Drying Herbs For Summer Tea

Drying Herbs For Summer Tea

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mexican Mint Marigold (Texas Tarragon)


Mexican Mint Marigold at my Frog Pond

To join me on this journey we must first begin in my herb garden in Southeast Texas. It's here that we may ponder the story of the Mexican Mint Marigold. With its little golden flowers swaying in the cool November breeze, we shall take in the scent of licorice and anise together. Now we can dream of reaching into the heart of Mexico and on into the mountain regions. The Mexican Mint Marigold tells a tale deep within the mystical culture of the Aztec and Mayan Indians. If we put our ears to the wind we might hear whispers of the people chanting in their religious ceremony, burning incense made of Mexican Mint Marigold to their Gods. Other members of the tribe who hold great spiritual significance sit among each other loading their pipes with tobacco's and Mexican Mint Marigold. As their smoke fills the air they seek visions important to life. With fires burning on a chilly night high within the mountains, the Mayan women prepar a bitter tea made of cocoa beans, garnished with Mexican Mint Marigold said to ward off chills. The cocoa bean was deeply prized for its medicinal and magical powers and considered to be "The Food of the Gods."

Mexican Mint Marigold in my Herb Garden

It doesn't seem so far fetched that modern medicine is recognizing cocoa as a preventative cure for many forms of cancer and other diseases. The Indians found it to calm stomachaches, help overcome colds, sooth nerves and a whole host of other symptoms. I think I shall enjoy a pinch of this herb to flavor some homemade Mexican hot cocoa this winter to ward off the chill and try to imagine the time of the Mayans.

With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner Mexican Mint Marigold is the last flower to bloom in my garden. The herbs flowers are still bringing butterflies and bee's, busy gathering the nectar from its blooms. It will winter very well here in Southeast Texas providing we don't have a hard freeze. It's a tender perennial and with a little extra mulch to keep it warm it can remain green throughout the year. Even at that there is really no worry, because if it does freeze as it did last year it will show itself back in spring ever so faithfully.


Basket of cuttings

I'm beginning to take cuttings now from the semi woody stems to propagate more new plants for next spring. They will root out well provided I give the cuttings a little protection from the cold frost. I find it is better to take my cuttings now in fall when it is cooler. I take a chance in not getting cuttings in early spring if my plants freeze back this winter. It would be late spring for the shoots to become tall enough to take cuttings. By that time the temperatures are sometimes to hot and the cuttings may struggle and wilt. It's good to have many plants of this herb throughout the garden. Mexican Mint Marigold benefits the garden by repelling the Mexican Bean Beetle, so plan to plant it near some beautiful heirloom beans next spring. It is also said to help deter some species of weeds, although I hadn't studied that closely in my herb garden to see whether it does or not. For those of you who live is Southeast Texas, I highly recommend this herb. It has done beautifully in the hot humid heat and even through the droughts when I often neglected them. I couldn't ask for a more splendid herb with so many uses to bring such grace to my garden.

Mexican Cocoa

I'm making homemade Mexican Cocoa this fall for a little warm me up. I think it will make a fun and delicious chocolate garden treat for my friends and family this Christmas. It is quite simple to make. I placed all the ingredients except the Mexican Chocolate in my food processor and pulsed it a few times. I put the Mexican Chocolate in a heavy ziplock bag and used my little girlie hammer to crush it. Then added it to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulsed it a few more times. The recipe makes 1 quart or 2 pints for gifts.

Mexican Cocoa

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

Optional: pinch of dried Mexican Mint Marigold finely crushed

I put a couple nice size teaspoons of the cocoa mix in my favorite chocolate mug and sprinkled a small pinch of Mexican Mint Marigold on top. Just pour on some hot water and enjoy the warm Mayan Indian chocolate flavor.


Happy Gardening and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Pammy



4 comments:

  1. Hi Pammy... This hot cocoa recipe sounds delicious! I saw your comment in my blog, and yes, I have made your lemon bars... five batches so far! They are GOOOOOD!
    It's so coincidental that you stopped in... I wanted to catch up with you, as I just received my Jan. 2011 issue of Herb Companion and FINALLY got around to browsing through it last night. There on page 8 is your note to Cynthia Meredith about how you enjoy her blog. It HAS to be you!!! Hope you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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  2. Hi Laura, wow 5 batches hehe! glad you like them. Yep that would have been me commenting on Cynthias blog. She lives a little further west of me and always seems like we are working on the same projects in the garden with the same bugs and same weeds LOL. I didn't get to make the pumpkin ginger bread yet again today, thought I did get the pumpkin roasted. Ended up cleaning the oven. Not my fav project LOL Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too!!

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  3. Love this little herb, it's so cheerful! It's strictly an annual here, so it gets started from seeds every year. Shoot, I've never even considered cuttings!
    Your hot cocoa looks delish. With the Mexican chocolate I'll bet it's really scrumptious!

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  4. Hi Rhonda!! Yippee you got comments =) If you have a hard time finding the Mexican Chocolate try it with the Ghirardelli 100% cacao Yummy! Then we can toast to the Mayan Indians!! Yep, cuttings are great. I know you can divide it too, but I never know where I want to move some till spring. Artist you know LOL

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