My gardening space and knowledge are very limited, so I must plan wisely. Judging from my last year’s success story, herbs were the most abundant and most used. Every time a recipe called for an herb that I had in my garden, I would proudly make my way into the garden carrying scissors and a smile. Cutting a handful of fresh herbs, I would immediately bring them to my nose to inhale their floral scent and not release the fragrance until I returned to the kitchen to stir them in to whatever I was cooking. think I’ll grow only herbs this year,” I commented to my husband, whose eyes tend to glaze over when I mention anything about the garden. He doesn’t have much input when it comes to the yard, but he also didn’t like coffee when we first married and now he roasts his own, so I remain hopeful.
There is little more that improves food than that of the addition of fresh herbs. Depending on the herb, it can brighten, soften, and add intrigue to anything from eggs to cocktails. The moment you slice into their delicate leaves the kitchen is flooded with a fresh and intoxicating perfume. Beyond that, fresh herbs bring with them an added boost of nutrients.
Spring brings with it a variety of fresh herbs. My garden is already brimming with sage, parsley, thyme, chives, and rosemary. With plans in the very near future to add tarragon, mint, oregano, cilantro and basil. Besides rhubarb, the addition of fresh herbs is what I look forward to most as the season changes.
Tips on working with fresh herbs:
Usually when you purchase herbs they come in a quantity quite larger than what the recipe calls for. Prolong the life of your herbs by storing them in water as you would fresh flowers. Doing this not only gives you fresh herbs for longer, but also a lovely decoration for your kitchen sill, something a multi-tasker like myself can get giddy about.
Think of basil as you do mint. Add it to hot water for tea, muddle with sugar and add a bit of rum or gin, and infuse with cream for the base of a herby ice cream. As a member of the mint family, basil adds a similar scent with a bit more interest than just mint alone.
Tuck fresh herbs into your favorite green salad to add more flavor and freshness.
A fine chop of fresh herbs tossed in at the end of the cooking process adds a stunning pop of green and a bright flavor.
by Ashley Rodriguez