Herbs – a great addition not only to your garden but also to your kitchen & medicine cabinet
There is not only a great history of herbs in our gardens but also for use in our homes to improve the taste of our cooking, cleaning and medicinal uses. Growing your own can also save a bit money. They can also be preserved through drying and freezing.
If you are new to gardening but want fresh herbs to use in your cooking then try some relatively easy to grow herbs such as basil, mint (in a pot only), parsley, rosemary, thyme and coriander. Many of these grow very easily from seed but others such as rosemary can also be easily propagated from sprigs – just cut a few sprigs and then stick them in the soil. They should take root fairly quickly.
Harvest your herbs when they are about to flower. They’ll have lots of natural oils, which add to the flavours and aromas of your cooking.
Storing herbs not only extends their lives, but it also maintains their freshness for some time. You can try oven drying, hang drying or freezing. With high moisture herbs like mint, tarragon and basil it is best to oven dry them since the moisture from hang drying promote mould. Low moisture herbs like thyme, rosemary and dill are better suited to hang drying.
Having dried your herbs they are best stored in airtight containers like glass jars. Herbs that are properly dried and stored should last about a year.
You can also keep your herbs fresh for an extra-long period of time by freezing them! Chop or blend then and store them and store them in either olive oil or canola oil. Place the mixture in a container such as an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. Another option is to mix fresh dill and water (1:4 ratio) and pour them contents into an ice cube tray. Once frozen you’ll have dill ice cubes, which are perfect to add to your water on a hot day.
Herbal teas are also a great use of herbs. One of the most refreshing drinks all year round is mint tea. Dry your mint and them let 2-4 leaves steep for five minutes or so in a cup of hot water. Add some honey (locally produced preferably) for a sweet touch.