Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best Herbs for Autumn

Here is a list of the ripe perfect autumnal herbs  and some ways to add them into your seasonal cooking.

Garden Sage
Sage -- This herb gives savory flavor to sausages and stuffings, either by itself or in combination with other herbs. To amaze your friends at dinner parties, pick a handful of the thick, fleshy leaves and fry them to crispness in olive oil, then sprinkle them with sea salt. Much better than potato chips as a snack.

Peppermint -- The mint (small serrated leaves in the picture) shoots up long, lavender flowers. Don't discard the flowers! These have a strong and slightly different flavor than the leaves, and make a nice addition to salads. While most use mint to make iced tea or juleps, the mint can also be used in pestos, and to make various other Italian salsa verdes.
Flowering garlic chives -- This herb flowers in the fall with a white button type flower.  It can be used in stir-fries, or as stuffing for meat, poultry or fish. Steamed with a little sesame or olive oil, they make a fine side dish by themselves.
Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm -- Said to have healing properties, this herb in the mint family smells like lemon more than it tastes. It can make a fine addition to salads or teas, or can be macerated to make a soothing balm for insect stings or sunburn.
Purple Rubin Basil
Basil -- Once again, the flowers are the most potent part of this anise-y smelling herb, and, crumbled over pasta or fresh mozzarella with olive oil, make all the dressing you ever need. And if you like a colorful vinegar, use the purple varieties instead of the green for the best shade of magenta you have ever seen and all the same Basil flavors.
Curly parsley -- Once provided on the side of the plate almost universally in restaurants as a breath freshener (you were supposed to chew it after the meal), curly parsley is strongly flavored and a little goes a long way. Salads or pestos are its best use, or sparingly in meat and poultry stuffings. Or try stuffing a big zucchini with rice and chopped up curly parsley.
Lavender -- Identifiable by its lovely lavender flowers and saw-tooth leaves, lavender is more fragrant than it is tasty, and cooking applications are sometimes hard to find. Yet, it is indispensable in the Herbs de Provence of France, is great stuffed in a sachet and hidden in your underwear drawer, and can be sparingly used in flans, ice creams, and other sweet applications.
Thyme -- After a rainfall, thyme becomes the densest of herbs, and also one of the most pungent. Typical uses include savory stews and soups, and why not dry a handful for the winter? Much better than the jarred variety in stores.  The lemon thyme varieties make great tea and vinegar.


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  2. Christmas gifts this year will be basil vinegar, jars of dried basil and pesto

    1. This sounds wonderfull. We are making Salsa with cilantro, parsley and oregano!


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