Tag Archive | "San Antonio Herb Market"

Savor a Story of Savory

Savory has been named Herb of the Year, and it will be part of the celebration when the Herb Market returns to the Historic Pearl Brewery on Oct. 17. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free admission, free seminars and free parking.

Not familiar with savory? Here are some facts and a recipe to help you get to know this pungent herb a little better.



Origin and Cultivation

Originating in southern Europe, Savory, a genus of about 30 species of annuals, semi-evergreen perennials and subshrubs, occur widely in the northern hemisphere thriving in dry, sunny spaces. They are unassuming plants but deserve a place in our herb gardens and can be grown as ground covers and even trailing plants for the front of window boxes or hanging baskets in semi-shade here in our south central Texas summers.

Although there are many varieties, the cultivation of all savories is the same. They enjoy well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. Pinch out new shoots in spring to encourage bushiness. Cut back winter savory in early spring. Winter savory can be grown in pots or from seed in early autumn and transplanted to garden pots or your herb garden in early spring when all threat of frost is gone.

Savory, also known as the bean herb, may deter Mexican bean beetles if planted in between rows of beans in the vegetable garden.

Uses for Savory in Cooking

–Summer Savory (satureja hortensis) is a small, bushy annual. The plant is quite woody with branching stems and small leathery leaves. The leaves have a mildly spicy flavor similar to marjoram. Use with meats, especially sausages, fish or with beans. The leaves are commonly used in dried-herb mixtures for use in stuffing, pates and other meat dishes.

Most commonly used as a seasoning for green vegetables, savory’s special affinity is for beans. Use summer savory, with its more delicate flavor, for tender baby green beans, and winter savory to enhance a whole medley of dried beans and lentils. It is no coincidence that the German word for the herb is Bohenkraut, meaning bean herb, as one of the components of the herb naturally aids the digestion of these sometimes problematic legumes.

–Winter Savory (satureja montana) has a stronger, less refined flavor than the summer variety. Use savory to enhance the flavor of fish, vegetables, eggs, soups and stews, and many other dishes. Fresh savory leaves are often used as a garnish. Also, vinegars flavored with savory can be used in making salad dressings and add a fresh green flavor.

Savories – A History



The savories have been used to enhance the flavor of food for over 2,000 years. Savory is an herb so bold and peppery in flavor that since the time of the Saxons it has come to denote not only the herb itself, but it is synonymous with tasty and flavorful foods.

In California, most people have heard of Yerba Buena, the original name for the city of San Francisco. Few probably realize that the “good herb” (as the name translates to) is actually a variety of savory: Satureja douglasii. This low-growing, creeping perennial is native to the Pacific coast, thriving where it finds rich, moist soil. The early settlers learned to dry the herb and drank it as a tea to cure a variety of ailments, thus earning its name “good herb.”

Nicholas Culpeper an English botanist, herbalist, physician and astrologer published The English Physician (1652) and the Complete Herbal (1653) wherein he wrote that “savory should be kept dry all year. Make conserves and syrups for your use and withal, take notice that the summer kind is best.”

Medicinal Use: Savory essential oil is high in phenols comprised of carvacrol, thymol, cineol, cymene and pinene. This makes it great for a wide variety of uses including a strong antiseptic. It is most popularly known for its anti-fungal and astringent properties. It is used to prevent hair loss and is also used to treat insect bites and stings. The oil can be used as a tonic for seasonal illness, parasites and indigestion. It can be applied to wounds and ulcers as well as a tea used to aid digestive problems, most especially the flatulence that comes with the enjoyment of beans and chili.

Roasted Spicy Tilapia Filets
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon fresh summer or winter savory finely chopped
4 (6-ounce) tilapia or red snapper fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the seasonings; sprinkle over fish and press into both sides. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill fillets, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat.

Makes 4 servings.

From San Antonio Herb market Association

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Green Up! Pearl Hosts the San Antonio Herb Market

On Oct. 19,  the San Antonio Herb Market welcomes fall again at the Historic Pearl Brewery, with ways to learn about, cook with and just enjoy herbs.

The market, now in its 22nd year, will be on Pearl Parkway and Avenue A. Hours are from 9 a,n, – 3 p.m. with free admission, free seminars and free parking. Pearl Parkway will be closed to traffic, as the Herb Market takes over.


Elder, which has both flowers and berries, is the herb of the year at this fall’s Herb Market.

This year it is time to “Respect Your Elders,” as the herbal theme is elder (Sambucus) or elderberry. Known as one of the herb world’s most useful plants, elder has culinary uses in both foods and beverages, and also is used to heal and protect.

The program for the Herb Market includes seminars such as the History and Uses of Elder, a Growing and Care for Elder segment presented by Ronnie Grell of Rainbow Garden, and a special Cooking with Elderberry demonstration by local Chef Steven McHugh.

Also on the agenda is a seminar on Herbal Blends From Around the World, a how-to on Container Gardening, and everything you wanted to know about Drip Irrigation. The Ask the Experts booth will be staffed by local professionals and specialists to answer your herb and gardening questions throughout the day.

Herb fans and growers can shop here for herbs both familiar and exotic, and celebrate this year’s “Herb of the Year.” Food items, herbal blends, candles and other herbal items will also be available.

The San Antonio Herb Market was started as an educational venue putting growers and public together to learn about herbs.

Over the years, it has evolved into an event that brings “herbivores” and herbal experts to one place to gain knowledge of growing, up and coming herbs, trends, culinary uses and more. The nutritional and dietary information is shared with Herb Market visitors, as well as other educational venues throughout San Antonio and the surrounding area during the year.

Organized by the San Antonio Herb Market Association, the presenting sponsor is the San Antonio Water System. Other sponsors include, Fanick’s Nursery, Natures Herb Farm, Big Grass Living, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, Lady Bug Products, The San Antonio Herb Society, Bexar County Master Gardeners, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, Rainbow Gardens, and Shayne Sauce Foods, LLC.

For more information on events and scheduling, visit the website at

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21st Annual Herb Market Blossoms Like a Rose

Shoppers fill one of the booths at the 21st annual San Antonio Herb Market.

Everything came up roses at the 21st annual San Antonio Herb Market Saturday.

Rose is the herb of the year.

Rose, the herb of the year, was featured in seminars, cooking demonstrations and lectures. Plus, you could pick up roses of various hues and aromas from several vendors.

Roses can be used in everything from dishes such as rose petal pound cake or rose hip tea. They can also be used for medical purpose, in your bath and, of course, in potpourri with other natural ingredients.

The time of the market coincided with the weekly farmers market, giving shoppers of both the chance to expand the scope of  their Saturday trip. A cloudy overhang kept temperatures down in the morning.

Though the versatility of the rose was in the spotlight, there were many other herbs, flowers and vegetables for sale that captured market-goers’ attentions. Trays of lemon verbena, rosemary and basil make their way into buyers hands. Cat nip, mint, thyme and oregano went home with many.

Shoppers enjoy the many leafy bargains.

Swiss chard, spinach, lettuces and kale all added to the lush greens of various sizes that filled booths. Plus, lavender products, herb and fruit jams, wreaths made of succulents and flower arrangements all filled out the row of booths by the new Lab building at the Pearl Brewery.

A living succulent wreath.

Herbs, of course, are used  for much more than cooking. They can also help keep your house clean and green, as a pamphlet from the San Antonio Herb Society claims. Here are a few tips:

  • To make scented baking soda: Mix your favorite dried herbs (thoroughly crushed) or ground cinnamon with baking soda for a clean, fresh-smelling cleanser ingredient.
  • To freshen your garbage pail: Make a scented baking soda and sprinkle about 1/4 cup in the bottom of the garbage pail.
  • To make a soft-scrub alternative: In a small bowl, mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda and 1/2 cup liquid soap. Dilute with 1/2 cup water. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar LAST. Stir until the lumps are gone. If it’s too thick, add more water.

    A happy canine visitor.

    Pour into a 16-ounce flip-top squirt bottle. Shake well before using.

  • To make your own air freshener: For an 8-ounce mist  spray bottle mix, add white distilled vinegar and 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake before using.
  • To make your own furniture polish: Mix 1/4 cup olive oil or mineral oil (baby oil works well, too) with 4 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 20 to 30 drops lemon oil. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well before using. Use an old terrycloth towel to wipe your furniture with.

What herbal treasures are needed in your garden?


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San Antonio Herb Market Is Saturday

The San Antonio Herb Market springs to life again at the Pearl Brewery on Saturday.  At this free event, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can purchase herbs both familiar and exotic, and celebrate this year’s “Herb of the Year” — the rose.

The Herb of the Year program, spearheaded by IHA’s Horticulture Committee, has established Herb of the Year selections up to 2015.

They make their selections based on the herb being outstanding in at least two of the three major categories: culinary, medicinal, or ornamental. While the rose’s overwhelming popularity is as the fragrant mainstay of a gorgeous display, in a garden or in a vase, the petals also can be eaten.

In fact, one of the presentations on Saturday will be from 12-1 p.m. with chef Stephen McHugh, who will offer pointers on Cooking with Rose.

You’ve heard of rosewater, or seen rose petals in salads from time to time. If you haven’t cooked with rose petals, we link to this recipe from herbalist Susan Bellsinger, for Rose and Pistachio Scones. Put a basketful of these delicious surprises on your next brunch table!

Robbi Daves Will, featured speaker at SA Herb Market

The featured speaker of this year’s San Antonio Herb Market is Robbi Daves Will. She has been in the green industry more than 30 years, working with native plant production, landscape construction, retail and wholesale nurseries.

Other presentations during the day will include an Ask the Experts session, Growing Herbs, Rose-Herb of the Year, Rainwater Catchment, a drip irrigation discussion and more. (See list.)

Among this year’s vendors are the Antique Rose Emporium, Country Lane Growers, Fanick’s Garden Center, Imagine Lavender, the San Antonio Herb Society, Farm Fresh Soaps and more. (See list.)

Horseradish plants.







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Rose and Pistachio Scones

Imagine scones, fresh out of the oven, with a subtle fragrance of rose.

This recipe for Rose and Pistachio Scones comes from Susan Belsinger. Read more about using roses as a cooking ingredient here.

“To prepare roses for kitchen use, rinse them and shake the water from them. Turn the bloom over grasping the open flower in one hand, so that the stem is facing up. Use a sharp pair of scissors and snip right above the stem, and the petals will fall freely. Taste each rose–many roses have a bitter white part at the base of each petal–which should be snipped away. This can easily be done when removing petals all at once,” writes Belsinger.

Also, if you have a number of rose petals to choose from, wash and sample them – some petals are mild tasting, some more bitter.

Rose and Pistachio Scones

2  1/4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 3 pinches cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted, and coarsely ground
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon rose water
A good handful of rose petals

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon rose jelly or 1 tablespoon red currant jelly mixed with about 1/2 teaspoon rose water
2 to 3 teaspoons water

For scones: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and blend thoroughly. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the pistachios.

Stir the cream together with the rose water. Rinse the rose petals and pat them dry. Cut them into a chiffonade (thin strips); there should be about 2 tablespoons. Stir them into the cream and add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir to form a soft dough. Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Prepare the icing while the scones are baking.

For Icing: Combine the confectioner’s sugar, jelly, and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add another teaspoon water if icing seems too thick–it will melt a little if the scones are warm.

Remove the scones to a baking rack to cool slightly before drizzling them with icing. They are best served warm, right after baking.

If you want to prepare them in advance, cool them completely without icing and store them in an airtight container. Wrap them in foil and gently reheat in a 325° F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle the icing over them while they are warm.

Makes about 2 dozen scones

Recipe from Susan Belsinger


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This Year’s Herb Market a Savory Success

Shoppers look for herbs, vegetables and more at the San Antonio Herb Market.

Chef John Brand (left) plates his goat cheese-horseradish panna cotta for marketgoers.

The 20th annual San Antonio Herb Market drew hundreds of people to the Pearl Brewery on Saturday, where vendors offered a savory variety of plants and products made with herbs. Free lectures, demonstrations and food samples filled out the massive event, which was so successful one herb grower had sold out before 11 a.m.

Each year, the market, sponsored by the San Antonio Herb Market Association, focuses its attention on a single herb while attempting to show the public what a difference fresh herbs can make in food. This year, horseradish joined the likes of fennel, dill and oregano on the list of honored herbs. The leafy green plant could be found for sale amid the parsley, sage and mint plants that were also available.

It could also be found at chef John Brand’s cooking demonstration, which was part of the neighboring Pearl Farmers Market. The chef from Las Canarias and Ostra made a goat cheese-horseradish panna cotta with a salad on top made of smoked trout, golden beets, frisée and parsley in a dill-Champagne vinaigrette. And, yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Horseradish plants.

Noted herbalist and writer Susan Belsinger led a lively discussion on how to grow and use herbs properly. She packed the Pearl’s meeting room with people eager to hear how to make their basil more bountiful or how to use bay leaves in more than stews.

She even managed to coax a few gasps from marketgoers when she held up a tall, beautiful basil plant and proceeded to cut it back to just above the leaf that was second from the bottom.

“Yes, it looks like you are massacring the plant,” she said. But it’s actually good for the plant. You should do that once a month or so, she said, and the plant will grow back — as long as the weather is warm. If the basil stems get too tall, of course, they begin to put out seeds, which is not good because it takes too much energy away from the leaves. Cutting back the plant forces it to focus on growth and producing new leaves.

Susan Belsinger addresses a full house at the Pearl meeting room.

When Belsinger started doing this in her own herb garden, she went from harvesting a single cup of basil leaves a season from one plant to anywhere from 20 to 24 cups from one plant, she said. The difference is that dramatic. (To watch Belsinger in a video on how to freeze all that extra basil and other herbs, click here for a clip posted on Or you could take the cuttings and stick them in water until they produce roots, she added.)

Though her talk was meant to be about Mediterranean herbs, Belsinger included basil, which originated elsewhere but has come to find a home along the great sea. After all, when you think of tomatoes and mozzarella, fresh basil is also part of the equation.

But basil is an annual, where the rest of the Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano, are perennials, she said. And basil lets you know it, too, because it begins “to pout” as soon as the temperatures drop into the 60s, she added.

The Herb Market is a great place for running into old friends.

Many people know bay leaves only as those dried (and dried-out) brown fossils sold in overpriced jars in the grocery. If you’re buying those, “you’re generally not getting quality,” Belsinger said.

Fresh bay is filled with vibrant flavors of balsam, citrus and spice. That’s why “bay is one of my very most favorite herbs to use in desserts,” she said. “But you have to have fresh bay.”

Belsinger likes bay with chocolate, including truffles, as well as beans. “It’s really good in a piña colada with rum,” she said. “It adds a really wonderful dimension.”

Bay also repels moths in the kitchen, so you can lay a bay leaf in flour or corn meal to keep those critters away, she said.

Plenty of fresh herbs and other plants attract customers at the Herb Market.

Marjoram and oregano are related, and yet the differences are marked, Belsinger said. Marjoram has a sweeter quality to it, while oregano is hot. That means you can substitute one for the other, but you have to remember the differences. if you’re using oregano for marjoram, use less because it is so much stronger.

But the key to each of these herbs and other leafy greens is to use them and learn how to tailor their strengths to your tastes. Fall is perfect for planting parsley, arugula and lettuces, and plants can be had at many farmers markets or supermarkets.


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Strawberry Sage Muffins

The San Antonio Herb Market is Oct. 15, and this year they observe their 20th anniversary. You can visit the market at the Pearl Brewery, Saturday only. And, you can try a new recipe for muffins with the unusual addition of fresh sage.  Sage will be just one of the many herbs featured at the market.


Strawberry Sage Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, diced
6-8 large leaves fresh sage, finely minced

Heat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, briefly whisk the egg, then whisk in the sugar until slightly creamy. Continue whisking while you add the melted butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Whisk in sour cream and milk until batter is uniform in color and texture. Try to avoid over mixing.

Add diced strawberries and sage to the flour mixture; toss gently to incorporate. Add the flour/strawberry mixture to the wet ingredients. Gently fold together until just combined. The batter will be quite thick. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, almost filling to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are a light golden color and a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins with fresh strawberries maybe be served for breakfast or for afternoon tea.

Makes about a dozen and a half muffins.

From: San Antonio Herb Market


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Celebrate Herbs: SA Herb Market Offers an Abundance at the Pearl

San Antonio Herb Market Association’s annual market will be held Saturday, but this is an auspicious year. The association marks its 20th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone this year’s theme is “20 Herbs to Remember.”

Nationally recognized herbalist Susan Belsinger will be a special guest; she has appeared on national television programs including Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, and on National Public Radio. She is a contributing writer to Herb Companion, Vegetarian Times, and other publications.

Mary Dunford, San Antonio Herb Market organizer, says,  “Herb Market is a one-day, once-a-year event— everyone looks forward to it.  Remember that it does not continue every week with the ongoing Pearl Saturday market—so we want everyone to save the date, Saturday, Oct. 15, our 20th anniversary.”

The market has much to offer: Plenty of healthy herb plants of all kinds will be offered for sale by vendors from San Antonio and Central Texas. Plus, Herb Market incorporates tips for planting, care and use of herbs in the garden and in the kitchen and home decor.

Gardening advisors, culinary experts, and health-related herb speakers will offer free programs throughout the day.  There will be food booths around the grounds as well.

Dill's feathery leaves impart herbal flavor for everything from pickles to sauces.

San Antonio Herb Market presenting sponsor is San Antonio Water System with assistance from the Texas Department of Agriculture, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, and San Antonio Herb Society.  San Antonio Herb Market is an official “Go Texan” event, recognized by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

This is the third year the herb market will be held at the Pearl Brewery, the popular marketplace at 312 Pearl Parkway at Broadway.

Herb Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is free and is available in the expansive area underneath the adjacent U.S. Hwy 281, as well is in the parking tower at Pearl.

For information, call 210-688-9421 or visit the herb market or Gardening Volunteers online.

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Basil Fest is Saturday at the Pearl

Basil is one of the top herbs that cooks keep in their kitchen gardens.

If you’re going to the Pearl Brewery’s farmers market this weekend, you have the added enticement of the San Antonio Herb Market’s Basil Fest, with lots of information, plants for sale, a Pesto Challenge and recipes by chef Michael Flores.

The Basil Fest will be during the same hours as the farmers market, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. There is no entrance fee.

For a complete list about the events happening during the day, click here.

Below is an unusual cookie recipe calling for cinnamon basil. If you don’t have cinnamon basil, regular basil would work.


Cinnamon Basil-Lime Cookies

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh cinnamon basil, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped lime peel (zest)
1 cup pistachios, chopped

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl beat butter at medium speed until light. Gradually beat in sugar; add egg, vanilla basil and lime peel, beating until very light and fluffy.

At low speed, beat in dry ingredients in 3-4 additions. Mix in chopped nuts, using hands if necessary.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape each half into a roll 6-7 inches long. Roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut dough into 1/8-inch slices and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around bottom of cookies (do not overcook). Immediately remove from sheet with spatula and place on wire rack to cool. When completely cool, store in airtight containers.

Note: Rolls of dough may be frozen. Thaw for a short time before baking.

From “Southern Herb Growing” by Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay with Jean Hardy

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Dill, a Many-Splendored Herb for Fall, Winter

Herbs are one of nature’s most bountiful gifts, providing scents for our homes and cosmetics, flavors for food and medicinal uses as well.

Dill's feathery leaves impart herbal flavor for everything from pickles to sauces.

Dill, which was reportedly used in the Middle Ages to fend off the spells of witches, adds its own charm to food items such as bread, pickles, salad dressings. It’s a useful  ingredient for making rubs for meats such as veal and chicken.

This herb was cultivated in the Mediterranean regions and southern Russia, “as far back as 3000 BC by the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians,” says Ian Hemphill, in “The Spice and Herb Bible”. He also notes that the word “dill” comes from an old Norse word, “dilla”, which means to soothe or lull. Now, dill is used in many cuisines throughout the world, especially those in Scandinavia, Germany and Russia.

In addition to using the feathery leaves, you can also use dill seed. Add it to the water when cooking potatoes for potato salad, grind it with other herbs and spices for a meat marinade. Or, make a tea with it to help settle your stomach.

• Make dilled cucumbers by snipping dill leaves into a bowl of salted cucumber slices. Let the slices sit until they give off liquid. Drain the liquid, then add a few tablespoonsful of plain yogurt, sour cream or Mexican crema agria to the cucumbers, stirring in carefully. Season with salt and pepper. This is a good salad for serving with fish.

• Add a couple of teaspoonsful of dill seed to a recipe for rye or marbled rye bread.

• Use fresh dill in an herbal mix for an omelet. It will taste good mixed with other green herbs such as parsley and/or cilantro.

• Add dill to cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, soups, vegetable dishes, chicken, fish and veal. It is also good used in tuna or chicken salads.

• Make an herb-infused vinegar using dill weed.

• Use minced dill with capers as a garnish for smoked salmon, whitefish salad or crab cakes.

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