GASTRONOMY THROUGH NATURE
Starting from the Minoan times, if someone notices the murals, the connection of the ancient Cretans with nature and its products, it is obvious that they have taken a rather special place to the everyday life and worship. Besides the edible plants, that were the main food for the Minoans and are still a basic part of the Cretan Diet, there were also those who were objects of worship. Sacred trees of Crete carry over the centuries a great testimonial to the relationship of the locals with nature.
The collection of Herbs: the collection of herbs takes place while the plants are in the right biological stage and the nutrients are at their peak. But that differs from one plant to another.
a) The leaves are collected before the flourishing of the plant.
b) The blooming parts are collected during the flourishing.
c) The fruits during the pick of their maturation.
d) The roots, after the cycle of the plants has ended
Tip: the plants should never be uprooted!
DRAINAGE: The drainage of the herbs takes place in a dark and dry place, well-aired (20ο-30ο)
STORAGE: Stored preferably in dark glass containers, with airtight stoppers, in a dark and dry place (20ο – 25ο).
Create your own collection of herbs and take advantage of their qualities!
ATTENTION: THIS IS NOT A MEDICAL ADVICE, AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE THESE HERBS SHOULD REPLACE MEDICAL TREATMENT. SOME OF THE HERBS MAY CAUSE SIDE EFFECTS AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AT THE SAME TIME WITH DRUGS.
The sage is a herb of intense flavor and taste. The ancient Greeks considered it to be the solution to everything. The elders say that whoever has sage at his home, has no need of a doctor. It is also said that if you burn dry leaves inside your house, bad energy disappears.
Its nutrition value is extremely high and it is ideal for relaxation, for helping asthma and for better adjustment to menopause. It has also antioxidants, it is inflammatory, has anti-aging qualities and improves memory.
DICTAMNUS (ORYGANUM DICTAMNUS)
Dictamo is the most common herb of Crete. It is found in all the mountains of the island and it has borrowed its name from mountain Dikti. It has fuzzy leaves with grey-greenish color and has pink little flowers & strong fragrance.
Dictamo is famous for its healing abilities, since the times of ancient Greece. Hippocrates used it against stomach and digestive issues, against rheumatisms, but also as a healing and antispasmodic balm.
Dictamo’s essential oil is also used for fragrancing liqueur Venedictine.
MINT (MENTHA AQUATICA ΚΑΙ MENTHA PIPERITA)
It takes its name from Nymph Minthi that Pluto wanted as his mistress. Persephone pursued and trampled her, but Pluto transformed her into this herb.
Mint is considered to be a natural aphrodisiac.
It stimulates the blood flow and increases the body temperature. It is said that Aristotle had advised Great Alexander never to allow his men to drink mint tea before the battle, so they would not have sexual excitement, thus loss of their powers.
It is mostly a pharmaceutical herb, with anti-oxidants, it is digestive and stimulant and it is a perfect expectorant, ideal for coughing and the flue.
For mint tea, pour a little mint into boiled water, leave it for 5-7 minutes, then drain and drink it. It can also be served cold.
We can also prepare a large amount and keep it in the fridge.
Attention: Do not drink over 2 cups of mint tea per day for a long time. Also, people that practice homeopathy should not drink or eat mint.
In the kitchen, it can be used everywhere, in pastry and cooking, in salads, vegetables, meat or fish!
Tip: Place some mint inside your cupboards and keep away the ants!
It comes from the Mediterranean. The ancient Greeks deeply appreciated it for its healing abilities. Rosemary stimulates the blood flow, improves concentration and memory, tones the mood, the heart and vision. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and it is considered to give clarity. Threaded leaves of rosemary can be used to clean up wounds.
In cooking, it is used thoroughly with meat, potatoes, red sauces and generally foods with wine and garlic. It can be used fresh or drained.
In winery it gives perfume to various vermouths and flavored wines.
It is the most classical seasoning. It grows everywhere in Greece indigenous, near seas and mountains. It is resistive to cold, but it prefers dry and warm climates. It is used fromthe ancient years, mostly as a medicine for poisonings, spasms and swellings. It is good for asthma, pain during dysmenorrhea, muscle pain and rheumatism.
Oregano’s essential oil is used for toothaches.
In Greek cuisine it is used a lot, fresh or drained, more often in Greek salads, in tomato sauce and roasts. Oregano is used also, to fragrance oil, vinegar and butter.
It is a bush with wonderful perfume and beautiful little flowers that smell like lemon (also known as lemongrass).
Its’ leaves and blooms have calming action, they are antipyretics and diuretics and they are picked up during the summer time. Aloizia acts also positively in losing weight and helps detoxification.
A cold juice of Aloizia can be used in order to clean our face. Its essential oil, found in pharmacies, is used topically on wounds, as it helps them heal more quickly. It sooths irritations and helps the removal of boozes.
Attention! It has high content of camphor, so its consuming should be with caution.
Tip: for fresh breath chew a leaf of Aloizia.
Its lemony fragrance is a good combination with sweet creams, fruit salads, fruit juices and sauces for white meat, as well with fish. It is used fresh or drained.