Thyme


Growing: A perennial; grow in full sun to partial shade

Flavor Profile: Slightly pungent, spicy, savory, clove-like. Lemon thyme – a bit milder, with a lemony flavor. Blends well with other herbs especially rosemary.

Uses: All meats, vegetables, casseroles, soups, stuffings, meatloaf, marinades and pâtés. Excellent for herb bread and flavored butters. Good with mushrooms, fried potatoes, carrots (and other vegetables) and in omelettes. Commonly used in clam chowder and gumbo; used in French, Creole and Cajun cooking. Lemon thyme is excellent with fish and chicken.

Note: Has a strong flavor, so only a little is needed. Dries well.

Sage

Growing: A perennial; grow in full sun

Flavor Profile: Earthy, musty mint, camphor-like with a hint of lemon. English, pineapple sage, purple sage and variegated sage are most popular varieties. Combines well with rosemary, thyme or marjoram.

Uses: Stuffing’s for poultry, fish, game and other meats; in sauces, soups, chowders, meat pies; in marinades; in barbecue sauces with rosemary and thyme. Use sparingly. For roast pork: with sharp knife make slits in the skin 1/4 inch (5 mm) apart; brush with olive oil to which a handful of fresh crushed leaves has been added. Excellent deep-fried as an appetizer or garnish,  over meats, yeast breads. Good with onions, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables.

Note: Used in commercial sausage (so-sage!).

Rosemary

Growing: A perennial in some areas; grow in full sun to partial shade

Flavor Profile: Piney, resinous with a hint of lemon; works well with basil or thyme.

Uses: Beef, lamb, veal, pork, rabbit, goose, duck and poultry; for roasts, make slits with a knife and insert garlic slivers and rosemary leaves. Rosemary is particularly good with lamb. Use when cooking eggplant, squash and in sauce for lasagna; in vinegars, oils and marinades; with thyme for frying or roasting potatoes, focaccia, marinated olives. In baking cookies, breads, cornbread, biscuits, etc.

Note: When using individual fresh leaves (vs. sprigs), always chop finely, as leaves are tough. Dries well.

Parsley

Growing:A biennial; grow in full sun to partial shadeFlavor Profile: Mild, savory flavor, slightly peppery; curly or Italian (flat leaf) parsley most common types – Italian has a stronger flavor

Uses: In pasta dishes, sauces, scrambled eggs, soups, mashed or boiled potatoes, vegetable dishes (carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, turnip, beets); with poultry or fish. When making soup or stew, add the whole frond and remove before serving. Blends well with other herbs. Part of bouquet garni and fines herbes. Great deep-fried or in tempura batter. Use for garnish, especially sprinkled chopped over stews, pasta dishes and casseroles that need a bit of color.

Note: Dried parsley is a poor substitute for fresh. A quick way to chop parsley leaves is in a glass measuring cup using kitchen scissors. For large quantities, chop in a food processor.

Dill

(also called fresh dill or dillweed )Growing:An annual; grow in full sun, look for Fern Leaf dill; goes to seed easilyFlavor Profile: Parsley, anise and celery, subtle lemon. Feathery leaves are used.

Uses: Lentil, pea or bean soups; in all egg dishes, with cheese and most fish; lamb, chicken. Add to dressings for sliced cucumbers or with beets. Delicious in potato, tuna, egg or pasta salads, with cabbage, seafood cocktail, salad dressings; dips, sauces for fish. Seeds, which have a stronger flavor, used in breads, salads, pickling.

Note: Name derives from Norse dilla, meaning to “lull “, as it was used to induce sleep.

 

Chives

Growing: A perennial; grow in full sun to partial shade; flowers in June; remove flower stalks as soon as they appear to prevent loss or flavor

Flavor Profile: Onion chives – thin, hollow leaves, mild onion flavor; garlic chives – flat leaves like blades of grass, mild onion/garlic flavor

Uses: Omelettes, quiche, cheese spreads and dips, tuna salad; sprinkled over broiled tomatoes, green salad, potato salad, potato salad, potato soup, baked potatoes and other vegetables; to garnish soups. The purple flowers of onion chives are edible (soups, salads), have an oniony flavor and make a beautiful pink-purple vinegar.

Note: Use kitchen scissors to snip chives, rather than cutting or chopping them.

Bay Leaves

BAY LEAVES (also called laurel leaves)

Growing: A perennial evergreen tree; grow in full sun to partial shade

Flavor Profile: Slightly bitter, savory.

Uses: Soups and chowders; add to water for cooking vegetables. (i.e.) potatoes or pasta; spaghetti sauce, casseroles, stews; meat, especially beef dishes, chicken and turkey; fish (when poaching shrimp or cooking shellfish); in marinades; part of bouquet garni; in milk to flavor rice pudding. Almost indispensible when cooking.

Note: Seldom used fresh, as dried bay leaves have a better, sweeter flavor than fresh; flavor intensifies the longer it cooks. Remove at end of cooking.

Basil

BASIL(also called sweet basil)Growing: An annual; grow in full sun; vulnerable to frost

Flavor Profile: Spicy, sweet, anise (licorice) and clove-like; flavor changes when dried. Purple basil (opal, ruffled) has a more delicate flavor that is clove-like. Other varieties include cinnamon basil, lemon basil, Thai basil and globe basil.

Uses: Salads, soups, dips and sauces, stews, rice dishes; as part of fines herbes mixture; frequent addition to Italian tomato dishes; excellent in red lentil soup, gazpacho, ratatouille. Good in omlettes, egg salad, cottage cheese; main ingredient of pesto; great with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini. Purple basil makes a beautiful red vinegar.

Note: Leaves are very delicate; handle gently; wash and chop just before using.