Many years ago herbs were considered invaluable; they cost dearly to buy and were very difficult to find. Yet now, herb plants can be grown by seed offered by mail order, plants can be purchased practically everywhere and fresh-cut and dried culinary herbs at the local grocery store.
So why all the fuss you ask? Herbs are making their way back into the tastebuds of many cooks; amateur or professional. To top it off, herbs are becoming more popular medicinally too.
For this introductory to herbs article, I have started with the commonly seen culinary ones; oregano, basil, chives, thyme and mint. These are well-known, easy to grow and care-for, that anyone including children can master.
Oregano – Commonly used in tomato dishes. The plant’s leaves are oval and medium green and travel closely up the stem. The plant can reach 1 1/2 feet tall and bloom a wonderful lavender-purple colour, but it is best to harvest the leaves while they are young and the plant hasn’t bloomed. Simply remove the leaves with your fingers, place them into a sieve and rinse them under cold water, pat dry with a dry towel and freeze them in ziplock bags to use when needed. When using them from the freezer, treat them the same as freshly bought. You can also place the washed leaves into a blender with a small amount of oil, chop fine then place them into ice-cube trays until firm. Once firm remove them from the trays and store the cubes in ziplock bags until needed.
Basil – Very popular in tomato dishes. This annual has many different varieties to choose from, but the most commonly used for cooking has dark green leaves. Use fresh or two methods of freezing can be done. Wash the picked leaves under cold water and pat dry. Either store inRead more on backyardgardener.com