FRESH HERBS IN ABUNDANCE
Finally got around to clearing the vegetable garden last weekend and when I had finished, stood back to admire our work. At this time of the year, the only survivors are the herbs so that got me asking the rest of the staff what herbs they have in abundance in their gardens at this time of the year.
Lemongrass grows really well in my garden and because I did not get around to dividing it last year it has grown rather large. At this stage I have just pulled out a few bunches from around the edges and trimmed it. What a nice experience this is as the aroma of this plant is beautiful.
The stem and the leaves can be used. The stem is used like bay leaves in that you pop it in your dish and take it out before serving as it is very fibrous. It is always a good idea to pound the stem a little before use as this releases all the flavour. It is used mostly in asian style dishes.
Use the leaves to make tea (newer tender leaves are best for good flavour). I just cut a leaf or two, split in half to release the oil and put in my cup or teapot with boiling water to steep. Add more leaves to suit your taste.
Parsley has to be near the top of the list for most used herbs. This nice patch is from Sonya's garden and she says she uses it in most dishes. Used to flavour tabouleh, meatballs, omelettes, salads, fish stew, falafels, etc, its uses are endless.
There tends to be two main varieties being curly or flat leaf. Everyone has a preference but grow both (as Sonya has) to cover all bases. Sometimes I have had to have a couple of go's getting my parsley to germinate but once it has a chance to mature in your garden it is prolific and very hardy.
Feverfew has a pungent aroma that is not always judged to be pleasant. The flowers are similar to daisies and with the yellow and white contrast, make a pretty addition to bouquets.
This pungent odour also makes it a good companion plant in your garden as insects tend to stay away from it.
Feverfew is known as a pain inhibitor in particular for headaches and migraines. The leaves are the part to be ingested but as they are quite bitter they are an acquired taste. Try them chopped up in a teaspoon of honey. There are many stories of people who have suffered from migraines for years, finding feverfew to be of great relief when taken daily. Some see instant results, others take a few months.
Licorice is one of our more recent herbs to be added to the catalogue. It takes two years growth before the root is ready for harvest. This is one of the plants in Gerard's garden which is getting close to being ready for harvest. 1-5g of dried root is needed for a cup of refreshing tea. As we are all big fans of licorice here in the office we are looking forward to trying this.
Licorice tea is great for giving you a bit of a boost when you are trying to minimise your sugar intake and for those afternoon sugar cravings. Try it and see for yourself.
Thyme English Winter
English Thyme is another wonderfully versatile herb as its flavour goes well with beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish, cheese, tomatoes and potatoes. Use it in soups, stews, pies or in the water you are boiling veges. Make a yummy gravy with the vege water!!
This herb also has great medicinal properties and is particularly good for helping with coughs and headaches. Make a tea from the fresh leaves and this will help to relax the muscles around the throat area, act as an anti-inflammatory and soothe a headache. Steep for 10 minutes in boiling water and strain.
What herbs do have flourishing right now in your garden??