Tag Archives: Sage

Light Vegetable Stock

Adapted from “Fields of Greens” by Annie Sommerville

This is the flavorful stock I used as the foundation for Celeriac Soup. Why use a boxed or canned stock when this one is so quick and easy. Maybe it is the fresh sage, or maybe the fennel. Something makes this stock sing.

Ingredients for the light stock

Leeks and herbs from the garden with an onion, fennel, garlic and potatoes.

To the stock pot: add 1 thinly sliced onion in about a cup of water. Cover the pot and bring up the heat to medium-high. As the onion and water get hot and begin to cook, add to the pot:

  • 1 large (or about 3 slender) leek(s), chopped and washed.
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves (in their skin is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Stir in the veggies and salt. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium. Steam-simmer for about 15 minutes.

Next add:

  • 2 large potatoes thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs
  • fennel (tops and outer layers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 9 cups water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered for an hour.

Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. Feed the vegetables to the chickens or compost.

Make soup (try the celeriac soup!)

Light Vegetable Stock

Getting ready to simmer. Light Vegetable Stock


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Filed under Fresh from the garden, Home Cooked, Square Foot Garden

Winter Dreams

Frosty, foggy sunrise at the Toy Box. December 9, 2011

I have my plans. I am full of ideas for next year and beyond at the Toy Box. Not getting in a fall-winter garden for two years in a row is pushing me. The mill Ray works for is shutting down. I am more determined (or is that desperate) to feed us from what we can grow in the yard YHVH has graciously put us in. We talk of rabbits and fish tanks. Of Cherry trees and potatoes, wood stoves and outdoor kitchens. Expanded rain collection systems and hoop houses. At the back of our mind is the knowledge that we might be forced to walk away from all of this, but until that day we will live where we are, knowing the act of our Lord, the display his power that put us here.

Garden Sage

Garden Sage 12/9/11

Days before the holidays, garden catalogs are coming. Cook’s sent me last years catalog, apparently to keep me interested until their 2012 wish book (and truly Cook’s is a wish book) comes out. I am coveting a collection of their raspberries. Three each of black, an early red, a late red and a yellow. Jason and I are the only raspberry lovers in my house so why do I need these? I want to put one of each type into a huge pot the way we did with the collection of three from Flower World. But I also want to put a short double row in the ground where my determinant tomatoes are currently set. Vine berries are one of the few plants that do very well in the sorry excuse for soil we have in the Toy Box.

Marion Berry Leaves

Marion Berries planted spring 2011 on 12-9-11

Last year Ray and I put in Marion Berries and Logan berries after we noticed that the brambles and small wild black berries do exceptionally well just beyond the fence. The small sample of marion and logan from their first summer were wonderful. I have two more vines of each that I want to find a space for in an already crowded garden. We are desperately missing the jam that I did not make this year because of the new glass top stove. While reading about how to use the automatic oven cleaning feature I came across a blurb in our owners manual that promises me that I can use the glass top for canning under careful conditions. Ray still worries, but I am determined to give it a try. Having nothing but applesauce from 2010 in the pantry and only frosty herbs plus a few leaves of kale and chard in the garden is distressing.

Apple Leaves

Only a few yellow leaves still cling to the apple tree 12-9-1

The multi-apple tree is doing all right, the sweet cherry gave us a taste of her candy. We are still waiting to taste a single pear. The tree that does exceptionally well is the sour cherry. If we are able (trees are so expensive) we want to add two more sour or pie cherry trees. A dwarf orchard is planned for the front garden. The front garden is only partially fenced. Every dog walker in our community lets their dogs (and we think they are huge dogs) come visit our front lawn. That needs to be prevented with good neighbor fencing. We do not like most of the industrial landscape plants in the front garden. We chat about pulling most of that out and replacing them with my lavenders and some herbal flowers such as ecchenicca (purple cone flower), calendula and stinky but useful valerian. Sunflowers too since this garden tends to be soggy.

Custom Made Clouch

The last of the Cilantro under the Clouch (chard and parsley)

I can grow some protein in the Toy Box. We have discovered Fava (Broad) Beans and a small cranberry type of bean, treasured on Whidbey Island for years, known as Rockwell that provide some tasty protine. The nuggets give us eggs. Even so, we are talking about rabbits for meat (and poo that is gold in the compost) and a Talipa aquaponics. Ray actually seems jazzed about fish farming. All of it takes money to start.

The Old Windmill

Grandpa's old wind mill at sunrise

No one ever really knows what a day will bring. YHVH give us the privilege, the delightful hope, of dreaming about what we will do should he allow. We are sharply aware that the future belongs to our Elohim/God. We want to keep the eyes of our hearts on him. He is far more secure than healthy hens or  a pantry full of jelly.  Things can change in the blink of an eye. One day the mill sent the workers home with a letter informing them that the sale of the mill is all but done save for a few details, get your applications in to the new company. The very next day we found out that everything fell apart. 700 people who depend upon their wage from the mill will join the ranks of the unemployed. The temptation to succumb to depression dogged us most of the day.  As individuals and as a couple who have come through so many things before this, we had to stop and remember that our Lord has made one promise to us. He will never forsake us.

December 9, 2011 Windmill

December 9, 2011

We choose hope. It is hope, not presumption that keeps us dreaming about what we can do this coming year. It is the lovingkindness of our YHVH in his son Y’shua that causes us to stand firm (rather than proud) on his promise. We do not know where we will be next year, but we know it will be beyond what we are able to dream. We are blessed, that is all we know for sure. God shows us that he favors us again and again. The rest is just details…..details that do not fall apart in negations.

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Sage in Bloom

Blue Sage Blossoms; from a start I bought back in the 80’s and have moved at least 4 different times.

My introduction to Sage was as a fine powder my mother would add to the Thanksgiving Dressing. Even as a finely ground powder from a classic McCormick tin, Sage would make my mouth water. It is still one of the scents that I love at Thanksgiving. As a young mother, experimenting with fresh herbs grown in a hanging basket on my porch, I was confused. How did this piney, velvety leaf become the fine, easy to measure powder that my mother used in the 60’s?

I have since learned to harvest stems on the rare dry days of early summer in the Pacific North West (PNW). When the sage puts out the first blossoms and starts to get gangly, it is time to snip down stems and bundle with a rubber band (or ribbon if you have some). Hang the stems to dry in a dark place where you will not forget about them. There should be air flow but not wind. The darker your drying area is, the better the chance that your leaves will not fade to gray. Once the leaves are dry they can be stripped from the stem for storage in a glass jar or tin herb container. They are fine even in a ziplock bag.  I use sage in food by rubbing a leaf or leaves in my hands until they become a powder and drop them into my dish. These days I measure more by the leaf than by the spoonful.

Pink buds of a Dwarf Sage

My mother was keeper of the keys in an era with a high regard for science and the doctors who practiced it. I do not remember her telling me so much as to put mud on a bee sting to draw out the venom. Instead alcohol based medicine would be dabbed on.  My father would assure me that I was just being dramatic if I squealed with pain. I must have been a pip to raise. My time as keeper of the keys was an exploration into the old ways of herbalists. Sage is a fantastic learning tool for an aspiring herbalist.
Got a headache? Try an infusion of sage. An infusion is like tea but much stronger. Use two to three times as much herb to make and infusion as you might use to make tea. Pour boiling water over herb leaves, allowing them to steep (soak) for 10 minutes instead of the usual 3 minutes you allow for tea. Pour the resulting liquid through a strainer. It can be used hot or cold.
Sage is astringent (draws together and contracts swollen tissue) and tonic (invigorating and strengthening physically and mentally).  It is used to cool a fever and cleanse the blood.
An infusion of sage will help when I have a headache because of tension. If you are a younger woman you should be aware that Sage will promote menstruation so use it with caution if you are trying to get pregnant. Because sage is an antiseptic you can use the infusion as a mouth wash or gargle it when your throat is sore or if you have the occasional pus bubble (ulcer that looks like a pimple in your mouth) or for the occasional bleeding gums. Be smart. If your gums are bleeding your body is telling you something. Talk to your hygienist about this at your semi-annual visit. The same goes for mouth and throat ulcers. The occasional white spot in your mouth or on your tonsils isn’t a big deal, your body is getting rid of toxins. But if it happens often or gets nasty TALK TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PRACTIOTIONER!
Garland, Sarah The Complete Book of Herbs & Spices New York c 1979 Viking Press

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