ANGELICA- this week's NTH
It's difficult to identify plants from such a small picture, I know. This week was a bit more difficult because the flower resembles other plants, Queen Anne's Lace being the most popular guessed.
At the very last moment, Susan came through with this week's herb: ANGELICA. She collects one of this week's books as her reward. Tune in Monday for next week's NTH and your chance to WIN.
Angelica archangelica grows wild where I live, but I never use it from the wild because it so closely resembles deadly hemlock (Water Hemlock), which grows in the same locations, in wet, boggy areas. ALWAYS USE CAUTION WITH WILD PLANTS. Hemlock is toxic.
If you purchase angelica from a local herb farm, you know that you have the correct herb.
I have candied the young stalks in a simple syrup. This takes several days where you simmer the stalks in the sugar/water mixture for 30 minutes to an hour and then cover the saucepan and let it sit for 24 hours in the syrup. Next day, you repeat the process. After 3 or 4 days, the stalks have absorbed the sugar and the next step is to let them dry before storing in an airtight container.
I use candied angelica in drinks, to decorate cakes or cupcakes and to flavor desserts. Its anise flavor is mild and fragrant.
In the summer when the huge leaves are abundant, I use them to wrap salmon and trout for grilling. I soak the leaves in a bucket of water for at least an hour or overnight, prepare the fish with pesto or tapenade, and wrap the angelica leaf around each portion. The fish steams inside the leaf pocket, lending its light anise flavor to the fish (you could use vegetables in place of the fish).
Of course, the leaves may be eaten cooked or raw like any leafy green.