it has been raining non-stop here. the herbs love it and have taken off.
a few summers ago i volunteered at an herb garden and learned so much information about these edible plants. some herbs i grow in pots, like rosemary and fruity sage, as they are not hardy in zone four climates. as mentioned earlier, i grow chocolate mint, apple mint, and spearmint in pots to keep them somewhat contained. other herbs i grow in the beds near my front stoop. it's important to have your herbs nearby so you can hop outside and snip a few branches/leaves when you are preparing dinner.
here are some of our favorites(as they look today in the garden) and how we use them:
lemon balm. okay, i can hear you now. lemon balm is such a pain. it is true that lemon balm can spread but this just means that you have to use it. we love lemon balm fresh or dried in teas (hot or cold). i hear that it makes a lovely, lemony pesto when combined with garlic, olive oil and spices. a must try this summer. be creative and try substituting lemon balm whenever a recipe calls for lemon peel.
we cut this herb back probably twice a summer, which keeps it under control. every spring, it's the first herb that greens up and begins to grow. i love how lemon balm smells and even though it can be aggressive in the garden, i like having it in my herb bed.
this herb is so nice on fresh fruit salads. anise hyssop and watermelon are especially wonderful. a sprig of anise hyssop is also great in iced tea! an added bonus is that bees really like anise hyssop and we have four hives in our backyard. we just added anise hyssop to our garden last summer, and i'm happy we did.
i don't think i can imagine a garden without chives. so many uses for this easy-to-grow herb. we love making chive vinegar with the blossoms or adding the blossoms to salads. chives are great in stir fries and wonderful additions to butter or cream cheese.
great for tabouli, chopped into salads, made into pesto. the list goes on and on.
i love that sage is still going strong in november when we want it to flavor our thanksgiving dishes. we also love fried sage leaves (so good!) in risotto.
each summer we try to cut large bunches of oregano to hang from the rafters of our shed so that we can have a large jar of dried oregano for our pantry. a wonderful addition to pasta sauces.
we also grow cilantro (which is very tiny and hard to photograph at this date).
all of these herbs except for parsley (a biennial) and cilantro (an annual) are perennial and are fairly low-maintenance, in my opinion. it's nice to have herbs to use in the kitchen while we are waiting patiently for garden vegetables.
which herbs are your favorites and how do you use them in your kitchen?