- Sandra Reaves of Josie Gladys Gardens joins us to discuss your garden and how you can find some great treats for yourself and gifts for others there using cultivated plants, native plants, and naturalized plants. Autumn and early winter are something like a second Spring in Alabama. There are many native and naturalized plants that are full of nutrients which thrive at this time. You could enjoy them in a salad or soup, or even chopped up and tossed in your oatmeal!! But they are also wonderful for making healthy tisanes. Many are great sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, as well as calcium, magnesium and iron.
Sandra picked a wide variety of these "provision plants" and is blending them with cultivated plants to make tasty dried herbal teas. The wild plants, what Sandra calls provision plants, include dandelion, chickweed, wild strawberry, henbit, purple deadnettle, violet, and oxalis. The cultivated plants she uses all have a culinary history. Many are known to have healing properties and have long been traditionally used for that reason. She chose oxalis for its lemony flavor. Aromatic herbs like oregano, basil, and rosemary are savory in flavor, but also helpful for sinus issues by breathing in the steam of the tea. Also good for your nose are the various mints species, which are known to be very beneficial for digestive issues. They taste great too! In Japan, they drink Sakura-cha, cherry blossom tea at special occasions such as weddings.
The Japanese preserve the blossoms in plum vinegar and salt. Sandra is simply drying Autumn cherry flowers, which began blooming in November. Once you have blends you like. Bag them up and gift them in a pretty package with reusable muslin tea bags and maybe a few cookies! For more information, visit Sandra's Facebook page - it includes lots of pictures, tips, how to videos, and info on veggie trials going on in the garden. It's a "real time, real life" look at home gardening and food preservation. You can find her at www.facebook.com/JosieGladysGardens.