I love my herb garden even though it’s not as big or full of as much variety as I’d like. I keep everything in pots so I can easily bring them indoors when the weather is too harsh for them. I used to have dozens of plants but having moved around so much, I now only have basil, rosemary and thyme. These guys play a huge role in my daily cooking and despite their small numbers, produce a lot of leaves. The tips I offer today help me prevent herbal burn out or waste.
Add herbs to your salads
Add fresh herbs to any salad for a punch of flavor. I just tear up basil leaves and strip thyme & rosemary stems after rinsing them. Pop them right into your dinner salad, pasta salad or even potato salad for that extra bite of flavor. (This can be done with any herbs you love or edible flowers.)
Make an herbal tea
Pour hot water over your herbs and let steep to brew a delicious (and often healing) tea.
Add to any slow-cooked or prepackaged meal
Adding fresh herbs and/or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to any slow-cooked or prepackaged meal at the end will add a pop of flavor and freshness lost from slow-cooking or processing. I even like to sprinkle them over a store bought roasted chicken when I bring it home and then pop it in the oven to stay warm. I feel like it gives new life to a potentially dull bird.
Dips, dips and more dips
Pesto is an obvious choice for using up a lot of basil, but go one step further! Any time you make a meat dish, potatoes or roasted vegetable, grab a handful of your favorite herb or herbs, toss them into a blender or processor, and pulse while adding in some olive oil, salt & pepper and anything else you want. Personally I like to use either lemon infused oil or garlic infused oil, but use what you like and have on hand. Once it tastes perfect, drizzle over your food or set on the table for everyone to drizzle themselves. Leftovers can be tossed in with hot pasta for a delicious but easy meal.
Freeze or dry the extras
If you aren’t going to use up all your herbs before they turn, either freeze them with a bit of oil or dry them in a dehydrator or in your oven then store in an airtight container. Once winter hits and you can’t locate fresh herbs, you will be grateful for your stockpile! Take it up a step by drying your leaves whole then add them to a grinder. When you go use them, you will grind them up, releasing a lot of flavor in the process that pre-ground herbs can lose.
I hope you like my tips and put them to use in your own kitchen!
Until next time, blessed be everyone!