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Cooking in the Country

Summer Herb garden is money well spent

Claire Stabbert, Columnist
Posted 6/25/21

I cannot express how much my boyfriend and I are enjoying our backyard (back porch) herb garden. These fresh herbs not only save me a trip to the grocery store, but brighten up any dish I cook …

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Cooking in the Country

Summer Herb garden is money well spent

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I cannot express how much my boyfriend and I are enjoying our backyard (back porch) herb garden. These fresh herbs not only save me a trip to the grocery store, but brighten up any dish I cook throughout the week, bringing us so much happiness and flavor.

The best part? They are almost impossible to kill which is great for a person like me. If you’re going to plant herbs, now’s the time to do it. This year, I planted thyme, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, sage, mint, and a beautiful potted tabasco pepper plant!  (Hot sauce recipe coming soon).

If I had to list herbs I have been using the most, it would be basil and rosemary. Gene and I love putting rosemary in our cocktails, which goes great with tequila or a nice gin fizz. I place rosemary in pitchers of water as well when I know guests will be arriving (a tip I picked up from The Pickled Owl restaurant in Hurleyville.) Rosemary just adds this beautiful light herbaceous flavor to water, that I don’t think I will ever go back. I even put it in my water bottle to drink throughout the day!

My Aunt Laurie Sanford is a wonderful cook and gardener, and has given me many recipes over the years on how to utilize fresh produce.

Her pesto recipe is by far, the best pesto recipe I have ever come across and will utilize your fresh basil. Aunt Laurie calls for:

2 cups basil (packed),

2 cloves garlic

3 tbs pine nuts OR walnuts

1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Just blend in a food processor or blender and enjoy with pasta, as a pizza topping, dip, etc. My aunt loves to place this pesto into ice cube trays and pop out for additional flavor in her soups and stews. Just remember, if you do place pesto in the freezer, leave out the parmesan cheese in your recipe.

Every year I plant an herb garden. I like to have them prestarted as seedlings, not just from seed. (I’m a cook, not gardener). However, there is just something so satisfying about eating something you grew yourself. At just around $2-3 dollars per herb, they pay for themselves tenfold.

I picked up some at our local Agway, but any farmers’ market or utility store should sell them. I would love to hear how you use fresh herbs in your dishes!

Feel free to email me and just remember, the more you trim down those herbs and plants, the bigger they will grow back! Have a wonderful weekend.

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