Herbs are a great way to liven up any dish by adding flavor without adding salt, fat, and sugar. Researchers are now finding that many culinary herbs also have antioxidants that may help protect against such disease as cancer and heart disease. Not only is growing herbs good for your health but also your bank account! I love incorporating fresh herbs into eMeals menus during the warmer months when I can grow them myself. This is a fun family friendly activity that can be enjoyed all summer long!
I started out with a vintage tin I found at one of my favorite antique stores. Be creative with the container! Paint a pot as a family, use a colander, baking pan, or any other found container. Just make sure to add holes for drainage. Next, I picked my favorite herbs to cook with: sweet basil, cilantro, and oregano. Make sure when picking herbs that they require all the same amount of light and water. Fill pot with plant and vegetable potting soil and plant food. Add herbs, cover with more soil, and water. I also added fun metal garden labels. Another affordable alternative would be labeling popsicle sticks.
The ideal time for picking your herbs is in the morning before the dew has dried but before the sun gets hot. This helps ensure the best flavor and storage quality. Do not harvest more than a third of the plant at any given time. Make sure to wash herbs before cooking under running water and patting dry with paper towels. When substituting dried herbs with fresh ones use 3 times as much as you would use of a dried herb. (Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh). You can also freeze herbs by removing the leaves from stems, rinsing and drying leaves, and placing them in a heavy-duty sealed plastic bag for up to 6 months.
Meaghan is our Publix for 2 meal plan writer. She and her husband, Ross, have one fur baby Sadie. Meaghan has been working at eMeals since April 2011