Monday, August 3, 2009

Herb Tips and Recipes: Clover and Geraniums

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens

Red clover was one of my favorite wildflowers as a child. I thought they were so pretty, but little did I know that they are also an exceptional helper for the soil and for us. Red clover is "green manure", meaning it helps the soil and is very good for compost piles as it contributes, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. It also makes a nice tea that is said to relieve menopausal symptoms, among other things. You can grow it yourself for tea, or harvest it from fields as long as you know no pesticides or chemicals were used.

Red Clover Tea
From "The Wild Flavor" by Marilyn Kluger

1 Handful fresh red clover blossoms, w/a few leaves
Fresh mint leaves
-and/or-Several dandelion leaves

Put the blossoms and leaves into a 2-cup earthenware teapot. Fill teapot with boiling water, cover, and infuse for 5 to 10 minutes over very low heat. Set the pot on a trivet over the burner, if necessary, to protect it from breaking. Strain into a hot cup, add a twist of lemon and sweeten with honey. Some fresh mint leaves and/or several dandelion leaves can be used with the clover blossoms.

Note: Red clover blossoms may be dried to use for tea. Spread the blossoms out into a single layer on a tray and dry them in the sun. Use less of the dried flowers, 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. to 1 cup of water, to make the tea. Yield: 2 cups.

Pelargonium or scented geraniums are wonderful to use in beverages. They are usually infused, rather than chopped or minced into the dish. Rose is my favorite.

Rose Geranium Lemonade

1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 cups water
8 rose scented geranium leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bring the sugar and 2 cups of the water to a boil in a small pan, stirring occasionally. Add the geranium leaves, cover, and remove from the heat. Allow this to steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a 2 quart pitcher. Add 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 4 cups of cold water. Chill and serve over ice. Makes a quart and 1/2.

We have tips and recipes for on OFL for making herb sugars:


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