Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tips for the Lush Herb Garden?

As you know, I'm certainly not a chef, but I do like to cook. One of the things I like the flavor of, particularly with lamb or a savory potato dish, is rosemary. But I really hate, as does Mr. Lush, how its like dried hard grass seed. Well recently, I saw a recipe where someone used fresh rosemary to drizzle olive oil on something and I thought perfect! A way to get the rosemary flavor without the rosemary "seed" effect.
To get some readily available fresh rosemary, as well as other herbs, I thought I'd get an herb garden going this summer......and here it is, about 3 weeks in:

As you can see (clockwise), I've got some rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil, which are some of my commonly used herbs. Its coming along nicely, but I admit, this is only my second attempt at an herb garden and I'm a little lost as to when and how to dry the herbs. I've read some tips online and think I have a good idea, but I thought I'd reach out and ask if anyone else has any tips on when/how to best utilize this herb garden?


KBO said...

Infused oils and compound butters are really reliable uses for fresh herbs. Basil can be made into pesto and frozen. During the summer, about once a month I make a big batch and freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. A big bag of pesto cubes in the freezer lasts all year, and can be used on pastas, as a sandwich spread, or popped into soups like a pistou.

As for drying, you can try your oven on the lowest setting possible or a food dehydrator, but I usually just dry a big bunch in a closed paper bag for a few days.

WineLush said...

Hey KBO- when should I harvest?

CambridgeWineBlogger said...

We grow herbs in our garden, in Cambridge UK - like you, I am a big fan of rosemary, but we also have bay, thyme, chives sage and parsely. We find they do best when regularly pruned back (i.e. hacking bits off) and with plenty of space to grow (either big pots or directly in the soil). The rosemary especially needs to be in a big pot on its own or it just kills off everything else with its root growth.

As for using the herbs, just cut off what you need, rinse under water, chop and use immediately - never dry them out as they get tough and you lose flavour. Good luck ! Tom