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Old 04-14-2016, 02:42 PM   #1
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Fresh herbs favorites..

We've done a lot of talking about dried herbs and where to buy them but I don't remember a discussion about the wonders of fresh herbs and how and when to use them. Do you grow them, or buy them?

We don't have a lot of room, and only grow chives, parsley and now thyme. Until recently I never knew how wonderful fresh thyme could be in recipes. I use lots of it now. I never had any luck with cilantro, so I buy it from the Mexican market for 25 cents a bunch. Can't beat it! I'll buy a basil plant soon, but don't have much luck growing that either. There's nothing better than fresh basil though.

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Old 04-14-2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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Fresh herbs favorites..

I love fresh thyme too. Mine has a habit of being swallowed by my oregano, and dying off. I have to keep replanting it. Basil is nice, I grow it from seed every year. I have a bunch of spearmint and peppermint, along with tons of lemon balm. I've had varied success overwintering rosemary, it's not hardy here. My chives are tough little things, and I've been able to overwinter parsley, even though it's a biennial. Hysop is nice, licorice flavor, and pretty purple flowers. Spreads like crazy. My dill happily reseeds itself, I like that. I had sage, but the oregano ate that too.

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Old 04-14-2016, 03:05 PM   #3
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Right now I have growing:

I have trouble with cilantro, but buy it in bunches.

Cilantro, basil, sage & mint are the ones I use most frequently.

I don't buy any of those herb dried - once you get used to fresh, the dry just doesn't taste right. I'm fortunate to live in a climate where I can grow fresh herb year-round.
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Old 04-14-2016, 03:06 PM   #4
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Last spring I cleared some crappy bushes out of a corner of the yard and planted parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and cilantro. The basil did really well in the summer but died in the fall well before the first frost, presumably due to the shortened daylight hours. Cilantro was short lived, and I learned afterwards that you have to replant cilantro every few weeks in order to have a continuous supply. The others did well. I froze a bunch of rosemary in small baggies and have been using it for my rosemary dutch oven bread all winter.

I've rounded up some kitty litter buckets from friends with cats so I can plant early and cover them up if there is a threat of frost. That should allow me to plant a few weeks earlier than last year.
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Old 04-14-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
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Double Yess! to fresh thyme. Quite possibly the best herb that goes with just about anything. I will definitely grow some in the garden this year. It is not winter hardy in my area, grow it as an annual. Plus, store bought stays fresh a long time in the frig in the pkg it comes in.

Yes to fresh rosemary, I don't prefer dried. Good on roasts, and chicken dishes and roasted potatoes. Snip in olive oil and splash it on roasted veggies like carrots or cauliflower.

I think I prefer dried sage over fresh. It is winter hardy. I think the best dish I ever made w/ fresh is oven roasted baby red potatoes, w/ added snipped rosemary, and some smashed garlic. The garlic was over- brown before the taters were done, otherwise it is a perfect combo. (I guess that's why they invented garlic powder.) Ditto the same for oven fries, toss w a little olive oil.

I don't have a preference either way for oregano or savory. There is one dish that I can't think of at the moment that I prefer fresh oregano. Otherwise, I think these two retain their oils.

I grow tarragon. Favorite herb on / in summer salads or salad dressings, pasta salad, egg salad, chicken salad or rough mince and add to chicken after grilling. I don't believe it retains its flavor too long after it's dried.

I don't know if this counts. I like green onion tops in lieu of chives. Tend to compost the bottoms before they get used. I forget who said recent to put the bottoms in a glass of water and grow new tops. Gotta try this.

Fresh basil. Pesto. I grow lots in the garden or scoop up a bundle at a farmers market in season. The flowers are nice, but should be picked off. Good to garnish salads.

Parsley. Think Tabbouleh. Cilantro. It finally stopped tasting soapy after how many years. Yay.

Spearmint. I grow in pots so it doesn't spread. Good all summer long.

And last but v/ important. I grow catnip for the little girls. I grow it inside a tomato cage wrapped with chicken wire since it seems to be a backyard draw for half the neighborhood.

With the exception of parsley and cilantro, Fresh herbs are between $3-3.50 per package off season. Which, of course, is when you seem to want them most. I just build that in to the cost of cooking a recipe.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Whiskadoodle View Post
I like green onion tops in lieu of chives. Tend to compost the bottoms before they get used. I forget who said recent to put the bottoms in a glass of water and grow new tops. Gotta try this.
It was Larry Stewart, and yes they do. I did it once, and the white bottoms tend to turn into kind of a loose mess. The green tops grow surprisingly fast, and you have a usable batch in two weeks or so.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:32 AM   #7
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We tend to always try to keep fresh basil, oregano, "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" growing. "Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:57 AM   #8
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I don't use many fresh herbs.

Once a year I buy a big bunch of fresh dill at the farmers market.

I also use a little fresh basil, chives and flat leaf parsley, that's about it.

When I was a kid we used to have mint growing wild in a wet area near our house, my grandmother would send us to pick it for her iced tea. I think she enjoyed getting rid of us for a few minutes more than she enjoyed the mint!
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:29 AM   #9
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I love my fresh herbs! About 25 years ago, I went to a Cooking with Herbs class at a local garden center. It was wonderful. I got a lot of recipes that I still use. My first herb garden was in window boxes attached to the fire escape railing of the apartment building where we used to live.

I grow parsley, two kinds of sage, rosemary and two kinds of thyme, as well as lots of basil, bay laurel, lemon balm, chives, mint (in a strawberry jar to contain it), oregano and sometimes dill and cilantro. I've found that dill and cilantro do best in the spring and fall. They bolt to seed with the summer heat here. Which sucks because of course, I want to make tzatziki with fresh garden cucumbers and salsa, etc., with fresh garden peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos!

I love to make fresh pesto all summer and I freeze extra pesto and basil cubes at the end of the summer. Last year, we started putting basil in BLT sandwiches I fresh basil. I usually get 9-12 plants and plant them among the tomatoes. I find they need more water than most other herbs.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:36 AM   #10
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