Herb of the Year for 2020: Blackberries, raspberries, and their cousins (Rubus ssp.) Named by the International Herb Association
Birthday Flower for June: Honeysuckle
June is National Dairy Month, National Candy Month.
Feature of the Month for June: Candied Blossoms
June 5: National Gingerbread Day. (Why this doesn’t take place in November or December is a great mystery.)
June 6: National Gardening Exercise Day.
June 7: On this date in ancient Rome, the annual festival in honor of Vesta—the goddess of hearth and home—began.
June 11: St. Barnabas Day. The patron saint of peacemakers. Traditionally, the day to make a Barnaby garland of roses, sweet woodruff, and ragged Robin (aka wild William).
June 14: Flag Day. Fly yours.
June 19. Juneteenth. Celebrating the end of slavery and the beginning of a long, hard road to racial equality in America
June 20: The summer solstice—the official beginning of summer
June 21: Father’s Day
June 22: National Onion Rings Day. Yes, onions are an herb, too—and good for you, (although not necessarily when they’re deep-fried).
June 23: St. John’s Eve, a time to celebrate Midsummer
June 27: National Orange Blossom Day. It’s also National Indian Pudding Day.
June 30: In England, some communities hold rushbearing ceremonies about this time.
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made.—Henry Beecher (1858)
So many flowers are in bloom in the garden right now that we’re dazzled. It’s time to preserve some for summertime sweet treats, so plan on spending a few pleasant hours making those flowers even sweeter.
Candied blossoms add elegance to cakes, petit fours, cheesecakes, candies, and other dainties. This is a family-friendly project (perfect for National Candy Month), so gather the kids and get started! Here’s how.
- Gather flowers and herb leaves. Good choices: Borage flowers, violas (pansies, violets, Johnny-jump-ups), redbud and lilac florets, rose petals, plum and apple blossoms, mint leaves, lemon balm leaves. Nip off the stems, wash them, and dry them on a towel. Transfer to paper towels to ensure that they are thoroughly dry.
- Gather ingredients and equipment. You will need 2 room-temperature egg whites, water, a cup or more of superfine sugar in a flat bowl or saucer, a clean tweezers, and a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet or tray.
- Candy the flowers. Beat the egg whites until they just froth. Holding a flower or leaf with the tweezers, dip it into the egg white. Hold it over the sugar, and gently sprinkle sugar over the whole flower, turning it as you work to coat all the surfaces. Place the candied blossom on the wax paper. Repeat until you’ve candied all your flowers and leaves. Put the cookie sheet in a warm, dry place to dry. If the humidity is high, this may take up to 36 hours. Alternatives: put them in an oven with the pilot light lit overnight; or set the oven at 150º and dry them with the door open for several hours; or use a dehydrator. Store your candied blossoms in airtight containers (tins or plastic), separating the layers with waxed paper.
Make your own Barnaby garland of flowers blooming in your garden. You’ll find directions for a fresh flower garland here—adapt it to the pretty flowers and herbs in your own garden. Children will love this charming craft.
Overdid it on Garden Exercise Day? Essential oils can help ease those sore muscles, reduce swelling. Here are some suggestions.
Celebrate Father’s Day with a picnic. Try some of these scrumptious herbal picnic basket treats from Lynn Smyth’s post in the Essential Herbal Blog. (Love that rosemary shortbread recipe!) And don’t forget to pack Dad’s favorite cookies, Ruby Wilcox’s Hot Lips Cookie Crisps? (China gets more requests for this recipe than any other!)
Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement and encourages respect for all cultures. For this year’s Juneteenth, enjoy an authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Easy marinade produces a delicious blend of flavors.
On National Onion Rings Day, listen to Susan’s podcast on the magical, magnetic onion. (You’ll learn thing or two that you didn’t know about onions.)
On St. John’s Eve, pick a sprig of St. John’s wort and tuck it away in your purse or billfold to help keep you safe in your summer travels. As you pluck it, repeat this ancient Gaelic charm.
Saint John’s wort, Saint John’s wort,
I envy whosoever has thee,
I will pluck thee with my right hand,
I will preserve thee with my left hand,
Whoso findeth thee shall always have good fortune.
Learn about the history of Indian pudding and stir up this all-American dessert. “What’s Cooking America” is always a wonderful culinary-history resource.
Find out what Susan is up to these days by visiting her blog, Lifescapes. There’s always something interesting going on in the Texas Hill Country. On her “other” blog, BookScapes, she posts book reviews, bookish thoughts, and notes on the fast-changing world of books