Herbs in the Kitchen- All-in-one Kit

Herbs in the Kitchen –All-in-one Kit

So, you’ve planted herbs and they are thriving, growing lush and maybe even flowering.  Now what do you do with them?
Well, if your herbs are starting to flower, you may want to pinch off the flowers unless you are growing the plant for its flower or its eventual seeds.  Most herbs are used for their green leaves so eliminating the flower will direct the plant to put all it’s energy into growing leaves and not flowers or seeds.
How do you use herbs?  Herbs can be used either fresh or dried.  There are 3 main uses for herbs –

  1. Culinary – used to enhance the taste of food,
  2. Medicinal – used to cure illnesses and prevent disease
  3. Aromatic – used to bring the pleasurable scents of the garden indoors

Here are 2 common herbs with some ideas for use in the kitchen.

Basil
Basil is a member of the mint family and is native to India.  It’s not hardy in our area so it’s usually grown as an annual.  It’s considered a symbol of ‘hospitality’ and chefs regard it as the ‘King of Herbs’.  Everyone should grow basil in their herb gardens!
To preserve fresh basil, it should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in the refrigerator.  It can also be frozen in ice cube trays.  Here is the recipe for classic pesto

Classic Pesto
3 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
Combine basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil and nuts in a food processor or blender.  Blend to a smooth paste.  Serve with your favorite pasta.
 
Rosemary
Rosemary is a woody evergreen that is native to the Mediterranean region. We grow it outside in the warmer months and take it inside for our colder months, but it will require lots of sun if grown inside.  It’s uses fit all categories – culinary, medicinal and aromatic.
The complex flavor of Rosemary augments the taste of red meats, pork, chicken, salmon and tuna steaks.  It adds a boost to omelets and frittatas as well as potato and vegetable dishes and tomato sauces.  Rosemary is an important element in the herbal mixture ‘herb de Provence’.  Here is a recipe for herbal butter.


Herb Butter
½ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon minced fresh sage
½ teaspoon minces fresh thyme
½ teaspoon lemon zest

Directions
Using a blender, food processor or mixer, cream the butter and blend in the herbs.  Mix in the lemon zest.  Lay out a flat sheet of plastic wrap and spoon the mixed butter onto it.  Roll into a log shape and place in the freezer to chill for half an hour.  Serve on bread, meats or vegetables.
 
Bon Appetit!

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