Category Archives: Flavors and Scents

Drying Herbs

As a child, I remember trying to dry basil for the winter. It was an entirely unsatisfactory enterprise, as the basil consistently turned black and tasteless. I never thought I would dry herbs again. But this season, I cannot bear … Continue reading

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The Invasion of the Chiliheads

Plenty of new words have been coined in recent years, but only one of them as far as I know pertains to gardening—chiliheads. These are the firebrands who breed ever more scorching chili peppers in search of the most red-hot, … Continue reading

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Mosquito Plants

Marketing is everything—in gardens as in the rest of the economy. Consider this spiky little plant. I would never have given it a second glance in the garden center if not for the fabulous label. But when I spotted the … Continue reading

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Confessions of a Pesto Addict

In one heartbreaking act of finality today, I chopped down the last of my basil. It was time. The bottom leaves were turning yellow, and it was only a matter of who would claim the remaining basil first–me or the … Continue reading

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Garlic Galore

Halloween may be coming, but we won’t have any vampires in Hoboken—not judging by the garlic festival sponsored over the weekend by the Hoboken Historical Society. Two long tables were laden with exotic varieties—including Turkish red, French red, Spanish roja, … Continue reading

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Tomatoes!

It would be difficult to pick a single best taste of summer. But somewhere in the list of contenders would have to be these golden cherry tomatoes, ripe from the vine. I’ve been plucking them by the fistful for the … Continue reading

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Ground Cherries

At the farmer’s market this week, this curious little fruit was for sale. It’s related to the tomatillo, which has a similar papery husk. But improbable as it sounds, the flavor is much closer to that of a cherry. To … Continue reading

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Mint Surprise

I was warned. Friends told me: mint will take over your garden if you let it. So I planted my spearmint and peppermint in their own pots, where they couldn’t encroach on neighboring herbs. I thought this would limit the … Continue reading

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The Tale of Hansel and Gretel

OK, I’ll admit it. Part of what drew me to the Hansel and Gretel miniature eggplants were their names. Wouldn’t it be fun to pair these two varieties, I thought–Hansel with its deep purple fruits, and Gretel with its smooth … Continue reading

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Remembrance of Meals Past

To Proust, the most evocative food may have been the madeleine. But for me, there is no delight comparable to basil and dill fresh from the garden, with homegrown tomatoes running a close second. Last summer’s bounty brought plenty of … Continue reading

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Spanish Roja

Garlic, I always assumed, was just garlic. That was before I started reading about heirloom varieties with exotic names like Persian Star, Chilean Silver, Georgian Fire, and Creole Red. Robust and zingy, they promised to deliver more flavor than the … Continue reading

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Stevia 101

On a whim this summer, I planted some organic stevia seeds. For weeks, I watched with anticipation as tiny seedlings sprouted—excruciatingly slowly. But I was confident that the wait would be worth it. I’d seen over and over again how … Continue reading

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Scents and Sensibility

Every morning when I walk out into the container garden on my stoop, I am greeted by the sweet scents of lavender, dill, basil, and rosemary. But when I try to describe these fragrances, I soon realize that my vocabulary … Continue reading

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