You know spring is springing when a waft of sweet scent catches you unaware. What a great way to SAVOR THE SOUTHWEST! Tia Marta here to share some olfactory sensations and some ideas for carrying them to your breakfast table or teatime in an aromatic cup.
I first met lemongrass on an adventurous trip in central Sonora. As we walked by a kitchen garden in the lovely Rio Sonora town of Banamichi, an elderly gardener hailed us, inviting us in for a cup of the most refreshing tea–té de limón. Inspired by her, I’ve been growing it in my own kitchen garden ever since. I love to snip it to steep and serve as a quick pick-me-up tea on a cool day. With a few sprigs bundled and cooked in a pot of whole chicken soup, it makes the best lemon-chicken you ever tasted! Lemongrass is the gift that keeps on giving; it multiplies, and plants can be gladly shared.
It was Magdalena Mahieux, at her family’s farm west of Hermosillo, who introduced me to té de oja. For breakfast she instructed me how to go harvest my own fresh leaves for morning tea from their lime tree. Come to find out it is not only refreshing, it is a traditional medicine for calming nervousness and insomnia when made in concentration.
Goodding’s verbena is a delightful addition to your garden–and to your olfactory enjoyment. It is a native (not related at all to lemon verbena) that will re-seed itself to return year after year with its glorious long-lasting lavender color and sweet scent.
Happy sniffing into spring as you savor the Southwest with all your senses!
Tia Marta’ artwork and heirloom foods can be found at www.flordemayoarts.com. For native desert plants go to Desert Survivors Nursery , www.desertsurvivors.org.