Pot Marigold Herb

Borage is an annual herb native to southwestern Europe. Because its blue flowers attract bees it is widely cultivated in bee-keeping regions, especially in England and France, but also in other parts of Europe, where it often becomes naturalized. It grows to a height of 60 cm (2 ft) and the young hairy leaves have a cucumber-like flavour.

Its use as a herb actually came about by fraud, for in the days of the Roman Empire the poor used it in place of the costly saffron, a practice that continues to this day. It deserves to be forgiven, however, for its lovely colouring, called calendulin, is used as colouring matter not only in butter and cheese but also in soups, sauces and pastries.

The ancient Romans prepared mustard from seeds that had first been soaked in water and then crushed and boiled. According to another recipe the seeds were ground and then blended together with honey and oil. Caper is a prickly shrub with long, trailing branches growing on rocks and walls in the warmest regions of Europe and Africa bordering the Mediterranean since time immemorial. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but both Dioscoricles and Galenos warned against the effects caused by eating the buds. In this they were wrong, however, for the buds are not poisonous and nowadays are used as an excellent flavouring for foods.

The buds, produced in succession the whole summer long, are picked daily by hand and graded according to size. The spiciest, but likewise the most expensive, are the tiny, round, hard capers called `nonpareilles’, the cheapest are the so-called `eapueines’, also known as `capottes’, which are up to six times larger. Medium-size capers are called `surfines’, ‘fines’ or `mifines’. Capers are a common seasoning of the Mediterranean peoples and widely used by them in their cooking. They may be used to flavour salads, mayonnaise and cold sauces and served with cheeses; their pungent aroma is not destroyed by cooking.

Pot marigold is native to southern Europe and the Orient and is noted for its ease of cultivation. It is an annual herb that is propagated in spring by sowing the seeds outdoors where the plants are to grow. The yellow-orange disc-shaped flowers are borne singly at the end of the stalk. The use in the kitchen. These are arranged in two or three rows and plucked when the flowers are fully open.

They must be dried rapidly in shade to preserve the colour for this fades when exposed to sunlight. The dried flowers should be stored in a dark, dry, well-ventilated place or in air-tight containers. To this day the flowers are used by the pharmaceutical industry in antispasmodics and in preparations promoting the healing of wounds

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