Great Herbs for Your Frugal Kitchen
This is the second article for the Frugal Food column in the Healthy Eating/Organic Gardening series. This series is discussing how easy and affordable it is to grow your own organic foods, versus the high cost of even non-organic foods at the grocery store.
Herbs can be used for making teas, using in cooking and baking and giving as gifts. They can be grown both indoor and out, and can be used fresh, frozen or dried, depending on the herb. Using organic seeds, seedlings and cuttings to start your garden with will provide you with the healthiest of all herbs, with very little effort.
Chives will spread in the garden, and can be divided for sharing or placing in other areas. They are a member of the onion family, and are on the list of Super Foods. The entire plant can be eaten but, at my home, we usually only eat the stems. We use these in salads, stews and with potato dishes. The flowers will be tried in salads next season. Once or twice during the growing season, these are cut back to about two inches from the ground. They will then regrow with vigor for more of a harvest.
Plant chives in almost any soil, after mixing organic compost into the garden soil. They can be placed in partial to full sun, and are pretty drought resistent. These are a perennial and will keep coming back year-after-year.
To preserve, either freeze or air dry. After flash-freezing on a cookie sheet, place in freezer bags, with all air expelled. Air-dry by hanging upside-down in a cool, dark place. They will dry in tow to three weeks, and are crisp when finished. Crumble and store in jars out of direct sunlight.
I sow the seeds directly in the soil and allow them to grow, usually with the tomatoes in well-drained soil. This herb will grow in partial to full shade. In my home, we use the parsley in pasta -based recipes, as well as stews and casseroles. There are flat-leafed and curly-leafed varieties, and I usually use a combination of the varieties when cooking. Air dry this herb as well, and store in jars. Freezing will also work well. I plant this new each spring.
This herb grows as a bush, and a perennial. Plant 12 inches apart to ensure that each bush has plenty of room to grow. Full sun is a must, as is well-draining soil. This herb is good in sauces, with pork and in stuffing. It can be air-dried as mentioned above.
There is a whole world of herbs that you can grow at your home, and they have a wide variety of uses. By growing your own herbs in an organic manner, you will save a lot of money every year. You will also provide your family with optimal health benefits.
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