Warm Up With A Little Sage Tea

Sage is a pungent herb most of us associate with stuffing and turkey but it’s a much more flexible seasoning then most folks think!

Have you ever tried sage tea?  Admittedly it has a flavour that may take some getting used to but it can help with congestion and stuffy noses that often crop up at this time of year.  You can combine it with other herbs or lemon tea to make it tastier if necessary.

Another great combination is sage and squash!  Add sage to your squash recipes for a tasty, savory side-dish.  A teaspoon or two of dried and crumbled or close to a tablespoon of fresh combined with olive oil and garlic then spread over the inside of your favourite squash is sure to please.

For a real treat fry fresh sage leaves in butter (preferably organic sage leaves (and butter of course!) … some store bought types can be a bit bitter) until golden brown and use them for garnish on squash, rice, potatoes or other savory dishes.  Just try not to eat all the sage before it makes it to your plate … oh so yummy!

Soup Season is Here!

There’s nothing like a nice hot bowl of soup to warm you up after a chilly day outside.  Whether you’re cleaning up the garden or going for a hike through one of our amazing parks here in Toronto … a big bowl of soup, ready when you get home, is the perfect way to finish your day!

There are so many variations on the soup theme that it can be tough to decide which soup to make.  Some of our favourites here at the Children’s Garden include Coconut Curry Squash Soup and just about anything with noodles 🙂  Soups are also a great way to eat more vegetables!  You can even throw a handful of greens into most soups to boost their nutrition factor! Continue reading “Soup Season is Here!”

Chicken Of The Woods

So very COOL!  The Gardeners here in High Park found a little forest treasure today … it’s called Chicken Of The Woods.  It’s an edible fungus that tastes surprisingly like … chicken.  As you can see the human race is not overly creative when it comes to naming stuff!

Please Remember – Never eat mushrooms or fungus unless you are 110% positive that it is safe and you know what you’re eating!!!!! (yes this warning requires 5 exclamation points!)!

Also here’s another reminder that it is considered illegal to remove anything from a national, provincial, municipal park or conservation area.

So here are some photos of the fungi that were knocked off an Oak here in the park … and no these are not orange brains … we promise 🙂

Continue reading “Chicken Of The Woods”

Prescribed Burn in High Park

If you noticed the smoke coming from the west end on Thursday then you saw the prescribed burn done here in High Park.  Almost every spring the Black Oak Savannah gets a small, controlled dose of forest fire to keep it healthy and help it regenerate.

The Black Oak Savannah is a rare type of habitat, a small example of which can be found here in the Park.  Traditionally this type of habitat would have small forest fires sweep through every year.  Among other things the fire would help break down seed coats that require high heat to break open so the plants can grow.  These days we rarely have a forest fire in the middle of the city (fortunately) so our Forestry Staff, Fire Department and Police have to work together to help nature along.

Our Park Supervisor Jorge was there and took some great pictures of the burn:

You should also check out the “Prescribed Burn” walks hosted by the High Park Nature Centre.  You can make seed balls and help the native plants grow here in the park!

Now if I can just get the smell of campfire out of the office!

Spring Greens Information and Recipes!

Over the next few months as things start to wake up and grow here in Southern Ontario we’ll see a few very special, local and truly seasonal spring greens popping up.  They’re tasty, extra healthy and make for a great way to celebrate the upcoming garden season … it’s that first taste of fresh, seasonal, local food!

What are the popular early spring greens found here in Southern Ontario?  Well they’re often considered weeds.  Yes we encourage you to eat your weeds!  Others are true delicacies that are native plants to our area.

Collecting these in the city can be a bit difficult and in many parks and conservation areas they are protected.  It is also important that these plants are properly identified before you pick them.  For this reason we always suggest purchasing these greens from your local farmers’ market.  If you would like to learn more, a quick search of the web will find you a number of courses in proper foraging techniques and plant identification.

Continue reading “Spring Greens Information and Recipes!”

Bean Update!

We know you want one!  It’s Monday and they’ve had the weekend to dry.  The beans are now dark purple and a wee bit shrivelled 🙂  We’ll store them in a cool dark place until late next spring when it warms up enough to plant them again.  To check out what they looked like originally, here’s the first Bean Post!

This picture really shows a hint of the original colour

Continue reading “Bean Update!”