November in the Garden
Thanks to everyone who came out to our Tea and Cocktail class! Taught by Stefani Bittner, co-owner of Star Apple Edible Gardens, over 20 residents and members of the community came out to learn how to make delicious teas and cocktails from ingredients that are growing in the demonstration beds at Persimmon Park. Don’t worry if you missed the class, though, since we’ve got you covered with some delicious recipes to try and just make sure you come to the next DIG IT class in December! Borage is one of our favorite edible flowers to have in the garden – not only is it incredibly easy to grow, but its pretty blue flowers have a refreshing, cucumbery taste that are perfect for a wide variety of drinks! Try floating them in a glass of champagne or in a bowl of punch. A fun project for kids is to freeze them in an ice cube tray and drop them into a refreshing glass of lemonade! During the class, we brewed a delicious tea of fresh African blue basil leaves (pictured above) and chamomile flowers. It’s such an easy tea to make – simply pour hot water over the leaves and flower heads, let it steep for 15-20 minutes, and then enjoy! The garden is full of tea plants that can be steeped fresh or dried. If you’re curious and a tea lover, just talk to Mike, our resident gardener, and he can show you what to pick and how to use it. If cocktails are more your speed, here are two of our favorite recipes:
1) Chamomile Gin Cocktail from Bon Appetit. Keep in mind that the lemon trees at Persimmon Park are starting to fruit! Ingredients: – 1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers – 6 tablespoons honey – 2 cups London dry gin – 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice Mix chamomile and 6 tablespoons very hot water in a medium bowl. Let stand for 1 minute. Stir in honey; mash chamomile with a wooden spoon. Let cool slightly. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, pressing on solids to release liquid. Discard solids in sieve. Add gin, lemon juice, and 4 cups ice to pitcher. Stir until ice is melted. Divide among chilled glasses. Enjoy!
2) Gin Thyme Lemonade from The Tart Tart. Ingredients: – 1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar (according to your sweetness preference) – 5 cups cold water – 1 small bunch of thyme (10 to 15 sprigs) – 2 cups lemon juice – 1 cup gin In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, 1 cup of water, and thyme to a boil, and stir until the sugar melts completely. Turn off the stove and add the remaining 4 cups of water, lemon juice, and gin. Stir, then refrigerate. Serve cold, preferably with ice. Enjoy! As the days get shorter and the days grow colder, we hope you take advantage of the garden’s bounty to make your favorite hot teas and comforting cocktails. We hope to see you at our next class in December or in the garden – Mike is there every Friday and Saturday, rain or shine, or in last weekend’s case, plenty of fog!
Photo Credits Star Apple Edible Gardens