From sunny window sill and balcony to a kitchen garden
There is nothing simpler or more rewarding than growing your own herbs and when you start to cook to be able to stretch out for a handful of your home grown thyme or basil.
Whether you are limited to a small garden or patio, to a balcony, hanging basket, wall planting or a window sill, there is still a huge opportunity to grow your own herbs and most of the common herbs do so well and in addition they will create a pretty and ornamental feature to the view from your window or garden layout.
If you do not have a garden, your first job will be to plan and sort out the most suitable sized containers to suit the space for your your herbs. Put some crocks or stones at the bottom for drainage and then fill them with rich and well-drained soil. A good sized local garden centre will be full of options.
Next choose the herbs you think you want to use and most of the common and frequently used herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley and marjoram are all easy.
Pinch back the herbs and use often to encourage the plants to branch out and for you to enjoy.
DRYING HERBS TO PRESERVE FOR ALL YEAR ROUND USE
When the plant is in full display take some cuttings, collect them into bunches AND my most important tip is to label them at every turn. Many herbs look alike once dried!
Do this early in the day, wash them, tie herbs up in a bunch and hang them upside down in cool, dark place where there is enough ventilation for them to dry out.
Leave for two or three weeks and place dried bunches of herbs on a sheet of kitchen roll and crumble the leaves.
In the paper roll, make a funnel to put the dried herbs into air right jars keep them in a cool, dry place and out of the sunlight. Label and use within a year.
It is also possible to freeze or preserve herbs in oil but I find this by far the easiest method of preserving
THE MANY USES FOR HERBS
Fresh and dried herbs are classic additions for use with roasts and grills, casseroles and stuffings.
But to be more adventurous, you can really enjoy adding them for example to your standard recpe for pastry for flans, breads, scones – see last post – and shortbread recipe.
Try the Herb Society for a great source of information and herb recipes including a section on herbs in 17th century cuisine.
And of course you can find countless recipes in Let’s Preserve It that Beryl has gathered up for making herb jellies, jams and chutneys from herbs such as thyme, mint, basil, marjoram, parsley and savoury
And hey I have just seen her recipe for mint marmalade .
Await another post!