Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
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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
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 2½ -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
Angelica Tea Cake
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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