Give Thanks with Herbs

Give Thanks with Herbs

By Maryann Readal, Secretary, The Herb Society of America

20170515_180816The holidays are here. The glossy magazines tempt us to add stress to our holiday preparations with their gorgeous photos of decorator-inspired table settings and culinary dishes that require hours of working in the kitchen. If you grow herbs or just like using them, your holidays can be special without all of the fuss and stress – thankfully. Here are some simple ideas using common herbs to create a special Thanksgiving celebration.

Sage – Whether your stuffing is store-bought or made-from-scratch, add fresh chopped sage to enhance flavor.

Mixed Herbs – Brining turkey has been the culinary rage.  Try this easy dry herb brine recipe for a turkey that turns out flavorful, moist and tender.

Rosemary – Fasten a sprig to each dinner napkin so that the rosemary fragrance entices guests as they sit down at the table.  Or tuck rosemary sprigs in your Thanksgiving centerpiece to add fragrance and interest.

20170511_191248Chives – Mince chives and mix them into softened butter for Thanksgiving rolls. Be creative and add other herbs to the butter as well.

Dill – Add chopped dill to a sour cream dressing for a cucumber salad.  Or add chopped dill to a favorite dip to add another taste dimension.

Mint – Dress up holiday drinks with a sprig of mint. Make minted water to serve with iced tea or water at dinner.  Simply steep a handful of mint leaves in some boiling water for a few minutes and chill.

Basil –  Pick the last basil from the garden. Toss leaves into your Thanksgiving salad. Use basil leaves on post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. Or make a basil pesto and serve over cream cheese with crackers for a holiday appetizer. Use leftover pesto on turkey sandwiches.

Rosemary winter groupThyme – Sprinkle thyme into your Thanksgiving vegetables for a fresh spring-like flavor. And remember this is the “thyme” to give thanks for all the fragrant herbs growing in your garden.

Lavender – Tuck a lavender sachet in your pillowcase to ensure a restful night’s sleep before and after Thanksgiving Day. Remember to pamper your guests with sachets, too.

Lemon Balm – Use fresh lemon balm leaves or purchase lemon balm tea for a calming and uplifting drink at the end of your Thanksgiving meal.

Whether you have one or 20 guests for the holiday, choose one or choose several of these ideas to make herbs a part of your Thanksgiving.



Herb Society Open House Nov. 19, 2017

Herb Society Open House Nov. 19, 2017


Join The Herb Society of America from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, November 19, 2017, for an Open House full of holiday cheer with a wonderful selection of holiday herbal-themed gifts. Items and vendors include:

  • Wood Road Farm – Fresh Wreaths & Table Arrangements
  • Natural Skin Revival – Natural Skin Care Products
  • Thistle and Twill — Handcrafted Keepsakes and Gifts inspired by Nature
  • Sandi’s Kitchen – Culinary Herb & Spice Blends
  • Western Reserve Herb Society — Herbal Gifts & Culinary Delights
  • O’Neil’s Handmade Artisan Chocolates – Delicious Herbal Chocolates
  • Storehouse Teas –Handcrafted Certified Organic and Fair Trade, Artisan Loose Leaf Teas
  • Cupcake Me — Decadent Cupcakes and Cookies
  • The Herb Society of America – Holiday & Herb-related GiftsStorehouse tea

The Herb Society of America
9019 Kirtland-Chardon Rd.
Kirtland, Ohio 44094

2016 Holiday Open House at HSA HQ

holiday-open-houseJoin The Herb Society of America from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, November 20, for an Open House full of holiday cheer with a wonderful selection of holiday herbal-themed gifts. Items and vendors include:

  •  Wood Road Farm – Fresh Wreaths & Table Arrangements
  •  Natural Skin Revival – Natural Skin Care Products
  •  Light Footsteps – Handcrafted Botanical Wellness Products
  •  Sandi’s Kitchen – Culinary Herb & Spice Blends
  •  Floral Elixir Co – Natural Botanical Drink Mixers
  •  Maria Zampini – Author of Garden-Pedia: An A-to-Z Guide to Gardening Terms
  •  Lynne Griffin, WRHS member – Herb Vinegar Demonstrations & Culinary Delights
  •  O’Neil’s Handmade Artisan Chocolates – Delicious Herbal Chocolates
  •  Cakes by Kelly – Specialty Cupcakes
  • The Tea and Honey Company – Specialty tea blends and honey
  •  The Herb Society of America –Holiday & Herb-related Gifts

HERB SOCIETY BUILDING (2).jpgThe Herb Society of America
9019 Kirtland-Chardon Rd.
Kirtland, Ohio 44094


Herb-Inspired Mother’s Day Gifts

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
20160418_122630One of my favorite presents is a vintage, red glass punch bowl with 24 matching cups. It’s simple and classic. And, red. My favorite color.
I love it. Not just for its utility and aesthetics, but for its symbolism. It represents listening. You see, Gary-the-boyfriend, saw me studying it through the antique store window. He paid attention. He “heard’ that I liked it. It was one of the few times in life I received a gift that I wanted, not what someone wanted to give me.

That’s a rare happening. How often do we give the gift someone wants? Mother’s Day is an opportunity to do that. And, if my sons are listening (or reading this), anything herbal would make me happy.

20160315_135105Maybe your mom is an herb aficionado and, like me, would like something representational. Or, better yet, a combination of thyme and time.

Consider the following …

  • A trip to a garden center. Together
  • A few hours weeding. Together
  • An adventure to gather alpaca poop. (A great soil amendment.)Together.
  • A visit to a public garden. Or promise of monthly dates. Together.
  • Membership to The Herb Society of America. Or two.

These can always be combined with herb-themed jewelry, gift certificates, shiny shovels, garden books.

Mom and iAs for my mom, I’ll go to her church because it touches her. We’ll have brunch – maybe an herb-spiked omelet — on her mom’s china. Then, we can hit the garden center. Back home, I’ll help her with a container garden or maybe an herb-inspired fairy garden.

What are you doing for your mom on Mother’s Day?

Dye Easter Eggs with Culinary Materials

By  Susan Liechty, HSA President

Easter eggsRemember the fizzy tablets you dropped in the vinegar to dye those vibrantly colored Easter eggs?  Try something new this year. Dye those eggs with all natural products found in your garden or kitchen.  This is a fun project with interesting results; and the kids will love to experiment with the different items.  The environmental issues aside, you won’t be using artificial dye to transform the eggs into beautiful masterpieces.

The process works as follows:

Hard boil your white eggs (white eggs have a truer dye color). Allow to completely cool and dry.  Next, line up several wide-mouthed empty Mason jars or bowls to fill with all the different colors.  If you use the quart size, you can fit several eggs in one jar.

In a saucepan boil water and place your selected material in the water.  Allow to steep for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat once you’ve reached your desired color and let cool.

Strain out the material, pour into your mason jar and add one tablespoon white vinegar per cup of liquid.  Prepare all colors and line up your jars.  Place your egg(s) in the jar and put in the refrigerator until the color you want has been achieved.  Carefully dry the eggs, put a small amount of oil on the egg and polish with a paper towel.

The results are beautiful and much different than the old standby colors.

Natural materials to try include:

  • Purple cabbage leaves – pink
  • Red onion skins – lavender or red
  • Yellow onion skins – orange or rusty red
  • Coffee grounds – brown
  • Black tea – brown
  • Cayenne pepper – brown
  • Turmeric – yellow
  • Red Zinger tea bags – lavender
  • Beets (diced) – pink
  • Spinach or carrot tops – green
  • Grape Juice – lavender
  • Frozen blueberries – pink
  • Orange peels – light yellow
  • Strong brewed coffee – light brown
  • Cranberries – pink

Remember to store finished eggs in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

The blog for The Herb Society of America is written by members, staff and guest authors, to promote herb appreciation from cultivation and use to learning and research. It supports the Herb Society’s goals to protect botanical heritage, steward scientific diversity and promote personal enjoyment. Membership is open to individuals and businesses.

What herb materials are you using to dye eggs?

Don’t Miss Today’s Deal

By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, Herb Society of America

HerbSociety-scarf-pantonesHow many herbs can you identify on this custom-designed silk scarf? Rendered in soft, pastel tones, the scarf design was first produced in 1997. It sold out then and will do so again. Until midnight, today only (Monday, December 7, 2015), the scarf it is available for $5 off. That’s $40, plus $2.60 shipping.

The bargain is part of HSA’s “10 Days of Giving” which ends December 10, 2015.

Designed by established textile artist Kevin O’Brien the silk scarf can be worn in a number of ways, from simply draping the fabric square to complicated tied constructions.

O’Brien, as his website tells it, switched from painting to textile art in 1997, the same year HSA first worked with him. Since then, his upscale textiles have become well-known and sold worldwide. They can be found online through a number of vendors.

HSA also offers an O’Brien’s vibrant work on an 18- by 72-inch rectangle. It features brightly colored Monarda fistulosa (bee balm) and hummingbirds against a black background. Learn more about purchasing.Bee-Balm-Scarf-black-hicontrast

Get Your Daily Herb-Inspired Deal

Get Your Daily Herb-Inspired Deal

The Herb Society of America is offering “10 Days of Giving.” That’s a daily sale on items from the Garden Gallery. At 9 a.m. EST from December 1 to December 10, the deal-of-the-day will be listed on the Herb Society home page.  That special price will expire at midnight.

These herb-inspired items make great holiday gifts. Think: One for me, one for Mom. One for me, one for Grandpa.

Get started with Tuesday’s deal … Anne Ophelia Dowden Notecards marked down 33 percent. I use mine to say Thank You, Get Well and more in a personal way.

Need more holiday gift giving ideas?

You may have missed HSA’s November Open House. But, you can still be inspired by the vendors who sold handcrafted products. Browse pictures from that day to see soaps, jellies, tiles, salts and more.