Friday, April 1, 2011

Fresh Herbs!

Fresh herbs are much more flavorsome and aromatic than dried herbs. I love to go out in to the herb garden and pick Thyme. I could just smell it all day, lol. It makes me that happy. :) Fresh herbs are also very beneficial to your health and they are fun to grow. There are many herb started kits out there to buy and you can also buy plants. It is very rewarding to grow your own herbs. I love to be able walk into the garden and collect what I need while saving money too.

This is my Lemon Thyme
Many herbs have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. They were also thought to ward of evil and bad luck and some herbs could be regarded as symbols of bravery, love or fertility. I will do a post on this another time. Today, I would like to talk about herbs with food.

Different types of herbs have different flavors and go with certain types of food better than others. Basil and tomatoes are an example. They are wonderful together as is oregano in an Italian dish. I like to use parsley in almost everything I cook. I have Basil, Oregano, Sage, Parsley, Dill, English Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary and Chives in my little home garden.

Fresh cut herbs should be kept in the refrigerator until you use them. You can wrap them in a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag for 3-4 days. They should be used rather quickly as they will wilt and go bad quickly. You can always chop them up and freeze them in a little bit of water, in an ice cube tray. When you want to use it, just pop it out, straight into your pan! The small amount of water used should not make a difference in your dish. If you freeze the herbs, only use them in a cooking process as they will not be 'fresh'. I have watched lots of cooking shows where they bundle a bunch of different herbs together, tying them with string, and just throwing them in to the pot with all ingredients. When the dish is cooked, you can find the bundle easier and throw the leftovers into your compost pile. The flavor (and leaves) will be incorporated into the yummy dish! They can also be added to salad dressings and marinades.
This is my Basil
You can dry your own herbs also. It is so easy. For pretty much every herb, you can cut them and bundle with string, then hand them up in a dark enclosed area, such as a closet, until they are dried out. If they have seeds you want to collect, such as Dill weed, then just hang them up inside a paper bag so you can collect the seeds. As they dry out, the seeds will fall out into the bag.

The fresh herb flavor is more delicate whereas the dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor. So, when you cook with fresh herbs you will need to have more, than if you were to use dried. Generally, you will need 3 times more of the fresh herb than the dried or for every teaspoon of dried herb; you will need a tablespoon of fresh.

Once you start cooking with fresh herbs, you may not go back to dried! There are many herb guides out there to help you deicide what kind of herbs you would like to grow (and eat). You don't have to go the the bookstore, just go to your library and see what references they have.

There are many different kinds of herbs so give it a whirl and see what might work for you and your table! Enjoy.

I linked up with the Wildcrafting can too! Click here.

1 comment:

  1. I love herbs too! I have an herb garden on the side of my house. It used to just be my "garden". Now its my "herb garden" with tomatoes and peppers in it because my husband decided he wanted to till up about a half acre of our backyard to be "THE GARDEN"......*sigh* I love my herb garden. Maybe someday I'll learn to love "THE GARDEN".



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