How To & DIY

How To & DIY

Practical Peppermint

A hardy perennial—watch out or it’ll take over the garden! — peppermint is a cross between spearmint and watermint. Its botanical name is Mentha x piperita, after a Greek nymph who was transformed into a plant, but you’ve most likely heard it called simply “mint.

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Practical Peppermint

Low Salt Cooking: Hold the Salt, Pass the Spices!

Most of us consume about 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day — well above the recommended intake of no more than 2,300 milligrams daily. (There are 2,000 milligrams per teaspoon,.

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Low Salt Cooking: Hold the Salt, Pass the Spices!

Homemade Herbal Sodas

Whether you call it pop, soda or a soft drink, today’s popular sweetened carbonated beverages aren’t what they started out to be. Traditional recipes for drinks like root beer, vanilla cream soda and cherry and ginger ales were made from extracts of flavorful botanicals and were often offered in pharmacies for their reputed health benefits.

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Homemade Herbal Sodas

Flavored Butters & Oils

Spice-flavored butters and oils are the magic wands of cookery, instantly turning a simple plate of vegetables or a ho-hum grain entrée into a gourmet dish. You’d think this enchantment would be harder to come by, but delicious butters and oils are very simple to make, keep for weeks in the refrigerator, and can be whipped up with whichever of the following ingredients you happen to have on hand! Recipes You don’t need a recipe to make flavored butters and oils, but here’s a handful for inspiration: Lemony Pasta Butter Place a big dab of this flavorful butter on hot pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and coarsely ground pepper, and you’ve created a delightful main dish! It’s also terrific on baked potatoes.

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Flavored Butters & Oils

Fall's Bounty

Summer gardens (and farmers' markets!) deliver delicious fresh produce suitable for the day's grill or canning stint -- but fall's harvest is where we look for vegetables that are "good keepers." Root vegetables like beets, parsnips, turnips, and Jerusalem artichokes; hardy cabbages; and winter squash and pumpkins all, under the right conditions, will store well.

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Fall's Bounty

Exotic Hibiscus

Exotic and delicately beautiful, the hibiscus plant is a tall, erect annual cultivated in the tropics and subtropics. There are over 300 species of hibiscus, including Hibiscus abelmoschus (musk-mallow), H.

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Exotic Hibiscus

DIY Spice Blends

Gift baskets are popular presents because they are useful and easy to give, but they also can be predictable. You can do much better than putting together the ubiquitous basket of fruit, nuts and preserves or soup, cake and cookie mixes in jars for your food-loving friends.

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DIY Spice Blends

Cooking with Ginger

Talk about personality! Not a spice to slip in unobtrusively, ginger always makes a grand appearance in dishes. Warm yet refreshing, versatile yet distinctive, ginger’s enigmatic character often enlivens the mix — in a gamut of sweet and savory recipes and in ethnic cuisines the world over.

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Cooking with Ginger

Cooking with Cinnamon

What's the difference between cinnamon and cassia? While the names cinnamon and cassia are often used interchangeably—and the plants are related—there are botanical and practical differences. Cassia is reddish-brown and pungently sweet; it's grown primarily in China, the Indonesian islands and Vietnam.

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Cooking with Cinnamon

Cooking with Bay

The noble bay laurel (Laurus nobilis, in fact) harkens back to ancient Greece, when kings were crowned with wreaths of bay and Olympic champions were awarded bay garlands. No less renowned today, bay laurel has been named The International Herb Association’s Herb of the year for 2009.

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Cooking with Bay

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