Indoor Herbs to Spice Up Your Winter Cooking
The Winter Gardening Dilemma
Unless you live in the southern third of the United States, you've probably been limiting your time outside this winter. It's now January and some days, the walk from my door to my car is just about all the exposure I can handle.
I haven't put a full-stop on my gardening though, I've just brought things indoors. My favorite thing to garden indoors: herbs. They beautify my home and add flavor to my dishes. Keeping them on my kitchen counter means that I can grab fresh basil leaves, cilantro, parsley, or thyme on the fly. See all of Ferry Morse's herb seeds here.
Using a simple seed starter tray, you can sow herb seeds and germinate them rapidly indoors.
Once they germinate and start to show seedlings, they can be easily transferred over to your choice of container. I have an abundance of mason jars in my kitchen, so I typically grab a jar for my herb seedlings.
Cold Weather Tip: Most indoor herbs appreciate having sunlight, but run the risk of getting too cold if they are kept too close to a window. Make sure to give them a few inches of berth from the cold-radiating windows, just to be safe.
You're likely to produce more fresh herbs than you can reasonably eat, so instead of sacrificing your yield to the trash can, try this simple air-drying preservation method. (This method works best for low-moisture herbs like rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Herbs like basil and chives may require a freeze drying method).
Here’s how to do it:
- Harvest. Cut the herbs and prune away any dry or wilted leaves.
- Rinse. Rinse gently with room temperature water and pat to dry.
- Bundle. Gather together several branches and tie them together with string or a rubber band.
- Bag Them. Place the bundle of herbs, stem-side up in a paper bag. Tie off the bag with a string or rubber band. Poke a few small holes in the bag.
- Store. Store the bag in a dry, warm room.
In as little as 1 week (up to 3 weeks), you’ll have dried herbs that can be stored in air-tight containers and used for up to a year!
Basil Pesto is a wonderful way to make use of large amounts basil leaves, uses only 5 ingredients, and can be used for a million different dishes.
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- Alex Nendza