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Favorite herbs?

Posted by agmss15 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 29, 12 at 12:52

So I have a bunch of spring veggies planted. Now I beginning an herb garden. I've started parsley, sage, several basils and lavender. I will get a lemon verbena because I love it. Also a rosemary plant. I planted some large clumps black peppermint and oregano last summer far, far away from my garden.

What are your favorite herbs? What do you do with them? Some herbs I love to smell but I'm never quite sure what to do with them.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Favorite herbs?

Chives, parsley, basil, thyme, sage.....and more basil! Love what fresh basil does to a salad...
Oh and cilantro too.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I love lemon basil and fresh dill. I only like fresh dill, never dried.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

We always plant basil, Italian parsley, cilantro. I also plant green (not red) shiso. Try THAT is a salad! This year I picked Thai basil since I do like to make pho.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Right now I have sweet basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, Greek oregano, Italian oregano, dill, English thyme, lemongrass, spearmint, peppermint, epazote, and rosemary. I also have a Kaffir lime tree that I planted for the leaves - not the fruit, and so I guess that is an herb also. I use the lemongrass and lime leaves when I make Thai soups or stir fries and also to make curry paste. The epazote I use when I cook beans to use in Mexican dishes - it is a good substitute for cilantro and is supposed to make the beans less gassy.

The rosemary I do not eat at all - I planted it to repel insects, in case we get any mosquitoes, which are fairly rare here. If we get enough warm days, I can get basil to grow all year here, although it is more sparse in the darker winter months like December and January. The dill and cilantro grow better in the winter, but I can get them to grow in the summer, if I protect them a bit.

I use the dill to make Ranch salad dressing or dip - I use only fresh ingredients when I make that, and it makes a huge difference in flavor. I also use dill in tartar sauce or when cooking salmon, but in not much else, although I have made dilly bread in the past. I had a hard time growing dill in Venice because of bugs, but I do not have that problem where I am now - probably because my yard is more protected.

Lars


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Try growing cinnamon basil. Lovely to look at, smell and eat. I second dill. Chives. Those are the fresh ones I use most--dill, basil and chives. I can't grow decent oregano or cilantro to save my life.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I try to add a new herb, or a new variety each year. Some things work, and some don't, it's the great herbal adventure. I've been busy harvesting and drying. As soon as old or new plants start to grow I begin harvesting -- spring growth is the best for drying.

Fresh herbs are also important indoor plants, not just outdoor. This fall try to transplant some herbs from your garden to a nice sunny south window and grow them all winter long. If I have a few stray volunteer plants that made it through the late summer, they often get brought indoors since they are smaller plants, or I'll start some from seed in a planter in late summer or divide a mature plant.

Herbs are a very important source of fresh food for us in the winter and early spring at our home when "fresh" food really doesn't exist purchased from a store - and you are kidding yourself in thinking it is "fresh". A plant stand in a dining room window is filled with basil, rosemary, parsley, chives, sage and thyme.

Add to that micro-greens and baby greens grown in recycled plastic clamshell boxes and sprouted beans/seeds/grains from our little "garden-in-a-jar". Fresh sprouts, micro-greens, baby greens and herbs are used in salads and to top sandwiches/wraps/pitas. That's how we get REAL fresh foods we need that are high in vitamins, minerals and proteins all year long. Vitamins and minerals increase from 13-600% during sprouting. Leafy micro-greens and baby greens contain cancer-fighting chlorophyll, as well as vitamin A. Then there are the 5-inch pots of wheatgrass (or other grains) in all stages of growth ready to harvest and juice.

Truly home-grown and picked at the peek of nutrition.

-Grainlady


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I am surprised no one has mentioned French Tarragon. It is one of my favorites and is terrific with chicken!

I have a small herb garden: Oregano, Thyme, Chives, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint (new this year), Lovage, Borage and Tarragon. I also have Rosemary in a pot because in MN I have to bring it in over the winter. And every year I plant Parsley and several varieties of Basil.

Linda


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Yum - thanks for all the suggestions. Makes me hungry for summer dinners.

I need to set up some kind of plant stand along with my super duper powerful growlight for winter herbs and veggies hopefully by fall. Now I'm thinking of spring/summer though it feels like winter again here. Brrr 20 degrees this morning.

I have seed of fennel, dill, borage, chamomile, shiso, gem marigolds, cilantro... A friend who works at a seed company gave me A LOT of seed - some herbs and every green that had an odd name. Should be an adventure.

I will keeps an eye out for epazote and culantro. I forgot to mention that I've started several varieties of pepper. Hot peppers and Maine aren't the best combo though. I need to start some chives and thyme too. I have a lemon grass in a pot - very jealous of whoever has that kaffir lime.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Ditto on the French Tarragon. Fresh tarragon with chicken or in a vinaigrette--magnifique. Unfortunately where I live is too darn hot for tarragon. Last year I was able to keep a plant alive in a pot in the shade for a few months before the heat ate it up.

Note that true French Tarragon is always a plant; if someone offers you tarragon seeds, it ain't French Tarragon.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

French tarragon is my favorite, too. I could eat chicken tarragon every day and be very happy (and fat!!!)

I live in central Alabama and it gets HOT here and I've been amazed that I've overwintered a French tarragon plant for about eight years. It's protected on one side by a stockade fence, on the other by my huge rosemary, and when the temps get to about 50 at night I mulch the living daylights out of it. A gal at the local nursery was skeptical till I brought her a piece, but she believes me now.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

French tarragon is amazing with eggs too. One of the few that I like dry too. Enjoy it - it's awful to grow at the nursery. Bags and bags of 100 horrible 1/4 wilted stuck together cuttings would come in from Mexico or maybe Costa Rica.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

right now I have sage, chives, thyme and oregano, all managed to over-winter here thanks to Michigan's extremely mild winter last winter.

I love basil and especially lemon basil which is good with chicken and fish. I make an herbed pork roast with nearly any herb I have on hand.

I do have chocolate mint because Ashley bought it for me but I don't really like fresh mint. No, not even mint juleps...

I always have dill because I make refrigerator pickles and fresh dill is best, it's also good in dip. I grow fennel for the bulbs and the fronds and seeds. I grow cilantro for salsa and love tarragon.

Nancy gave me some lovage, it tastes much like celery. It's a perennial so I'm going to plant some out at the farm.

Oh, and parsley. Gotta have parsley.

Annie


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RE: Favorite herbs?

My favorite herb is marjoram. It's great with pork and I often substitute it for oregano in Mediterranean dishes for a more delicate flavor.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

We always grow basil, it just goes with the tomatoes, and we have a big rosemary bush that does just fine on its own. Last couple of years we've had chives, tarragon, and mint. We are planting dill, cilantro, sage and lemongrass right now. Come winter, I'll try to move them indoors.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Marjoram is one of my favorite smells in the world! I want Marjoram bubble bath! However I don't think the dry tastes anything like the fresh. I'm not sure how to cook with it. Maybe try some of that ground up with olive oil and frozen to see if the flavor keeps?


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Lets see, I have bay laurel, rosemary, winter savory, a couple of varieties of thyme, one is a variety called Odena's Kitchen Thyme, created by a late, great, local herbalist named Odena Brenam, Mexican Mint Marigold, aka Texas tarragon, fennel, leaf cutting celery, parsley and cilantro during the winter and basil during the summer, spearmint and peppermint. For those of you, like me, that live where it's too hot to grow French tarragon, try the Texas tarragon. It's a beautiful perennial that has yellow flowers in the late fall, and it's foliage has that licorice flavor that tarragon has. I'm sure it's not an exact substitute for the French tarragon, but it still can be used for the same things that the French variety can. The Texas tarragon is actually in the Marigold family, Tagetes lucida.

Sally


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Eqyptian walking onions. They are green onions that never make a head (scallions). The walking part is that they makes scapes - flowers then seeds - that fall over and become more clumps of onions without me doing any work. Here in NC they are perennial!

I have about 20 rosemary bushes and keep everyone I know happy with sprigs year 'round. I even send some (well, a lot) to my sister in Alaska.

I forgot to plant basil last year and was so bummed that I had to buy it, but the farmers market vendors always have plenty to share/sell cheap - like a dollar for a 2 gallon sized bag.

Nancy

Here is a link that might be useful: Egyptian Walking Onion


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Nancy,

Loved the link for Egyptian Walking Onion! I've never grown them before. They look like fun.

/tricia


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RE: Favorite herbs?

My favorites are tarragon (too cold to grow it here in WI) but I grew it when I lived in OK, fennel and cilantro (of course!). I grow chives, Italian parsley, basil, dill, lovage and try to grow cilantro w/o much success, unfortunately.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I think I've seen EWO in someone's garden before. They are neat. How do they taste? Do you just harvest the greens or the onions too? A lot of people here harvest garlic scapes - not my favorite at all.

I think I have to enlarge the area I was setting aside for herbs. Today I all I planted is small amounts of all the odd ball asian vegetable seeds my friend gave me. Hopefully I'll like most of them - I like most greens.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

EWO - if you want to call them that, I call them magic onions - taste is hot/spicy/fresh just like scallions/green onions. You can use a lot more of the green leaf part though since they are taller and thicker around the hollow, if that makes sense. I harvest a lot of them at once, slice in rings (like Asian recipes call for), lay them on cookie sheets, put them in the freezer, then pop them into plastic freezer boxes so I can shake some out when I am too lazy to go out in the cold and cut some. Supposedly they do perfectly well in Zones 3 to 9 which is about all of the US except Northern Alaska/and Northern Canada (Z1&Z2) and Hawaii/parts of CA (Z10). I plan to take some bulblets to my sister in Juneau - her being in Z7 is an oxymoron since here in NC we are Z7 and don't get yearly snow average of 5 to 20 inches, more like 0 to 1 per 10 years. But, USDA has a set of numbers that supposedly we all fit into.

Nancy


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RE: Favorite herbs?

"Rosemary" is my Favorite, but I also love Dill,Parsley,Chives,Oregano,Basil,Sage,Thyme,and Garlic, if you consider that a herb. I have planted them all and they are growing like crazy !!! I love my garden!!! I mostly grow the herbs in Pots. Diana55


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Weeding daylilies and magic onions

I decided to do one last thing outside before collapsing into a heap of laziness. I went over to my mom's vegetable garden where she has one bed of overgrown perennials. I lifted some daylilies - dug out the witch grass and replanted. What should I come upon but some clumps of your magic onions... So a few of those will be added to the mix. Thanks for the freezing suggestion.

Roasted baby potatoes with garlic and rosemary - delicious.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Right now, growing in my herb garden, I have oregano, marjoram, rosemary, bay laurel, chives, both parleys, tarragon, basil, varigated sage, plain garden sage,clary sage, mexican mint marigold, thyme, lemon thyme, garlic chives, lemon verbena and pineapple sage. I love the pineapple sage not only for the wonderful pineapple fragrance bu also the beautiful red flowers in late summer or early autumn. The yellow blooming mexican sage flowers about the same time when most everything else has quit blooming. I don't always plant cilantro, it bolts so quickly. Most everything in my garden winters over except cilantro and of course basil. I don't try to keep basil in the winter because I use it more when tomatoes are in season so don't really miss it in the winter. Some of the herbs die down but do return the next year, About the only thing I dry is sage and lemon verbena.

jude


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Try some caraway! I was amazed at how easy it is to grow.
I AM in a temperate climate (Z8), but even though the guidelines say it's biennial, I got seeds the first year.
Delicious in homemade rye bread!

Deanna


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I dried lemon balm, lemon verbena and black peppermint last summer. Added them to my green tea all winter. Pineapple sage smells so nice and the hummers love them.

All these descriptions of everyone's herbs are inspiring. The garden is tilled, will amend and till again. Hopefully next week I'll start laying out an area and planting. And then eating.....


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RE: Favorite herbs?

ci_lantro, I am just next door in MN and my Tarragon goes nuts every summer! It's up now and needs dividing (again, I divided it in half last year!).

If you'd like to try a piece of my plant I'd be happy to send you some. Just send me an e-mail thru GW.

Linda


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I forgot to mention sage and chives, also. I have garlic chives growing everywhere. It's something that if you let it flower, it'll go to seed in no time and you'll be like the old woman in the shoe with more children than she knew what to do with. I know better, but still I let it flower because the bees love it so much.

Sally


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RE: Favorite herbs?

What a fun and inspiring thread!

I had garlic chives in a pot for a while, but it bit the dust. Now I'm ready to try some regular chives, probably outdoors this time; not only are chives awesome in homemade ranch dip or omelets, they also have lovely purple blooms!

I also want to try parsley (I usually buy it) and rosemary (have tried and failed). I love mints because they grow like weeds (my garden has to thrive on benign neglect). Catnip grows great and makes a good tea for headaches. I think my peppermint survived, too, and I'd like to get a chocolate mint just because they smell divine. I love basil, but I don't think I have the patience to baby it in my climate.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Oh, I guess I mentioned what I do with the chives but not the others. Parsley is good in salads, ranch dip, and my favorite lemon garlic pasta recipe, plus a great garnish or for settling the stomach. Rosemary in bread or as a meat rub. Mint, mostly as a tea, though I know I should branch out (mmm...love mojitos!), and basil would be fabulous in pesto or pasta or in salads or with tomatoes and mozzarella. I'd also like to make herb butters someday. And of course, I've used fresh chives and parsley in ranch but always stuck to dried dill, so now I'm wondering what I'm missing...perhaps I'll add dill to my wish-list!


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RE: Favorite herbs?

The big attraction with dill (besides its beautiful form, pretty yellow flowers, and amazing smell and attraction for butterflies) is if you are a canner, it's cool to be able to include dill leaves and a dill seed head in your jars of pickles. Of course you can buy the dill seeds, but fresh dill wins you style points!


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Sadly, I can't grow dill and cucumbers at the same time. I'm growing my first ever cucumber plant this year, but it's too late for dill in my climate. I have to grow it in the fall or winter. At least I can grow tomatoes and basil at the same time!

Sally


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RE: Favorite herbs?

A friend gave me a bunch of lovage. It's a tall plant with lovely green leaves that smell like strong celery.

We are loving it! I put it in soups, we had in stirred into cooked buttered carrots last nite, and in cooked orzo. Excellent in pasta salads.

She offered me a plant so I can have my own, and I'm planning on taking her up on it! It grows 4-5 feet and benefits from continual cutting. Even the stalks can be used if you put them in soups then remove them.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I went to the local garden center and picked up a lemon verbena, a french tarragon, a curry plant and a rosemary. I have seedlings sitting in my window of
sage, italian basil, a basil mix, lavender and parsley. Then yesterday I went to the FEDCO tree sale - anyone in or near maine should check that out at least once. I picked up a bee balm, thai basil, and mexican mint marigold. Now if we have a few dry days I'll start planting. Thank to all for the ideas!


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RE: Favorite herbs?

I used to have bee balm! But it was in my brother's yard back when I had an apartment, and he ended up heaping his woodpile on top of my garden plot. I know it was his yard, but what a waste!

What I never did figure out though, is what you do with bee balm? I just liked it because it grows in the mountains here. I was hoping to pick a new plant up this year at the annual garden club sale.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

As far as an herb? I've only dried it for tea - it has a minty citrusy flavor to me. One name for Monarda is bergamot. Bergamot is an italian citrus used to flavor Earl Grey tea. I would suppose that one could try it anywhere one would use mint. Here's what I found online...

"Bergamot can be used in several ways outside of tea. The plant can be used as a cooking herb. It is best to use the flowers for tea, the leaves have a hotter, oregano-like flavor. Enliven the taste and look of salads by adding a sprinkling of bergamot flowers. Use fresh or dried leaves in tomato dishes, and as a substitute for sage in stuffing for poultry and meats, especially pork and veal. The fresh leaves can be added to jellies, punch, lemonade or wine to add extra taste.

The flavor of Monarda combines well with tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and orange. Use flowers and leaves in recipes for chicken, turkey, and pork dishes. Monarda fruit punch is delicious, and the flowers a colourful addition to salads."


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Lemon verbena...so fragrant and the purest lemon flavor of all. I received this from P.Allen Smith. It sounds wonderful and so easy, although I haven't tried it...yet.

jude

Lemon Verbena Honey

What you'll need

•A few stems of lemon verbena, cleaned and dried
•1 mason jar
•Honey
All it takes is a little herb-tidying. Pluck the lemon verbena leaves off of their stems, rinse them, and dry them with a paper towel. Loosely fill a mason jar with the leaves and then pour the honey over the top. While you may want to try it right away, put the jar in a cupboard for a few weeks to infuse. After two weeks strain the honey to remove the leaves.

You'll end up with a lovely lemon-flavored honey that you can stir into tea, drizzle over nuts or cheese, or use as a sweetener.


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RE: Favorite herbs?

Regarding honey: I had to go before the planning commission this evening regarding my future firewood/garden/flotsam shed. My application form was sticky with my 6 yr old niece's honeyed fingerprints. She also seems to have gotten honey into the crack between my table and the leaf - which I found when I noticed it dripping on the floor. Not sure how she managed to get into the crack and not all over the table. Sigh...

The verbena honey recipe looks delicious. Think I need another verbena plant or three - I can never have enough vervein dry or fresh in teas, ices, panne cotta, soap, lotion, sachets.....


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RE: Favorite herbs?

So many interesting suggestions here.

Containers work better for me, as far as herbs, because I have more control over soil, moisture, etc.

I grow rosemary and use it in many dishes including roast chicken (under the breast skin), roast beef and roasted root vegetables.

Basil is another favorite, and it's fun for me to go out to my porch garden first thing in the morning and pick a fresh leaf or two to add to my eggs.


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