Oregano is the go-to herb for many Italian dishes. Tomato sauces come alive with its distinctive flavor. Sprinkled on pizza and baked in, it is an outstanding accoutrement when fresh from the garden. Oregano grows easily and is a hardy perennial to zone 10, meaning that as far north as Alaska, parts of it in Zone 1, it will come back every year bigger and better. This picture shows a plant on its 2nd year in St. Louis which is in Zone 5.
Ok, Parsley goes with about anything: chicken, beef, fish, pork, sauces and gravies of all kinds and many Mexican dishes when cilantro isn’t available. Italian Parsley (pictured) or often called flat-leaf parsley, I find to have the most flavor and fragrance, but the curly kind is pretty as a garnish. They both are actually, with its lacy leaf form. When used fresh you can really taste undertones of licorice. Also known as natures breath freshener.
Rosemary has a strong and unique flavor best with pork dishes, great with salmon, and chicken too. My sister even made butter cookies infused with its green almost piney flavor, and boy were they delicious. It was an unexpected taste for a cookie but turned out to be uniquely delightful.
Though this started as Genovese Basil, I saved seeds to plant the next season. This year it came in with a lighter shade and had a strong lemon flavor. Crazy! I guess plants will go back to what the parent plant’s DNA contained when you buy hybrid seeds and attempt to plant a second generation. I still used it in my tomato based dishes, pestos, as garnishing and in salads. Different, but still very lemony good. I wonder what the seeds from this plant might become next season?
Tarragon, I discovered to be a perennial. I was delighted when this plant wintered over. It is a great herb to use in a béarnaise sauce. First you make hollandaise sauce with 1 stick of softened butter, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 3 egg yolks (1,2,3) heat ever so gently in a sauce pan stirring constantly until thick. béarnaise it up with tarragon, fine diced sautéed onion, and a dash of white wine. Tarragon goes with many meat dishes, and is excellent in mushroom gravy.
There is nothing like the freshness herbs from the garden add to your dishes. Growing my own flavors is enjoyable and rewarding. When you have too much of one thing, share. Nothing is more friendly or neighborly. You could also just grab a few hanks, hang them upside down and let them dry for use all year round. Some herbs like this lemon balm just smell good. They can also add a zippy flavor to salads. Sometimes I like to just pick a piece and eat it for no reason other than knowing that it is edible, organic, and tastes interesting.
Though this is not an herb, this plant from the lettuce family, closely related to dandelions, drifted into our garden last year and has spread a bit as it’s seeds also grow like the tufts of a dandelion. Most would consider it a weed but I have found it to be a delectable salad leaf. Not at all bitter when you use the young leaves in the rosette. It is a cold loving plant and grows freely. I’m loving the free part. Thank you Mother Nature!
Here are some other pic’s from the garden. This lady cardinal was jumping up and grabbing seeds from the stalk to her right…just some wild bird millet I let grow to see what it would do. I’m happy with the results. Click the picture to see her up close. She was the diva of the bird world putting on a show for me.
This beautiful eggplant was delicious in an Asian rice dish. Yum!