Tuesday December 30, 2014
Just because it's winter time doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the taste of fresh herbs. By establishing and maintaining an indoor garden you'll encourage more creative cooking and freshen the air in your kitchen at the same time.
Unless you have a greenhouse, you'll most likely be growing your herbs on a windowsill. Consider setting up a vertical herb garden so that you can maximize the allotted space.
Most herbs do not like "wet feet" so be sure to allow for drainage by either drilling a hole in the bottom of your pot, or by placing the plants in containers with a drain hole, and then into your decorative vessel.
When most folks think of parsley on a plate, they picture a bright green garnish. You should know that this peppery, bright herb is so much more than a decorative green on the side of your plate. It's a great source of vitamins C, K, folic acid, calcium,
iron and fiber. The most common varieties of parsley are flat-leaf (known as Italian) and curly. It can easily be added to soups, sauces and marinades.
Sage has one of the longest known histories of use of any culinary or medicinal herb. Sage leaves are grayish green with a soft silvery covering.
Its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, is derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means "to be
saved." Ancient Egyptians made a tea from sage to combat sore throats and coughs.
Try this quick and easy chicken dish: stuff a chicken with sage and orange slices and top with this sauce delicious sage sauce for a tasty and healthy meal.
This is some special herb. Revered for its mystical and healing powers throughout the years, rosemary
was the subject of many poems and was mentioned in five of Shakespeare's plays.
One of the most aromatic herbs, rosemary pairs beautifully with chicken, lamb, and fish. To infuse while grilling, sprinkle rosemary leaves directly onto the hot coals. Roasted potatoes with rosemary are a staple in many an Italian home. While some people find the dried leaves too stiff (like pine needles) you can easily infuse olive oil with them to experience its aromatic and savory flavor.
For thousands of years, thyme has been a superstar in the herb garden. It was thought to be an antidote for poison, a plague preventative, and a treatment for fainting. Because of its petite leaves, thyme is a perfect addition to any indoor garden.
When used in cooking, French thyme and English thyme are the two varieties that you'll likely find in your grocery store. Look for lemon thyme for seafood dishes. The tiny leaves can easily be removed by running you fingers along the twig in the opposite direction of the growth.
A member of the mint family, no indoor garden would be complete without sweet basil. Originally from Asia, basil and tomato is a match made in heaven. This quintessential summer herb also pairs nicely with fruit- so try it in a frozen treat with watermelon, lime, lemon, mango or strawberries.
Watering your Indoor Herb Garden
Because most herbs will go somewhat dormant in the winter (due to less sunlight) your indoor herb garden requires much less water than growing herbs in a summer garden. Keep in mind that some plants will require more than others, even under the same conditions.
The basic rule of thumb is to water less often if your home is cool, or if your plants seem to be drooping. Never let your plants sit in a saucer of water, and don't shock plants with cold water. Water should be given at room temperature.
Start with one or two plants if you're unsure about starting an indoor garden. Any one of these aromatic plants will surely awaken your palette and brighten your winter days.