any poultry dish, and clear the air (whether its of dirty sock smell in your closet, or conjuring up its medieval use as an amulet).
Parsley – Instrumental to tabouli, a great after dinner breath freshener from too much garlic/basil pesto and often used to treat weak stomachs.
Mint – Known in medieval times to treat dog bites and hiccups, and remove scars if mixed with rose oil, mint is also a well celebrated digestive aid and cooling addition to salads and cocktails to get us through those dog days of summer.
Thyme – thyme's history goes back further, (some say to the beginning of 'thyme' itself). Loved by the Greeks and Romans, who praised the honey made from its flowers and used the oil as an anti-septic/after bath rub – Medieval people followed suit, whether for use as medicine or to season the 'barons' of beef.
Other herbs you'll encounter in your mid-summer CSA shares include – summer/winter savory, cilantro, and rosemary.