Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

July 9, 2011

Mahleb

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

MAHLEB

Mahleb can be used in bread and pastries and has a light flavor similar to vanilla. It can be in powder or in chunks, depending on how one is to use it…

     It is the pit of the sour cherry that grows on a small Eurasion ornamental tree called the mahaleb tree. It is a member of the rose family. These little pits, either ground or whole, have been used for centuries in the Middle East (particularly Turkey and Syria) as a sweet-sour, nutty addition to traditional sweet breads, desert cookies and biscuits.*

     The spice has many a.k.a.s:

  • Mahalabi, Mahaleb(i), Mahlab, Mahiepi, Marlev, St Lucie’s Cherry
  • French: mahaleb
    German: Mahaleb
    Italian: mahaleb
    Spanish: mahaleb
    Greek: mahiepi
    Arabic: mahlab, mahleb**

It is carried by Penzey’s Ltd. Spice House, P. O. Box 1448, Waukesha, WI, 53817 (414-457-0277). A ½ cup plastic jar costs $1.29 plus shipping and handling.*

SOURCE

*Undated, unidentified article found in a box of papers

**http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/mahlab.html

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ADDITIONAL READING:

The Bay Leaf

Rosemary: The Herb

Divide Your Plants—And Share the Goodies

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May 23, 2011

Pipsissewa a.k.a. Wintergreen

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

PIPSISSEWA a.k.a. WINTERGREEN

     Do you know anything about the herb pipsissewa? my friend Linda from Georgia asked me.

     Never heard of it, I responded. But I’m sitting at my computer (Linda uses a library computer). I’ll look it up for you.

     I learned that a character in the old classic board game Uncle Wiggily, was called the Pipsisewah.

     Don’t know the game, Linda said.

     Neither do I, I replied.

     In the game Uncle Wiggily used a cane because he had rheumatism. It was appropriate, then, to have a character named Pipsisewah, the name of an herb traditional prized to help alleviate rheumatism.

     PIPSISSEWA  any of several ericaceous plants of the Asian and American genus Chimaphila, having jagged evergreen leaves and white or pinkish flowers. From Cree pipisisikweu, literally: it breaks it into pieces, so called because it was believed to be efficacious in treating bladder stones.  A. k. a. wintergreen**  A.k.a. Love-in-Winter, Rheumatism Weed, Princ’s Pine, Umbellate Wintergreen, Bitter Wintergreen, Ground Ivy, Dragon’s Tongue, Striped Prince’s Pine, Striped Wintergreen, or Spotted Wintergreen.*

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     Ah,, wintergreen. Now we approached somewhat familiar grounds.

     Wintergreen was once the common reference to plants that remain green all winter. The more common term today is evergreen.

     Wintergreen berries have medicinal uses. Native Americans (more…)

April 22, 2011

Rosemary: The Herb

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

ROSEMARY: THE HERB

Grow for two ends—it matters not at all.

Be’t for my bridall, or my buriall! 

Sir Thomas Moore

      Rosemary is a favorite evergreen, used wherever the occasion requires an emblem of constancy and perpetual remembrance. It’s been traditionally and historically used as a key herb associated with weddings (more…)

April 10, 2011

Plants Cultivated in German Gardens Date Back To 812 A. D.

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

PLANTS CULTIVATED IN GERMAN GARDENS

DATE BACK TO 812 A. D.

     It is evident that many of our plants go back to the ancient Roman civilization. They were taken from Italy to Germany and England and thence to America. Our forefathers brought over from Germany not only plants but a knowledge of gardening…

     Many of the plants which the Pennsylvania German cultivates in his garden and field were introduced into Germany by (more…)

The Bay Leaf

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

THE BAY LEAF

     David selected the sweet bay as a symbol of prosperity, probably because of its never-changing greenness and its pleasant spicy fragrance of its leaves.

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     It’s been said that the nymph Daphne, while being pursued by Apollo, commanded that the bay tree should (more…)

March 30, 2011

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon: A Playlet

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

I HAVE PERFUMED MY BED

 WITH MYRRH, ALOES AND CINNAMON:

 A PLAYLET

Introduction: I want to relate a somewhat risqué tale, but please do me a favor—since my husband is a retired church pastor, do not spread the word that I am telling risqué stories.

Character I:   A youth, abroad in the world on his own, is not as principled as he ought to be. He lacks wisdom and a fear of God (he ventured out to sea minus a pilot, cord, and compass). He kept bad company. He sauntered—he passed through the street as a night walker who was abundantly idle, and one not knowing what to do with himself. He knew the correct corner to seek entertainment and he headed that way, towards the house of one who could entertain him (contrary to Solomon’s advice to avoid that corner). Lo and behold, up comes a woman and seizes him and kisses him.

CHARACTER II.  The married woman is dressed as (more…)

March 22, 2011

A Fortune of Spices in my Kitchen Cupboard

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

A FORTUNE OF SPICES IN MY KITCHEN CUPBOARD

     Allspice. Cinnamon. Cumin. Fennel. Majoram. Mint. Nutmeg. Paprika. Peppercorns.  Saffron. Sage. Tarragon. Vanilla bean.

     I’m scanning a kitchen shelf containing herbs and spices—the above are only some of them. There are also many blends, like the fish seasoning, that I see.

     When I look on my counters I see fresh onion and garlic.

     I wouldn’t be surprised to find any—or all of—these items in any kitchen I inspect. All, that is, except (more…)

March 18, 2011

Saffron: The Priciest Spice

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

SAFFRON: THE PRICIEST SPICE

     Forget frankincense and myrrh, the precious spices in the Bible.

    Instead, substitute saffron. It is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. Therefore, having any saffron is better than having no saffron.*

     During part of the time I was living in Stone Mountain, Georgia (an Atlanta suburb) my friend Shirl and I had a business selling herbs and spices. I recalled that saffron sold in the local grocery store for approximately $2500 per pound. That’s one or two strings of saffron.  

     I checked the Internet to get an idea of its price in the 2011 spice market. On clearance, Moroccan saffron costs $5.00 a gram.* There are 453.6 grams in a pound**. Do the math: that’s $2267.96 per pound.

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      Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the (more…)

March 12, 2011

Herbs and Spices Defined

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

HERBS AND SPICES DEFINED

     As I type this post I am sipping on water infused with peppermint and lemon mint leaves; ginger; a drop of vanilla; pieces of the rind of lemon and lime, and a dash of cinnamon. No calories. Just flavored water. And my goal is to drink as much water a day as possible, up to half a gallon. The infusion of herbs and spices makes the water more flavorful and palatable. The dash of lemon enhances the flavor of the herbs.

     Although I purchased the ginger, vanilla, lemon, lime, and cinnamon, I felt pleased that I could step outside my kitchen door and cut (more…)

March 7, 2011

Mustard

CAROLYN’S DAILY POSTS: 2011

MUSTARD

     We are all familiar with the parable of the mighty mustard seed. The Chinese have a parable too.

     A young mother, inconsolable over the death of her child, visited a holy man and begged him to restore the infant to life. He would do so, he answered, if she brought him (more…)

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