Wednesday, 1 March 2017

How to make Mint Sauce

 Continuing with my Cooking With Herbs hints 

Mint Sauce

Mint sauce is a thin savory sauce made from chopped mint, vinegar and sugar. It is traditionally served in England as an accompaniment to roast lamb. 


25g/1oz fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp white wine vinegar


This sauce could not be any easier, but makes all the difference to a lamb dish.

1.Place all the ingredients in a bowl together and leave to steep for 30 minutes to allow the mint flavour to develop. 

For a finer sauce, put all the ingredients in a blender for a few seconds.

I also make my own Mint Tea. I just pick leaves and pour water over them and leave to brew.

Make sure you cut back your old mint now and give it a bit of a feed. I use chicken pellets and grow my mint in pot.

What I am doing on my plot?

I have seen a lot of white fly on the plot this last week and it brings to mind what am I going to do about these pest this coming season.
 I know that I never going to get rid of them but that is no reason not to fight them. A couple of facts:

White flies are not killed off by cold unless it is a long period of extreme cold like we had in 2010 here in Oxford.

Native species of Ladybird do not eat whiteflies and if you buy in ladybirds to eat them you will be supplied with foreign species which will also eat the local ladybird, which is not helpful.

What I do is use a two prong approach to the problem.

The first method is: You can mix up a simple recipe for an insecticide spray for whiteflies right in your kitchen. First, make a base mixture with 1 tablespoon of regular dish soap (not one with added bleach or an antibacterial soap) and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Pour it into a bottle that can be sealed, and shake well to mix. Note: This recipe must be diluted before using it on your plants.

Diluting the Recipe
Now that I have my base, I mix it with a pint of water of water. I mix this in a spray bottle, and shake it well. The washing up liquid is to help the mixture stick to the plant.

Using the Spray
Once your spray is properly diluted and mixed, you can spray your affected plants. Be sure to spray the undersides of leaves, since this is where the whiteflies tend to be. This mixture kills adult whiteflies and smothers the larvae and eggs as long as they are covered in the spray, so be sure to apply it liberally. Reapply every five days or so after rain or watering your plants for the best results. Be sure to spray plants early in the morning or late in the day when temperatures are cooler, as the heat may cause an adverse reaction in your plant.   

The second tool I use to keep the whiteflies down is to vacuum them up using my battery powered, hand held vacuum machine. This works very well but only when it is dry like in the mid summer.

It is always a good idea to try your mixture on one plant and wait for a few days to make use what every you use if safe and does not kill the plant.

Never use vinegar as a pest spray as it will kill the plant.

Be warned it is against the law in the UK to mix your own mixture to spray on plants. But what does the law know about Aloe Vera! 

Thoughts whilst Gardening:
Lent starts today: what am I doing about it?

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