Growing and Cooking with Herbs

Includes the uses of herbs, seasoning with herbs and spices, harvesting, drying, and freezing herbs.

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Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
Lots of nformation on herbs including the history of herbs, herbs for beginning gardeners, herb description, culture, harvesting, and use and lots more.

 

Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener
Growing requirements, propagation and uses of annual herbs, basic guideline to growing herbs.

 

 

Uses for Herbs and Spices

 

ANISE
Seeds can be sprinkled on coffee cakes, cookies and sweet rolls.

BASIL
Fresh or dried leaves which can be used in salads, vegetables, ragouts, sausages (rice and blood) and with tomato dishes.

BAY LEAF
Dried leaf can be used in roasts, bean soup, ragout, or wherever a poignant flavor is desired.

CARAWAY SEEDS
Good in sauerkraut, sweet cabbage, breads, rolls or mixed with cream cheese. Can be sprinkled over meats such as pork, liver, kidneys before cooking. Can be added to cucumber and beet salads.

CHERVIL
Fresh or dried leaves with a peppery flavor can be used in some soups, salads and with chicken or fish.

CLOVES
Whole can be used for pork or ham roasts, hot wine, tea and in sweet syrups. Ground cloves can be used in some soups and stews and also in some pastries.

CHIVES
Has a delicate onion flavor and is used fresh finely chopped as a garnish for salads, boiled new potatoes or mixed with cottage cheese and omelets.

CINNAMON
Stick is used in hot wine and other beverages. It is also used in pickling. Ground cinnamon is used in pastries, "trijet" and cakes.

CORIANDER
Seeds are used in spicing cookies, hot breads, green salads and poultry stuffing. Ground coriander is used to flavor sausages and fresh pork.

DILL
Fresh leaves are used in pickling, sauerkraut, bean soup, some sauces and salads.

FENNEL
Seeds are used to flavor soups, pickled beets, sauerkraut, breads and cakes. Leaves are used in sauces and green salads.

GARLIC
Cut up or chopped can be used in salads, stuffing for meat or poultry, soups, meat jello. Kernel can be rubbed into roasts, poultry and fish.

GINGER
Cracked ginger can be used in beverages and pickles. Ground ginger is used in sauces and in baking.

MINT
Fresh leaves are used with lamb, in salads, and for flavoring soups, sauces, beverages and marmalades.

MUSTARD
Mustard flour is used in meat dishes and sauces and gravies. Mustard seeds are used to sprinkle over salads and in pickling meats.

NUTMEG
Ground nutmeg is used in baking and sauces. Can be sprinkled over fruit, puddings, custards and omelets.

ONION
Chopped onions can be used with stews, goulash, soup and stuffings. Sliced onions can be used in salads such as bean, cucumber, beet, potato and pea.

PAPRIKA
Ground paprika is used in goulash, paprikash, salad dressing and over poultry before roasting.

PEPPER
Whole pepper is used for pickling and in soups. Ground pepper is used in most cooking for flavor.

POPPY SEED
Used in "potica," cookies, cakes, with noodles and as a topping on breads and rolls.

ROSEMARY
This spicy harb is used fresh in sauces and stews and on roasts. Especially good in all lamb dishes and wild game.

SAFFRON
Dried saffron is used to flavor sauces, soups, rice and poultry. Used sparingly in breads, rolls and cakes. Can also be used as a coloring agent.

SAGE
Fresh or dried can be used in sausage and stuffing, with veal and pork roasts and in chicken soup.

SAVORY
Used in some soups, salads, sausages, stuffings, lamb stews and with scrambled eggs.

SWEET MARJORAM
Can be used in soups, rice sausage, egg salad, salad dressing and vegetables. It has a mint flavor and may be used either fresh or dried.

THYME
Very pungent. The dried leaves can be used in soup, meat stews, stuffings and salad dressings.

TARRAGON
Can be used in "pehtranova potica," in salad dressings, sauces, egg and chicken dishes and with chops and steaks. Also tasty with creamed mushrooms and can be added to vinegar for salad dressings.

 

 

Combining Herbs to Enhance Recipes

 

Herbs Seasoning Blend (omelets and to season fish, vegetables, or chicken)
1 TB thyme
1 TB oregano
2 t rubbed sage
1 t rosemary
1 t marjoram
1 t basil
1 t parsley

Ground Seasoning Blend(use in stew, chowder, or sandwich spreads)
2 TB ground celery seeds
1 TB onion powder
1 TB salt

Bay Seafood Seasoing Blend (use with seafood or chicken)
1 TB ground bay leaves
2 1/2 t celery salt
1 1/2 t dry mustard
1 1/2 t black pepper
3/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t red pepper
1/4 t ground mace (optional)
1/4 t ground cardamom (optional)

Greek Seasoning Blend(use with steaks, pork chops, chicken, or fish)
2 t salt
2 t oregano
1 1/2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 t cornstarch
1 t pepper
1 t beef bouillon granules
1 t parsley
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg

Five-Spice Powder (use to flavor fish or pork)
2 t anise seeds, crushed
2 t freshly ground pepper
2 t fennel seeds, crushed
2 t ground cloves
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground allspice

Creole Seasoning (use with seafood, chicken, beef, or vegetables)
1 TB salt
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 1/2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 t thyme
1 t red pepper
3/4 t black pepper
3/4 t oregano
1/2 t ground bay leaves
1/4 t chili powder

Herbes de Provence (use with meats and in sauces and stews)
2 T dried thyme
2 t dried basil
2 t dried summer savory
2 t dried rosemary
1 t dried marjoram
1/2 bay leaf

 

If you run out of fresh basil and you desperately want to make pesto or some other dish which simply won't be the same with dried basil, just measure 3 tablespoons of dried basil into a small dish with sides. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on full power for about 3 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed and the basil is fragrant. You will end up with about 1/4 cup of fresh basil.

 

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Herbs to Use with Various Meat Dishes

 

Veal:
rosemary and tarragon or sage
marjoram and parsley or thyme

Pork:
garlic and caraway seeds - or paprika
ginger and cayenne
sage and thyme

Lamb:
rosemary and thyme
dill and lemon
curry powder and tumeric
mustard and chives

Beef:
basil and oregano
thyme and marjoram
bay leaf and parsley
chili powder and cumin

 

 

Seasoning with Herbs and Spices

 

FISH
Basil, dillweed, ginger, garlic, fennel, chervil, onions, lemon zest, capers, saffron, Pernod, dry sherry

MEATS

  • Beef - Thyme, cumin, horseradish, basil, clove, garlic, curry, cardamom, red wine
  • Lamb - Rosemary, mint, cinnamon, garlic, allspice, curry
  • Poultry - Tarragon, rosemary, curry, paprika, lemon zest, garlic, mustard, horseradish, sage, thyme, lime zest, vodka, tequila

EGGS
Black pepper, nutmeg, white wine, parsley, chervil

BEANS
Thyme, coriander, sage garlic, shallots, chives, curry, savory, cumin, turmeric, beer

SOUPS
Bay leaf, dill, parsley, onions, celery seed, sherry

VEGETABLES

  • Asparagus - Tarragon, parsley, mustard seed, lemon zest
  • Beets - Dill, cloves, savory, garlic, ginger, bay leaf
  • Broccoli - Mustard seed, onion, garlic, tarragon
  • Brussels sprouts - Basil, sage, thyme, garlic, caraway seed
  • Cabbage - Caraway seed, mint, nutmeg, savory, ginger, gin, allspice
  • Carrots - Allspice, dill, marjoram, bay leaf, fennel, ginger, Pernod
  • Cauliflower - Celery seed, mace, caraway seed, tarragon, cumin
  • Cucumber - Basil, dill, mint
  • Eggplant - Oregano, marjoram
  • Greens - Chives, dill, tarragon, basil
  • Onions - Thyme, nutmeg, oregano, sage
  • Peas - Rosemary, savory, poppy seed, mint
  • Potatoes - Chives, bay leaf, thyme, caraway seed
  • Spinach - Basil, mace, nutmeg, marjoram
  • Squash - Cloves, fennel, ginger, nutmeg
  • Sweet potatoes - Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, allspice
  • Tomatoes - Basil, celery seed, sesame seed, capers, Pernod, dry Madeira (fennel and anise seed give a sausage flavour to tomato sauce)

FRUITS

  • Apples - Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, ginger
  • Pears - Cardamom, vanilla extract, champagne
  • Bananas - All wines, brandy, rum
  • Compote - All wines, brandy, rum
  • Dried fruit mixtures - Fruit brandies
  • Grapefruit - Bourbon (drop of olive oil brushed on a grapefruit, then broiled, sweetens it considerably.

 

 

Harvesting Herbs

Harvest herbs as you need them (doing this will keep them from flowering and will also promote bushy growth).

Keep the herbs fresh for a couple of days by standing them in a cup of water like a small cut flower.

 

Drying Herbs

Hang the herbs upside-down (this allows the sap to drain into the leaves as they dry) in bunches tied with string and store them in the basement, garage, or attic. When the leaves get dry and crisply, just crumble them and store in a bottle or plastic baggie.

Another way to dry herbs is to place them in a paper bag, punch some holes in the bag for air circulation, and let them dry in a well ventilated, dark, dry place.

 

Freezing Herbs

To freeze herbs, put them in a plastic baggie and label them with a piece of masking tape with the name and date (trust me, you won't be able to tell them apart). They should be good for about a year in a decent freezer.

Don't defrost them; put them directly into pans and pots when cooking (freeze in small amounts or break off chunks). I have even used them in pasta salad. They look bad (no worse than dried though) but taste almost fresh when mixed with other things. I have tried this with basil, oregano, dill, margerom, parsely, cilentro, rosemary, etc. They all work just fine

 

 

Herb Oils

As an alternative to drying herbs, you can also make strongly flavored herb oils.

Basically, you want to take gobs of herbs and smash them up to release their oils.

Pour some oil (I use a good extra virgin, first cold press olive oil) over and let steep for a few days.

Strain the oil into bottles and add a whole sprig of the herb for a nice effect, if desire.

Then when you need the flavor of the herb you can just add a teaspoon of the strongly flavored oil.

 

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