Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Spice Girls

Yum
 
Did you hear? 
 
The Spice Girls are getting back together!
 
  Well not really, but wouldn't that be cool?
 
Actually, I am referring to myself as a spice girl.  I love to have fresh spices in my yard and garden to use when I am cooking.  There is something about spices from the garden that really add such a nice flavor to your recipe.  This year I planted basil, oregano, rosemary, dill, mint and chives.  But today I am going to focus on basil, oregano and rosemary. 
 
Basil

Oregano


Rosemary
 
I primarily use oregano and basil for things like pasta sauces and pizza and pesto.  Basically, it is used in any Italian style dishes I make.  The rosemary gets used in my chicken and pork recipes.  All of them infuse such a wonderful flavor.  But, at some point the plant is too prolific and I need to start harvesting way more than I can use.  So I have a couple of options:  I can freeze them or dry them for later use. 

Option 1 freezing the herbs:  Pack an ice cube tray with finely washed, chopped herbs.  Cover the herbs with a chicken or vegetable broth.  You could also use water or even wine.  Once the ice cubes are solid, pop them out and store them in a Ziploc freezer bag for later use.

Option 2 drying the herbs: Herbs should be cut down near the bottom of the stem.  Again, you would need to wash your herbs.  Bundle bunches of the herb together with some twine and hang them upside down to dry.  Once they are dry, you should be able to easily crumble the leaves between your fingers.  Put them in a glass jar and they are ready to use. 
 
Tips:  harvest spices before they flower for better flavor.
 
Now you should have spices all winter long!
 
Take time to celebrate the little things that make life sweet!
 
Until next time,
 
Christine