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Culinary Herbs

The most popular herbs with gardeners are those herbs that can be used in cooking. Fresh herbs have pungent and aromatic qualities that exceed that found in commercial packages.

Fresh herbs can enhance even the simplest meal. Most culinary herbs don't have showy flowers, but it's their leaves, the shape of the plants and their aromatic scent that makes them garden prizes.

The following is a list of common culinary herbs that can be successfully grown in the home garden.

Harvesting / Preserving
Special Use
The green leaves can be cut whenever the plants are large enough. Seeds are ready to harvest when they turn brown. Wash the seeds in water, drain thoroughly and allow to air dry. Leaves can be used in salads, soups, beverages, meats, game and poultry. Seeds are used to flavor cakes, breads, and cookies. Leaves and seeds add delightful scent to sachets and potpourris.
Fresh leaves can be picked anytime.
For dry leaves, harvest just before the plants bloom.
Use in herbal teas and as a garnish for iced tea. Adds a pleasant taste to lettuce or fruit salads.
For fresh use, harvest the leaves as they mature, about 6 weeks after planting.
For dry use, harvest leaves just before the plant blooms.
One of the most popular herbs, used mainly with tomato and egg dishes, stews, soups, and salads, but also with many vegetables, poultry and meat dishes.
Seeds are harvested after turning a gray-brown color. Scald seeds in boiling water, then dry thoroughly. Use the seeds in breads, cakes, cookies, potato salad, and baked fruit (apples, for example). Also can be used in Hungarian-type dishes, cole slaw, sauerkraut, cheese spread, meat stews, and fish casseroles.
For fresh use, pick the tips of stems once a month.
For dry use, harvest leaves just before the blossoms open. Dr .
Use fresh leaves the same as you would parsley, such as in salads, salad dressings, soups, egg dishes, and cheese souffles.
Leaves can be harvested anytime during growing season. Cut them off close to the ground. Can be pureed with water in a blender and frozen in ice cube trays. Chives add a mild onion-like flavor to dips, spreads, soups salads, omelets, casseroles, and many kinds of vegetables.
The leaves, which are only used fresh, can be cut for seasoning as soon as the plants are 4" — 6" tall. Seeds can be harvested when the heads turn brown. Coriander seeds smell and taste much like a mixture of sage and orange. Can be used in baking, poultry dressings, and French salad dressing. Much used in Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisine.
The fresh leaves can be harvested as needed and used as seasoning. Harvest seed heads when the seeds turn a light brown color. Leaves and seed heads are most commonly used in the making of dill pickles. Leaves add a characteristic flavor to salads, cottage cheese, soups, fish dishes, omelets, sauces, and vegetable casseroles.
Dill seeds can be used in pastries, sauces, sauerkraut dishes, and flavoring vinegar.
The leaves can be harvested and used fresh. Fennel seeds are harvested when the seed heads turn brown. Dry in a paper bag. Florence fennel is harvested when the bulbs are large enough. The anise-flavored leaves and seeds of this herb are widely used in fish dishes, cheese spreads, and vegetable dishes. The leaves and stems can be used in much the same way as celery. Florence fennel bulbs are used in salads or as the main ingredient in a salad or lightly steamed as a vegetable accompaniment.
The whole flower spikes are cut just before the florets are fully open and when color and fragrance are at their best. Lavender is most often used in sachets, perfumes, and potpourris.
Harvest young, tender leaves and use fresh. You can dry or freeze the leaves for later use. Use the celery-flavored leaves in soups, stews, potato salads, meat, and vegetable dishes. It can also be eaten raw like celery. Its seeds are sometimes used in salads, candies, breads, and cakes.
Marjoram, Sweet
(A) (TP)
Cut back to 1" above the ground just before flowering; a second crop will form for later use. Easily dried or frozen. Use Marjoram leaves with meat, poultry, vegetable dishes (especially green beans), potato salad, and egg dishes.
Harvest before flowering and use fresh or dried. Cut off near ground level. A second cutting can be harvested later on. Used primarily for flavoring. The leaves are often put into teas and other beverages, as well as lamb sauces and jellies.
Harvest and dry before flowering occurs. Oregano imparts a sharper flavor than sweet marjoram. It is used to season spaghetti sauces and tomato dishes. Its flowers are attractive in summer arrangements.
Snip young leaves just above ground level, as needed. Dries well. Use as a garnish in soups, meats, and poultry.
Harvest the young, tender stems and leaves, but avoid taking off more than 1/3 of the plant at one time. For drying, harvest just before the plant flowers. A gourmet seasoning for meats, poultry dishes, and potatoes. Use either fresh or dried.
Harvest when starting to flower and use either fresh or dried. A commonly used seasoning for meats, stuffing's, soups, and salads.
You can gather young stem tips early, but when the plant begins to flower, harvest the entire plant and dry. Used to flavor fresh garden beans, vinegars, soups, stuffing's, and rice.
Harvest tarragon in June for steeping in vinegar. For drying, harvest in early to mid-July. Often used in various sauces such as tartar and white sauce, and for making herb vinegar.
Cut leafy stem ends and flowers when flowering. Used in combination with other herbs. Leaves can be used with meats, soups, stuffing's, most vegetables and all stocks.
(A)=Annual, (B)=Biennial, (P)=Perennial, (TP)=Tender Perennial