Cooking with Herbs
Summer is an excellent time to explore the culinary adventures your herb garden has to offer. Jim Long, of Long Creek Herbs, shared some of his tips for growing and cooking with herbs.
Tips for Using Herbs:
- The easiest way to learn unfamiliar herb flavors is to chop up some fresh herbs into either cream cheese or scrambled eggs. Both are relatively neutral flavors, which will allow you to fully experience the taste of an herb.
- Go beyond the basics – instead of sprinkling a few pieces of parsley on a dish, chop up some basil and thyme as well.
- When growing herbs, the nearer the kitchen the better. If you have herbs growing in containers just steps from the kitchen, you are more likely to use them.
- Don’t be intimidated about using herbs in your cooking. It’s almost impossible to make a mistake when using cooking herbs. You may like some more than others, but that’s part of the learning process.
- Go bold. I once introduced a kids’ class to chocolate chip cookies with rosemary, to acquaint them with the taste of rosemary. It was a hit! Or use basil leaves in place of lettuce on a sandwich.
- When using fresh or dried herbs in cooking, add most of them about half or two-thirds of the way through the cooking process. Add a bit more at the very end. Cooking vaporizes the oils that carry the flavors of herbs, so they can either lose their flavor or become bitter during the cooking process.
For more information on growing herbs, check out the July/Aug issue of The American Gardener. Jim also has many recipes for herbs on his website, visit to explore what could be cooking in your kitchen next!