As a plant lover and hobby gardener, I was intrigued by this book. Is it a cookbook? A DIY book? What are these extraordinary plants anyway?
Looking at “Harvest”, by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis, I could tell it would be a book different than any I own…and I own too many. The book is separated into gardening seasons during the year: Early, Mid, and Late. I like this better because if you’re picking this book up during a certain time, you can get to planting or harvesting for the projects right away.
Before you even get to any projects, you’ll notice that the photographs are bright, detailed, and quite exquisite. They highlight the beauty of what a garden and its harvest can be. I would get this book just to have it on my coffee table so that guests could admire the photos.
As we go through each gardening season, the author gives us information about certain plants/flowers and then proceeds to include projects for each.
Breadseed Poppy: Can’t say I’ve heard of this one before, but the flower is beautiful. It is called the “Baker’s flower” so that means I must add it to my garden! It can be used in baked goods and salads. It is accompanied by a recipe for Poppy Seed Dressing.
Lilac: Best used as a supporting shrub and best harvested in the morning. Great to use in a Lilac Flower Cream for your skin or to flavor sweet dishes.
Peppermint Candy Flower: Also known as Pink Purslane. It can be used in many ways like in salads, cooked, or pressed into cheese as they show you in a recipe for Edible Flower-Pressed Cheese.
Elderberry: Well known for its use in syrup. Can harvest flowers and fruit. Can make infused tonic water (recipe included), as well as Elderflower-Infused Honey. I think I’ll definitely be adding this to my garden as I am completely obsessed with honey. I don’t even need bees for this as you can use already jarred honey.
Oregano: I’m sure if you don’t have this one in your garden now, you probably did at some point. It is so well-known that many people probably get bored of it. Though I’ve used it in cooking as a fresh or dried herb, I’ve never used it to make vinegar and they show you how to do that. A lovely addition to any vinaigrette recipe.
Lavender: As I write, my lavender is just starting to bloom its beautiful purple blooms. I never thought about making tea from it and now I know what to do when I’m overwhelmed with flowers. So exciting.
Flowering Basils: Great in arrangements inside (and outside) your home. The cut stems can last weeks in vases as long as you don’t allow them to wilt – talk about bang for your gardening buck. Plus, the bees loves them.
Rose: I don’t currently have any planted, but I do love using a toner with rose in it. They teach you how to make your own using your own roses.
Quince: Not many people, at least that I know of, are familiar with the quince fruit. It’s easy to grow, but requires maturing time off the branches and is not used fresh but is cooked. Included is a recipe for quince paste, one of my favorite things with a good cheese.
“Berggarten” Sage: Drought tolerant and deer resistant, for those in climates where water is scarce or where deer love to eat your precious plants. Makes a wonderful garland for tables, mantels, or just about anywhere.
Australian Finger Lime: Chef favorite. Best grown in USDA zone 10 so it is not for all areas, but if you put it in a container, you may be able to keep it if you aren’t in that zone. Great for use in a gin and tonic (one of my favorite cocktails!).
Pomegranate: Favorite varieties include “Wonderful,” ” Ambrosia,” and “Eversweet.” If you like margaritas, you can make this lovely Pomegranate Margarita. It has a beautiful pinkish-red color, great for any holiday table. Even if you don’t want to grow them in your yard (or you don’t have space), just buy some from the store and they’ll work just fine.
Above are just some of the highlights of each section. There are many more plants and projects included. In the back, there are alternatives you can use should you not have what they recommend. For example, my favorite recipe, the infused honey, can be used with apricot, blackberry, rose, or lavender also. Also included is a Terms & Techniques section if you are unfamiliar with something they mention like Pruning, Succession Planting, or Drying.
This is a must have for any gardener that wants some new ideas, any DIY’er that loves being in the garden as well, and pretty much anyone that appreciates beautiful photography. I know, with this book, I’ll be using my garden much differently this year.
Harvest @ Penguin Random House
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.