Tips on harvesting, preserving and using your own herbs
The best way to get the full effect of an herbs’ scent is to rub the leaves and smell your fingers. This releases some of their oils often found on the underside of the leaves. The scent of many herbs comes from a combination of several different essential oils found in them
The FDA has classified many herbs as having Gras or Non Gras Status .This is an FDA abbreviation for Generally Regarded As Safe. It means that the FDA has done research concerning the safety of some herbs for human consumption. There are many herbs which have been used for centuries that don’t have this status because no research has been done on them. There are some herbs that are dangerous for pregnant women to consume and others which may react with medications or interfere with anesthesia or blood clotting. Do your own research from at least several reputable sites before using herbs as medications. Several herbs in this paper do not have GRAS status .Do not use Holy Basil or Vietnamese coriander if pregnant or trying to achieve pregnancy.
SPICE OR HERB? —An herb is a plant with aromatic leaves such as basil or oregano. Spices are the bark (cinnamon), root (ginger, garlic), buds (cloves), seeds (coriander, dill, poppy), berry (black pepper), or fruit of a tropical plant (paprika, allspice). Some plants like cilantro, dill, and fennel are both because leaves and seeds are both used.
BASILS. . Begin harvesting once your plant has at least four sets of leaves not including the first set of true leaves which are the first 2 leaves after the original two small ones. Repeat the process on new growth every 4 weeks. You can obtain 15-25 cups of basil leaves per plant each summer by frequent harvesting. Basil leaves can be placed unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or placed in a jar of water on the countertop and will last for several days. Basil is best preserved in pesto. After making the pesto which a combination of basil, olive oil, garlic Parmesan cheese and pine nut or walnuts blended in a food processor, the mixture can be placed in ice cube trays til frozen and then placed in baggies in the freezer. Use as needed throughout the rest of the year. Basil can also be frozen on the stem in baggies and will turn black but still keep their flavor. Use as needed in cooked dishes. Consider planting again in August to ensure good harvest throughout the fall Seeds can be saved if you grow one variety of basil. Collect once they are dry on the plant but before shattering. Multiple varieties will cross pollinate unless you stagger the seed production time. Any basil that is a hybrid needs to be propagated by cuttings. You can easily propagate basil by placing stem cuttings in soil or water. The best basils to grow inside other than the columnar ones are Cuban, African Blue, Pistou and Greek. *I’ve had customers tell me that dried Greek basils do keep their flavor for 18 months unlike sweet basil which lose their flavor quickly when dried. Pesto Recipe-2 cups loosely packed basil. (Can mix two varieties like Genovese sweet basil and lemon or Greek basil or even baby spinach leaves), ½ cup olive oil, ¼ -1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tblsp walnuts or pine nuts, ¼ tsp salt. Put into blender of t r food processor til well blended. Then use or freeze in ice cube trays overnight before placing in baggies. Some people feel that the cheeses doesn’t freeze well and add their cheese later when using the pesto. Parsley and cilantro pesto can also be made.
BAY LAUREL-Tree that is the source of Bay leaves used in soups, stews, Cajun cooking,etc. There are a number of bay tree species but this is the only culinary one. Some of the other bay varieties are actually poisonous. Bay Laurel is winter hardy to 20 degrees. Will grow well in pots indoors. If placed outside for the summers, keep in the shade. You can harvest single leaves for use or when your tree has grown some, you can off small branches, strip the leaves off the stem and place in Ziploc baggies in your refrigerator. They will stay fresh for 3 months. Bay is the only herb which has a stronger flavor when fresh rather than dried. Always remove leaves after cooking. Bays will often revert to a shrub unless pruned into a tree shape. Propagation is difficult. Spring growth will take up to 6 months to root using a heat mat. Seeds will propagate; using several different steps but must be fresh. Bay leaves in flour will prevent weevils
Bouquet Garni-Tie parsley, thyme and a bay leaf together and toss into soups or stews or parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay for chicken recipes. May also use fresh or dried herbs placed in cheesecloth squares and tied shut with a long thread which can hang onto the outside of the pot for easy removal. A tin of these bags with dried herbs makes a nice Christmas gift for cooks. Bay Syrup-2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 10 fresh bay leaves. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from stove. Add bay leaves and soak for 30 minutes. Remove leaves. Refrigerate for 10 days or freeze for 10 6 months. Great on fresh peaches, nectarines, apples or pears. Add to Pina coladas. See the 2009 Herb of the Year booklet on Bay from the International Herb Association for more bay recipes.
CHIVES / GARLIC CHIVES - Perennials. Chives have been used for over 3, 000 years but were not used in Europe until brought back by Marco Polo. Chives have a mild onion flavor and garlic chives have a mild garlic flavor The leaves of Chives are more tender in the spring. Chive pesto can be made with olive oil, chives and almonds. The purple chive flowers are edible. Harvest often and cut chives back to the ground at least 4x a year. Chives plants become larger clumps of chives each year. Does not dry well. Freeze in ice cube trays. Harvest garlic chives by using the younger leaves. You can wait for the flowers to dry and harvest the seeds when dry but it tends to reseed everywhere on its own.
CILANTRO TIPS AND SUBSTITUTE HERBS
CILANTRO— Annual. Brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the1600’s from the Orient. The Latin and Greek names for it translate as “Bedbug”. It‘s a cool weather plant and will go to seed in about 2 months in hot weather. The seed is known as coriander and has a lemony flavor. The harvest can be prolonged by planting slow bolt Cilantro in the shade, watering often and fertilizing monthly. Also if you use it often, plant seeds every 2 weeks throughout the summer for a continuous supply of leaves. Best preserved by freezing. Add at the end of cooking.
PAPALOQUETTE — Annual. Native to Mexico. Young leaves used as a fresh herb in salsa and added to foods at the end of cooking. Used before Cilantro was introduced to Mexico. Will also reseed itself, remaining in your garden for years. Lives for about 3 months. Has a cilantro- arugula-parsley flavor.
CULANTRO— Tender perennial succulent. Native to Central America. Grows well in hot steamy climates where cilantro will not thrive. Leaves are tough but tasty if sliced and chopped. Will stand some cooking and dries well. Cilantro- green pepper -parsley flavor.
VIETNAMESE CORIANDER— Tender perennial. Native to Southeast Asia. Good bog plant. Grows well indoors. Leaves are added at end of cooking. Will root in water .Does not have Gras status. I’ve been told it should not be used during pregnancy but have not found any sources to back that up.
DILL- Annual. Does not transplant well due to a long taproot. Cool weather herb. Plant when you plant broccoli with night time temps at 55 degrees and day time in the 70’s. Plant will go to seed early if temps are below 45 degrees or damage occurs to the root during transplanting. . Place in partial shade if growing in pots and water regularly. Do not fertilize. Dukat and Fernleaf are best varieties to grow in pots. Should reseed and come back each year. Host plant for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. It is a myth that you cannot plant dill and fennel next to each other because the flavor of each will be affected. If you let some dill go to seed, you’ll l have a permanent bed in your garden. Dill weed can be cut and dried. The seed can be obtained from the dry flower heads. Dill Butter Soften 1 stick butter. Add 1-2 Tblsp. fresh or dried dill, blend well and serve with homemade breads or rolls.
FENNEL—Semi hardy perennial with licorice/ anise flavor. Will reseed. Sweet fennel and bronze fennel can be used interchangeably for their leaves and seeds. Florence fennel or Finnochio is Bulb Fennel and takes 80 days from planting young plant to produce bulbs. Sweet fennel is used in sausages, fish, vegetables, herb butters .Host plant for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Will not form seeds if planted near cilantro. Seeds can be dried like dill seeds. Crush fennel seeds prior to use to release the oils for more flavor.
LAVENDER Lavender needs well drained soil and full sun to thrive. Placing white sand or white gravel around the plant will increase aeration and essential oil and flower production by 771%. Best cooking Lavenders are Provence, Munstead, Betty Blue, Royal Velvet, Melissa (Pink bloomer) or Hidcote. Lavender must be clipped back by 1/3 each spring for the first 3 years when the nodes on the branches begin to swell and after blooming or the plant will die out in the middle. After that just trim it back after blooming but so it has time to recover before cold temperatures occur. Lavender as a rule does not grow well inside. It needs daytime temps of 50-60 degrees and night temps of 40-50 degrees. Water sparingly until spring if grown indoors. Lavender dentate and Goodwin Creek lavenders do the best indoors. Once the plants are established, use low nitrogen fertilizers if needed. A side dressing of bone meal before flowering may give it a boost. Harvest lavender for drying when ½ of the plant’s flowers are open. Lavender can be dried by tying bundles together and hanging upside down or drying them flat for use in bouquets. Not all lavender varieties will stay on the stem when dried so do some research on lavender before you purchase a variety that doesn’t give you the results you want. Two of the best books on lavender are listed at the end of this paper and at least one is in the public library. Culinary lavenders can be dried on a screen out of sunlight or in a dehydrator with a cool setting for drying herbs. Lavender wands will keep their fragrance for 20 + years. Don’t overuse in cooking. Non culinary lavenders may give your food a soapy taste. Peach Cobbler with Lavender Add 1 tsp dried culinary lavender to your favorite cobbler or crisp. Lavender Mocha Latte-Make a simple lavender syrup by boiling 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar. Remove from heat. Add 1 tsp. dried culinary lavender and let sit for 30 min. Strain and add as desired to sweeten your Mocha Latte. Herbs de Provence-1 Tblsp. dried thyme, 1 Tblsp. dried basil, 2 tsp. dried culinary lavender buds, 2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. each of dried fennel, savory and marjoram.
LEMON VERBENA—Tender deciduous perennial from Argentina and Chile. This lemon y herb has the highest concentration of lemon oil than any other herb. It will drop its leaves when brought inside for the winter or if it experiences cool temperatures but if you cut back on watering and are patient, the leaves will reappear in several months. Trim it back when new leaves appear in the spring. Great for use in cooking. Leaves can be dried on trays or by hanging in bundles. Good tea herb. It is propagated by cuttings. Verbena Vanilla Sugar-Cut a 12 inch length of lemon verbena into 3’ pieces Place on bottom of 4 cup container. Add 2 cups sugar and 3 split vanilla beans, covered by 2 more cups of sugar. Remove the herbs in a week. Sift sugar if lumpy. Use in cookies, cakes and muffins.
LOVAGE -Perennial. Used extensively in Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe and by pioneer women as a strongly flavored substitute for celery. Ready for harvest 3 months after planting. Grown in afternoon shade in our climate. Will self-seed but seeds are slow to germinate. Apply 4-6” of mulch in the late fall. Use sparingly because the flavor is strong. Hollow stems can be used a straws in tomato juice and Bloody Mary’s. Cut back when blooming. The leaves, stems and seeds may be dried for later use or frozen. Dried herb is good for a year.
MARJORAM /OREGANO— Marjoram is a tender perennial grown as an annual here. Has a mild oregano flavor. Oregano has a hotter flavor and is a hardy perennial. Avoid planting seed or purchasing any pink blooming oregano. The leaves have no flavor but the flowers of it are used in cooking in Italy. Greek oregano grows from seed but Za’atar (Syrian Oregano), Sicilian, Kaliteri and Hot’n Spicy are grown from cuttings. Harvest and dry by hanging in bunches. Add oregano near the end of cooking time to preserve some of the flavor. Harvest and cut back to 3” when ready to bloom for the first time and again before the second bloom to increase your harvest .Divide plants every 2-3 years.
MINTS- Hardy “weed”. Buy plants or obtain some roots from a friend. Seed grown mint has no flavor. Many mints are in the peppermint or spearmint families but there are 19 varieties of mint with many hybrids. Considered invasive and will grow anywhere. Mints can be grown in beds or large barrels. Grow in a bowl shaped pot if using a pot and occasionally remove and trim off roots which will wrap around plant and eventually kill it. Harvest for strongest flavor just as plants bloom. If growing more than one mint, you may get some inferior mints if cross pollination occurs. Remove flowers from mint to prevent cross pollination. Propagate by division or cuttings rooted in soil or water. Cut mint back to the ground in the late autumn.
Mint Iced Tea Add a handful of fresh mint leaves or several tsp. of dried to your tea bags as you brew your tea. Remove before serving and add fresh leaves when serving. Spearmint family ones are the best though I have used peppermint ones. Make your own tea blends with just herbs or herbs and your favorite teas. Chocolate Mint leaves can be minced and added to chocolate cake or cookie batter, coffee filters as you brew coffee or to the hot custard in ice cream making and strained when the cooking is completed for mint chocolate ice cream.
PARSLEY— Biennial herb. Italian or flat leafed has more flavor than curly parsley. Seed can be sown in the spring when the soil temp is 50 degrees. Seeds may take 4 weeks to germinate but soaking the seed in warm water for 24 hours before planting will speed up the process. Curly parsley is slower to germinate and grow than flat leafed (Italian Parsley). Will grow in a cool sunny window. The more parsley is harvested, the more leaves it will produce. Flat leafed dries better than curly parsley but the flavor is better if the leaves are frozen in a baggie rather than dried. If parsley is put outside too early with temps below 45 degrees for several weeks or the tap root is damaged in planting, it may go to seed prematurely. Otherwise it comes back the next year with the purpose of producing seed and the flavor will not be as good. It is a host plant for the swallowtail butterfly. Cut parsley placed in a glass of water will stay fresh for several days on the counter or in the refrigerator.
ROSEMARY—Tender perennial this far North. May survive winter outdoors if placed in a sheltered location with some reflected heat as against a South facing wall. Varieties which are a little more winter hardy are Arp, Hill Hardy and Salem. Seeds may take up to 8 months to germinate so it’s best bought as a plant. If grown in a pot, a cactus perlite mix may be beneficial. Needs full sun and well-drained soil. The leaves are softer with less oil content in the spring and tougher with more oil and fragrance in the fall. Prefers a cooler room and increased humidity to survive indoors. Humidity can be increased by using a humidifier or placing the pot on a saucer full of gravel with water added to it. You can also run a humidifier near it or place in bathroom twice a month and let the steam from the shower add humidity around it. Be careful not to over or under water it. Good with poultry, poultry, lamb, roasted vegetables, and beverages and as a hair rinse for brunettes. Dries easily by hanging in bunches. Rosemary will sometimes survive most of the winter but if there is warmer weather in the Spring followed by a major cold snap, the plant may be heaved out of the soil due the ground refreezing. Mulch the plant heavily prior to the cold snap. Two year old plants are more likely to survive the winter outdoors. Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes. Cut red potatoes into eights, leaving the peel on them. Toss in olive oil, fresh or dried chopped rosemary and garlic salt. Bake in 400 degree oven in a nonstick pan, stirring several times til done- 30 minutes or so.
SAGE—Hardy perennial. Used primarily in stuffing, meats and vegetables. Grows well from seed but seed does not store well. Dried sage has stronger flavor than fresh. Harvest leaves before the plant blooms in the spring. Prune back every spring to prevent plant from getting woody and after it blooms. You may need to replace every 3-4 years if it gets woody. Sage sometimes gets blight and will die off suddenly. Just rotate it to another area of the garden. Pineapple, honeydew melon and fruit sage are also edible, prefer partial shade in really hot dry weather and are great hummingbird attractors in the fall with red or pink tubular blooms. Fried Sage Leaves Fry til crisp in hot oil. Add as a tasty garnish to fried potatoes or chicken dishes. Mince fresh sage into potato latkes.
SAVORY, SUMMER, WINTER AND CREEPING-This herb is found in sausages and used in soups and bean dishes. The summer savory is an annual with soft leaves and a mild flavor. The winter is upright and the creeping winter savory is mounding. Both of these have stiff green leaves. Remove the blooms before flowering. Harvest in late summer. Will keep flavor for 2 years if dried. Leaves will die back but plant will return in the spring .
SCENTED GERANIUMS— Tender perennials. Discovered in South Africa in the 1690”s by English sailors on a quest o find unusual plants for royal gardens. They thought that they were geraniums because some leaves resembled those of geraniums but we now know that they are a unique species (Pelargonium’s), distantly related to the typical geranium. Each of the 200 varieties has a unique leaf and scent. Occasionally they will develop a sport and a new variety will develop. There were 600 varieties at one time. Rose, lemon, lime, orange, ginger, black pepper, peppermint, strawberry, pine, apple cider are but a few. Many of them are culinary. Some are used in traditional African medicine or potpourri. Rose varieties are grown on plantations for their rose oil which is less costly than growing roses. They are great xeriscape plants. If grown in the ground, dig up 1 month prior to frost, cut back on watering and then cut back by 1/3 before bringing indoors. Prefer full sun unless variegated. Skeleton Rose and Mosquito Shocker have much more citronella oil in them than the Citronella one touted to deter mosquitoes. Dry laves on a tray. Snipping the larger leafed ones helps to retain the color better. Rose Scented Geranium Sugar-Layer fresh rose geranium leaves in sugar for 2 weeks. Remove and sift sugar if needed. Use in cookies, cakes and teas. Rose Scented Pound Cake Pioneer women greased and floured cake pans and stuck fresh rose geranium leaves along the sides and bottom of the pans. They poured pound cake batter into the pan which absorbed the rose flavor in baking. The leaves would also leave a decorative pattern on the cake after removal. Flavored Jams or Jellies—Add rose scented leaves to apple jelly or lemon scented ones to peach jam when poured into jars. Rose Geranium Ice Cream Add ¾ cup of rose geranium leaves to the custard base as you are coking it and strain when done. Cool the custard as directed and then process as directed.
STEVIA—Deciduous tender perennial from Paraguay. Leaves are 300 times sweeter than sugar. Plants grown from stem cuttings are sweeter than seed grown. Seed germinations are often only 10%.Cut back when blooming. Water sparingly when brought in for the winter. Will grow back from the base of the plant if it sheds its leaves after potting up in the fall Does not withstand drought. Water if the soil feels dry. Strongest flavor is in late summer or early fall. Dry for later use but you will find that it never dissolves as well as commercially produced stevia. To learn how many fresh stevia leaves you’ll need to sweeten 1 cup of liquids to your taste, bring water to a boil. Place 1 fresh leaf in the cup, pour the water over it, let sit for 5 minutes and then taste. Continue by adding an additional leaf with fresh boiling water til you get it right for you. You can do the same with dried stevia, starting with ½ tsp. of the dried herb
TARRAGON, FRENCH--Hardy perennial. It’s getting more difficult to grow here with the changing climate.Tastes like licorice. Fresh or frozen tarragon has better flavor than dried. Does not come from seed. . French tarragon may have some small blooms but does not produce viable seeds.Russian tarragon grows from seed, has no flavor and blooms. Prefers cooler temps. Needs 6-8 hours of sunlight but will tolerate partial shade. Needs chill time in the winter to do well. Grow in sun/partial shade and don’t overwater. Snip often to produce fuller and less straggly looking plant. Best preserved in vinegar or frozen. Used in fish, poultry, vegetables, eggs and salads. If unsure of variety, taste a leaf for the licorice flavor and numbing of lips which is indicative of French tarragon. Mexican Mint marigold is a great annual substitute which tolerates heat and heavy rain.
THYMES-Usually hardy perennial but check hardiness zone before purchasing. Some varieties can be grown easily from seed .Will not tolerate wet soil conditions. Needs well drained soil. Used in soups, stews, Cajun cooking, poultry and even as a tea. Also comes in lemon and orange, caraway and rose scented varieties Shear off the blooms if you want a larger harvest and cut back to 2’’ midseason. Harvest midseason. Divide every 5-7 years or more often if not thriving. Easy to dry but you’ll need a large amount of thyme to produce enough leaves for use.
PRESERVING TIPS Harvest in the morning after the dew has dried but before afternoon when the sun depletes the leaves of color and fragrance. When freezing herbs, rinse, let dry, place in plastic freezer bags and squeeze the air out before placing in the freezer. Note: You don’t have to rinse herbs before drying or freezing but sometimes small insects or dirt may be hiding among the leaves. You can also freeze herbs by pouring water over them and freezing in ice cube trays initially before placing in baggies. For making herbal molds or ice cubes for punches, it’s best to boil your water first and cool it before use or use distilled water. First partially fill your mold or ice cube tray with water and freeze. Next add the leaves or flowers and top with water. These frozen molds can be added to soups, stews, punch or teas. For drying herbs either lay flat on a screen or dehydrator tray and air dry or dehydrate at 95 degrees. To hang herbs for drying, gather 3-6 stems and rubber band them together, tightening the bands as the bundles shrink in drying. Dry herbs in a darker airy place. You can also hang herbs for leaves or seed collection in brown paper bags with holes punched in for air. This will catch the seeds and keep dust off the plants as they dry. Dried herbs will keep their flavor well for 6-12 months. After that, use extra amounts in cooking or dry more fresh herbs.
END OF THE SEASON TIPS- Tender perennials that will not winter over outside should be gradually acclimated to the move indoors. Place in pots, water well and then decrease watering unless wilting occurs. After several days, move them in and out of a protected, warmer, darker area for several more days and then inside to an area that does not get below freezing in the winter. Plants require less water in the winter since they will not grow as much. To prevent overwatering indoors, push your finger into the soil around plant. If the soil is dry up to the first knuckle, water it. Water at base of plant til water runs out. Check to make sure that roots are not plugging up the drainage holes. If you live in an area with very cold winters, you may need to mulch some of your herbs with 4-6 inches of mulch. Remove annuals like basils after your last harvest. Take notes of what did well, what should have been in a different area and plan for the next year. If you see unusual things hanging on your plants, leave them alone. They may be the egg sac of the praying mantis or butterfly larvae.
GREEK CHEESE—Adapted from Southern Herb Growing book. Mince 1 garlic clove, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 1tsp. dried dill, ¼ cup minced chives, 1 tblsp. Fresh chopped mint, 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano. Add 1 tblsp. Lemon juice, ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream, 8 oz cream cheese, 2 oz. feta cheese, dash of nutmeg and cinnamon. Blend in mixer and refrigerate for several hours to let flavors develop.
ROSE, ROSEMARY AND LAVENDER LEMONADE—To 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar mince and add 12 rose scented geranium leaves or several sprigs of rosemary or 1 tsp. lavender flowers. Bring to a boil and remove from heat for 30 min. Strain and add 1 cup lemon juice and 6-8 cups of water.
HERB MEAT BRUSHES-Tie sprigs of sage, rosemary thyme or all 3 together and use as a basting brush. Can also throw sprigs of these herbs on hot coals prior to grilling.
CALENDULA OIL-To moisturize very dry skin. Add 1 cup calendula petals to 1 cup olive or almond oil and place in glass jar. After 1 week, remove the petals, pressing the petals with the back if a spoon to extract all the oil. Refrigerate and use within 1 month. May decrease the amounts as long as they are in a 1:1 ratio.
HERBAL VINEGARS-Sterilize a glass container with anon metallic lid.. Add herbs of your choice, pushing into bottom of bottle with a skewer or toothpick. and fill with apple cider vinegar. Let sit in dark place for 2-3 weeks.
SORE MUSCLE SOAK-Combine 4 ½ cups rosemary,11/2 cups dried chamomile, 2 cups dried thyme, 2 cups dried marjoram, 1 cup dried calendula petals, 1 cup dried spearmint leaves, 1 cup dried catnip leaves, 1 cup dried lavender and 4 cups of Epsom salts. Store in airtight container for a week. Pour 1 cup of mixture into a muslin bag; pour 4 cups boiling water over it. Steep for 10 minutes and then add to bath water
GARDEN TEA PUNCH-Place 2 cups water, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsps. snipped fresh mint and I large stem of lavender into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let it steep for 20 min. and strain. Add 1 cup orange juice, ½ cup lemon juice and 2 cups strong brewed tea to the syrup. Chill. Add 32 oz. club soda before serving. Garnish with a mint stem.
HERBAL INCENSE-Throw dried herb stems into the fireplace to scent your room.
HERB BUTTERS Soften 1 cup butter. Add 1 tsp. or more to taste of a dried herb like dill, garlic, chives or your choice. Spread on breads, fish poultry or vegetables. May also use a combination of herbs.
LEMON ICE CREAM—Add 1 cup finely chopped lemon thyme leaves and 4 tsp. lemon peel to your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe.
BREAD DIP-Put dash of sea salt, cracked pepper and 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning mix on a plate. Add ¼ cup virgin olive oil and mix. May even sprinkle Parmesan cheese over it. Dip Italian bread into it. ITALIAN SEASOING MIX-2 tsp. each of dried basil, parsley and marjoram and 1 tsp. each of dried thyme and rosemary. Grind with mortar and pestle of put in food processor briefly. Store extra for up to 1 year.
MISC.- Be careful not to overdue rosemary in recipes. Remove bay leaves at the end of cooking. They are not edible and could perforate the intestines. Deep fried sage leaves as a flavorful garnish or fry til crisp with fried potatoes. Also great in potato pancakes. Any variety of lemon flavored herbs can be combined with different mints and /or stevia for unusual teas.
ROASTED HERBAL CHICKEN Make a paste by mixing 1 tblsp each of chopped thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley and ½ tsp. caraway seed with 1 tblsp olive oil and 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice. Break 2-3 bay leaves in half. Loosen the skin of one whole chicken and rub the mix underneath the skin all over the bird. Stuff the bay leaves under as well. Stuff the squeezed lemon halves into the bird. I also tuck a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage inside as well. May rub a little of the mix on the chicken skin as well. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 min. and then turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another hour or so til done.
These recipes were found in magazines, on line and in various books about herb. And some are my own. There are great recipes to be found on the websites of many mail order herb nurseries.
Reference Books and Sources
Good reference books are at the library. The National Herb Society has a great website and the International Herb Association publishes booklets on growing and using the Herb of the Year. The Herb Society of America is also a good source with bonus info for members.
HERB BOOKS—Any books by Jim Long of Long Creek Herbs He has numerous booklets about herbs. Mints by Barbara Perry Lawton, The Lavender Lover’s Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader, Lavender, The Grower’s Guide by Virginia Mc Naughton, Herbs in Bloom by Jo Ann Gardner, Growing Herbs from Seeds, Cuttings and Roots by Thomas DeBaggio, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Herbs , The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Art Tucker and Tom DeBaggio The Complete Herb Book by Jekka McViccar and The Culinary Herbal by Susan Belsinger and Art Tucker
HERB COOKBOOKS— Classic Herb Seasoning Blends or any of Jim Longs’ booklets. Southern Herb Growing by Madeline Hill and Gwen Barclay, Lemon Balm, ,Scented Geraniums, Bay, Dill, Calendula ( Herb of the Year booklets ) by the International Herb Association , Not Just Desserts Sweet Herbal Recipes by Susan Belsinger ,Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs by The Herb Society of America, Edible Flowers by Donna Frawley, The Lavender Gourmet by Jennifer Vasich, and Jekka’s Herb Cookbook by Jenna Mc Vicar.
HERB NURSERIES-- Scented Geraniums of Nebraska, Richter’s Nursery, Nichols Herbs, Companion Plants, Well Sweep Herbs, Goodwin Creek and Mountain Valley Herbs are great sources for unusual as well as common herbs. Johnny s’, Pinetree Gardens and Seeds of Change are good seed catalogs.
Barb Emge Red Barn Herb Farm
Barb can be contacted at 417-732-1510 or www.redbarnherbfarm.com for questions.