Growing your own herbs at home

Having a herb garden at home can be a great way to add pizzazz to the food you prepare. And, save money! Herbs can be quite expensive, especially if you buy them fresh. But growing them is inexpensive, and simple. All you need are some pretty pots, soil, seeds, water and a window sill. Figure out which herbs you want to grow. Base your choice on what herbs you use most often right now in cooking. No point in growing something you never use, or don’t like the taste of the first time you start growing herbs. Some popular choices of herbs to grow on your own are: * Basil * Cilantro * Dill * Mint * Parsley * Rosemary * Thyme It’s very important to look up each herb type that you want to grow and find out the procedures for doing so. For example with Basil, you have to pinch off any flowers that appear in order to preserve the flavor and increase the density of leaf growth on each stem. And, Rosemary is especially picky on how much water it likes. Knowing about each herb before you start and properly labeling each pot will ensure a successful herb garden. You can grow them in pots on the window sill, grow them outside in containers, or planted in the ground. It really depends on which type of herb you’re growing, what time of year it is, and what climate you live in. You can start with seeds, seedlings, or with the full grown plant and create new plants from cuttings. The cheapest way to go is to buy seeds, of course. But, it will take more time before you get to enjoy your harvest. It is definitely worth the wait though. Fresh herbs taste delicious because you don’t cut them off the plant until you use them. Therefore, you get the freshest possible flavor infused in your food. You can also dry or freeze the herbs for use later. To Dry — Simply cut a stem right at the soil level, so as not to kill the plant, then hang upside down in a bunch to dry for a couple of weeks. Once fully dry simply pull the leaves off the stem and store in a cool, dry, air tight container. Dried herbs will keep up to a year if stored properly. Remember when cooking with dried herbs you often use less of the herb for the right flavor since anything dried is more concentrated. To Freeze — Like any veggie that you freeze, if you freeze it immediately they’ll be just like using fresh herbs. Chop fresh herbs and place into freezer bags. One good way is to first freeze the chopped herbs on a flat service on top of a non stick sheet. Then put the frozen herbs into a freezer bag so it won’t be clumped together. It’ll be easier to sprinkle just want you need.

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