~Herbs on Saturday~
|Peachy Fresh Fruit Salad with a Flourish of Angelica and Mint|
Peachy Fresh Fruit Salad
Flourish of Angelica and Mint
|Herbs on Saturday ~ Angelica|
~Saturday 6th August 2011~
~Samedi 6 Août 2011~ Transfiguration~
An aromatic and graceful herb and one that I love; Angelica is a member of the Parsley family, and is known mostly for it’s candied stems for cake decorating, as well as the leaves for teas, tisanes, jams and desserts. It is known as the ‘Herb of the Angels’ (hence the name) because it was believed to have ancient medicinal properties. This elegant tall plant has a long firm stem and bright green leaves and has a distinctive scent; the roots and stems smell strongly of gin – so it comes as no surprise that this is one of the ‘botanicals’ used in the flavouring of gin and vermouths. If you are lucky enough to grow this lovely herb, the stems can be cooked with rhubarb, gooseberries, apricots or apple for poached fruits, pies or crumbles. They’re also used in jams and preserves, and the leaves go well with fish or in salads, especially fruit salads like my recipe here.
|The Angelica seed heads make an attractive show in the herb border|
|I grow my Angelica in submerged pots on the edge of the herb garden|
I make candied angelica regularly ~ I use it in all my baking, mainly for decoration and it is so much better than the toxic bright green stuff you get in those small plastic tubs in the supermarkets, but I will post that recipe and photos another time, as I will be making a new batch at the end of summer…….this recipe however, is a dream to make and makes a wonderfully different fruit salad to end to any summer meal…..the angelica leaves adding a fragrant and almost spicy flavour.
Fresh fruit salad was the first thing I was taught to make at secondary school in Domestic Science! We were all taught to make basic lemon syrup for the fruit salad, a great classic and a standard recipe that I have never forgotten. However, here I have deviated a little and have taken advantage of some excellent local peach syrup/cordial instead of the home-made lemon syrup I usually make; and I have garnished the salad with mint and angelica from my herb garden. I have suggested certain fruits to use, but the beauty of a fresh fruit salad is that you can always rustle one up with whatever you have locally and to hand. Serve with fresh pouring cream for a real treat…….and if you don’t have angelica leaves to hand, don’t panic, just pop more mint leaves in ~ the mint works beautifully with this salad.
Herbs on Saturday Recipe:
Peachy Fresh Fruit Salad with a Flourish of Angelica and Mint
- 1/2 Charentaise melon or 1/2 local melon, peeled and diced
- 50g (2 ounces) green seedless grapes
- 1 red apple, cored but not peeled
- 1 green apple, cored but not peeled
- 1 oranges
- 1 bananas
- 25g (1 ounce) black currants, or blueberries
- lemon juice
- peach cordial, mixed with water to about 150ml (1/4 pint)
- fresh mint sprigs
- fresh angelica leaves
- Cut the apples into bite sized pieces and the bananas into slices – then squeeze a little lemon juice on them.
- Add the grapes, melon chunks, segmented orange and blackcurrants or blueberries if using.
- Pour the peach cordial and water (juice) over the fruit and leave to stand for at least an hour before serving.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves or sprigs and angelica leaves. Serve with single pouring cream or yoghurt.
See you tomorrow, I am out for dinner at a friend’s house tonight ~ so no cooking for me…… and have a wonderful weekend!
NB: In response to your comments, I have added some more information about Angelica or Angélique as it is called in French….
Traditional old English herbs
During the Middle Ages angelica was one of the most important herbs in the garden. The root, stem and leaves were all used in the treatment of digestive, bronchial and circulatory problems. The root and seeds were sometimes burned to perfume the home and the leaves used to add a sweetness to sour fruits in cooking.
How to Grow Angelica
- Plant: biennial
- Height: 1-1.5m
- Soil: moist, slightly acid Exposure: semi-shade
- Propagation: seeds
- Uses: culinary
Although angelica is a biennial herb-growing the first year and flowering the second-it will continue to live for several more years if you clip off the flower stems before they bloom. The yellowish green, tropical looking leaves are large, becoming about 0.7-1m long, and are divided into 3 leaflets with toothed edges. Greenish white flowers bloom in umbrella like clusters at the ends of the bloom stalks which are 1-1.5m tall, hollow, and stiff.
As the name implies, angelica has religious associations. It is said that an angel presented the plant to man as a cure for the plague, and 15th and 16th century herbalists recommended eating or chewing the roots as a cure for a number of diseases. It was also believed that angelica would protect against witchcraft and evil spells. In Lapland and parts of Germany, angelica is often carried in processions while a verse is sung whose origins are pre-Christian and so old that the participants do not know its entire meaning.
Angelica likes moist, rich soil that is slightly acid, growing best in semi-shade. It can be grown from seeds, but they must be sown within a few weeks after ripening or they lose their ability to germinate. If you allow seeds to ripen on the stems, they will self sow readily. You also can propagate angelica from root cuttings.
The roots, leaves, and stalks of angelica have a number of uses. The stems can be candied and used to decorate cakes and pastries, and can also be jellied. You can even eat the boiled roots and stems like celery. The seeds and an oil made from the stems and roots are used as a flavouring in many liqueurs such as vermouth, chartreuse, and Benedictine, and the seeds also can be brewed into a tea.
Harvest the stalks in the second season and the seeds as soon as they are ripe. (Information taken from Growing Herbs UK)
- Tie some angelica leaves in a muslin bag and float it in warm water for a relaxing bath.
- Crystallise angelica stems for cake decoration. Cut the stems into finger-length pieces, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand until they’re easy to peel (this could mean overnight). Dry well and boil in a sugar syrup made of equal quantities of sugar and water, until the stem has absorbed as much syrup as it can. Leave to cool and use as required. I will be posting this recipe on my blog sometime in the future.
- Take from Herb Expert co uk
Leave a Reply