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Author: Melissa Tucker

tea tree oil

Tea tree oil: Nature’s Disinfectant

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Tea tree oil might be the most essential of the essential oils. Native to Australia, the oil of the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) was issued to infantry men in that country in the early 1900s to treat infections. And they were on to something. Scientific studies have shown when used in combination with other oils on wound dressings, tea tree oil can inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus like Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. And, when combined with geranium oil, tea tree oil inhibited the growth of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

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drying chilis

Dry Your Peppers with Ristras

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It’s that time of year, when there’s a chili in the air.

The ristra, a strand of dried peppers commonly seen in the New Mexico area, is a symbol of abundance and hospitality. This time of year, they decorate the walls and doorways of homes and restaurants as peppers air dry on strands of string or twine. Some say drying outside enhances the flavor, but you’ll have to find out for yourself.

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fried green tomato recipe

The Perfect Fried Green Tomatoes

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At some point in your area’s growing season, those tomatoes will stop turning red and stubbornly stick to a tart green. If that happens, don’t despair! You have at least three options for those little nightshades. You can fry them, pickle them or force them to ripen with newspaper. Here’s the best recipe I’ve found for frying. For best results, serve with a side of Pimento Cheese with Peppadew.

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Say goodbye to summer with turkey burgers

It’s a bittersweet time when summer ends. Those summer months are a blessing and a curse, but now the hot evenings, the mosquitoes, the sweat, and the sweet juicy tomatoes are all on the way out. What better way to say goodbye to short sleeves than with an end-of-summer cookout?

Gather your friends, grill up some fresh turkey burgers, open a can of light beer, we used Lost 40 Day Drinker, and pay your respects to the days of bright summer flavor. My good friend Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts in Little Rock shared a few secrets to turkey burgers, aioli and Italian salsa verde on the patio of his restaurant. As the chef at Big Orange, which specializes in classic and innovative burgers, he would know a thing or two about the subject. This menu serves six people, so keep that in mind when you’re making the invitation list. (Hint: Double it!)

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When Lilies Take You By Surprise

As a kid, when I saw the naked ladies pop up in the yard, it was always bittersweet.  Their bold presence always made me smile, but I also knew it was almost time to go back to school. The ever-present surprise lilies, also known as spider lilies, naked ladies or naked lilies, were a sad reminder that summer was coming to an end. They are “naked” because the blooms arrive before the foliage and their stems are bare.

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boxwood basil

Two-for-One Plant: Boxwood Basil

Once you recognize the boxwood shrub, you’ll see them everywhere. In most neighborhoods, they are more ubiquitous than speed bumps. But what if I told you the boxwood basil has the same aesthetic as the sought-after boxwood shrub, but it pulls double-duty by also being pesto-ready at any moment. And like the traditional boxwood, this basil is beautiful for edging your garden or shaping into a topiary. I bet you never thought your basil could also look like a bunny.

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