About the SFMGA

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Summer Recipes with Herbs

by Janet Hirons, Master Gardener

A quick guide to drying herbs

For the most pungent flavor, pick herbs early in the day. Remove dead or discolored leaves. Choose a drying area dedicated to the drying as it can take a few days to a few weeks for most leaves, stems or flowers. Good air flow with a low humidity level is essential for decreasing the chance of powdery mold developing. Tie together small bunches of stemmed herbs and hang them upside down, or loosely spread them out on a large screen.

You can freeze herbs right from the garden in plastic bags. Use them in soups and stews as you would use fresh. Another quick but costly drying method is to bury herbs in silica crystals.

Once the herbs are dried, they can be crushed and stored. Because light and oxygen are the biggest culprits in destroying the potency of herbs amber glass or ceramic containers are best.

Buttermilk Herb Dip

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. Tabasco
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Whisk ingredients together. Season with more Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste. Let sit for 15 minutes, then serve. Yields 3 cups dip; serve with fresh vegetables.

Citrus Marinade

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallots or green onions
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, tarragon, dill or sage
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ ground black pepper
Whisk ingredients together; use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly covered jar for up to 2 days. Makes about 1 cup, enough for 2-3 lb. veal or pork chops, steaks, fish, or chicken.

What is a weed? I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions. For me, a weed is a plant out of place. -Donald Culross Peattie, The Flowering Earth

White Wine Marinade

  • 1 bottle, about 3½ cups dry white wine
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, or tarragon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

Whisk ingredients together, use immediately, or refrigerate in a tightly covered jar for up to 2 days. Makes about 5 cups, enough for a whole chicken.