Notes from Herb Heaven


Hyssop grows about 50cm high and spreads about 22 to 30cm. Bright blue-violet (or pink or white) flowers are much visited by bees and butterflies in the summer.

Hyssop makes an attractive edging to a flower bed or herb garden when kept clipped in spring to prevent it from becoming too straggly. If you pinch out the young growing tips in spring, you will be rewarded with increased flower production.

This highly aromatic herb grows in cool or warm areas, but prefers a little dappled shade and protections from heavy summer rains in the tropics. Try keeping a hyssop plant in a pot so that you can move it about as needed.

It likes fertile, well-drained alkaline soils and you can grow it from seed, root division and softwood cuttings in the spring. Sow seed in trays and cover lightly, keeping it moist. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, prick them out into little pots or bags of their own and wait until they are about 20cm tall when you can plant them out in the garden ~ 24-30cm apart. For cuttings, take about an 8cm tip and strip the lower leaves off and put into moist sandy soil. Do not let them dry out and you will have them rooting in a month. To divide, dig up an established plant and cut the root mass into smaller sections. Plant them immediately. Do not overwater.
In late autumn, cut the plant to ground level.

Lavender is said to be good with game and stews – about 1 Tbs of chopped leaves per pot.
Try making lavender cookies to serve with a tea with friends. It’s an all round stress reliever.

Hyssop can be quite bitter, so you should not use too much of it. Use it in white sauces, stuffings, soups and casseroles, with fish, poultry, meat and all kinds of beans. It is very compatible with cranberries and can also be use in fruit cocktails, fruit pies, salads and with cottage cheese. Tea made from the dried stems, leaves and flowers is used to ease coughs and colds, bronchitis and chronic nasal catarrh. The cooled tea is a refreshing facial rinse. It is an ancient European herb that was often used as a strewing herb, scattered to repel insects. Hyssop is a good companion to grapes and cabbage, repelling the cabbage butterfly.


Tuna Pâté with Hyssop

198g can tuna flaked with juice 
1 hard-boiled egg – chopped fine
2 heaped T cottage cheese, sieved
1 tsp chopped hyssop
salt and pepper

Mix the tuna, juice, hard-boiled egg 
and cottage cheese. Mash well with a fork.

Blend in hyssop, salt and pepper.

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