How to Find Locally Growing Herbs
What is an Herb?
Herbs are a classification of plants whose leaves, flowers or seeds may be used for their flavor, aroma, or medicinal use in food, crafts or alternative healing.
Fresh, Local Herbs
If you like to cook or craft, it is often such a special treat to have fresh herbs to work with. Anything grown locally has the advantage of tasting better because it has been likely harvested recently and handled less. Depending on the source, it may also be organic, or not treated with harmful pesticides.
Fortunately today, it is pretty convenient to find locally growing herbs. The easiest place to find local herbs is at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, farmers' market, food co-op, or grocery stores that carry local produce near you.
If you have a green thumb, you can grow herbs in your backyard. And for the nature enthusiast, I recommend learning how to forage for herbs.
Online Directories for Finding Locally Grown Herbs
Easily search the United States for a farm, CSA, Farmers' Market, or Grocery/Co-op shop near you using the highly populated database at LocalHarvest.
An online directory for finding small, local farms in the United States.
Find your local farmers' market (US only).
Purchasing Local Herbs
The availability of herbs at your local farm or market is highly dependendant on the season and the climate you live in. For me, living in the northeastern United States, fresh and local produce is most readily available from April-October. Fortunately it is possible to successfully grow herbs indoors.
Growing an Herb Garden
Most herbs are pretty easy to grow indoors or outside. Check out these great hubs for tips are creating your own herb garden.
- Grow Your Own Herb Garden by stephicks68
- Creative Home Herb Garden Ideas by novaperson
- Indoor Herb Garden Kits - Some Tips for Your Indoor Herb Garden by johnr54
- Herb garden container tips for success out or indoors by Carmen Borthwick
Dandelions : Edible and Medicinal Uses
Foraging for Wild Herb Plants
It is important to research and gain knowledge about foraging wild plants. Some plants are toxic and can be harmful if consumed, but many are also completely edible and contain valuable healing properties. So, be sure to get guidance from an expert before beginning.
Hubs Containing Tips on Foraging and Consuming Wild Plants
- The Best Foods Are Free! Edible Wild Plants by Dale Hyde
- Common Edible Wild Plants - Part I by Jerilee Wei
- A Beginner's Guide To Wild Edible And Medicinal Plants by Mandrake_1975
Selecting Quality Herbs
It is important when purchasing any type of plants or produce, to examine the quality of the product. For herbs, choose ones that appear healthy. Signs of a healthy plant include vibrant color and leaves that are not wilted or spotted with disease. Most herbs also have a pleasant odor and fresh herbs will be more potent in their aroma.
How to Store Herbs
Fresh herbs should be used right away or temporarily stored in a small vase or jar of water, if you have harvested too much to use immediately, they can be frozen or dried.
- Finely chop fresh herbs using a sharp knife or herb mill.
- Place chopped herbs into ice cube trays.
- Top with filtered water and freeze.
- Once frozen place cubes in labelled freezer bags.
Herbs frozen in conveniently sized ice cube trays can be easily added to soups, stews, and sauces. Floral herb ice cubes are a fancy way to serve up some homemade herbal tea on a hot summer's day.
- Gather a small bunch of freshly cut herbs and loosely bind with a rubber band or string.
- Hang the herbs upside-down in a warm, airy location, away from direct sunlight.
- Once dried, shred them off the stalks and store in an air-tight container, such as a recycled glass jar used for spices.
Books on Using Herbs
What to Do With Herbs
In addition to cooking, medicinal herbs contain healing properties and can be used as an alternative remedy to many common illnesses. Herbs can also be used in crafts, home decor, and make lovely gifts, as well. Check out the list of hubs below for inspiration on using herbs.
- Home Remedies For Coughs And Flu Herbals And Mustard Baths by Nell Rose
- Herbal Remedies: Healing Plants- A Top Ten Herbal Remedies Selection by rmcrayne
Crafting with Herbs
- How To Make Herbal Papers by Jerilee Wei
Cooking with Herbs
- Herbs in Cooking. Must have Herbs & Spices in your kitchen by barryrutherford
- 10 Cooking Herbs and Spices That Aid in Digestion by TheListLady