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Best Tips On Growing Herbs Part 2

Updated on February 26, 2010

Before taking herbal supplements, make sure to consult with a qualified health professional and follow all of the directions on the labels. There is almost no clinical evidence that they do anything medicinal, but hey, they likely can't hurt you!

Personally, I think that herbs are great and wonderful and healthy but if you're eating them to try to fend off this disease or another you should have your head examined. Many of these herbs, especially garlic (which is really not technically a herb after all) can have a somewhat positive effect on your overall health but if anyone starts to tell you that this herb or that herb is going to cure some terminal or incurable disease have them arrested for practicing medicine without a license or better yet, have them committed to an insane asylum!

In the kitchen, fresh and dried herbs offer a whole new world of culinary possibilities. The most common culinary herbs are basil, tarragon, dill, thyme (lemon and English), chives, mint, rosemary and cilantro. I prefer to use fresh herbs because I love the fragrance and the strong connection it gives me to my garden and the outdoors. Pesto sauces made from basil in my garden are staples in our diet from May through September. You have to try a simple mash (by hand, never by blender or food processor) of fresh basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground salt and pepper and a huge wad of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Drop that on some quality pasta and you might never go back to tomato based sauces again!

There is nothing more gratifying than growing something yourself and using it to cook something incredibly delicious. While we don't usually associate herbs with dessert, the following recipe for Lemon Verbena Sorbet is truly one of the most unusual and delightful recipes that I have ever made. Yes, i know that it sounds really weird and you expect it to be rather gross and yucky, but give it a try and I'll bet that you will be very pleasantly surprised!

Lemon Verbena Sorbet

Ingredients:
ΒΌ cup of lemon verbena
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of seltzer (no salt)
juice of 4 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
5 cups of water

Instructions:

1. Combine the verbena, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring often to completely dissolve the sugar into the syrup.

2. When the syrup mixture reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Then let it cool to room temperature.

3. Refrigerate overnight, and in the morning strain to remove the herbs.

4. Combine 3 cups of the strained syrup with seltzer, lemon juice and lemon zest.

5. Pour preparation into freezer trays and freeze for a couple of hours.

6. Take out and stir to break up an ice crystals and then refreeze.

The more often you stir and then refreeze, the smoother the sorbet. I try to stir it at least twice before letting it freeze for a long time. Experiment with stirring and desired consistency until you are happy with the result. If you don't stir at all, it comes out more like an Italian ice, still a superb dessert!

Herbs bring beauty, health and flavor to our lives. So get busy, spring is almost here!

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