Herbs

About

At Plowshares & Prairie, we grow several types of herbs, including:

  • Basil: Basil is a heat-loving herb that thrives in the summer.  It is commonly paired with tomatoes, and is used in pesto and salad dressings.  Basil is thought to have originated in India, and is used widely in cultural dishes of Italy, Greece, and the Near East.
  • Dill: Native to Europe, dill has a unique but mild flavor that is enjoyed in a variety of dishes from pickles to dressings.
  • Parsley: Parsley originated in the Mediterranean region.  There are two main types: Italian flat-leafed and curly-leafed. Though it is often relegated to garnish, this tasty herb should be eaten and enjoyed! Parsley is also quite nutritious with its high vitamin A and C content, as well as iron and other minerals.
  • Chives: As an allium, chives have a similar but milder flavor in comparison with relatives onions, garlic, and leeks. Chives contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants and folates.
  • Sage: Native to the Mediterranean and North Africa, sage has velvety, green-gray colored leaves. Sage contains a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
  • Mint: Probably one of the best known herbs, mint is easily identifiable by its cool, aromatic qualities derived from a compound called menthol. 
 Basil, parsley, and dill

Basil, parsley, and dill

Storage

  • Basil: Use basil as soon as possible as it deteriorates quickly.  For short term storage, place stems in a cup of water at room temperature (like a bouquet of flowers).  It can also be stored in a damp towel and refrigerated.  Leaves can be frozen in a plastic bag, or first in an ice cube tray with a little water and then transferred into a plastic bag.  Pesto also freezes well.  Basil can also be dried for longer-term storage.
  • Dill: Store in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator, or place stems in a cup of water in the refrigerator (like a bouquet of flowers). Dill is best used fresh, but will last for up to a week.  Dill can also be dried for longer-term storage.
  • Parsley: Store in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator, or place stems in a cup of water in the refrigerator (like a bouquet of flowers). Parsley is best used fresh, but will last for up to a week.  Parsley can also be dried for longer-term storage.
  • Chives: Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  • Sage: To dry, hang leaves in a bunch on the stem and store in an airtight container once dry.
  • Mint: Store in a glass of water in the refrigerator.

Recipes

General Tips

  • Basil: Remove leaves from stems and wash gently.  Chop basil and add to soups and stews, or pasta or rice salads, or use whole leaves in green salads.  Top tomatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and basil.  Basil is well known for its featured role in pesto, but is also great in tomato sauces, egg and cheese dishes, sautés, dips, and sauces.
  • Dill: Chop and add to pasta, potato, tuna, and cucumber salads. Dill pairs well with yogurt or mayonnaise to make a dressing (or try an oil and lemon base). Chopped dill is a nice addition to fish (try it on salmon with some lemon), cooked potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. It is also a classic ingredient in dill pickles.
  • Parsley: Chop and add to chilled pasta, or greens or vegetable salads. Toward the end of cooking (or after cooking is complete), add to soups and sautés.
  • Chives: Dice stems and add to salads, sautés, deviled eggs, cream cheese spreads, etc.  Flowers are edible as well as beautiful – add to salads, chop and mix into goat or cream cheese spreads, or infuse in vinegar for a purple and lightly onion-flavored vinegar to add to dressings. Stems under flowers can be tough so you may want to discard.
  • Sage: Pairs well winter squash, potatoes, poultry, pork, white beans, and garlic. Dried sage also makes an excellent tea (add honey and/or lemon).
  • Mint: Pairs nicely with peas, chicken, pork, eggplant, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, beans, fruit salad, and much more.

 

Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor, and pulse a few times; add garlic, and pulse a few more times.  Slowly add olive oil through the feed tube while the motor is on.  Stop periodically to scrape the edges of the food processor with a rubber spatula or spoon.  Add grated cheese, salt and pepper.  Yields approximately 1 cup.  Serve over pasta, on eggs, on toast, etc. 

 

Basil Butter

Grilled corn on the cob is incredible when slathered in summery basil compound butter!

1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

In a food processor, pulse basil and butter together until combined and the basil is chopped into small pieces. Scrape basil butter into a small dish and refrigerate until ready to use.  (Alternatively, for longer-term storage, transfer basil butter to an ice cube tray and freeze overnight; then move into a freezer bag or container.) Great on grilled or boiled corn on the cob.  (Recipe contributed by CSA member, Kristen.  Adapted from recipe here.)

 

Sage Tea

1 tsp. fresh or dried sage

1 T. honey

1 tsp. lemon juice

Heat 2 cups of water in a tea kettle. Put herbs in a tea infuser and steep for 5-10 minutes. Add honey and lemon juice.

 

Deviled Eggs with Dill

6 eggs, hard cooked and peeled

¼ cup (or less) mayonnaise

1 tsp. yellow mustard

¾ tsp. white wine vinegar

Salt, pepper, and paprika (to taste)

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Slice eggs in half lengthwise.  Remove yolks and put in a bowl and mash; meanwhile, place egg whites on a serving dish.  Mix in mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture into egg whites, and sprinkle with paprika and fresh dill.  Serve immediately or chill until serving.

 

Mint Granita

1 bunch mint

Pinch salt

½ cup sugar

2 cups water

Put mint leaves, salt, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, just until sugar dissolves. Strain over a 2” deep baking pan, letting syrup, but not mint leaves, drain into a pan below. Put on a flat surface in the freezer for 30 minutes. Using a fork, scrape to break up frozen parts, and repeat 30 min. freeze/scrape until it resembles shaved ice (~2 hrs.). Eat plain in bowls, or serve with berries on top.

 

Other

See the Cucumber page for Refrigerator Pickles (Classic Chilly Dillies) (using dill) and Cucumber Water (using mint).

See the Winter Squash page for Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Butter & Sage.