The flower power of Nasturtiums – More than just a pretty face! Edible flower gardening

Nasturtium – A real power flower!

Did you know? Edible flowers contain many vitamins and minerals. They’re rich in nectar and pollen, too.

When I was a little girl, I remember quite clearly a time when my Mom grabbed a daffodil away from my hand (that I’d just picked from her garden), and was about to shove in my mouth to eat.  I have two points to make about this little flashback.

1) NEVER eat anything from the garden unless you know it’s okay! (Daffodils are NOT okay, and your Mom will agree).

2) For some reason, I’ve always looked at flowers in a way that some people look at a big juicy steak!

Years later, now with a garden of my own, (and a bit of knowledge thankfully), I grow flowers that not only attract pollinators, but some I can eat, and so can you!

Rose hips & Lavender

For the rose connoisseur, rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C and may contain up to 50 times more of this vitamin than you’d find in an orange. In this post however, I’d like to talk about Nasturtiums.

I’ve grown these pretty, eye-catching flowers for many years so they’ll trail along the front of my garden border. But the best part is that this plant is edible.

It’s fairly well known that the flower can be used in salads and stir fry’s. With a slight peppery flavour, it reminds me of watercress. More than just tasty, nasturtium flowers are high in vitamin C., (about the same amount you’d find in parsley), and in addition, they contain the highest amount of lutein found in any edible plant.

Lutein is a natural carotenoid found in orange-yellow fruits/flowers, leafy vegetables like kale, (carrots of course), and egg yolk. (A flamingo’s diet is rich in carotenoids which gives them the pink plumage that makes them so beautiful!)

In our eyes, carotenoids are present in macular pigments, where their importance in aiding against ocular disease is currently under clinical research. So eat your plants. 🙂

Saving Nasturtium seeds

I save nasturtium seeds to plant more next year, but I also harvest some unripe pods to create condiments, especially spiced herbal vinegars.

For this recipe, simply steep them in a jar of vinegar for a week or two, along with any other herbs you like for additional flavour, (shake daily), then strain and bottle. It’s really that easy!

The leaves are also rich in vitamin C, and in addition, they contain a sulphur compound that apparently offers an excellent anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antibiotic source when eaten.

Nasturtiums, Hollyhocks, Scarlet Runner beans

Edible flowers should be picked in late morning after the dew has gone, but before the sun is high in the sky. Pick the fully open flowers.

Never eat any flower that’s been in contact with chemicals or other poisons such as pesticides or herbicides. Organic is always the way to go! If you grow it yourself, you know it’s safe for your family. Otherwise, the local farmers’ market is another great source to find healthy food.

Much like growing grapes for making wine, flowers of the same variety, but grown in different locations, will have a slightly different taste.

This ‘terroir‘ as it’s called, (and I just love this word!) 🙂 is pronounced tĕr-wär′. It offers the complete set of local conditions where a particular fruit, vegetable, or herb, (cheese & other hand crafted food), is produced, including the soil-type, weather conditions, topography, obtains its individual character.

Flowers and foliage may taste a little different at the end of the growing season too, and can vary from year to year. Think of dandelion leaves which for me, always taste best in spring.

And, the best part you ask? Flowers are mostly free of calories!

Once more

Do NOT eat ANYTHING from the garden if you aren’t absolutely sure you know what it is first! – Thank you!

More edible flowers

Bee balm
Borage
Calendula
Chamomile
Chive flowers
Dandelion
Daylily
Lavender
Lilac
Marigold
Mint
Nasturtium
Pansy
Rose hips
Sage
Squash blossom
Violet

Have fun experimenting, and happy gardening! ~ Karen

Sharing an elderberry syrup elixir recipe, and DIY kits too!

It’s that time of year, again… Cold and flu season.

We often feel run down around the holidays, which makes us more susceptible to these kinds of viruses. But, many people are turning towards older herbal remedies, especially elderberries, (Sambucus nigra).

The use of elderberries has gained in popularity. With some scientific testing to back it up, elderberries can offer relief from coughs, colds, & even the flu when made into a syrup elixir. Also known for their immune boosting properties, elderberries are rich in antioxidants, and a source of Vitamin C.

It’s one of the best alternatives to big-pharma products, some of which may contain additives that people don’t want to give themselves or their family members. A must-have in many people’s natural cold and flu cabinets, (aka fridge in this case!).

I take a spoonful (a day) at the sign of an oncoming cold, or if I feel run down, or have been around someone else who feels sick. For the past 3 years, (knock on wood!), my elderberry syrup has kept these kinds of viruses at bay.

That’s why I’d like to share our new DIY Elderberry Syrup Kit! Now, anyone can create this lovely, useful herbal alternative.

Available here, at my -> Etsy Shop

This kit includes all the ingredients you need to create your own syrup, plus. easy-to-follow directions, & recipes, & a drawstring bag. .📨 

All you need to have on hand is some honey (or maple syrup), to create a batch of elderberry syrup that will last most of the winter, if kept in the fridge. (Approximately 32 oz, or 1 quart.)

The labelled & organic ingredients include:

× Elderberries
× Elderberry flowers
× Ginger
× Echinacea Root
(Spices) × Cardamom× Cloves × Cinnamon Bark × Star Anise × Eleuthero Root

🙌 Here’s my recipe! (Feel free to share)

  1. Place elderberries, water, herbs and spices in sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an hour.
  4. Using cheesecloth, (or a very fine mesh sieve), strain the mixture.
  5. Transfer your batch in to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey, (or maple syrup if you so desire).
  6. Keep it in the fridge, sealed for up to 3-4 weeks.

Be well my friends!

~ Karen

P.S. View more of our DIY Kits -> HERE.

Thank you!


*** Please note:
× These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

× Please review this product’s ingredients before use to determine if you have an allergy, if you’re pregnant, or breastfeeding. ***Always consult a physician if unsure.

Itchy Green Fingers? Lets Start Sowing #Seeds

Gardeners can rejoice because it’s time to get the jump on spring! Time to start sowing seeds indoors.

If you have itchy green fingers this time of year like I do, here are some suggestions on how to get growing!

In in a pinch, (pun intended), and need to find quick and inexpensive labels? Clothes pins are the way to go, (popsicle sticks work equally well), and it’s simple to write the variety of seed you’re growing on them and then clip them to the pot.

When the time comes to planting the seedlings in the garden, the clothespin can be switched to a bamboo stake, or a popsicle stick can be stuck right in the ground.

These labels can be decorated, too! That’s a great way to involve the kids, and we all know Pinterest offers an abundance of creative ideas to do just that. 🙂

Egg shells and egg cartons work particularly well. The egg is nature’s packaging, and the carton is a ready made holder that conveniently comes with the eggs!

After that Sunday breakfast, keep the shells and pot them up with your seeds.

Eggshells will do more than just keep slugs away from a Hosta.  They’re an organic way to provide calcium to the soil. The seedlings benefit, and any worms in the garden will be quite happy to make compost out of them.

The whole enchilada can be planted in the ground, and the best thing of all is that their tender roots won’t be disturbed once it’s time for them to be planted outside.

Containers from newspapers work well, too. The best 20 bucks I ever spent was on a pot maker purchase! Every year it repays me because it’s easy to make these recycled containers, which also keeps some paper out of the landfill site. Newspaper will break down in the garden, so they too can be planted directly in to the garden.

No muss, no fuss.

My kind of gardening!

 

DIY Infused Calendula Oil – An at home apothecary skin care treatment to create for yourself!

Making your own Calendula infused oil is very easy to do!

calendula-oil-in-progress-wfsWinter especially saps the moisture out of our skin. Creating an oil from the petals of Calendula officinalis, otherwise known as pot marigold, is the perfect strategy when you want to combat the drying effects of this harsh season.  By following the steps below,  you can have your very own batch of skin care in no time at all!

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Dried, organic calendula flower petals
  • A carrier oil (I prefer Safflower oil, but Olive oil or Sunflower oil work well, too.)
  • A glass jar with lid. Make sure to clean it first!

infused-rose-calendula-oil-at-wall-flower-studioHere is how to do it:

  • Fill the jar about 2/3 full with the dried petals.
  • Next, slowly poured the oil over the petals, making sure they’re all submerged
  • Wait 4-6 weeks so all the goodness of the calendula is infused into the oil.
  • Store the jar in a warm dry spot for the infusion to occur. Before you know it, you’ll have your very own homemade infused Calendula oil, too.
  • Once the 4 weeks are up, strain the flowers out and there you have it… Your very own homemade Calendula oil.
  • Use the soaked flower petals as a foot scrub before discarding. Mix a handful of the petals with a cup of sea salt and scrub away.

calendula-wfs-fbCalendula oil is great to use after a bath or shower. It seeps in without feeling overly oily, making skin feel very soft and supple.

Apply it topically where needed.

I use it as a key ingredient in my lip balms, salves and other bath products.

*For more information on Calendula visit the: University of Maryland Medical Center

Feel free to get creative. Have fun and enjoy!

Sharing our Autumn hours, and an abundance of tea at Wall Flower Studio!

Herbal TeaAutumn is the time to cosy up with a warm cup of herbal tea! The seasons have shifted gears, Karen has harvested all kinds of herbs from her garden! Wall Flower Studio’s herbal tea line is growing! The harvest was just in time too, as it’s now sweater weather here in Ontario.

It’s time to enjoy the harvest, the changing colour of leaves, and to settle ourselves into the cooler weather that fall offers.

As noted we have an abundance of herbal, green and chai tea available! (See our partial list below). Karen is happy to create custom blends for her customers, too!  Visit the shop to see all of the creative and soothing tea combinations with which one can indulge.

Can’t get to Minden?… Shop online  via our Etsy store, too. 🙂

wall-flower-studio-shop-hours-fall-2016Our hours have changed, like the seasons do, so we’re sharing the October and November open times at the shop. We are now closed on Tuesday & Sunday.

This of course doesn’t take into account special events or workshops, and our December holiday hours will expand.

Check back for more on that in late November, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, too. 🙂

Thank you!

 

Tea tasters at Wall Flower Studio:

Flowering Tea placed in hot water - beginning to open - Wall Flower Studio

We offer organic Flowering Tea Blooms, too!

Chocolate Chai
Coconut Ginger Chai
Spiced Apple Chai
Mint Chai
Rooibos Vanilla Chai
Vanilla Citrus Chai
Chamomile
Lavender
Ginger Mint
Lavender + Green Tea
Lavender + Chamomile
Calendula
Hibiscus Flower
Jasmine Pearls

An abundance of Lemon balm!

An abundance of Lemon balm!

Citrus + Ginger
Lemongrass + Mint
Lemongrass + Sage
Licorice + Lemongrass
Orange + Chamomile
Calendula + Mint
Hibiscus + Green Tea
Chocolate Mint
Dandelion Root + Fennel
Lemongrass + Fennel
Lemonbalm + Green Tea
Rosehip + Ginger
Lavender + Rosehip
Chamomile + Comfrey
Green Tea + Jasmine
Green Tea + Sage

We are happy to create custom blends, too! Contact Karen to create your own personal cuppa tea! 

 

Happy Autumn!

Succulents in Wire teapot at Wall Flower Studio