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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
Growing & Selling  
                Fresh-Cut Herbs
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Growing and Selling
Fresh-Cut Herbs

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Herb of the Month

Over the next year, the herb of the month feature will focus on those unusual herbs that a professional grower may occasionally be asked to supply.  These profiles are supplied by Herbalpedia


Angelica archangelica

Family: Umbelliferae

Description: Biennial but may live up to 3 years before flowering.  Grows to height of 5-6 feet occasionally as much as 7 feet with a width of 3 feet.  The flowers are large heads are spheres of small, light yellow, almost green flowers. Leaves are few, deeply dented and large palmlike on hollow, fluted stems. The fruit are green and oblong from 1/6-1/4 inch long.  The root is hard, fibrous, containing a thick, yellowish juice.  Blooms from June to July.

Cultivation: Germination is from 21-28 days.  Sow fresh seeds  outdoors in autumn for exposure to frost, or pre-chill in a refrigerator for a few weeks before sowing in spring spacing 2 -3 feet in a soil temperature of 60-70F.  Seed needs some light for germination, so it should be tamped into the soil rather than buried.  Soil is best rich, moist loam, slightly acid with a pH of 5-7.  Can be grown in full sun but prefers semishade.   Seeds stay viable only about 6 months, unless stored in refrigerator. Bugs are very attracted to them so they should be kept in a sealed container. Transplant to a moist shady position as young as possible, before the roots become immovable.  An acre will produce 8-11 pounds of dried root (12,000 lb of fresh root per acre).  Large roots may weigh up to three pounds.  Angelica is subject to aphid attacks.  Spray infested flower heads with a cup of water that has had six crushed cloves of garlic soaked in it. Young leaves can be gathered any time during the growing season, the stems in the summer of the second year.  Cut seedheads and ripen until seeds are dry enough to store. Roots are dug up in the first fall or second spring, cleaned and dried slowly. Larger roots should be sliced into smaller pieces.  Two-year-old roots are most desirable.  Stinging nettle improves the oil content by up to 80% when planted nearby.  Dried angelica is subject to insect infestations and should be stored in sealed containers. The root must be harvested soon after the seeds ripen, as it will quickly rot in the ground after the plant has matured. 

Culinary Uses: The licorice-like scent and flavor of angelica tend to offset the tartness of fruits such as currants, plums, gooseberries, and rhubarb.  Add minced leaves or seeds to fruit compotes, pies, jellies and jams.  Simmer and steep stems and leaves with water and sugar or honey and use the syrup with desserts or dilute with water for a drink.  Add to liqueurs, spirits and wines for its flavor and digestive properties or candy the stems to flavor desserts.  Add leaves to salads and use with fish, poultry, and pork, pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes.  Stems and roots are cooked as vegetables.  The small flowers taste as good as they smell, combining well with salads, vegetable dishes, fruit salads and fruit tarts.  Use with lemon, lime and tangerine sorbets.
            Candied angelica stems are served by themselves or made into a colorful jelly. They were originally the green candies in fruitcakes.  Considered a vegetable in northern countries like Iceland, Siberia and Lapland, the raw stems are eaten with butter or cooked in two waters as a vegetable.  Cooked with milk and Rumex species, angelica was used to make a coagulated dish stored for winter use.  In Norway the powdered roots are used as a flour for bread.  The Lapps preserve fish by wrapping them in angelica leaves.

Rhubarb-Angelica Compote
3 cup white wine or apple juice
3-4 fresh rhubarb stalks, cut in 1” pieces
  cup honey
2 Tbsp minced, candied ginger
1 lemon zest strip
1 4-6” candied angelica stem or
1 Tbsp chopped angelica leaf
1 lemon, juiced
  cup water
  cup raisins
10 prunes, chopped
  cup chopped dates
  cup thinly sliced apricots
  cup dried cherries or cranberries
            Combine wine, rhubarb, honey, ginger, lemon zest, angelica, lemon juice and water in a medium, non-reactive saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Add the raisins, prunes, dates, apricots, cherries and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Fruit should be soft and well mixed.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Set aside to cool.  Place in a small bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.  (Recipes from Riversong)

Angelica Tea Cake
4 eggs, separated
  cup angelica syrup
2  cups cake flour
  cup melted butter
2 Tbsp rum
2 Tbsp rum-soaked raisins
cup finely chopped candied angelica stems
the grated peel of lemon
            In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff; set aside.  Whisk the egg yolks separately and fold them into the egg whites, add the angelica syrup, and beat for 15 minutes.  Stir in the cake flour, melted butter and remaining ingredients.  Put the batter in a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes or until done.  (Medicine of the Earth)

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The comprehensive revised edition of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs is available from author, most internet booksellers, bookstores, and in libraries.  It can be ordered from the distributor, Independent Publishers Group

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