Herb of the Year for 2022: Viola (violet, heartsease) named by the International Herb Association
Flower of the Month for September: Aster
September is Better Breakfast Month
September’s Feature: Herbal Honey
Week 1. National Waffle Week (10 healthy recipes)
September 5 Labor Day
September 6 On this day in 1900: the Galveston Hurricane became the U.S. greatest national disaster.
September 9 California was admitted to the Union on this day in 1850. The state flower: the California poppy.
Week 2. National Arts in Education Week
September 14 In England, the traditional time for the hops harvest.
September 16 National Guacamole Day. Perfectly delicious.
Week 3. Constitution Week More important than ever this year
September 19 This is also Banned Books Week, which takes on new urgency in this era of culture wars. We must defend our freedom to read.
September 20 National Punch Day (No, not that kind. Be gentle.)
September 22 The Fall Equinox and the first day of autumn.
September 26 Johnny Appleseed’s birthday
Week 4. National Banned Books Week, recognizing our freedom to choose the books we read
September 28. St. Michaelmas Eve. Traditional: blackberry pie and roast ‘stubble-goose.’
September 29 is International Coffee Day. Be your own barista.
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.― Winnie-the-Pooh
Pooh is right. There is that moment before Eating Honey–especially flavored honey–when the scent of it is so intoxicating that you’d almost rather smell it than eat it. But of course you’ll eat it. You know you will.
Luckily, flavored honeys are very easy to create, and they make wonderful gifts, too. You can use many different herbs and spices, alone or in combination, but do make sure that none of it has been sprayed with something noxious.
Here are some ideas to play with. To each cup of pasteurized honey (light or dark–your choice), use one of the following herbs, in the approximate amounts suggested. You can combine herbs, of course. If you do, reduce the amounts proportionally. For example, if you combine basil and cinnamon, use 2 basil leaves and 2 cinnamon sticks. Rinse and dry the plant material.
To a cup of honey, add one or more of these flavorings:
- 1/2 cup fragrant rose petals
- 4 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
- 3-4 lemon or rose geranium leaves
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 4 basil leaves
- 4-5 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 cup chopped ginger root
- 3 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
In a non-reactive saucepan, heat the honey to 180 degrees. Put the herbs in a clean jar and add the warm honey. Cap tightly and let sit for a few days before using. Wonderful on waffles, pancakes, toast, ice cream, and fruit. Please remember: it’s never a good idea to give honey to an infant. Read this useful post for safety suggestions when making herb-infused honey or oil.
Want to try a honey of a main dish? These chicken wings are just what you’re looking for!
Honey-Garlic Chicken Wings
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger (optional)
Combine ingredients in sauce pan. Heat to boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Separate 2 pounds chicken wings and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour sauce over wings and marinate for 2 hours. Bake at 400°F for 1 hour, turning once. Serves 4.
- Read about the Galveston Hurricane of September 1900 in China Bayles’ mystery, Widow’s Tears.
- Discover southernwood, an artemisia, the herb traditionally associated with St. Ninian. In Scotland, this plant is known as “apple-ringie.” Boys presented it to girls they wanted to court, so it was also called Lad’s Love. That folkname might take on a new significance if you remember that artemisia was regularly used as an abortifacient. Herbal abortifacients are an important part of the story of Queen Anne’s Lace.
- Bake this delicious rosemary-flavored apple cake in honor of Johnny Appleseed, then take the kids outdoors and plant an apple tree in your backyard.
- Plant a hops vine. If you’re looking for a vigorous, reach-for-the-sky herbal vine for your garden, consider hops. Antibiotic. anti-inflammatory, and nootropic the fruit has been used in salves and wound compresses. Hops have a mild sedative action and have been used in teas, as well as sleep pillows. Here’s an informative history of this fascinating plant.
- Celebrate Punch Day. The word “punch” derives from the Hindustani word “panch,” or five. No, Punch Day is not an excuse to drink five glasses of punch–or go next door and land one on a neighbor. It celebrates the traditional punch recipe of five ingredients: alcohol, lemon (or other fruits), sugar, water, and spiced tea (or tea plus other spices). For a galaxy of stellar party punches, check out this collection of 17 drinkable recipes.
- Learn why blackberries were the center of the traditional Michaelmas celebration and what the devil had to do with it. And don’t those dumplings look delicious?
- Find out what’s going on at MeadowKnoll by visiting Susan’s blog, Lifescapes. On BookScapes, she posts reviews of books she has read and notes on writing/publishing. If you’re not on her blog mailing list, add your name and she’ll send you a reminder. (Look just below for the form to sign up for the blogs.)