9 Ways to Enjoy Rosemary

I trimmed back a rosemary bush and had to come up with several ways to use a ton of rosemary.

Of course, my favorite way is #9!

Six Easy Steps for Herbal Infusions

Making an infusion is similar to making tea.  Once you know which herbs you want and if you are using fresh, frozen, or dried, the rest is easy.

For this example, I am using fresh Holy Basil from my garden.  Holy Basil is an "adaptogen" - which helps the body adapt to stress.  

Step One:

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Harvest the stems and leaves before flowers form, in early morning, just after the dew is off. That's the ideal. However, these I harvested at 5:45 a.m. because that is when I needed to make my infusion.  Also, the tops had flowered, so I used them.  Amount?  Enough for 2+ tablespoons fresh per cup of water. (If using dried herbs, use 1+ tablespoon per cup of water.)

Step Two:

Rinse off any obvious dirt.  

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Step Three:

Strip the leaves and flowers to use.  (Some people also use the stems.)

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Step Four:

Chop Coarsely.

Step Five:

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Place the herbs in either a mason jar or a french press.  When I began making infusions I used a mason jar and then strained the herbs through a cheesecloth.  If you are going to make infusions several days a week, invest in a french press to save you time.

Steep for 4 hours minimum.  The longer the herb steeps (generally), the stronger the infusion.  I either make my infusion at night and let it steep overnight to drink in the first few hours of the day, or begin steeping in the morning and drink during the afternoon.

Step Six:

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Drink the infusion within a day or two, putting it in the refrigerator if over 12-24 hours.  Or freeze the infusion in ice cube trays.  This is especially useful for infusions you want to use as herbal remedies.  For example, if you want sweet basil, chamomile, and mint to steep together for 4 hours to help with digestion or headaches, you don't want to wait 4 hours for relief.  Having it made and frozen, you can pour boiling water over 2-3 cubes and have instant help.

If you have questions, or ways that you make infusions, I'd love to chat in the comments.

Beginner Herb Gardening

Three different types of cilantro

Three different types of cilantro

Do you love the idea of cooking with herbs...but find it frustrating to buy just the right amount from the store?  Or you have limited varieties available?  Colleen McElroy of Colonial Creek Farm in Georgia has an answer for you.  Start a container herb garden near your window.  Then cut the amount you need...you can't get any fresher than that.

Here are some tips from Colleen:

  • If you have never grown herbs before, start with oregano, thyme, chives, and parsley in a container together.  You may also grow sage in the same container...but sage likes to be a little drier, so don't over-water.
  • To arrange the above herbs in a round container, plant the chives, parsley, and perhaps sage, in the middle.  Plant the oregano and thyme around the outside and let them trail over.  
  • To grow these herbs in a window box, grow the chives, parsley, and sage in the back (closest to the window) and the oregano and thyme in the front.
  • Mint is also a great herb to try, but it can be invasive, so consider a separate container for it. Colonial Creek Farm has over 20 varieties of mint...so pick your favorite flavor!
  • If you are bit more adventurous, you can also grow rosemary and lavender in a separate container.  These two herbs prefer very well-drained soil, so they would not grow well with your other herbs which prefer more traditional potting soil.
  • Do you love salsa in the summer, but can't get your cilantro to grow in the heat?  Cilantro is a cool weather herb.  However, you can grow Vietnamese cilantro, which prefers the heat.  I look forward to trying mine for the first time this year!
  • Remember that herbs love the sun.  They get "leggy" (lots of stem and few leaves) in the shade.
  • Last, herbs are generally "water it and forget it" plants.  They taste better if you don't fertilize them much.  

So plant the herbs you love in the soil they love.  Keep them in sun and water them.  Cut, eat, and enjoy!

Thank you, Colleen, for chatting with me at the 2016 Nashville Lawn and Garden Show.  Colonial Creek Farm is a mail order nursery with unique herbs I've not seen in other nurseries.  Their web address is www.colonialcreekfarm.com

Keep growing your food fresh for a ViREO Life!

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