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Old 05-24-2007, 07:47 PM   #1
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ISO help with taking care of fresh herbs

ok, I use mostly dry spices. I will probably continue to do so. However, sometimes I do buy fresh spices. I don't know how to take care of them. You get so much in a package. I only end up using what i need and than I never know when I'm going to use it again. eventually it goes bad in the refrigerator.

How do you take care of these things you call "fresh spices"

Example: My food shopping trip tomorrow - I might be getting some sage, thyme and fresh basil.

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Old 05-24-2007, 07:54 PM   #2
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Okay, legend, one thing you might want to do is to create your own herb garden. Don't worry. You don't have to get elaborate.

A clay strawberry pot, available at most garden centers, will serve your needs quite well. You can fill each little "balcony" with a different herb and have fresh herbs for a long, long while.

I have a traditional herb garden and my sage and chives have been my friends for at least 5 years because they return every year.

I don't know what you pay for a little packet of fresh herbs, but here it ranges anywhere from $1.99 to $3.99 depending on the herb. That's a lot of money to spend for a couple of uses.

Right now I have chives, basil, rosemary, Italian parsley, thyme, peppermint, and sage growing in my garden.

That's the long answer because I don't buy fresh herbs in the market. I just walk outside and clip my own.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:23 AM   #3
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hrmmm, i never heard of that, but i like the idea of an herb garden :) can you do that indoors? or does it have to be outdoors? so you just get those pots, some soil and plant em?
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Old 05-25-2007, 06:09 AM   #4
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Actually, what you've listed are herbs, not spices (like nutmeg, clove, paprika, etc..)

When I have extra herbs, I'll wrap them in a damp paper towel, wrap that in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it.

You could also lay them out to dry on the counter, chop them, and freeze them in smalll plastic bags.
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Old 05-25-2007, 06:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Actually, what you've listed are herbs, not spices (like nutmeg, clove, paprika, etc..)

When I have extra herbs, I'll wrap them in a damp paper towel, wrap that in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it.

You could also lay them out to dry on the counter, chop them, and freeze them in smalll plastic bags.
If you lay them out to dry - doesn't that turn them into DRY herbs instead of fresh herbs?

If you wrap them in a damp paper towel and wrap it - how long about would you think they might last? IN the refrigerator that is.

Having an herb garden sounds interesting. I'd like to learn more about it. Maybe I'll stop in the garden center sometime soon.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legend_018
If you lay them out to dry - doesn't that turn them into DRY herbs instead of fresh herbs?

If you wrap them in a damp paper towel and wrap it - how long about would you think they might last? IN the refrigerator that is.

Having an herb garden sounds interesting. I'd like to learn more about it. Maybe I'll stop in the garden center sometime soon.
Sure, they become dried herbs, but this way, you know when they were dried and you know how old they are, unlike packaged dried herbs. Also, the flavour will more closely mimmick fresh herbs. You could freeze them directly from the fresh stage, but in my opinion, all you get is watery leaves that have no texture at all.

You can get an extra week out of the damp rag method.

An indoor herb garden is a great idea, but you can only harvest as much as your pots will produce. Once you harvest, you have to wait for more growth before you can harvest again.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:34 AM   #7
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You live in NH and I live in Boston. I grow lots of herbs in my garden every year. You can buy them at garden stores or Home Depot as little plants in pots and then transfer them to the ground or a larger pot on a deck or something. Most are very easy to grow. Basil, rosemary, thyme are nearly impossible to kill if you water them occassionally.

Then you just pick what you need with no storage.

This weekend would be an ideal time to buy and plant them.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:15 AM   #8
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I also have an herb garden where I keep oregano, sage, chives, spearmint. I don't use sage so much for cooking, instead I dry it and make herbal tea in the winter.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:47 AM   #9
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Herbs indoors

Quote:
Originally Posted by srm
hrmmm, i never heard of that, but i like the idea of an herb garden :) can you do that indoors? or does it have to be outdoors? so you just get those pots, some soil and plant em?
Most commonly used herbs originated in the Mediterranean, so they needs lots of full sun - they generally don't do very well inside, unless you can give them lots of sun.

My herb garden is about 15 years old now (this is a picture from last year):



I have Italian, Mexican, and purple ruffled basil; flat-leaf parsley; French and lemon thyme; sage; tarragon; lemon verbena; Greek and Mexican oregano; and rosemary. We're also growing fennel and garlic in the herb garden, and I have spearmint in a clay strawberry pot; mint is invasive, at least where I live, so it needs to be contained

Also, to preserve fresh herbs, another option is to whir them in a blender with some water, then freeze them in ice cube trays. With basil or oregano, for example, you can then throw a cube or two into some sauce to get that fresh herb flavor.
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Old 05-27-2007, 03:51 PM   #10
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pictures of filled strawberry pot - does it look ok?

ok, I've never done this before. The garden center gave me a run down. I posted some pictures of what I made. Does anything look abnormal? Does it look normal? There is oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and parsley that I planted into the pot. I keep in thinking I should squish more dirt in there?
Are they suppose to hang down like that? It's the best I could do.

The total cost for the pot, herbs and dirt was $45.00. I didn't really need a lot of dirt since each plant had it's own pretty much.

One of the plants was big and I couldn't fit it into the hole. Some of the roots "there was LOTS of them" came off in the process. I hope I didn't kill it already. ; )

PS. Currently I have NO yard. Won't be landscaped or done for quite awhile.
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