Growing Fresh Herbs
Growing Fresh Herbs Indoors
Since there is less gardening to do outside at this time of year, there is more time for growing herbs inside. Most herbs that grows outdoors can be grown indoors on the kichen window sills where you can harvest as you need it. In late fall fragrant herbs can be started from seed or by dividing a perennial from an outdoor garden. As long as they get at least five ours of direct daylight per day in a room that stays at 60 to 70 degrees F. Many herbs will do fine.
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Sowing Herbs Seed
Annuals such as basil.coriander, cilantro, dill, summer savory and perennials including catnip, chamomile, chives, lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme, can be started from seeds indoors in the fall or winter.
To start herbs from seed, plant seeds directly into containers in loose, well drained soil. A mixture of coarse sand, peat moss and loam works well. Place seeds on soil surface and cover with soil about twice the depth of the diameter of the seeds. Keep in a 65 to 70 degrees F room temperature.
Water each pot gently, daily preferable with a spray bottle of water. Cover with a wet paper towel until the seeds germinate, to prevent mold of fungus infections. Remove the wet paper for a couple of hours and expose them to fresh air.
Thyme, Rosemary and Lemon Balm
Bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs either tied together or bound into a tiny cheesecloth sack and cooked with the food. To make bouquet garni, 2 sprigs of parsley, thyme, 1 celery stalk, 1 sprig marjoram, 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig rosemary. Cut the celery into 2 equal pieces about 2 1/2 inches in length, and place the herbs between them. When tied securely, this makes a firm little bundle of aromatics full of flavor.
How to use herbs
Unless you are following a recipe, do not combine too many herb at one time. Remember the correct herb combination for any food is the one that taste right to you. There are no rules. The use of seasoning is an art, not science.
BASIL- Fresh basil leaves and tender stems have a delightful scent and mildly flavor. Combine finely chopped basil, oregano, chives and olive oil, mix in spaghetti; sprinkle a teaspoon of finely chopped basil leaves and parsley on sliced chilled tomatoes. Use it in salads, soups, stews and sauces.
CHIVES- A delicate onion flavor. It is delicious in salad dressings and as garnish for vegetables. Sprinkle on steamed potatoes carrot or leeks or bean soup. Mix with butter and lemon juice or cream cheese and sour cream. When slender leaves and young tops of the plant are cut close, others will grow in rapid succssion, and a bed of chives can last for 3 to 4 years.
DILL- A delicately flavored herb. Use fresh sprigs dill in vegetable and fish. Try cucumbers with some sour cream, and plain yogurt, new potatoes with lemon butter and fresh dill, potato sald with crumbbled bacon and fresh dill in the dressing. Good with all grilled, poached fish.
Delicious soup serve with crusty home made bread and green salad.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 5 cups diced fresh tomatoes (2 pounds)
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 1/4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Fresh herb sprigs for garnish
- In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano or basil and thyme and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in broth, tomato paste and sugar. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, 15 minutes. Process soup in food processor until smooth.
- Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.
- Calories 137
Freeze fresh parsley to save preparation time in the kitchen. Wash, dry and chop the parsley leaves, then freeze them in a plastic container or freezer plastic bag. You can then remove just the amount you need for each recipe.
This basil pesto can be tossed with pasta, in soup, spread on bread and served as a condiment with steamed vegetables.
2 cups packed fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint or spinach, or any combination of 2 or 3
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, marjoram, oregano or tarragon (optional)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Water as needed
Add all ingredients except water to food processor; puree. For a smooth pesto, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency For a thicker, chunkier pesto, do not add water.
Makes about 3/4 cup
Per Tablespoon 60 calories
Keep parsley fresh by sprinkling it with water, wrapping it in paper towels and refrigerating it in a plastic bag. You can also place parsley stems in a glass water and refrigerate.
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