Friday, May 18, 2012

Herbs

I love to use fresh herbs in my cooking - it can really lift even the most basic of dishes. Here are some of the ones I have growing and some hints on where to use them. Hopefully as the season goes on I will upload some recipes and other uses of some of these.


2 different varieties of Thyme

 One of the most useful herbs in the garden. You can use Thyme with roasts, in stews, on pizza, tomato based dishes, soups, gravy etc. I just love thyme. These are new plants down this year - my previous thyme plants lasted 2 years including the hard frost, but died this winter - not really sure of the cause, but our golden retriever puppy did have a liking for that bed!!



Bay Tree (laurel)

The bay leaf is used in soups and stews for flavourings ( and a couple of times a year in mulled wine!!). The tree can grow quiet big so needs to be monitored and will need some hard pruning as it gets older, but you can shape it lovely.

 

Parsley

I can't believe the Parsley is growing back again this year - this will be my third year from the same parsley plant. Previously I only had it planted in pots and it had to be replaced every year. I reckon the good covering of bark is helping it survive the worst of the weather. Parsley is great as a topping on a dish and can add a kick to salads when you mix it in with the lettuce.


Rosemary

One of my favourite herbs - I love it cooked in roasts - the flavouring it gives as the roast is cooking just has to be smelt to be believed. Again another plant that can grow quiet big, but pruning just means more stems to share or dry.


Purple sage

This has gone wild in the bed - half thinking of moving it to a larger bed, but I fear I have left it too late in the season. Sage is mainly used in a sage and onion stuffing, but there are other uses - I need to discover more of them!


The main herb bed - sage dominating - needs pruning/moving


 
Chives

Chives are a great plant - they die off in winter but come back every spring. They are a member of the onion family and you can even eat the flowers. They are best sown (I have found) in a wet enough portion of the garden - they don't like to dry out too much. You can start using from early spring till first frosts when it dies off. During winter you can lift the clump and divide making more plants. Lovely in sambos, salads, omlettes - in fact works great with egg in anything.