Gadget Tree: Herbs+ (An App for the Herb Curious… or Challenged!)


This is what you need to get more creative with (and take the fear out of buying) all those gorgeous fresh and fragrant herbs you’re seeing in the market.

Herbs+All HerbsHerbs+ is a field guide to almost every kind of basic herb you use for cooking.

Chamomile Herbs+A great photo with each herb helps illustrate exactly what the herb looks like. The Culinary Ideas tab gives info about how an herb tastes, how it’s usually used and how you can use it in a dish (ever thought of using sorrel with strawberries?).

There are also tips on the herb’s medicinal use— did you know that chives help prevent premature aging? (I’m loading my basket with chives this weekend at the farmers market!)

The gardening tips are especially useful, if you’ve got the terroir for such an endeavor. You’re not going to be able to grow cloves in Chicago, but rosemary will thrive… and most likely even survive the winter.

If want a deeper dive, there’s a link to Wikipedia to give you even more info about the herb. The App also a handy tab for taking notes.

Like I said in the beginning, this is a very basic guide… it won’t have some of the more exotic herb cousins (for example, Thai basil or Mexican oregano). But it’s an easy way to learn about herbs and push past your reticence to try a new strange smelling little green bushy thing.

And besides… this App is 100% guaranteed to spice up your phone. Just had to say it.


Read to Feed- Ripe: A Cook In The Orchard


Ripe: A Cook In The Orchard
by Nigel Slater

Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN 978-1-60774-332-3

“Growing your own is as addictive a drug as almost anything out there.”

What it’s about: Yes, it’s a cookbook with deliciously mouthwatering sweet and savory recipes, but Nigel Slater has also filled it with beautifully written prose about growing, caring and preparing the fruit from his 40-foot London garden. A follow up to his book “Tender: A Cook And His Vegetable Patch.”

Who Should Read This: Each of the 24 chapters is a carefully crafted paean to a single fruit… he even includes a few eclectic items that we rarely see. Heard of damsons? How about medlar? Me neither. Regardless, if you like to cook, most of the recipes are relatively easy (and incredibly informative). And if you just like to look and imagine cooking, you’ll be more than rewarded.

Crisp pork belly, sweet peach salsa
Image by Jonathan Lovekin

Why You’ll Like This: This cookbook truly transports you to the reality of cooking. The images are bold and beautiful. The prose, incredibly visual: “The sudden sight of a cherry orchard in flower, perhaps as you turn a corner on a twisting country lane, can take your breath away.” This is adventure reading!

Favorite Part: I like cookbooks that teach me something, beyond learning how to make a new dish. This book really gets into the nuances of fruit: when it’s at its peak, how to store it and offers up some delightfully interesting pairings. Pears with salty bacon… yes please!



I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: