Dave's Garden Book Review: The Complete Book of HerbsBy Melody Rose (melody)
July 9, 2011
The Complete Book of Herbs
By: Andi Clevely and Katherine Richmond
Herbs have been a part of our lives as long as there has been a human race. Man's relationship with plants goes back further than written history and those considered useful for medicine, food preparation and supposed magical powers were held in the highest esteem. Sometimes invading armies conquered whole countries over plants. Once reserved for royalty and the wealthy, today herbs are used by all parts of the population and easily obtained.
This beautiful book details the history, cultivation and uses of many popular herbs. Instructions for propagation and care are helpful and concise. Great illustrations help the novice garden like a pro.
Whether you want a large, formal garden, a container garden, or just a few pots on your kitchen windowsill, this book walks the reader through each process. Clear, detailed images instruct the reader in pruning, dividing, seed sowing and layering. Plans for colorful gardens, fragrance gardens, flowering gardens, seasoning gardens and dyeing gardens, help the reader choose suitable plants and arrange them attractively.
The central part of the book is a detailed glossary with actual photographs of each herb. Both the botanical name and the various common names are listed. Each plant has a detailed description, a list of uses, cultivation instructions and a notation on the parts of the plant that are used. Plants that should be used with caution are noted and possible side effects listed.
A delightful recipe section with full-color preparation instructions is mouthwatering and exceptional. The recipes include Smoked Trout and Minted Grapefruit Salad, Chicken Stew with Blackberries and Lemon Balm and Chocolate Mint Truffle Filo Parcels. Instructions for making herbed vinegars and oils, along with pickles, preserves and sauces round out the offerings.
Detailed instructions for the crafty gardener include fresh herbal wreaths, old-fashioned tussie-mussies, potpourri, sachets and party favors. For the more adventurous, scented hair rinse, complexion milk, hand cream, bath sachets and tea recipes conclude the book.
This is a great book for a novice and even seasoned pros will find helpful information and suggestions. The recipes alone would make a great addition to anyone's cook book collection. I've had it in my personal library for several years and still consult it often.
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