Herbs

MAY
2
2015

FILED UNDER

Homegrown Herbs

Fresh herbs are easy to grow and can make all the difference between a good dish and an extraordinary dish! Once you begin to use fresh herbs in your favorite recipes, you'll never want go back to using just dried herbs again. Chefs know that fresh food is always best and fresh herbs are no exception.

Here are our favorite herbs to create the basic kitchen garden. Of course, this is just a start, there are many others to experiment with in your garden that will add bold flavor. A herb garden can be as simple as having a pot just outside your kitchen door or a group of planters in your window sill or even an extensive garden planted outside. No matter the size, cooking with herbs can be fun and you can’t make a mistake - so be creative and savor the flavor.

Basil - With lots of varieties to choose from, this king of the herbs offers something for every palette. While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes that are true to their name like: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil.

Parsley - Use this herb for the mild flavor it adds to a savory dish and for the coloring it adds as a garnish.

Sage - This is a must-have herb for seasoning any poultry dish. It has a slight peppery flavor and is best used on meats in a marinade but is also good in stuffing and sauces. We also love Pineapple Sage which is great in pitchers of water to offer flavor.

Rosemary - Rosemary is best used to season fish and seafood products, but it is also a great seasoning for grilled meats, lamb and potatoes. Try Barbeque Rosemary to use as skewers on the grill.... a real crowd pleaser!

Thyme - This is the basic herb used in dishes from all over the world including French, Italian, Indian, Greek and Spanish cuisines. Use thyme on lamb, meats, poultry, soups and stews.

Oregano - This classic culinary herb is one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide. Use in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The flavor is strong enough to stand up to bold flavors like tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef. We love the Hot & Spicy Oregano in pasta sauces.

Dill - This easy to grow herb is a member of the parsley family. Cut often to keep producing. Dill pairs well with fish and is used for pickling, to flavor salads and in soups.

Mint - Is a beautiful herb that has one of the most recognizable aromas. Spearmint and peppermint are the most popular types of mint, but more unusual varieties like Mint Chocolate are available. Use in drinks, or simply gather a small bunch to offer aroma for a room.

APRIL
13
2015

FILED UNDER

How Sweet It Is

SWEET BASIL

Get your herb garden growing with one of our favorite herbs, Sweet Basil. This garden classic is known for its flavor and fragrance. With big leaves that are fast growing, anyone can produce a homegrown harvest. Basil needs about 6-8 hours of full sunlight to produce and can benefit from a little bit of afternoon shade. If grown in containers, it will definitely need watering as it likes moist, well drained soil. Dry soil will stunt the growth of this plant. The large leaves of this plant, are vibrant green. Sweet Basil is the main ingredient for classic Italian Pesto, but it is great in pastas, on pizzas and even in lemonade.

TIP: You'll want to prevent basil from blooming, by either harvesting the leaves or pinching off the top sets of leaves. Once the basil plant sets flowers, the leaves will lessen in flavor. So, our rule of thumb don’t’ be afraid to cut and use this tasty herb.

SEPTEMBER
30
2014

Fabulous Fall Herbs

ORGANIC HERB COMBO: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Violas

Decorate naturally with a pot of fresh herbs that's just as tasty as it is attractive! This mix of fall herbs and violas is the perfect addition to your home with pretty foliage, flowers and functional herbs. This collection of herbs can be harvested for months and will add great flavor to your dishes.

Parsley is a bright green annual herb available in both flat leaf and curly leaf varieties. Flat leaf parsley is used frequently as a garnish on potato dishes, on rice dishes or with fish, chicken and lamb. Curley leaf is most often used as a garnish. This herb offers the mild flavor it adds to savory dishes.

Sage comes in lots of varieties including garden, golden, blue, pineapple, tri-color and clary - all of which can be used in cooking. Sage is a must in stuffing for poultry. Roast it with pork; add to butter and sauté chicken along with it. Sage also goes well in egg and cheese dishes. Try a little crumbled dry sage over a bowl of black-eyed peas. Dried leaves will keep their flavor for years.

Rosemary, one of the oldest herbs known to man is an evergreen perennial and a culinary must-have. Rosemary is ideal for spicing up pork and poultry dishes and is also used to flavor butter, oils and vinegars.

Thyme, a low growing evergreen herb extensively used in French cuisine. Thyme is the perfect compliment to veal, lamb, beef, poultry, fish, stuffing, stews, soups, sauces, stock, herb butters, flavored vinegars, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, eggs, and rice. Whew, yep... there's no shortage of ways to use this herb!

Violas are primarily cool season bloomers and are perfect additions to fall plantings that last through early spring. Violas are available in wide range of colors and look similar to pansies - they just have a smaller flower than pansies. The flowers may be used to decorate salads or used in stuffings for poultry or fish. Soufflés, cream, and similar desserts can be flavored with essence of viola flowers. The strong perfume of some varieties will add sweetness to desserts, fruit salads, and teas.

AUGUST
11
2014

FILED UNDER

Get this look!

DO-IT-YOURSELF KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

Growing your own herbs is easy and rewarding. And, just because we are knocking on fall’s door doesn't mean you can have to give up fresh herbs for cooking. Fresh herbs are easy to grow indoors and as many chefs know, can mean the difference between a good dish and an extraordinary dish! Once you begin to use fresh herbs in your favorite recipes, you'll never want go back to using just dried herbs again. Try an growing an indoor herb garden to keep your favorite herbs right at your fingertips.

Here's what you need:

  • Container with drainage holes. We recommend our 3-set of galvanized containers with a tray that will fit perfectly in your kitchen windowsill.
  • Soil
  • Assorted Herbs
  • Assembly is easy and fun for all ages. Simply fill the containers halfway with potting soil and then start planting your herbs in the hole. Fill up the rest of the pot with dirt. And, remember to water. Voila – just that easy for fresh, homegrown herbs!

Our Favorite Herbs:
Here's a list of our favorite herbs for a basic kitchen garden. This is just a start, as there are many other herbs to experiment with in your garden that will add bold flavor. Cooking with herbs can be fun and you can’t make a mistake - so be creative and savor the flavor.

Basil - With lots of varieties to choose from, this king of the herbs offers something for every palette. While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent, other varieties also offer unique tastes that are true to their name like: lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil.

Parsley - Use this herb for the mild flavor it adds to a savory dish and for the coloring it adds as a garnish.

Sage - This is a must-have herb for seasoning any poultry dish. It has a slight peppery flavor and is best used on meats in a marinade but is also good in stuffing and sauces. We also love Pineapple Sage which is great in pitchers of water to offer flavor.

Rosemary - Rosemary is best used to season fish and seafood products, but it is also a great seasoning for grilled meats, lamb and potatoes. Try Barbeque Rosemary to use as skewers on the grill.... a real crowd pleaser!

Thyme - This is the basic herb used in dishes from all over the world including French, Italian, Indian, Greek and Spanish cuisines. Use thyme on lamb, meats, poultry, soups and stews.

Oregano - This classic culinary herb is one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide. Use in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The flavor is strong enough to stand up to bold flavors like tomatoes, onion, garlic, and beef. We love the Hot & Spicy Oregano in pasta sauces.

Dill - This easy to grow herb is a member of the parsley family. Cut often to keep producing. Dill pairs well with fish and is used for pickling, to flavor salads and in soups.

Mint - Is a beautiful herb that has one of the most recognizable aromas. Spearmint and peppermint are the most popular types of mint, but more unusual varieties like Mint Chocolate are available. Use in drinks, or simply gather a small bunch to offer aroma for a room.

JUNE
18
2014

FILED UNDER

The Real "Dill"

GROWING DILL

Fresh herbs are easy to grow and can make all the difference between a good dish and an extraordinary dish! Once you begin to use fresh herbs in your favorite recipes, you'll never want go back to using just dried herbs again. Chefs know that fresh food is always best and fresh herbs are no exception.

Dill is a very tall, hardy herb that will grow as an annual here in Hampton Roads. Grow this herb in your garden for the leaves and seeds. Dill thrives in a sunny spot and prefers well-drained soil. This fine-leafed plant is delicate, so we recommend not planting it where it may be subject to high winds. It does have very long roots, so once it’s established; you won’t need to worry about regular watering chores.

This maintenance-free herb is a member of the parsley family. We suggest cutting often to keep it producing. Dill has a zesty flavor that’s a popular addition to fish, salads and soups. It is also commonly used for pickling – dill pickles are a summertime favorite!

MAY
15
2014

FILED UNDER

Viva Italia

GROW AN ITALIAN HERB GARDEN.

Have the tastes and smells of Italy right in your own backyard. An Italian herb garden can be any size or shape, and can easily be grown in containers on a sunny patio or deck, and it’s a fun project for the whole family. Here are a few staples to include in your garden but remember, the possibilities are endless so be creative and plant your favorite Italian seasonings.

Oregano: This aromatic herb is easy to grow and is one of the few herbs that is stronger dried than when fresh. Italian Oregano, commonly called "the pizza herb," is a must-have for any tomato sauce.

Basil: This is an absolute must-have for Italian cuisine. It is grown for its wonderful sweet flavor. Use in sauces or top and top off dishes with this relish herb. You can use any of the basils, but we really like Sweet Basil.

Hot & Spicy Oregano: This easy-to-grow herb lives up to its name - hot and spicy! The perfect addition to tomato sauce or pizza sauce, this herb gives your dishes that extra zing. It thrives in a sunny space and likes well drained soil. Harvest the leaves and use fresh or dried.

Fennel: This herb looks similar to its popular relative, dill. With small yellow flowers and feathery leaves, this aromatic and flavorful herb with anise like flavor.

MAY
5
2014

FILED UNDER

Spice up your FIESTA!

CINCO DE MAYO HERB GARDEN

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your favorite recipes. This herb combination will give you great flavor for spicy dishes. Best of all these herbs will keep going and give you a great flavor profile all throughout the summer.

Cilantro ‘Santo’ - the unmistakable strong, sharp scent and taste that is a staple ingredient in salsa and other Mexican dishes. A member of the carrot family, Cilantro Santo grows slow and steady. Cilantro is not fussy about soil; just plant it in any full sun site.

Oregano Hot and Spicy - these flavorful leaves make a great addition to Mexican dishes. Plants form a rounded mound with multiple trailing stems. The leaves boast a traditional oregano flavor—but with greater pungency. Plants thrive in any soil that’s well-drained, as long as it’s not constantly moist. Grow in full sun to part shade.

Mexican Mint Marigold – This herb has an anise like flavor making it a great substitute for French tarragon. With a Sweet licorice flavor it will add depth to salads and main dishes. It will grow all spring and summer before it produces many yellow, single marigold-like blossoms.

APRIL
16
2014

Fragrant and Yummy Too

SPRING HERB BASKETS

The Easter holiday is just around the corner, and if you’re looking to steer clear of the traditional sugar laden Easter basket, then we have just what you’re looking for. Why not try a more natural approach to the traditional Easter basket this year? A living basket overflowing with fresh English Thyme, French Tarragon and Tuscan Blue Rosemary brings the convenience of the herb garden to your outdoor patio or a sunny window indoors. And best of all, these herbs can be harvested for months to come - and did we mention that herbs are delightfully aromatic and beautiful too? So this Easter, consider the perfect sugar-free option for that cook or gardener in your life! Here are a few ways to use these edible and fragrant beauties:

Thyme – A low growing evergreen, this herb is extensively used in French cuisine. Thyme is the perfect compliment to veal, lamb, beef, poultry, fish, stuffing, stews, soups, sauces, stock, herb butters, flavored vinegars, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, eggs, and rice.

French Tarragon – This leafy green is also widely used in French cuisine. It's distinctive yet delicate herbal flavor is particularly well suited when paired with fish and chicken. Tarragon is also delicious in salad dressings and in sauces.

Rosemary - One of the oldest herbs known to man, this evergreen perennial is a real treat to cook with. Rosemary is ideal for spicing up pork and poultry dishes and is also used to flavored butter, oil and vinegar.

NOVEMBER
19
2013

FILED UNDER

From our Table to Yours…

Growing your own herbs is a rewarding and efficient way to making it easy to harvest fresh herbs for cooking, and with Thanksgiving a little more than a week away, it’s never too soon to start planning your menu. So, here are some of our favorite crowd-pleasing holiday recipes using your very own fresh herbs. These classics combine fresh rosemary, thyme and sage to create dishes that will dazzle your guests! Once the holidays are over, place your herbs in a kitchen window sill. And remember, herbs also make a great hostess gift to bring along to your Thanksgiving gathering. Bon appétit!

Sage – comes in lots of varieties including Garden, Golden, Blue, Pineapple, Tri-color and Clary, all of which can be used in cooking. Sage is a must in stuffing for poultry. Roast it with pork; add to butter and sauté chicken along with it. Sage also goes well in egg and cheese dishes. Try a little crumbled dry sage over a bowl of black-eyed peas. Dried leaves will keep their flavor for years.

Thyme – like sage, this herb is also available in many different varieties including Common, Woolly, "Mother-of-Thyme", Lemon, English, Silver, and Golden. Thyme is the perfect compliment to poultry, fish, soup and vegetable dishes. Add a pinch of thyme to a tablespoon of honey and add to drained cooked carrots and onions. Thyme, along with sage, rosemary and oregano should be considered the basics of every herb garden.

Rosemary – one of the oldest herbs known to man and is available in many varieties and forms, all of which can be used in cooking. Some top choices for Hampton Roads include Tuscan Blue, Arp and Barbeque, so named for its long stems which can be used for skewers when grilling to add flavor. Rosemary is a natural for pork and poultry dishes. Use a branch of Rosemary as a basting brush for barbecued chicken or as a simple garnish. Place a few springs on top of a roast or baked chicken.

Our Favorite Herb Stuffing Recipe:

• 12 cups slightly dry bread
• 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. ground sage
• 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
• 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
• 1 cup of chicken broth
• 6 tablespoons of butter, melted

Combine bread, onion, salt, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Add broth and butter; toss lightly to mix. Use to stuff a 12-pound turkey or bake covered, in a 2-quart casserole at 325º until heated through, about one hour.

Our Favorite Herb Butter Recipe:

Spread it on toast or eggs at breakfast. Toss it with pasta at lunch. Melt it on fish or chicken at dinner. And, of course use on fresh bread for your holiday feast.

• Dash of salt and pepper
• 1 tsp thyme
• 1 tsp sage
• 1 tsp rosemary
• 1 stick unsalted of butter

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well with a spoon until combined and all ingredients are incorporated. Place butter mixture into plastic wrap and roll to form a log shape. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator.

AUGUST
2
2013

To-Dos in the August Garden

August brings hot and sticky weather to Hampton Roads. With it, too, comes the full enjoyment and bounty of the edibles and flowers you've tended during the spring and early summer. The most important thing to do in your garden right now is... enjoy all the beauty you've accomplished!

Sit back, relax and enjoy that gorgeous view. Here's a few easy tricks to keep your garden in tip-top shape through the rest of the summer:

Pick Faded Blooms
Keep your annuals blooming by consistently removing faded blooms. If allowed to remain, blooming will likely decrease, as the strength goes into making seed. Also, pick flowers for bouquets in your home. This will not only help keep the garden neat, but will increase flower productivity. Gather blooms in the evening and plunge in water overnight before using.

Mulch
A lot of gardens this time of year need a fresh application of mulch. Check that your mulch hasn't decomposed and add more as needed. Mulch conserves moisture. So, to properly conserve moisture and protect your plants, it is important to top off beds with bark, wood chips or pine needles at a depth between 3 to 4 inches.

Pick Herbs
Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying. Remember, harvesting will keep them growing longer!

Water
Watering chores will eat up your garden time this month. Remember the basics:
• we recommend watering plants in the early morning
• water the soil, not the leaves in order to prevent spreading disease or fungus
• water deeply and occasionally, rather than shallow and often
• remember to water your containers, as they tend to dry out before plants in the ground