I’m pretty passionate about growing your own food. Ideally, I’d love to be able to grow at least half of my own food (or more??) and just have to supplement my garden with staples such as flour, rice and beans. To continue my dream, I would love to one day be able to barter for the things that I can’t grow with the things that I do grow.
Not only do I get great joy from growing my own food, I want to save money and be less dependent on foods shipped from far away (expending greenhouse gases into the air we breathe).
Obviously, I’m not there yet. I likely won’t be until I get a yard. But while I still have my balcony garden, there are many things I can grow in a small space, the easiest of which is likely herbs.
Before I go much further, I should admit that I’m not a gourmet cook. I have learned to use herbs based on my own personal tastes. My spice and herb vocabulary has grown from maybe a half dozen when I first started out on my own. I’m constantly expanding what I know how to use and experimenting to see what I like best.
This year I tried growing quite a few herbs but only got a few to successfully grow. It’s much harder to start seeds here since it’s so dry! I ended up with five: basil, oregano, sage, rosemary and parsley.
Those that I didn’t successfully grow: cilantro (though I got some from a friend!), dill and thyme. I’ll also be trying to grow garlic over the winter.
Now that I’ve gotten these going, how am I going to use them year-round?
1. Fresh. Obviously, this is the best way to use herbs. It’s such a change of pace from store-bought dried herbs so I’m still getting the proportions correct.
When the frost comes (early, here in Colorado), I’m going to try bringing my herbs inside to my sunny living room to see if I can keep them going year-round.
2. Frozen. As far as taste, frozen is as close to fresh. I froze cilantro (just stuck it in a Ziploc bag) and make my basil into pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. I have also added a little olive oil to basil and pulsed it in my NutriBullet before also freezing it in ice cube trays.
3. Dried. So far, I’ve only dried oregano. At the pace it grows, I’ll be able to easily keep up with my taste for the herb so I’ll be soon sharing it with others.
What herbs have you tried growing? What have been your successes? What do you wish you could grow?