What’s it all about?
What does the act of preserving the season’s bounty mean to me? It means tasty things that I can enjoy all throughout the year. Everyone has tried some form of “preserved food”. Everything from sourdough bread, raw-milk cheese, pickled vegetables, preserved fruits, jams, jellies, chutneys, wine, beer, smoked meats and even dried herbs — All of these are preserved foods, and that is only scratching the surface to a world of different varieties and flavors.
Canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, pickling, curing and smoking are all ways to enjoy the bounty of the farmers market for a long time to come. Fermented foods are especially great because most of them are chock full of healthy probiotics. Healthy, tasty and the ability to enjoy your favorite foods all year long? That sounds like a recipe for success.
10 Reasons to do your own herb garden…Grow your herbs! Enjoy them throughout the year!
I look forward to cooking with herbs all year long because many dishes are packed with pinches or even handfuls of fresh herbs that perk things up a bit. With a little bit of proper planning in the spring time, you can have a bountiful variety of herbs right at your fingertips. Not to forget, you can enjoy these herbs well into the winter if you dry them at the sign of first frost. Enjoy an herb garden all year long!
Yeah, I hear ya in back saying, “I can just get my herbs from a grocery store” And to you I say tu chez, but I’ve been there done that. Those herbs caged and smushed up in a plastic container are expensive. Not to mention, they’re hardly fresh, and if they are, they die within a day or two in the refrigerator. I love to play around with all sorts of herbs. Everything from the day to day parsley, sage, basil, and cilantro to the more unfamiliar herbs such as epazote, lemongrass, and even eucalyptus. Do I know what I’m doing with eucalyptus yet? Not practically, but that’s part of the fun, learning about all these herbs and in turn learning about different cuisines and how they use them. Let’s not forget all the benefits of an herb garden! All the way from health benefits, to culinary benefits. Here’s a few of many benefits to planting and growing an herb garden.
- Fresh Herbs Always Available— One of the best benefits of growing your own herbs is having fresh herbs right at your fingertips, whenever you want or need them. When you have your own herb garden growing right outside — or inside — your door, you’ll always have the right ingredients waiting for you to make dinner time magic.
- No Boring Dinners – Adding a few different herbs to a simple chicken dinner makes it a whole new meal. Your simple side dishes become the main feature. Potatoes are a new adventure on a nightly basis. The results are only limited to the types of herbs you decide to plant and how daring you want to be with your menu.
- Good For You – Adding fresh herbs to your diet is a great way to boost your meal’s vitamin value, but that isn’t the only health benefit you can obtain. Gardening is a wonderful form of exercise. All of that digging, bending, and stretching will pay off in tightly toned muscles, and if you keep at it, you’ll also achieve a bit of weight loss and healthily glowing skin.
- Save Money – Let’s face it, fresh herbs can be expensive when you purchase them individually at the grocery store every time you need them, and the local grocer doesn’t always stock all the herbs you are looking for. When this happens, you’ll need to find a specialty store, where you are going to pay even more. After the initial investment of getting your herb garden started, the money you save will be your own.
- Educational – Herb gardening is an educational experience for adults as well as for children. There is always something new to learn, whether it be a new gardening technique, a different recipe, a new and improved use for the herbs you thought you knew so well, or the fascinating history of herbs that dates way back to medieval times.
- Relieve Stress – Tending, or just visiting an herb garden can do a world of good towards relieving all that built up stress that daily life likes to give us. The sights and scents that abound in an herb garden delight the senses and revitalize the soul. Having one at your own home makes it that much easier.
- Curb Appeal – Adding an herb garden to your home’s landscape gives your yard real curb appeal. Most herbs are just as pretty as shrubs and flowers. You can even add them to your shrubs and flowers if you don’t have room for a formal herb garden. They blend in beautifully.
- Share the Wealth – Growing your own herbs means that you’ll always have more than enough herbs than you can possibly use, leaving you plenty of extras to share with friends, family, and neighbors. Just think how popular you will be when you show up at the next dinner invite with a basket full of fresh herbs. Dried fresh herbs in pretty jars make wonderful gifts too!
- Exotic Variety – Did you know that there are more than 30 different types of basil? The local market will usually only carry the most common, sweet basil. Dark opal basil, which is purple in color, is a bit more difficult to find, as are cinnamon basil, anise basil, Italian basil, and globe basil, which happens to be perfect for those of you with smaller gardens. Growing your own herb garden will allow you to sample some of the other more exotic and fun herbs that are out there waiting for you.
- Good Clean Fun – Okay, well maybe it’s not the cleanest hobby, but gardening and watching your fresh herbs grow is well worth the little bit of dirt you’ll need to wash off. Get out there and start planning your own beautiful and aromatic herb garden. It really is fun, and the benefits can’t be beat.