Herbs – (Yarbe) By M. Walter Dundore
The Pennsylvania Germans brought the art of herb cultivation with them to Pennsylvania. For untold ages onions, Zwiwwele, had served their forefathers and their salads did not lack allure for the lack of onion flavor. Even the most powerful member of the tribe, the much discredited garlic, Gnowelloch, was considered absolutely essential by the settlers in order to bring out certain salad tastes.
They would not think of Schmierkees without chives, Shnitloch, the mildest member of the onion family. Chives provided mild onion flavor from the earliest spring until frost stopped further growth.
Second only to the onions, the settlers valued parsley, Peterli, an herb which was put to a great variety of uses. The extra curly or double type was used for garnishing, while the single type was strongest in flavor and was used with vegetables, meat, fowl and fish.
Garden thyme, Quendi Tee, was a close competitor to parsley as a great herb for seasoning. This was freely used in stews and clam chowder, in sausages and other meats.
Sage, Salwei, was a favorite for seasoning, its dried leaves making an important ingredient for the dressing of fowl, lamb and veal.
Rue, Raade, was a cure for boils and concocted by brewing a tea from its leaves. Judges, while holding court, kept it on their benches to ward off flies, noxious insects and contagious diseases which were apt to invade the court room with the prisoners.
No housewife thought of boiling beans without a few sprigs of savory, Brunnergreidel, which provided a savory dressing equally palatable with fish, fowl or meat. As an addition to soups and stews it was unequalled, while a judicious use lent additional qualities to salads. Blanched lovage, Laabsdeckei, was also used to flavor soups and salads. Wormwood, Warmet, was esteemed as a reliable remedy for stomach and liver ailments.