The Gift of Herbs
I remember being surprised by the wonder of buying fresh herbs. I remember how good my first cup of fresh brewed spearmint tea was, the smell was amazing compared to the store bought dried variety. I felt like it was so much better this way. So why are herbs so fascinating and amazing, well lets explore a few of the reasons here then let me take you on a tour of the herbs I know and love. Herbs that you grow are loaded with nutrients and flavor. You can’t get them any fresher than picking them in your house or gathering them in the garden. They add flavor, color, aroma, and nutrition to your foods.
I remember eating lots of onions a child, my mom loved onions in fried potatoes, in stir fry, in soups. This is the first herb I learned about as a child. Garlic was also a favorite at our house. Because I grew up with just a few raw herbs I don’t think I learned much about them until I was in College and had to cook for myself. Then onions and garlic were mostly things I purchased in a bag or a container for the dried kind.
Brochette was one of those oh wow moments for me. I had never had basil fresh in a recipe that I recognized. Brochette has such a vivid basil flavor that I was hooked immediately. I have also learned to love basil in a number of salads, pesto for pasta, bread, and just picked out of the garden with maybe a tomato. I enjoy growing it, so much so that this year I purchased 15 different varieties of it. The African basil has to be one of my favorites but it is just one of many. Purple basil adds beauty to any salad and just a few small leaves add fabulous flavor.
Oregano is another of those really amazing flavors to grow and have hanging around to add to pasta fresh, salads, soups, and pizza. I grow two types of Oregano common oregano, and Cuban oregano. The Cuban oregano is like a succulent and does better inside than out. It is a strong flavored really amazing plant that has juicy leaves when you bite into it. It works great in salads if you use the tiny leaves and don’t cut them. It also works well on top of fresh pizza after it comes out of the oven, pairs well with tomatoes. The spicy hot of regular oregano is good in so many things from fresh blended pasta sauce, salad, soup, and salsa.
Rosemary is one of those great herbs that it took me a while to find and decide it was amazing. Rosemary with sweet potatoes any time of the year is wonderful. I am grateful to my friend Kate who made it for potluck. It got me started and I have found many places to use it now. I may always favor it for sweet potatoes, it is great on bread as well, I love it with salad too. It even adds a bit of kick to my tofu.
I grow Bronze Fennel and have loved it for tea. You can make tea from the seeds during the winter. You can also make tea from the feathery leaves, and even the stems. Fennel adds a nice flavor to salads. I like the licorice like flavor in my smoothies. Fennel is loaded with anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.
I now grow apple mint, chocolate mint, orange mint, peppermint, and spearmint. I love all of them as fresh tea. They are wonderful in salads as well. I like to dry them for winter tea. I love making fresh bouquet with them while they are blooming and sharing them with friends. They travel well and I have taken them hundreds of miles. They are a gift that can keep on giving as they can be rooted in water and people can plant them. The bees also love their flowers.
Pineapple sage is new this year for me and I have enjoyed just nibbling on a few leaves and enjoying the smell so far.
I supposed that I should go back and touch on onions because I have lived in the Walla Walla Valley where we grow onions you can eat on a sandwich that are world famous. Walla Walla sweets are like any other crop they need nutrients that make them sweet. So the best come from farmers smart enough to enrich the soil with trace minerals.
A great local place to visit for herbs is Frog Hollow farm. They grow wonderful produce and herbs. Frog Hollow Farm
Bees are one of the advantages of growing herbs in your yard. I have the greatest range of pollinators in my yard and part of it is because the love the herbs.
There is so much more you can enjoy when it comes to herbs, the health benefits are incredible.
Links to help you find the herbs that make you happy
Created by Judy Woodworth 2018 All Rights Reserved