Showing posts with label herb garden at home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label herb garden at home. Show all posts

Monday, August 31, 2015

Harvesting Fresh Herbs

After planting my herb garden last year I have had so much success with growing and harvesting all my herbs.  I don’t know why I didn’t plant one sooner.  With it being the peak of summer I have found myself using more and more herbs in salads, drinks, and as an additive to many summer dishes.

I have encouraged many of my friends to plant an herb garden and they are just as pleased as I am.  One question they always come back to me with, is how to harvest them and dry them for use.  It is not tricky but it is good to know how.

Here is how I harvest my fresh herbs.

How to dry fresh herbs-

Cut the healthy branches you want to dry from your herb plant and remove any dry, diseased, yellowed, or spotted leaves.  Then shake gently to remove any dirt or bus that may still be on them.

Get rid of the lower leaves, about an inch along the bottom of the branch. Make bundles of 4-6 branches and tie together using a string or rubber band.  The bundles will shrink as they dry so it is important to keep an eye on them so you don’t lose any branches.

Use a paper bag and cut multiple small holes and label the bag so you remember what herb you are drying.  Insert the herbs upside down in the paper bag and close the bag with a string and hang the bag upside down in a warm airy room.

Check your herbs weekly to make sure they are progressing along until they are dried and ready to store. And enjoy your freshly dried herbs.

How to freeze fresh herbs-

Cut the healthy branches you want to freeze from your herbs and remove any dry, diseased, yellowed, or spotted leaves.  Wash and chop them or leave them in larger springs and leaves.
Pack the wells of an ice cube tray about 2/3 full of herbs and pour extra virgin olive oil or water over the herbs to fill up the well.  (You can mix herbs to create a unique mixture)  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

After frozen remove the cubes and store in the freezer in containers or small bags.  Enjoy your frozen herbs whenever you please.

Drying and freezing are the two ways I use the most to keep my herbs longer.  Do you use other ways to preserve your herbs or other methods, I am intrigued to know and try new ways.  Just leave a comment below.

Go green and stay keen,


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Expanding the Herb Garden

With spring right around the corner I have been feeling pretty ambitious.  Over the past year my cute little herb garden has turned into somewhat of a little jungle.  When I started growing it last year I had no idea how quickly it would grow or how much it would yield.  I was really surprised how my green thumb has developed, I haven’t killed any herbs and they are growing like crazy. 

My family secretly loves when I cook with our fresh herbs…they usually don’t know but they always have seconds.  J  I decided yesterday because of how much of a hit my garden is, I should expand it and plant some new herbs.  I had no intention of making it larger or planting more when I first started but our family loves it and I like being able to share it with friends.

Yesterday I started planning out how I am going to make it larger and what herbs I want to attempt to grow.  Expanding my outdoor herb garden took more time planning than I thought it would.  I had to figure out if I could transplant and move herbs so they have enough room to grow and to see which way I could expand the garden without hitting any power lines.  I felt like an architect or something like that.

This morning I went to the hardware store to pick up some new garden stones and some healthy black soil for my expansion project.  I was motivated to start moving stones and building up the walls…then I tried moving the ones that have been in the ground for a year; it wasn’t happening.  I decided I needed my husband’s muscles to help. 

In the mean time until he gets home, I have be looking up other herbs to plant in the garden.  I already have a healthy growing amount of mint, chives, parsley, basil, sage, and thyme.  The mint plant is probably one of my favorites; I love mixing it in drinks and when I am cooking vegetables.  I guess I can’t really say it is my favorite, I love all the herbs I have planted. J

I think I want to add some rosemary to use with olive oil and cheeses, tarragon to cook with rice and tofu, and cilantro to add to sandwiches and guacamole.  Adding these three should be enough herbs for me now.  I don’t want to go over board and create an even larger jungle. 
Since planting my herb garden I have used so many more fresh herbs while cooking.  It is so convenient to just walk outside and find an entire garden full of flavors.  I can’t wait until my expansion project is done and I have even more herbs.

Go Green and Stay Keen, 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Dinner is served

It has been nearly 3 months since I planted my herb garden and the yields from it have been incredible.  I have been working on incorporating them into daily meals with the family.  The richness they bring to dishes is so unbelievable, I couldn’t keep it to myself, so I had to share it with my friends.  I decided to host my very first dinner party yesterday and used the herbs from my garden.

It was my first dinner party I have ever hosted.  I invited two of our best friends and their spouses over for dinner and wine.  I found the hardest part of planning was narrowing down what I wanted to cook.  Maybe it is from working in the restaurant, but I was full of different course ideas and ways to incorporate my herbs into dishes and drinks.  It was very challenging to narrow it down.

I finally decided on some seasonal fare I found at the farmers market and a perfect blend of my very own herbs! :)  I made creamy goat’s cheese with chive and pomegranate, mushroom and truffled herb salad, melanzane parmigiana, and peach and basil crumbles.  All of the courses turned out delicious.  The herb salad was my favorite, it was light and had the perfect amount of richness.  I highly recommend all of these recipes!

My dinner party featuring my very own herbs was a huge success!  Planning it was a little stressful but so worth it in the end.  The food turned out great, everyone had a wonderful time, we had great conversation even better wine, and I think I convinced a few of my friends to start an herb garden! This was my first dinner party but it definitely won’t be the last.

Go Green and Stay Keen,


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

To Grow, or Not to Grow

To be or not to be…To grow to not to grow, that is the question; I may not be Shakespeare but I am contemplating a very important question.  Should I plant an herb garden at home?  My fabulous chef at the restaurant was kind enough to bring me some of his fresh basil and cilantro from his garden and got my herb garden bug acting up again.  There is just something different when you use fresh herbs from the garden or ones from the store.
I always try using fresh ingredients and herbs whenever I can.  I have tried growing herbs at home before but most of them have never really turned out to much.  I would love to say I have a green thumb…but I don’t…not yet at least!   Last year, I bought a couple different types of herb seeds from the store and put some effort into planting them.  Four little sprouts came up and the other seeds must have disappeared into the soil. I really want to try it my herb garden again soon!

I notice a much more distinct and potent taste from fresh herbs.  When I use herbs from a garden in my food, it just tastes better…simple as that!  You are eating a natural product that you created from a simple seed. I love buying local and I know I could go to the farmers market to get my herb fix, but having your own garden at your cooking disposal is so much nicer.
There are so many pros of growing your own herb garden, it’s hard not start growing one.  I have to be doing something wrong when planting the seeds or I just have a brown thumb…the opposite of a green thumb.  I really want to try growing one again, so I did a little research and on almost every site I visited it said how easy it is to grow one.  Maybe if I think positive thoughts and sprinkle a little veggie love on them when I plant them, they will grow.
When I decide to grow my herb garden, what herbs should I plant? And how can I help each one of them grow?  Basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano…? Sunlight, shade, water, little water, inside or outside…?   There are so many options for growing it makes it even harder to decide.  I know that having my own herb garden would be so convenient and make my food even more delicious, I just need to get them to grow.
I clearly have a lot of questions about growing an herb garden.  This is something that I will probably end up doing, so I just want to make sure I understand it all so I don’t get disappointed again.

Advice about herb gardens are more than welcome!  I will keep you updated on any good advice I receive, so maybe you can have a successful garden too!

Go Green and Help Me Stay Keen,