Brrrr…It’s a Cold Winter part 2-Herbs

Gingermint 8-7-13 #2

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”                                        2 Corinthians 2:14

Tired of snow, cold and winter? Do you like to cook? Even if you don’t, maybe you just like the wonderful smell of herbs!

*Of course you don’t have to only grow herbs inside in winter-you can do that year round, but they’ll grow better outside in the summer than in your house.  To keep them close at hand in the summer try planting them in containers near your door!

How about starting an indoor herb garden for yourself that you can keep in a sunny window! 

Mmmmmmm, just think about it-fresh herbs for your cooking needs-right at your fingertips! Some herbs get large-like rosemary. I grow rosemary in a larger container which I keep by a sunny window in the colder months, then when the temperatures stay warm I move it outside- first to a shaded area, then gradually into the sun.

Herbs:

Note: measurement in cooking with dried herbs is usually different than using fresh herbs.

Turn plants regularly so they don’t just lean to one side.

Best for drying: Dill, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme

Basil-south facing window

Annual or short-lived perennial

Uses: Meats, sauces 

Basil-variegated, planted 5-19-12Basil                                                 

 

Chervil or French parsley-annual similar to regular parsley but with a slight anise taste.  Just before the plants start to flower when the flavor is at its peak

 

Parsley-east or west facing window

Uses: Salads, decorative when serving, also good to munch on

Parsley

Parsley

 

Cilantro

A short-lived annual herb.  When grown for its leaves its cilantro, but you can let it go to seed and then it is coriander!

Cilantro is used in salsa and guacamole or salads.

Let it grow to at least 6”, then trim an outside piece about 1” from top of soil, or just pull out the whole thing and use it-plant more to keep supply available.  If it sprouts a stalk at the center you can let that grow for coriander seeds.

You may want to plant several of these since once you harvest they don’t last long or produce much.

Cilantro 6-2-11

 Cilantro

Dill

Needs a sunny window.  You might want to put something in the pot with it that is decorative and will give it support, like a small wooden trellis or bamboo sticks.

Uses: Of course for pickles, but also egg dishes, salad dressings, dips,  potatoes, fish, chicken, breads…

Snip off part of the lacy top. 

Also looks nice in flower arrangements!

Mint-*there are a LOT of different kinds of mint!

They like a south facing window and plenty of water

Uses:  in tea, salads and lamb dishes.

Ginger Mint 7-30-13 #2

Ginger Mint

Variegated peppermint

Variegated Peppermint

Oregano-south facing window

Greek oregano has the true authentic oregano flavor.  Can grow and use up to 2 years. Can use fresh, frozen or dried. Harvest in early morning-the flavor and fragrance is strongest.

Uses:  in meat dishes, burgers, pizza sauces and soups

Oregano plant

Oregano plantOregano flower 7-19-13

Oregano Flower

Then I found this cool plant called “Cuban Oregano”!

Cuban oregano (plectranthus amboinicus), or sometimes referred to as Spanish thyme, is an herbaceous tropical plant (tender perennial) that is thought to have originated in India. This herb is a culinary herb that rivals oregano and thyme for its robust, aromatic, similarity of flavor. It has a similar taste and aroma to its namesakes, but is related to neither and is actually a member of the  mint family.
Cuban Oregano is growing 7-7-11
Cuban Oregano

Rosemary-south facing

An evergreen herb.  Moist but well drained slightly alkaline soil.  Keep it pruned to control its size and shape

Snip off a piece and strip small needles with your fingers to use them in cooking-meats, soups, tea, breads, etc…

Rosemary 1-27-14 wider shot vwrm

 Rosemary

Sage-south facing-try a dwarf variety-don’t overwater

Use in meat dishes and some cheeses

Thyme-perennial-south, east or west-drought tolerant

Roasted veggies, soups and sauces, meat dishes

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.             Genesis 1:29 ESV

 

Storing Dried Herbs

  1. Store your dried herbs in air tight containers. Zippered plastic bags will do. I like to use small canning jars.
  2. Be sure to label and date your containers.
  3. Your herbs will retain more flavor if you store the leaves whole and crush them when you are ready to use them.
  4. Discard any dried herbs that show the slightest sign of mold.
  5. Place containers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
  6. Dried herbs are best used within a year. As your herbs lose their color, they are also losing their flavor.
  7. Use about 1 teaspoon crumbled dried leaves in place of a tablespoon of fresh

 

Freezing Herbs – Another way to Preserve Them

Moisture dense herbs, like Basil, Chives, Mint, Tarragon preserve better in a dehydrator, or try freezing them. It’s easy to do and quicker than drying.

 

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