Cooking With Herbs

Cooking with fresh herbs will turn out dishes that will have flavors you never knew existed.
Cooking with fresh herbs will turn out dishes that will have flavors you never knew existed.
Homemade Basil Vinegar is one of the best tasting vinegars ever.
Homemade Basil Vinegar is one of the best tasting vinegars ever.

Basil Vinegar Anyone

You can make a delicious basil vinegar quite easily and homemade basil vinegar is delicious on a fresh garden salad or cooked green beans.

To make one quart of basil vinegar you will need one cup of freshly chopped basil leaves and 1 quart of white vinegar. Chop your basil up very fine and add it to a one quart jar. Now heat one quart of vinegar to boiling and then pour your vinegar into the jar. Place the lid on tightly and refrigerate for at least 7 days before using.

As I said above this basil vinegar will be wonderful on a fresh garden salad or you can shake a few splashes into a pot of freshly cooked green beans for some great flavor you won't soon forget.

Keep in mind you can quite easily make mint vinegar , rosemary vinegar or really any type of vinegar you would choose.

There are so many wonderful things you can do with your fresh grown herbs. Try adding fine chopped basil to your garlic bread. You won't believe the delicious flavor until you try it.

If you have ideals about using fresh herbs please post about it in the comment section below. Have you ever made or used herb vinegars? Post about it below

What Herbs Have The Strongest Flavor

The strong herbs are rosemary, cilantro, tarragon, thyme, oregano, and sage.. All should be used sparingly and you can make an excellent herb vinegar to be used in cooking, on greens, on pasta, or on garden salads out of any of them.

Herbs De Provence

A mixture of dried herbs represents the most often used herbs in France. The mixture usually contains basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory, and thyme. Herbs De Provence can be used to season meat, poultry, and vegetable dishes. If you grow the right herbs you can mix up your own in your home food processor. You really will have to experiment to get the flavor you love the best.

In France the fresh herbs are often tied in a small bundle and dropped into stews and soups. If you make yours heavy on rosemary it will be excellent rubbed inside a chicken and outside on the chicken and then bake the chicken. You'll end up with some of the most delicious baked chicken you'll ever have in your life.

Rosemary

Unlike other herbs rosemary has a much stronger flavor when fresh than when dry. It's a hardy herb with a piney scent and flavor. To harvest rosemary, strip leaves from the stem. Use the strong flavored leaves sparingly. Rosemary adds a wonderful accent to soups, stews, breads and poultry. Rosemary, Garlic Chicken is one of my favorite ways to bake a chicken. Use equal parts of rosemary and fresh minced garlic pureed into a paste and rub your chicken inside and out with the rosemary and garlic. You can cut slits in the skin and stuff the little slits with the mixture for a delightful flavor you won't soon forget.

Wrap your chicken wing tips with tinfoil so you don't burn them while they are baking. To brown the wing tips remove the tinfoil in the last 15-20 minutes of baking time.

You'll end up with one of the most delicious baked chickens you'll ever cook and taste in your life.

Cooking With Herbs

Okay you've planted all those fresh herbs in your garden and now you're wondering what should you do with them. Well I'm going to tell you. Cook with your home grown herbs for flavors in your foods that you never knew existed. The first time I ever added freshly chopped basil to my homemade tomato sauce I couldn't believe the explosion of flavor and the smell of the fresh basil was oh so wonderful.

When you use your fresh herbs you'll want to use three times as much fresh herbs as you would dried herbs. And until you start using fresh herbs you won't believe the explosion of flavor. Its simply amazing.

When you pick or cut herbs in your own garden you will want to harvest your herbs as soon as the dew has dried but before the sun has become hot. You can store fresh cut herbs in small brown paper bags in your refrigerator for about a week. The thing is don't cut more fresh herbs than you will use in a few days.

When you are ready to use your fresh herbs in your cooking your going to want to wash them thoroughly under running water. Wash them and then shake the water off into the sink.

In the fall you will want to harvest your full grown herb plants before frost and before your herb plants start to dry out or turn color. You will want to cut mature plants at the ground and you will want to hang your herb plants upside down in a room or garden shed and allow them to dry. You can then crush and roll up each herb plant and store your herb plants in clearly labeled large brown paper bags.

If you want to give your herbs as gifts I suggest using the real small brown paper bags and write on each bag what it contains. You could also do your herbs this way and sell them at your local farmers market or flea market.

Herb Vinegar

Flavored vinegar made by steeping fresh herbs, such as dill, tarragon, or rosemary in wine vinegar. They add a lot of flavor when added to simple salad dressings and sauces. Herb vinegars make excellent gifts. I keep an eye out for decorative bottles with stopper lids to use for herb vinegars.

Rosemary Red Wine Vinegar

1. 6-7 Sprigs of Rosemary.

2. Four Cups Red Wine Vinegar.

Place the sprigs of rosemary in a hot, sterilized 1 quart jar. Bring the vinegar to a boil and then pour the vinegar into the jar over the rosemary. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 7 days. Then strain the vinegar off into small hot, sterilized jars. Discard the rosemary at this point. This vinegar will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Making Vinegars

Use four large fresh herb sprigs or 10 spice berries or hot peppers for each pint of vinegar.

If you harvest herbs from your garden, pick the leaves before the plant blooms. Clip the healthiest herbs early in the morning. Wash the leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Put herb leaves, berries, or peppers into sterilized glass bottles or jars. Find bottles at kitchen and home stores or recycle your own. Always wash bottles well and then sterilize them by boiling them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Bring vinegar to just a boil, pour into bottles, making sure leaves, berries, or peppers are completely covered.

Flavored vinegars will always taste better if you will allow it to age at room temperature for seven days before you put it into the refrigerator. Always label and date your vinegar so you don't forget exactly what you have. You can choose to strain your vinegar or leave the leaves, berries, or peppers in it.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever grown and used your own fresh garden herbs? Please feel free to post your questions , tips , suggestions , or comments now.

Here's a collection of photos of the herb Rosemary.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Basil

Fresh basil is easy to grow, so if you have a bumper crop, I'd suggest making pesto. It can be tossed with hot pesto, spread on toasted French bread, or added as a topping to pizza. Any way you use it will be delicious.

Pesto

Pesto is an Italian sauce made from basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan Cheese. Pesto can be made by crushing the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or by using a food processor. It's often used as an ingredient in appetizers or as a topping for pasta.

Pesto Recipe

1. Two Cups Fresh Basil Leaves.

2. One Fourth Cup Chopped Walnuts Or Pine Nuts.

3. One Fourth Cup Olive Oil.

4. Two Teaspoons Lemon Juice.

5. Two Teaspoons Fresh Minced Garlic.

6. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.

7. One Fourth Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese.

8. A Pinch Of Ground Cayenne Pepper.

9. Two Tablespoons Freshly Ground Romano Cheese.

Process the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You can make it in a blender if you need to. You can spray a ice cube tray with vegetable cooking spray and then fill the ice cube holes with your just made pesto and freeze. It will keep up to a year in an air container. Just thaw the amount you need and toss with hot pasta for a delightfully delicious meal.

A batch of pesto can usually be used for more than one recipe, so be sure the leftovers are properly stored. You can use a ice cube tray as described above for freezing and keeping pesto to use later.

Be sure that you buy fresh Romano and Parmesan Cheese from your local deli to grate up to use in your pesto recipe. Its very important to use fresh deli cheese for the best flavored pesto.

You Can Make Homemade Pesto Easily And It's Delicious

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Freeze Your Homemade Pesto In Ice Trays For Later Use
Freeze Your Homemade Pesto In Ice Trays For Later Use
Freeze Your Homemade Pesto In Ice Trays For Later Use
Heirloom Purple Basil Growing
Heirloom Purple Basil Growing

Cooking With Herbs And Spices

Cooking with herbs and spices can be a lot of fun and you never know how delicious your food can be cooked with fresh herbs straight from your garden until you taste it. I have a rather herb garden but you can grow a herb garden of any size and really enjoy the herbs you grow. I started out with a few herbs in a southern facing window but over the years I've expanded greatly.

Start A Small Business Growing And Selling Herbs

I now have several greenhouses full of herbs and I sell them commercially. In just a short time with very little investment you can start a small business growing and selling herbs. If you are thinking about a small business growing herbs I suggest starting small and gradually building it into a full time business if that's what you want.

I started with heirloom herbs because at that time not many people were growing those in my area. I do very well with the heirloom purple basil. I start the basil plants in the late winter in the greenhouse and by the time of the last frost comes along I have nice large purple heirloom basil plants that are about knee high and I sell them at local flea markets and at a roadside stand for $7 per plant. Now these are nice large bushy plants but I usually only have $2 in each plant and I have sold as many as 2500 in a single day. Do the math and you'll see it can be a profitable business. I plant several rows of these plants in my garden and about this time we harvest all the tops and dry them. With in a few days we are selling fresh and dried heirloom purple basil to the cafes and restaurants in our area. If you grow high quality herbs with out pesticides you can build up a route quickly selling fresh and dried herbs in your area.

Don't forget to sell your herbs on a regular basis at your local flea market. I do very well at the flea market especially in the spring and early summer. And I bet you could to.

If you do want to start a business growing and selling herbs be sure to keep careful records of all your expenditures and sales. It's very important that you keep all your receipts if your running a small business.

You need to decide what kind of herbs your going to grow and how much work are you willing to put into the effort. I usually walk into a cafe or restaurant very early in the morning when I know the chef is in and I hand out a sample bag of herbs and a card with my phone number. I usually get a call with a order that day.

Once you grow your own herbs try chewing up a leaf from each herb you grow. Notice how wonderful they taste. And when you cook with fresh herbs this wonderful flavor is in the food your cooking to.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them below.

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Let me hear your comments , tips , questions and suggestions about cooking with herbs now. 4 comments

Mariefg profile image

Mariefg 20 months ago from Alexandria , Eastern Cape , South Africa

My favourite subject . Great hub !


Mariefg profile image

Mariefg 20 months ago from Alexandria , Eastern Cape , South Africa

My favourite subject . Great hub !


pjinter profile image

pjinter 6 years ago from Montreal

Great reading here, I enjoy your articles


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

Great hub. I love to grow mint but it really takes over the yard.

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    (C) June 2010. This hub page was created for Hub Pages by Thomas Byers.
    (C) June 2010. This hub page was created for Hub Pages by Thomas Byers.
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