Week 1. National Waffle Week (10 healthy recipes)
September 2, Labor Day, also World Coconut Day
September 6. Read a Book Day.
Week 2. National Arts in Education Week
September 9: California was admitted to the Union on this day in 1850. The state flower: the California poppy.
September 10: In England, this was the traditional time for the hops harvest.
September 13 is National Peanut Day. Check out these pea-nutty facts. Also International Chocolate Day. Bet you can think of several ways to pair up these two favorites.
Week 3. Constitution Week
September 16. Today is the feast of St. Ninian, especially venerated in Scotland.
September 18. Enter the Mystery Unscramble Contest! Check Susan’s BookScapes blog on 9/18 for all the details.
September 20. National Punch Day (No, not that kind. Be gentle.)
Week 4. National Banned Books Week, celebrating our freedom to choose the books we read
September 22. The Fall Equinox and the first day of autumn.
September 26. Johnny Appleseed’s birthday
September 29 is International Coffee Day
There’s garlic (Allium sativum), and there are chives (A. schoenoprasum)—and then there are garlic chives (A. tuberosum, also called Chinese chives). They are brightening my late-summer gardens with pretty globes of starry white flowers, dearly loved by the bees. I’ve been snipping the flat green leaves into salads, omelets, soups, and mashed potatoes, where they add color and a subtle garlic taste. The tender young leaves are best to cook with, so it’s a good idea to shear the entire clump back to the ground every three or four weeks, to make sure that the leaves don’t get tough and bitter. You can dry the snipped leaves for winter-time use, or pop them into small plastic bags and freeze them.
Now, about those tiny black seeds that will inevitably be produced by those pretty white flowers. You can collect them by tapping the drying seed head onto a plate and sprout the seeds for spicy salad sprouts. Or you can clip the seed heads while they’re still flowering, dry them in paper bags, shake out the seeds, and add the pretty heads to your herbal wreaths. Or you can let Nature take its course, in which case you will have more garlic chives than you know what to do with. (Of course, they do make lovely passalong plants.) In cold regions, they’ll die back to the ground and pop up again in the spring. Every two or three years, dig and divide the clump.
And there’s more, naturally. Chinese herbalists use garlic chives in the same way that they use onions and other members of the Allium family: to stimulate the appetite, improve digestion, and fight fatigue—another reason to plant and enjoy this ornamental culinary and medicinal herb.
The juice of Onions mix’t with the decoction of Penniroyal . . .
anointed upon a pild [bare] or bald head in the sun,
bringeth the haire againe very speedily.
—John Gerard, The Herbal, 1597
- Learn how coconuts came to Palm Beach FL and check out their important health benefits.
- Remember St. Ninian by planting the herb associated with him, southernwood, an artemisia. In Scotland, this plant is known as “apple-ringie” and was pressed in Bibles to perfume them. Also known as Lad’s love, it is said that boys presented it to girls they wanted to court. However, it was also used as an astringent antiseptic treatment for teen-age acne, which may be the real reason for the name Lad’s love. “Boiled with barley meal and laid unto them, southernwood takes away pimples.” —Nicholas Culpeper, Herbal, 1653
- In honor of Johnny Appleseed, bake this simple and wholesome apple cake, then take the kids outdoors and plant an apple tree in your backyard.
- Hops are an important herb, especially if you’re a beer drinker. Here’s an informative history of this herb. And if you’re looking for a vigorous, reach-for-the-sky herbal vine for your garden, consider hops. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, 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.
- Celebrating 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! Instead, 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 punch recipes.
- Find out what’s going on at MeadowKnoll by visiting Susan’s blog, Lifescapes. She also has a new blog, BookScapes, where she’s posting reviews of books she has read and notes on writing/publishing. That’s where you’ll find the Mystery Unscramble Contest on 9/13. If you’re not on her blog mailing list, add your name and she’ll send you a contest reminder. (Look just below for the form to sign up for the blogs.)