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Friday, February 24, 2012

THE SPICE OF LIFE

The herb garden in winter
While all you dear southern friends are out enjoying an early spring, we are having  our winter at last.  So today, while I wait for the snowstorm to end so I can shovel out, I decided to write a post about spices and herbs.  Something I have intended to write for some time.  If you know what spices and herbs to use with meats and vegetables, you can pretty much improvise any meal; a simple soup made from scraps, a heart casserole, an omelet.  That along with how to make a basic white or cheese sauce which I have written about in  a past post.  I tried to find a guide to common spices and herbs, but couldn't, so I made up this one:

BEEF: sage, bay leaf, majoram, thyme, allspice, oregano, cumin, chili powder, basil, garlic

CHICKEN:  sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, bay leaf, dill, basil, dry mustard, paprika, garlic

PORK:  rosemary, sage, majoram, dry mustard, nutmeg, garlic, caraway

POTATOES: rosemary, dill, parsley, garlic, chives

APPLES: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger

WINTER SQUASHES AND PUMPKINS:  cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg,  mace, ginger

TOMATOES:  basil, oregano, fennel, garlic, majoram, thyme, dill, parsley, tarragon

CHEESES: dry mustard, paprika, dill, garlic, chives

ITALIAN FOOD: basil, oregano, fennel, garlic, parsley, allspice

MEXICAN FOOD: cilantro, chili powder, cumin, garlic

A simple little herb garden only a few feet square can provide you with quite a few of  these herbs.  Just one plant of the basics; oregano, dill, sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary and basil, cilantro.  With some garlic bulbs tucked in somewhere else.  And it's pretty too!  Last year I planted one of those strawberry pots with just the basic herbs and kept it by the back steps.  Ended up using that more than the larger herb garden.  Just goes to show you that you don't need a large space to have nice fresh (and expensive) produce.

54 comments:

  1. Hi Jane! Your guide is so nice/helpful! I was just looking at my seed packs of herbs and wondering where I should plant them! Yes, they are pretty ...I love to look at them as much as using them (well...I'm not real good at using them) and they grow so well and lush. love,andrea

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    1. Hi Andrea! If you can locate a place near to your back door, you'll use them more often. But wherever you choose, they'll be pretty!

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  2. Hi Jane, Don't be too jealous of us Southerners. While it is 62 degrees, we had a tornado 2 nights ago- 95mph winds. Our yard looks like a war zone. We were luckier than some- our house itself has minimal damage and we are alive. : ) Angela

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    1. Sorry to hear that Angela. I guess I'd rather have a snowstorm than a tornado any day! And it is pretty. My son that lives in NC said they had the strangest storm the other night too. Hope this doesn't mean we are going to have a year of terrible weather like we had last year.

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  3. What a handy chart you made! I do the same thing as you - keep a strawberry pot full of herbs on the porch in summer :)
    -Jaime

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    1. It certainly is convenient, isn't it? I decided to make a chart because so many people are always asking me what herbs to use.

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  4. What a great list, I will have to print out this whole post and put it in my recipe notebook! I love working with different herbs and spices, my Grandma always used to tell me I had a real knack for it. My herb garden has gotten a little old, and I am looking forward to revamping it this spring, I love herb gardens, so easy to work with, and such yummy smells! Stay warm in all that snow! :)

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    1. I need to rework my herb garden to, April. Have way too much sage. But what's a person to do? It's so pretty, I hate to just toss it. Maybe I'll find a place to make a low hedge of it somewhere.

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  5. Jane, thanks for the list!

    We actually had one day hit 70 degrees here! I couldn't believe it. Of course, last night we had a huge thunderstorm when the cooler air started to roll back in.

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    1. It looks like spring has really arrived in your area Shara! Hope your foot heals quickly so that you can enjoy it!

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  6. Dear Jane,

    What a pretty blanket the snow makes on the garden! I do wonder how the spring is going to be this year? Hopefully things will straighten out by growing season, for all of us!

    You have a great list of herbs for every use! I just ordered some herb seeds, having faith that I'll have somewhere good to plant them soon! :) Maybe I should stick them in a strawberry pot, so they'll be portable, just in case.

    Love,

    Marqueta

    p.s. Sage makes a nice hair rinse, and makes an antifungal spray in the garden, too!

    Marqueta

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    1. Oh Marqueta! Is that a hint that you will soon have your own place? I will rejoice with you when that day comes! Thanks for the tip about the sage! I'll have to give it a try on the roses. I've used rosemary in a hair rinse supposed to be good for dark hair. But you probably already know that!

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    2. I am interested in that tip about the sage. My roses get black spot and mildew-- they're fussy. I suppose the best thing to do is Google for the information. I like the idea of just planting basic herbs in a pot, I really don't use many herbs, although I am wanting to stop buying mixed food products because of the partially hydrogenated oils--noticed they are in Betty Crocker Blue Berry muffin mix, etc. I bought my own frozen blueberries and will be making my own muffin mix! well, I got off on another subject, didn't I?

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    3. I'm going to give it as try, Joy. Marqueta is the gal to go to if you have any questions about herbs. There's a lot of crazy things in mixes. Did you know that the anti-caking ingredients stays in your body like a plastic? Scary! Not to mention the ammonia based baking powder, artificial colorings, msg, etc. Now I'm going off on a different tangent!

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  7. how lucky of you to get the snow. o I am so jealous and missing my regular winter. i adore this photo of your herb garden. This is a handy little list-good stuff to know.

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  8. PS: what is a strawberry pot? I'm ignorant. Is it a special shaped pot or something?

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    1. A strawberry pot is just a large planter that has holes scattered along the sides to plant strawberry plants. Now days people usually plant decorative plants. They're handy things for herbs. Got to admit that the snow is pretty!

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  9. I enjoy growing herbs for their interesting plant shapes, the scents and flavors and learning something of their history and uses. One plant of any variety produces way more of the fresh or dried herb than I need.

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    1. I know what you mean! Used to plant mints and lemon balm, but they got way out of hand. I find that just one of the basic herbs is all I really need. Plus I plant anise hyssops because the bees love it.

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    2. I'm going to plant some mint in a pot this year... I planted it one time in the ground...wow-- I was forever pulling that stuff up! I know a woman who planted tyme inbetween her rock path and when you walked on it, you could smell it--so awesome!

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  10. Hi Jane, what a neat post! I am going to make a copy of this, and give it to my niece who is learning to cook. This is will be so helpful. I have been giving her some cooking lessons and she is starting to really get the hang of it. She invited us over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and she did such a great job. Thanks for your sweet comments Jane and the kind concern you showed for Barkley, I sure appreciated it. Everyone's support was very comforting. He is about 80% better, it is so wonderful to hear him squeaking his toys again. It was 84 degrees here, the day before yesterday. I'm trying to enjoy it but I am not ready for spring yet, I even saw a few azaleas blooming! Have a great day tomorrow and enjoy all that wonderful snow! Delisa :)

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    1. Hi Delisa, I get calls and e-mails all the time from friends asking what to put in their soups made from scratch to make them taste less bland. Seems many people can't cook without a recipe. I'm so glad Barkley is feeling better! The same sort of thing happened to one of our dogs, Teddy. I'm sure that the thyroid pills the new vet gave him were too high a dosage. They were about ten times the size of the old ones. He laid around looking like he was about to die, so I just stopped giving him the pills and he recovered. The vet would never admit the mistake. But I told everyone that got a new pet not to take them to her. Fortunately, Georgie is a very healthy little dog. He still has the energy of a puppy!

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  11. Brrr your picture looks like it is cold there!! Great list, I can't wait for warmer weather to start some herbs outside!

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    1. Yeah it feels like winter around here, Jane. Just when I was beginning to think I could put my boots away for the year. Would have liked to have had this snow at Christmas but at least it covers up all the ugly mud so we'll take it!

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  12. hi jane,
    what a great list.your photo looks very wintery.....today we have a bit spring in the air.i hope you are doing well.
    have a nice week my friend,
    love regina

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    1. I'm longing for spring, Regina! Hope to get my seeds started this week. That will give me hope!

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  13. I like your picture.

    I love herbs. We sprinkle on baked potatoes Mediterranean sea salt, paprika, rosemary. My children lets grow herbs in small pots.

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    1. That's a good thing for children to do, Jedidja! When the boys were little we always encouraged them to work and play in the garden and now they all have homes of their own and they all have gardens. Just never know what seeds you sow when you plant a garden!

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  14. Hi Jane! I just thought I would pop by and say hello this afternoon. I hope you are having a nice monday. It has been raining cats and dogs all day, but I have enjoyed being inside and puttering around with my normal monday chores. After our scare with Barkley last week, normal feels so good! :)

    I have just finished working on another pair of fingerless gloves. I am hoping to get some of my recent project pictures up on the blog soon. I have also enjoyed knitting some simple stocking caps this month. I don't normally like to work with circular needles so I have shied away from patterns that require them like knitted hats and shawls. But I came across a real fun hat pattern that I can make on double points so it has kind of opened up a new interest for me.

    I really need to just sit down and practice with the circulars. I see so many things I would like to make but they hold me back. I crocheted for 20 plus years before I learned to knit and I just couldn't coordinate my hands to hold the needles in the traditional way. The woman who taught me said that I actually held them in an old fashioned European way. I don't know if that is really true or if she was just being nice about my clumsiness! :)

    Its hard to describe it, but I have to anchor the left needle upward and then I hold the tension of the yarn with my left hand, feeding the yarn in with my right. It is kind of backwards from most people. So when I go to use the circulars, they are so stubby I can't secure the left needle in the same way and I become all thumbs. Well, I guess I better get busy and start making dinner. I wish we lived near one another, it would be a wonderful afternoon for a cup of tea, some cookies and a good "knit chat"! :) Have a wonderful evening ahead! Delisa :)

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  15. Lovely list, thank you. I love the herbs you listed for potatoes, my son has an italian cookbook that has a wonderful potatoe recipe with butter, onions, rosemary, garlic, parsley. We all just love it.

    Love your picture I can picture the green of summer with all the herbs.

    Have a great day Erika

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  16. Such a great list. I have a winter squash left from the fall, will try your suggestions with it.

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    1. Thanks Kristi! I have a lot of squash too. Seems you just can't grow a few. Each year I say I'm not going to grow any, but I can't resist their autumnal beauty.

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  17. Hi Jane. I found your blog through Erika's. After reading your post, I can hardly wait to start turning over my garden.

    Blessings,

    Gina

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    1. I can hardly wait also, Gina! It's hard to believe since by the end of autumn, I'm so exhausted from gardening and canning, I always think the rest from it can't be long enough. But here it is just the end of February and I'm looking longingly at my spade and trowel!

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  18. Hi Jane...I just wanted to update you. (on my husband's job). His boss (who is being laid-off) just told my husband that he is safe...that his position is essential to the co...(which we don't think it is...must just be Divine Providence watching over us). love,andrea

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  19. That's a great list Jane. Herbs and spices do so much to enhance food.

    FlowerLady

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    1. They certainly do, Rainey! They can make the blandest meal of vegetables and meat into a epicurean delight!

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  20. You are a dear! It's providential (just for me) that you wrote this. I am right now in the process of trying to plan an herb garden and feel a bit 'green' in the use of herbs. This is great!

    Blessings, Debbie

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    1. Glad to help Debbie! Just start with the basics and one plant each. Soon you'll have more seedlings than you'll ever need. Which is my problem. I can't resist replanting those adorable little sage and oregano plants. Now I have so many I could furnish all my dear friends with an herb garden. And herb gardens are the easiest gardens ever. They thrive of benign neglect!

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    2. Now I'm getting excited about doing a little herb garden, but it's going in a large pot/planter, not the ground! I know they all need full sun, though.

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    3. That's the easiest way to go Joy! I tried planting some thyme between some flagstones once, but it didn't work out for me, but I love the idea. Maybe it's time to revisit the idea?

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  21. Very helpful list Jane. Thank you! Do you have a subscribe by email feature? Have a lovely weekend, Angela

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    1. Hi Angela! Thank you! No, I don't have such a feature, because I'm quite computer illiterate. If someone would like to tell me how it is done, I would be willing to tackle the project. You'll notice that my links to others blog don't look very professional either. I learned how to do it nicely when I had my old blog, but forgot how. Someday, I will sit down and relearn that skill! Guess the best thing for now is to bookmark my blog. Sorry!

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  22. Hi Jane...I will be deleting soon. I am trying, right now, to delete you tube, i google, and 5 other services I never realized I was given when I signed onto blogger. I will still be reading you...I don't know if I can really quit and not come back...but I figure if countries, and legislatures, etc. are upset over this, I should be too. It is not what I write that I worry about, it is their monitoring what else I look at on my computer.
    love,andrea

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    1. Well Andrea, I will miss you and your sunny outlook on life. Please feel free to add to my posts whenever you feel like it. And you can always e-mail me! But please stay in touch!

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    2. Hi Jane! I will. love,andrea

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  23. Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil.
    ♥ •˚。
    °° 。♥。
    ●/ ♥•˚。˚
    /❤
    / \ 。˚。♥

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    1. Olá Inez! Que delícia que era para abrir o meu blog e ver seu lindo rosto sorrindo esta manhã!

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  24. Thank you so much. Will copy your list into my journal for reference. It's so lovely that people take the time to share these things.
    Blessings Gail (from Australia)

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    1. Thank you Gail! How are things on the polar opposite end of the poles? Suppose you are at the harvesting time?

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  25. I was wondering what happened to Andrea, looked back through here and found out! I understand her point, but I will miss her frank wisdom, please tell her!

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    1. I miss Andrea too! If she ever leaves a comment, I let her know you do too.

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