Sunday, July 10, 2005

Herb Mother

One of the joys of my gardens at home is the extensive collection of herbs that I've added (and that have come up voluntarily) over the past several years.

Here's what I've been doing with them lately:

The cilantro, almost all of which has been volunteer, has been blooming madly, so I picked a lot the other night, chopped it up and tucked it into an ice cube tray, then added water to freeze it into cubes for later use. (Note to self: remove the blossoms next time... they may be edible, but they're too strong for you!)

The dill, which tends to reseed itself abundantly, has had to be thinned out and picked already. I have one large bunch hanging in the kitchen bay window to dry, and I've picked a fair bit for cooking as well as for making borage-dill vinegar.

The mints (and there are four of them scattered about) have stayed true to their minty nature and have spread like wildfire... so I picked a few bunches of two kinds (the spearmint and the Moroccan mint) to hang up to dry in the windows. I also layered some of the Moroccan mint into a jar of granulated sugar and will grind that in a few days... it's great for baking, especially in brownies. And I will have to do that soon with the chocolate mint, too.

The basil has been most persistent in producing blossoms, which I have been just as persistent in snapping off. I'm hoping both plants will bush out further so that I have plenty of leaves to harvest for pesto in a couple of weeks.

The lavender hit its peak of bloom about a week ago, so I snipped off all the flower stems I could find and hung them up to dry in a paper bag. The dried flowers will come in handy this winter when I'm craving lavender-sauteed apples... or next spring for cookies!

That's all for this week... but more will come!

4 Comments:

At 7/11/2005 8:21 AM, Anonymous Pixie said...

On Saturday, preparing for a picnic & concert in the park, I went shopping with the goal of Greek Pasta Salad (mmmmm!) in mind.
Much to my shock and horror, out of the three groceries, not ONE of them carried dried mint. In fact, only one had even fresh mint in the produce section - and $3 seemed a lot to ask for one slightly wilted stalk!
In the end, I made the salad without it. My co-conspirators didn't seem to mind. But I kept thinking, "The Baklava Queen would never let this happen. Next year (or possibly even this year), I should get a giant pot and find herbs of my own to plant - at least cilantro and mint, which I use several times a year." And so, Your Highness of Kitchen Arts Extraordinaire: I salute you. The bounty of your garden never ceases to inspire.

 
At 7/11/2005 8:52 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

That IS shocking! Of course, if you're going to be anywhere in the area yet this year... or even next spring or summer... I can always dig some up and pot it for you. I have PLENTY. :)

 
At 9/14/2007 12:30 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

I know this is a very old post, but I have been researching 'Moroccan Mint' for some time now, but there is very little I can seem to find on the species. For example, what is it's scientific name and how do i tell it apart from the other mints?

How good is the mint compared to others, sweeter, a bit more bitter? I would love to hunt some down to grow, but where to find it?

 
At 9/14/2007 7:09 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Rob, Moroccan mint is a cultivar of spearment (Mentha spicata), and I think it has sort of a bergamot or Earl Grey scent and flavor, though greener, and the dried leaves make a nice, light, faintly sweet Earl Grey/mint infusion.

If you combine it with a lemony herb (esp. lemon grass) and green tea, you've essentially got Moroccan mint tea... and don't hold back on the honey!

I'm pretty sure I bought mine through Mountain Valley Growers in a pack with other herbs.

I found more info on Wikipedia under "spearmint" or "Mentha spicata" so give that a try, too.

Hope you find some! I liked it best of all my mints, even the chocolate mint (and that's saying something!).

 

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