I really enjoy cooking with herbs, and I am going to start carrying herbs at The Bloom Closet Florist later this month, so I thought I would do a little blogging about them...
Chives are perennials, that love the sun. Onion or garlic chive leaves are good in salads or soups, baked potatoes or use them to make a herb butter and cream cheese.
Dill is a annual that loves the sun. Dill is wonderful in soups, salads, on fish, in eggs or mices with a cream cheese as a spread.
Lavendar is another perennial that loves the sun. Flowers can be used in cakes, cookies, and dried lavendar makes a great potpurri, or a sachet.
Basil is a annual that loves the sun. My favorite use for basil is to make a great pesto spread.
Oregano is a perennial that is good to season grilled or roasted meat.
Rosemary is a perennial that is great with everything. Meat Dishes, Potatoes, Herbal Butters, Good in Lemonade.
Thyme is a great herb for variety. There are so many varieties, citrus, pine, caraway, etc., that the same dish may taste different each time. Use Thyme in martinades, stocks, soups and sauces.
When you harvest herbs, like basil, its best to harvest about 1/3 of the plant. This will encourage new growth of leaves, but leave enough so the plant isnt stressed.
Herbs can be preserved in may ways...
Herbal Vinegars: Use a cider or wine vinegar. Breuise freshly picked herbs and loosely fill a clean jar. Pour warm vinegar to fill jar and cap. Shake jar daily for a couple of weeks, Test for flavor. if you want stronger flavor, strain out older herbs and add new.
Herbal Oils: Use a Canola, Safflower or sunflower oil. Bruise the herbs and add to a jar. Pour heated oil, not to hot, sitre to make sure there are no air bubbles clinging to the herbs. Steep for 2 weeks, strain thru a cheesecloth and store in mason type jar.
Herbal Butters: Finely chop desired herbs and add to a softened unsated butter. Mix. Place a piece of wax paper and shape into log. Tightly wrap and put in refrigerator or freeze until needed.
Dried: Many of your herbs can be dried during the summer so you can enjoy them during the winter. Clean the herbs after you pick them. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage should be bundled loosely and hung in a warm, dry, dark location. Leaves, such as bay, can be laid out on a screen to dry. Herbs should not be dried in the sun or in an oven as the essential oils may evaporate.
Freezing: Herbs can also be froze. Especially for the more tender herbs like basil or parsley. Rinse the herbs and shake to dry, then place in plastic bags and freeze. You can freeze whole herbs this way or in mixtures that will be ready to use. You can also freeze herbs in ice cube trays. Place about 1 Tablespoon of Fresh herbs and about 1 Tablespoon of Water. This is also a nice way to preserve herbal flowers that you can later add to teads or punches.
Just make sure not to use insecticides on your herbs if you plan to use them, be organic!!!