Fall Flavors

Just in from my evening walk with my dogs and I return, as usual, at least this summer, with remnants of spider webs in my hair, on my clothes, and sometimes even on my face.
Webs clinging to the stucco of my house, under the eaves, on the screens, in every corner, even in my herb and flower containers. The palm trees have them; my native grasses sway with them. As intuitive gardeners, we instinctively notice the subtle signs of nature.
Since early times, these signs have been giving us a “heads up,” of the season ahead. Whether it be the number of seeds in a persimmon, the thickness of the husks on an ear of corn, how early the monarchs pass through in migration, the absence or abundance of nuts on a tree, the behavior of ants or squirrels, they are all signs of things to come.
However, in answer to why cobwebs seem to be everywhere, along with the appearance of an unusual number
of grasshoppers in the garden, these signs have nothing to do with impending weather.
They only mean what we already know. The weather is dry, very dry. And spiders love this weather.
Fall cooking and baking...if you're like me, about the middle of July I lose my motivation to cook or bake. But, come fall I’m refreshed and eager again.
No doubt you will be using herbs and spices this time of year, especially through the holidays. Apples, pumpkins, and mushrooms are most abundant now.
Instead of the usual “go-to,” cinnamon, why not give some different herbal combinations try?
Apples taste great with sage, lemon balm, or bergamot. Mushrooms and garlic are common and delicious; try lemon verbena, oregano, and marjoram, or rosemary and thyme.
Did you ever think of using cumin, dill, thyme, sage, basil, chives, or parsley in your pumpkin and squash recipes?
Think savory, not sweet. Experiment with the not-so-commonly-used herbs in your fall cuisine.
Who knows, you may find a new flavor favorite.

By Cheryl Balster