There is “much virtue in herbs, little in men,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac during the 18th century. More than 200 years later, herbs are still wildly popular in the garden and kitchen. As for the virtue in men . . . I’ll let you all decide about that.
Here are helpful resources to ensure you have a good supply of garden herbs during the fall and winter months. Photo copyright Icrontic.com.
Photo copyright Living in Monrovia (Flickr)
As summer passes, aromatic herbs are too special to let die away in the garden. That’s why it’s worth your time to preserve herbs now in different ways, so you can enjoy them when the winter winds are howling outside your kitchen window.
First off, be sure and stop by this article on fun DIY ways to preserve foods for ideas like herbal butters, flower-flavored honeys and pesto cubes.
Here’s more help:
Harvesting herbs: My friend Theresa Loe offers excellent tips for harvesting herbs in this blog post she wrote for Burpee. Theresa is the Co-Executive Producer of the national PBS-TV show Growing a Greener World. An avid gardener in California, she also shares some of her favorite plants here. Or catch up with Theresa at her blog Living Homegrown Fresh.
Photo copyright MrJasonWeaver (Flickr).
Making Herbal Oil and Vinaigrette: It couldn’t be easier to make delicious herbal oils and vinaigrette with ingredients straight from your garden or farmer’s market. For instructions, check out this helpful advice from aHa! Modern Living.
There you’ll find a recipe for my Seasonal Wisdom’s Herbs de Provence Infused Oil, featuring some of my favorite flavors from Southeastern France. There’s also a mouthwatering vinaigrette recipe from Ivette Soler, author of Edible Front Yard, and the blog, The Germinatrix.
Photo copyright bluewaikiki.com.
Freezing Herbs: Another easy and fast method is to freeze herbs. This technique helps lock in the flavor. Try freezing basil pesto in ice cube trays. Or, you can freeze a mixture of herbs in a little oil, melted butter or stock. Thyme, dill weed and rosemary freeze particularly well on the stalk. Learn more about freezing herbs from Washington State University Extension’s website, which provides a number of simple tips.
Photo copyright GeishaBoy500 on Flickr.
Once you get started, you’ll quickly see how a little effort now will ensure you have plenty of delicious herbal flavor in colder months. For more inspiration, don’t miss this Rodale article on preserving herbs.
Meanwhile, here’s some old-fashioned advice from the 15th century on preserving herbs:
“Seeds must be gathered in fair weather, at the wane of the Moon, and Kept in some Boxes of Wood, some in bags of Leather, and some in vessels of Earthenware, and well Cleansed and dried in Shadow.” Gervase Markham wrote in The English Hus-wife, 1615.
For best results, however, follow the more modern directions listed in the resources above. Enjoy!
Learn More! Fun DIY ways to preserve foods.