Soft Versus Hard Kitchen Garden Herbs

 

kitchen garden herbs, herbs, herb varities

 

First, are you interested in growing kitchen garden herbs?  Before you plant or purchase, know the difference between soft and hard herbs.  Also know their uses.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.  Here’s a few tips on the difference:

Soft herbs are leafy, tender and best used fresh.  Fresh herbs enhance the flavor and appearance of dishes. Soft herbs can be used in sauces, salads, potatoes, and greatly enhance the taste, appearance and nutritional value of the food. Here’s a list of soft herbs:

  • Basil (Sweet, Spicy, Genovese, Lemon, Lime, Cinnamon, Dark Opal and Thai to name a few).
  • Parsley – (Curly or Flat)
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Fennel
  • Chives
  • Mint

Hard herbs are considered more flavorful than soft herbs.  Additionally, these herbs are added to dishes that require long, slow cooking, such as soups, stews, casseroles and roasts.  Hard herbs are removed before serving the dish.  Here are a few herbs that fall into this category:

  • Rosemary 
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Bay Leaves
  • Sage
  • Mint (Chocolate, Orange, Strawberry,  Julep)

Most importantly, if you are planting mint remember that it is invasive.  So, I recommend that you plant this herb in a container to keep it from spreading. You should know, dill is know to reseed year after year.  So, be selective on where you plant it as well.  Additionally, you can plant various herbs in mason jars or small containers for use during the winter.  Find a few small pots, and place them in your window sill.

Another idea, use fresh basil, oregano, sage and rosemary in the winter from your window sill plants.  As a result, use them when cooking soups, stews, casseroles and roasts.  Also, herbs are perfect in these dishes.  I freeze and dry my basil and parsley.

Last, if you have limited space decide which herbs you will most likely use.  In conclusion, plant plenty and preserve them for later use. Also, herbs can be dried.  What herbs do you use most?  These are the herbs you should grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Dry Kitchen Garden Herbs

garden herbs, vegetable gardens, preserving garden herbs

I pulled the remaining herbs from the garden today so I can dry them. I’m writing this post, so you can grow and dry your fresh garden herbs too. They’re really easy to grow and adds wonderful flavor to sauces and chili.  The top picture is Greek Basil. I actually dry and freeze my fresh basil.  

 I remove the leaves from my plants and wash them thoroughly.  I than place them on a paper towel to allow them to air dry.  I do the same with my parsley as shown in the picture below.

 

Image-Drying-Basil

 After the herbs have dried, I mark lunch bags with the names of the herbs as shown above. I place the herbs inside the bags and seal them with tape.  Any tape will do, as long as it will hold the bag closed.  I used scotch tape for these. Set the bags in a cool, dry place until they have dried and can be crumbled.  It will take several weeks for them to thoroughly dry, but you should check them to ensure they are drying as expected.  

This is dry dill (below) that has been removed from the bag. Be sure to remove all stems from the herbs before storing.  I use jelly jars from my canning stash to house my herbs.  You can use plastic containers, zip lock bags or any other container that is airtight. You want to keep them dry so they will remain fresh.  

how to dry dill. dill,

 

This is parsley that I have dried.  It’s great on potatoes. It is now airtight and stored in one of my jelly jars.  These are nice to give as gifts too. I add a label and place into a gift basket along with salsa, chips, jam, pickled peppers and cookies for Christmas gifts.

 

preserving gifts, garden gifts

I also freeze my basil. I leave the basil leaves whole so I can crush them into my dishes while cooking. I just grab the bag from the freezer, take out a handful of the leaves and crush them directly into my sauces and chili. Fresh basil smells wonderful and taste even better in dishes.   
Grow a few herbs next season.  You don’t need a large space, small pots in your kitchen window will suffice.  Grow what you use.  Basil, parsley and dill get plenty of use in my house. Happy Gardening!