Saturday, April 9, 2011

Herbs and Two Recipes

Herbs are great all year round. An herb garden is so fun and with very little effort you can spice up your dishes and make everyday eating or dieting more enjoyable. So here is my list of the most common herbs and their uses.

This year I am planting a huge pot on my deck for easy access and less traveling to the backyard.

Basil - Sweet
Leaves in all tomato dishes, green salads, stews, eggs, fish, vinegars, pesto.

Seeds flavor breads, cookies, applesauce, Mexican/Oriental dishes.

Chives - Perennial
Chop leaves in soups, salads, soft cheese, potatoes, omelettes.
Pink flowers attractive in June. Cut back for new growth.

Leaves (dill weed) on fish, salads, green beans, potatoes. Seeds for pickles. Sow seeds in place. May self-sow if some seeds are left.

Lemon Balm - Perennial
Leaves for tea, punch, fruit cups and garnish for fish.
Dried leaves in potpourri and sachets.

Sweet Marjoram - Perennial
Flavors eggs, soups, meats, stuffings, chicken.
Cut frequently to prevent blooming.

Oregano - Perennial
In Italian dishes, also beef, port and tomatoes.
Plant in full sun, sample leaf for taste.

Parsley - Biennial
Salads, soups, casseroles, omelettes and garnish.
Plain Italian Parsley best for flavor.

Rosemary - Perennial
Leaves on chicken, meats, soups, stuffings and tea.
Dried leaves used in sachets. Take indoors for winter.
Some types of Rosemary can winter outdoors - check your area and type of plant with local nursery.

Sage- Perennial
Cheese, sausage, stuffings, port and poultry.
Prune out woody stems as plant ages.

Spearmint - Perennial
Teas, fruit desserts, punch, sauces, lamb, peas, carrots.
Prefers a moist soil. Spreads rapidly. Plant in containers to control.

Tarragon - Perennial
Chicken, fish, port, in vinegar for salads.
Do not purchase seeds, purchase plants.

Thyme, English - Perennial
Meats, fish, carrots, peas, tomatoes.
Makes a nice edging in the garden. Some plant between stones or walkway pavers.

Lemon Thyme or Lemon Verbena Recipe

Lemon-Rosemary Butter
2 sticks butter-room temperature
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh lemon thyme or lemon verbena finely chopped Combine-refrigerate May be wrapped and frozen. Nice on muffins, steamed vegetables, and tea breads.

Sweet Fennel
Leaf for fish, chowders, Italian cookery.

Florence Fennel
Bulb steamed as vegetable or fresh in salad.

Bronze Fennel - Perennial
Seed flavoring same as sweet Fennel, beautiful garnish.color in garden. Nursery plant for black swallowtail butterfly.

Lemon Verbena - Perennial Shrub
Teas, fruit salads, lemon drinks
Container plant.

Lemon Verbena Cheese Dip
12 servings

8 oz. cottage cheese
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (1 tsp. dried)
1 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh chives (1 ½ tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh lemon thyme (2/3 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. chopped fresh lemon basil (2/3 tsp. dried)
Blend cottage cheese, add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and Refrigerate several hours. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables

Most herb plants like full sun and good well-drained soil. Enrich clay soil with well-rotted manure and compost - add sand to enhance drainage. Choose a location that offers at least 1/2 day of full sun. Morning sun is "kinder" than afternoon sun. If you plant your garden in an afternoon sun location, make sure the soil is in good health.

When planting a new plant, add water to the hole and then cover with soil. Water until established if there is little or no rainfall. Mulch only after plant is established and then sparingly. Some mulches are much too acidic. Most herbs like a neutral to mild alkaline soil. I never give my herbs plantfood.