Since one of my new year's resolutions is to foster good health, I have been reading some herbal books that I have on the shelf. One book, in particular, is a book I have had for many years. It is an illustrated guide to herbs that includes herbal gardening and cooking but also includes medicinal uses for herbs as well as some beauty treatments, such as facial masks. I refer to it often for one or more of these purposes.
Title: The Herb Book
Authors: Arabella Boxer & Philippa Back
Published in 1985 by Peerage Books (This book was first published in Great Britain in 1980 by Octopus Books Limited.)
There are many reasons I find this book so helpful and informative. Having the illustrations and photographs of herbs has helped me over the years identify herbs with which I may not have been familiar. The authors break down the herbs into sections with detailed information about each. For instance, they list the botanical family and name of each herb.
A section, The Herb Garden, details various ways of planting herbs from a rock garden to a strawberry jar to planting herbs in troughs on a balcony. Herbs for a kitchen garden or a medicinal garden are listed. The book offers step-by-step instructions for preparing the site for the herb garden and planting from seed or purchased plants. On page 34, this book describes methods of harvesting and preserving herbs.
Horehound and coltsfoot teas were very helpful during my bout with bronchitis. In the medicinal section, these herbs are mentioned as helpful for coughs on page 62. Teas and infusion recipes are given for various ailments.
The recipes are delicious and specifically offer cooking ideas for various herbs--some of which I may have not considered in dishes. Recipes are near the end of the book that include sauces, soups, drinks, and meat and fish dishes. Measurements are given in metric and American measurements. One of my favorites is basil oil.
Basil Oil (from The Herb Book)
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 cups olive oil
Pound the basil briefly in a mortar. Add a little of the oil and pound again. Mix with the rest of the oil and pour into a wide-mouthed bottle. Seal tightly. Keep for 2 weeks before using, shaking every 2 or 3 days. Do not strain. This is a useful way of preserving the fresh basil flavour, especially for those who do not use much vinegar. It is good in salad dressings, or for adding to pizzas just before baking.
This is an old book and may not be found easily. However, I found an updated used version available for sale through Amazon.
I am joining Roses and Other Gardening Joys for this month's Garden Book Review.
© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter