In showing uncommonly good sense, after work on Friday I transplanted my herbs (cooking, not smoking) from my outdoor garden to pots (pun completely unintended) so I could enjoy them over the winter. Part of it was my fall yard preparations. Part of it was the frost warning I heard on the radio.
Last year, I was given five potted herbs. Two of them survived the winter (the oregano and the basil). This year, I bought six more plants. When I went to bring them inside, I only had seven pots. Alas, this is no loss because the sixth plant I bought was cilantro.
I don’t even like cilantro. I’ll eat it but I don’t enjoy it. I have no idea what I was thinking.
Anyway, I’m aiming for more than a 50% survival rate this year. My plants are mostly healthy after spending the summer outside. The oregano only needs a couple stems to be trimmed back; this is fine because oregano dries like a dream. So does thyme, by the way. The two gangly ones (the basil and the mint) are going to need more work. They need severe pruning but not so much as to kill them. Getting it right will be a tricky row to hoe. (Ha ha!)
As much as I enjoy keeping plants alive, using herbs is a new thing for me – dried or fresh. I have looked up how they should be used. The ratio of fresh to dried is 3:1, therefore it takes 3 teaspoons/1 tbsp of fresh chopped herbs to equal 1 teaspoon of dried stuff. Additionally, fresh herbs should be added later in the cooking process while dried ones should be added earlier.
I also don’t know when certain herbs should be used. Oregano is a staple of Italian cooking (like cilantro is to Greek cuisine, which is why I don’t eat Greek often.) If I am using tomatoes, it’s in there. Parsley is sweeter and goes with vegetables as well as meats. Chives are onion-y and again I use it mostly with veggies. I generally pair basil with oregano but it can be good on its own; I just don’t know with what. I have no idea when to use sage or thyme. I’d love to find a good book, or cookbook, that explains when to use my herbs. To follow up from a couple of weeks ago, I do too need another cookbook.
Even if I don’t get all the uses right, it’s nice to have a bunch of green stuff in my kitchen. It brightens the place up and makes it smell good. Fresh herbs are healthy, pesticide-free and save me money. And because I have such a variety available, they encourage me to experiment with my cooking.
Oh, in reference to the title of this post – only the lack of Rosemary is keeping me from being a 60’s hit. I hate rosemary, so much so that apparently I won’t even by it by accident. I guess I’ll just have to live with being almost famous.
EDITED TO ADD: Yeah, S&G, the Beatles, whoever else – if it’s not Elvis, it doesn’t matter 🙂