Addicted to herbs

Hmmm. . . maybe that wasn’t the best title.  If you stumbled on this post by accident, let me just tell you now, it’s about HERBS FOR COOKING. So if you’re thinking of something else, you’d better just move along. ;)

Anyway, my sister and I were talking the other day about using fresh herbs in cooking.  I’ve only started doing that within the past few years–about the time I started paying more attention to using local, seasonal produce. Also I got a couple of great recipe books that dealt with just that kind of thing, and one of the similarities of a lot of those recipes is that they use fresh herbs.  Well, if they’re in season, it totally makes sense.  But the thing is, I got used to using them, and now I feel the need to have them all winter long.

Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it can definitely be an expensive thing. So, as I’ve mentioned before, when I buy fresh herbs, I try to keep them around as long as I possibly can.  With basil, the thing that works best seems to be just cutting a tiny bit off the end of each long stem and popping the stems in a glass of water on the table. It keeps for months that way, and you can use leaves from the bottom and it will actually keep growing from the top.

The other thing I’m always on the lookout for in the winter time is little potted herbs–they may not be super happy inside my northern house in the winter, but they will at least last longer than cut herbs. I found a cute little pot of thyme, and although it’s not really mature, and it may not last long, the stems are super tender–I can really use them along with the leaves, which is unusual.

Here’s what my kitchen table looks like lately.

I just feel like fresh herbs add so much to recipes–I’ve turned into a true believer. :)

And while we’re on the subject of herbs, here’s an amazing thing.  This is the lemon thyme (a perennial herb in my vegetable garden) I picked in October–washed, dried, and put in a baggie with a damp paper towel. It looks as fresh as the day it was picked.  This stuff is amazing.

(Hmmm. . . this photo looks a little sketchy, maybe, considering the title of this post–I promise, this is lemon thyme.)

I think maybe I’ll celebrate my rather large milestone birthday this weekend by cooking something with lots of basil and thyme, and maybe some lemon thyme as well. Perhaps it will keep me looking younger. ;)

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