Herbs bring flavor to dishes and can brighten a recipe or give it depth. We grow traditional herbs like sage and parsley. We also toss in a few other vegetables into the herb category like fennel and celery because they bring the flavor to any dish.
Herbs we grow:
We grow the traditional pesto-perfect Italian Genovese basil. Although any leafy green can be blended into a pesto, basil pesto is the most well-known. We like to use it on pasta and pizza and I always make sure to have half pints of it in the freezer for winter meals. We also dry some each summer to toss into our favorite Thai chicken curry.
Storage Tips: The key to keeping basil fresh and fragrant for days (and even weeks) is to NOT store it in the refrigerator. Basil leaves quickly turn black and slimy and lose their signature spicy sweet flavor when refrigerated. A better way to store them is in a jar of water on your kitchen counter top. Pinch the leaves from the stems, spread them on cookie sheets and freeze them. Transfer the frozen leaves to plastic containers and put them back into the freezer for use throughout the winter. It will also turn black if chopped or bruised and exposed to air.
We’ve found we can usually get two good crops of celery each growing season. That means we can share it with you in the summer and then again in the fall. Celery brings out the flavor in any soup or stew, even a humble bowl of ramen noodles.
Storage Tips: Celery heads can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the produce drawer of your fridge. Cut celery will go limp faster than uncut celery. If cut you may want to store your celery in water in the fridge to keep it hydrated.
We grow cilantro in successions throughout the summer and have started growing a bed for overwintering in a greenhouse too.
Storage Tips: Store cilantro in a jar of water in the refrigerator with a bag over the leaves.
We grow dill throughout the summer and fall for use in pickling recipes but also other favorite recipes like roasted potatoes with dill. We share both the dill leaf and flowers.
Storage Tips: Dill weed wilts quickly. If you want to store fresh dill in the refrigerator, it lasts longer in the absence of excessive moisture. So, if possible, avoid washing the dill weed before storing it.
We’re growing a couple of varieties of fennel this year. All are bulbing varieties and both the bulbs and fronds can be eaten.
Storage Tips: Similar to carrots, if you’re storing fennel in the fridge, you’ll want to separate the stalks from the bulb and store the two parts separately in plastic bags. For a non-plastic option, try storing fennel upright in a cup of water on the counter. Either way, try to use your fennel within a few days — any more than that, and it starts to lose flavor.
We love parsley as a cooking green and fresh in just about anything. We grow Italian flat leaf parsley.
Storage Tips: Trim stems and store in a glass of water on the kitchen counter. If refrigerating, cover with a plastic bag.
We are trying to expand our herb garden and hope to share rosemary with the CSA soon.
Storage Tips: Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and place in the warmest part of the refrigerator; one of the compartments in the door works perfectly. Do not wrap tightly or the trapped moisture may cause them to mold prematurely; many people like to add a crumpled paper towel to the bag as a safeguard. Do not rinse the herbs until just before using.
Sage is the quintessential Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing herb. It’s also the smell of the high desert and makes me think of sagebrush vistas whenever I’m working near the sage planting. We like to drink sage tea too.
Storage Tips: Wrap in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 4 to 5 days. Fresh leaves may be covered in olive oil and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. The oil can then be used in dressings and sauces.
Like sage, thyme is said to have many health benefits stemming from it’s oil. It’s great for seasoning various dishes and makes a tasty tea.
Storage Tips: Wrap thyme loosely in plastic wrap and place them in the warmest part of the refrigerator; one of the compartments in the door works perfectly. Do not wrap the herbs tightly or the trapped moisture may cause them to mold prematurely; many people like to add a crumpled paper towel to the bag as a safeguard. Do not rinse the herbs until just before using.