Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Herbs for Eating, Herbs for Tea and Herbs for Medicine

Basil ~  Who doesn't love basil?  I have grown many varieties of bail but the one I am sticking to and growing lots of this summer is Genovese.  It is the best to make homemade pesto for freezing and it has the biggest leaves for sandwiching between a nice slice of tomato and fresh mozzarella.  Be sure to keep the plants pinched back to encourage bushing instead of spindling.
Lemon Verbena ~ Much like mint lemon verbena roots need to be contained or they will branch out everywhere.  While this is the best lemon flavored and scented herb there is don't let it get away from you.  Lemon Verbena also holds it's lemon flavor the best when dried for tea.

Cilantro ~ Funny, I use to despise cilantro but loved parsley.  As an adult I despise parsley but love cilantro.  You just can't make good salsa without it.  You can't!

Bay Laurel ~ I love to cook.  I have many recipes that call for Bay leaf.  I may shock you by saying I never add it.  I mean it is a dry leaf with no smell.  But if it is so often used there has to be more to it than what I see.  So I am bound to grow a plant in the pot on the deck and bring it in during the winter to find out exactly what I'm missing. 

Dill~ My dill reseeded itself last year and is actually everywhere in my garden.  I will leave some because I am growing pickle cucumbers this year but most of it has to go!  Be careful if you let it go to seed for the seed itself that is does not blow everywhere on a blustery day.

Sage ~ Sage is a double your money pleasure.  It is great as an herb but if you let it flower after you harvest what you need you will not be disappointed.  I have a pineapple variety and it has the most vibrant red spikes.  It is also a perennial which means it will come back each year.
Chives ~ I always have a baggie in the freezer full of snipped chives.  They keep their shape, color and flavor the best this way.  Just snip and freeze.

Chamomile ~  Who hasn't heard of the benefits of using it in tea?  You can also add it to hot water and breath the vapors to help relax asthma attacks.  It is also good as a digestive aid when used after a heavy meal.

Garlic ~ Have never grown garlic so I am excited to do it this fall.  Will do a post later I am sure of it.

Anise Hyssop ~ I did a post on this a few days ago so be sure to read it.  You can also add the leaves to a pitcher of sun tea!

Lavender ~ I dried the flowers to top my homemade lavender soap this winter.  I love it and it added that simple country look to my soaps.

Calendula ~ I love their color but I have never used them.  This year I found a promising face cream that uses infused calendula oil that I plan to make myself.  Ask me about it come Christmas time.  You can also use the flower petals as a saffron substitute.

Mint ~ syrup.  The best thing to add to northern tea ;)

Bee Balm ~ Did you know that during the Boston Tea Party protest the colonists satisfied their tea cravings with the leaves from Bee Balm?  I didn't either... but they did!
Elderberry ~ Full of vitamins A & C these are a staple for making elderberry syrup that is good for coughs and colds.

Mint Syrup
1 1/2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Chop mint. In a saucepan bring sugar, water and mint to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer syrup, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Let cool then pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on solids. Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

Almond Pesto
1/3c ground up almonds
2 1/2c basil
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4c Parmesan cheese, grated
coconut or olive oil
Put everything in a food processor until roughly chopped, not smooth.  Drizzle in enough oil so it is moist and stays together like a paste.  Use or freeze in baggies.

This is the 3rd in a 6 day series so be sure to read those as well.

Leave a comment and tell me your favorite herbs.  Comments have a way of putting a spring in your step.


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A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Deeps Roots at Home
Our Simple Farm
Walking Redeemed
Let This Mind Be In You


  1. Great list of herbs :) .
    Lemon Verbena is one of my very favorites.
    Thanks for visiting Love Living Simply!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Catherine. What do you do with your verbena besides tea?