I recently had the opportunity to visit Teresa Bachman’s herb garden in El Dorado.
Teresa got started on herb gardening simply with a book on herbs she picked up from the bookstore. She began reading through it and decided to give it a try. She created a large area for her herb garden behind her house. Now she grows a little bit of everything. She has several varieties of basil, including Lemon, Purple, Spicy Globe and Thai. She also had German Thyme, Variegated Oregano, Lemon Thyme, Chocolate Mint, French Tarragon, Stevia and more.
She invited me over to see and sample some herbs. With baggies in hand, I collected several varieties of herbs. While I have the basics – parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme – I have never tried the different variations of these.
I quickly ran those herbs home before they wilted too much and stuck them in jars of water. They quickly perked back up. With them happy for the time being, I got back to my other chores, and later that day, washed, dried and prepared them for dehydrating to preserve them for future recipes. I’m going to have to find some ways to use these unusual herbs.
But I didn’t want to limit the amounts I had on hand, so I saved a stem of each herb and put them back in the water. Just enough to cover an inch or two of the bottom of them and placed them on a window sill. They have now started to grow roots and once they have enough roots, I will transplant them into pots and soon will have my own of each of these plants.
Another option is to keep some of the herbs in jars of water on your kitchen counter – something Teresa showed me. They will stay alive and keep growing, then you can pinch off what you need as you are cooking to add to recipes if you prefer to use fresh over dried.
If keeping in water, make sure you change the water out every three to four days to keep them fresh.
One important note – if you aren’t well versed in the different types of herbs, keep labels on them throughout the process so you know what you have.
Do you have a unique garden growing? Let me know about it
Until next time, happy garden-fresh eating!
Julie Clements is t a Butler County Master Gardener.
Share your ideas for garden-fresh recipes or ways to preserve at email@example.com and some will be featured in upcoming columns.