Celebrate the Holidays with Herbs from Your Garden
Just because summer's long gone doesn't mean you can't still treat yourself to some home-grown garden goodness. If you snipped and saved clippings from your garden herbs (or still have a healthy batch of perennial herbs to choose from), you may have all the herbs you need to create a delicious, savory holiday meal. And if you didn't do it this time around, it's not too late to plan for next year!
I admit it: I'm a sucker for rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). One of my absolute favorite herbs, I love the way rosemary smells (I fondle it incessantly), I love the way it tastes (so fresh and earthy), and I love the way it looks (like a little tree that forgot to grow up). Plus, it's an absolutely essential herb for mouth-watering stuffings and roast turkey. And, while fresh rosemary smells divine, dried rosemary works quite well too.
Have you ever heard of the herb lovage (Levisticum officinale)? Probably not. A barely-known perennial herb, lovage resembles (and tastes like) celery, with tall, hollow stalks and broad, flat leaves. Strong-flavored and well-suited for winter gardens, lovage makes an unusual addition to any good herbal recipe, plus there are a surprising number of lovage recipes to choose from.
Did you spare time to save your thyme (Thymus) this summer? Hopefully so, since this common herb is an indispensible ingredient for a well-stocked kitchen garden. A key flavor for just about every savory holiday dish imaginable, thyme is a must-have herb for any Thanksgiving menu. With just a handful of home-grown thyme, you can turn run-of-the-mill mushroom gravy into something special.
Another perennial herb well-suited for holiday stuffing, winter savory (Satureja montana) has a peppery flavor that doesn't hold up well to prolonged cooking but adds a distinct dash of spice when used properly. Use in soups and rice dishes for a unique, robust flavor that folks won't soon forget.
What's your favorite holiday herb? What herbs are you growing in your herb garden this year?
(Images graciously supplied by nkzs, magnetha and bcveen. Thanks!)