In Basket: May 2011

Dear Herb Companion,

I FIXED UP the Pimento Cheese with Horseradish recipe and made grilled cheese sandwiches (from the cover of the March 2011 issue, pictured at left); my husband said it was the best grilled cheese sandwich he had ever had! I also made the Pear Crisps with Horseradish as a nice way to end the meal.

I even liked the gremolata that went with the Aromatic Red Wine Stew so well that I tried another version. I made the gremolata using cilantro as the herb and served it with chili. I didn’t know I would get so many great recipe ideas from this magazine, I thought I would just learn about growing herbs. What a nice surprise! I can hardly wait for spring to start up my herb garden again.

–Kathy Lareau, Dimondale, Michigan

YOUR CHICKEN AND Parsley Noodle Soup recipe from the January 2011 issue turned out delicious! We took a day and made a big bunch of the noodles and froze them so we could make the soup more quickly in the future. Thanks!

–Brandina Vines, Carrollton, Texas

I RECEIVE YOUR weekly e-newsletter and I just love it. I recently have been informed of a type of basil used in South America. In Guyana, they call it “married man pork;” in other places it’s called “mosquito bush.” Do you know where I can find this in the United States? My friends from South America say that the basil found in the stores here doesn’t have the same taste. They have used this herb for cooking and for traditional healing. Thanks so much for any assistance.

–Angela Alton, Hayward, California

According to The Encyclopedia of Herbs, it may be Ocimum gratissimum subsp. gratissimum, “fever plant” or “mosquito plant.” We suspect this is the thyme-scented variation (sometimes designated O. viride), but it may also be a local cultivar not available in the North American trade. –Arthur O. Tucker, co-author of The Encyclopedia of Herbs

THANK YOU FOR your article “Best Foods for Hypothyroidism” in the March 2011 issue.  It was stated that cooking may inactivate goitrogens. That seems to be true, but not for millet. Cooking millet actually increases the goitrogenic action.

–Kim Paynter, San Antonio, Texas

This is true about millet, Kim. Thanks for the info. –Eds.

I JUST READ the March 2011 article about hypothyroidism in your magazine. I have seen lots of other articles on the subject, in other media sources, but you don’t see articles written on hyperthyroidism. I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroid and I would love to see something written about it. Other than that, I just found your magazine and I love it! Thanks and keep up the good work!

–Dana Beck, Keller, Texas

Thanks for the good words, Dana. We’ll take a look at this in a future issue. –Eds.

I LOVED YOUR article “Cook Up Your Own Cat Food” on natural pet food and herbal supplements for pets in the March 2011 issue. We have been feeding our cats, dogs, horses, cows, and poultry an all-natural diet for years now and supplementing with herbs. The results speak for themselves. All have healthy, shiny coats. The cats and dogs have no tartar on their teeth, no doggie/cat body odor, no skin issues whatsoever. They are fed home-prepared food supplemented with raw meat and bones–thanks to our cattle operation! All are extremely healthy.

For the horses, cows and poultry, we feed only grass and hay and populate our pastures with many herbs so that they can “self-medicate” as needed for vitamins, minerals and other benefits from the plants. They will routinely choose what they need when they need it–alfalfa, clover, dandelion and chickweed in spring and summer to meet their vitamin A requirements. They chew parsley, plantain, honeysuckle, berry brambles, wild roses and many other plants to stay healthy. As a result, we have almost no issues that are common to horses and cattle such as scratches, biting lice, rain rot and others.

–L.M., Virginia

I HAVE AN alternative to the “Rosemary Mayo” tip on the last page in the March 2011 issue. I love the notes on spicing up mayo, but I have forgone mayo in my house, for the most part, because of how dietarily heavy it is. I instead keep a supply of plain cream-top or Greek-style yogurt, which is much better for you than mayo.

When I first switched, I was very subtle about it and my husband didn’t even realize he wasn’t eating mayo for months, until he went to make his own sandwich one day, and now he thinks it is great.

–Eryn La Forest, Olathe, Kansas

Thanks, Eryn. Great idea! –Eds.

AHHH, HORSERADISH! (See the “Horseradish: 2011 Herb of the Year” article in the March 2011 issue). So easy to grow–almost too easy. It will overrun your garden, or your yard for that matter, if you don’t use it. But is it ever worth it. When I bottle horseradish, I generally do not get a cold. I don’t believe any germs can withstand the fumes! I use it on sandwiches, with pot roast and gravy; it is especially good at Easter with hard-boiled eggs. It’s great in deviled eggs and egg salad, too. But I particularly enjoy making horseradish jelly. It’s really easy, and most recipes online are about the same. I always make extra and give it to my friends. When making it, the horseradish must be drained. I keep the juice in a jar in the fridge, and add it to a shot of vodka (medicinal use, just to clarify!). On that note, a teaspoon or two added to your favorite Bloody Mary is exceptional.

I love your magazine and website. You help me realize that a self-sustaining lifestyle can be a reality sooner than later.

–Thomas Kocal, Lanark, Illinois

I LOVED YOUR March 2011 article “Horseradish: 2011 Herb of the Year.” My family and I enjoy making a delicious sauce to eat with our roasts made from horseradish and sour cream and we like to use horseradish plants as a ground cover to shade out weeds beneath some of our fruit and nut trees. We value it most for its medicinal effects. Eating a spoonful of fresh chopped horseradish helps with opening the breathing passages. Even before we eat it, the smell of it begins to open up the passageways.

–Sean Kearsey, Goblins Glen Botanical Sanctuary, Ohio

Talk Back: Growing a Medicinal Garden

In the March 2011 issue, we asked readers which medicinal herbs they like to plant, in anticipation of this issue’s “Grow a Medicinal Herb Garden” article (Page 28). 

Here are the medicinal herbs I am most interested in: astragalus, all heal, feverfew, fenugreek, common mallow, lovage, pasqueflower and meadowsweet.

I have found, however, that starting herbs from seed is much more difficult than the veggies I start each year. I would appreciate if you could incorporate a few tips for starting herbs from seed.

–Tina Ross, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Sure! Learn about starting herbs from seed at –Eds.

Facebook Fodder

What seed company do you like best for purchasing herb seeds and starts?

SUE MARTINEZ: I have a wonderful herb greenhouse nearby called Lily of the Valley herbs, where I buy my herb plants. Many different herbs to choose from there.

BETTY PILLSBURY: Horizon Herbs, The Thyme Garden Herb Company, Crimson Sage, Companion Plants, Possum Creek Herb Farm and Richters.

AMY SWANN: The herb movement is growing and more local small businesses are selling them. So, as a small nursery owner, please try to buy locally.

KRIS BRADLEY: Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Great selection and SUPER customer service!

Visit companion to read even more Facebook fodder.

Tell Us What You Think

In our next issue, we will tell you how to help build a world that’s safe for pollinators. How do you attract pollinators to your garden? Please e-mail with “In Basket” in the subject line.  

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368