At Green Isles Growers, we love our fresh herbs! The difference between the dusty dried stuff in a jar at the back of the cupboard and a bunch of freshly picked leaves couldn’t be greater and summer is the best time of year to pick these fragrant plants. Ever wondered why it’s so hard to copy the aromas and flavours of restaurant cooked food? It’s because chefs use fresh herbs! They know that adding a bit of fresh parsley or oregano, instantly elevates even the most common dish.
So we will be inviting you to experiment a little with your cooking and start using more fresh herbs. From salad dressings to herb butters or herby flatbreads, we’ll try and give you some ideas and point you to recipe web pages for even more inspiration. (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/herb-recipes#1)
If the herbs in your veg bag don’t really “go” with what you were planning to cook this week, here are some ways to preserve them:
Wash and pat dry your herbs. Remove bigger stalks (not necessary with parsley)
You can then keep them whole and put them in a small jar filled with olive oil or vinegar. Make sure the herbs are well submerged. Use for frying, dressings, dips.
Or chop the herbs fine, mix with softened salted butter and keep in fridge until needed.
Or my favourite: chop herbs fine, mix with a little olive oil and divide in portions in ice cube tray, freeze! You’ll always have some quick fresh herbs to hand when you want them.
Oregano: aka, the pizza herb! Great in omelettes, all Italian tomato dishes, add a little to guacamole. (http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/tag-7813/oregano-recipes.aspx)
Tarragon: Lovely on omelettes, in salad dressings and herb butters. Combine with parsley and garlic for garlic bread. Goes well with white fish. (http://www.bonappetit.com/ingredient/tarragon)
Marjoram: a gentle flavour to lift tomato sauces, salads, sandwiches, bean dishes. Perfect in marinades for tofu or chicken. (http://www.herbexpert.co.uk/cooking-with-marjoram.html)
Rosemary: no roasted potato should ever go without rosemary! Add it to your other roasted veg too! But it is also nice to add to your bathwater to give you a relaxing and invigorating soak! (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/08/10-best-rosemary-recipes)
Thyme: simply goes with everything. I sprinkle a little on most food that I cook and a lot on meat dishes. (https://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/thyme-infused-vegetables)
Lemon thyme: one for dressings, marinades and fish
Sage: you won’t need much, but it can really enhance omelettes, rice dishes and meat. Italians chop it, mix it with molten butter and add it to pasta or gnocchi. Try it in a veggie stuffing mix with sosmix. Also makes a lovely herb tea. (http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ingredients-fine-foods/45-things-to-do-with-fresh-sage/)
Mint: herb teas; my favourite is a mix of fresh mint, chamomile and lemon balm. Try some chopped mint in fruit salads or crushed in summer punch or mojitos. Adds a refreshing taste to cucumber raita. (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/26/18-recipes-for-leftover-mint)
Basil: The taste of summer! Never chop, always just tear into pieces by hand. Add to a tomato salad with a pinch of sea salt and balsamic vinegar or make your own pesto. (http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/7-ways-with/recipes-using-fresh-basil)
Bay leaves: No stew or white sauce is complete without these! To keep for later, just dry in a warm and airy place. (http://boroughmarket.org.uk/articles/the-herb-guide-bay-leaves)
Coriander: One of the world’s most often used herbs, essential in Asian cooking. (http://boroughmarket.org.uk/articles/the-herb-guide-coriander)
Lemon grass: For fish dishes and Thai cooking, but makes a very refreshing tea as well. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321969.php)
Lemon verbena: Wonderful herbal tea, possibly one you can convince the kids to like or turn into a syrup for those summer cocktails! (https://www.goodandpropertea.com/blog/what-is-lemon-verbena-herbal-tea)
Dill: Add to yoghurt dressings for beetroot or cucumber salad, perfect with salmon. (https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-dill-995646)
Chervil: The “happy herb”. So versatile and so underused. Bring smiles to your dishes and add this delicate, feathery leaf. Fantastic added to light spring soups. (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/06/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-chervil)