The Thyme is Now!

Donna Fossum

Many fresh herbs are winter tolerant and just begging to be used in your home-cooked meal. Plus, your homegrown herbs make family dinners that much more special.

Holiday feasts are the perfect opportunity to incorporate fresh herbs from your garden. Many fresh herbs are winter tolerant and just begging to be used in your holiday feast.

Fresh herbs are a fast and simple way to enhance tried-and-true recipes, even those heavily seasoned with dried herbs. If your recipe calls for dried herbs, use twice the amount of fresh sturdy herbs, such as rosemary, sage and thyme. For delicate herbs, such as parsley, chives, dill and tarragon, opt for three times the quantity when using fresh.

Harvest herbs just prior to use and in the early morning, if possible, to help maintain freshness and nutrients. To keep them fresh longer, snip off the ends of the stems on the diagonal and put the herbs in a tall glass with one inch of water, like cut flowers. Cover them loosely with a plastic bag to allow for air circulation. Store them in the refrigerator and change the water daily. They should last a week or more stored this way.

When you’re ready to use the herbs, rinse them thoroughly under running water. Shake off any remaining moisture and pat dry with a paper towel. Need to prep a much larger amount? Swish them around in a large bowl filled with cold water; transfer just the herbs to another bowl, leaving the dirt and grit in the water. Repeat the process until the water is clear.

Isn’t it nice to be able to use the fruits of your labor (herbs fresh from the garden) to enhance your holiday feasting? Family and friends will appreciate your holiday meal even more knowing some of the ingredients were grown and nurtured by you.

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