Alfred E. Newman gets us rolling this morning with some food for thought. “We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Enough with the artificial flavors; it’s time to start growing your own fresh herbs. Here are the answers to yesterday’s brain teasers.
1) Spearmint is an annual and must be planted each year. (False) Spearmint is a hardy perennial, even in my Zone 5 garden. It is one of those herbs that must be contained or else you end up with more spearmint than you bargained for. In other words, it can be invasive Check some earlier posts about spearmint, including my meatballs and sauce recipe.
2) Thyme is a good source of iron. (True) It is also a very low maintenance herb. It prefers fairly dry conditions and can handle deep freezes and still remain fresh. We can pick our thyme in December.
3) Dill likes to be planted next to Fennel. (False.) If you plant these two herbs together, the plants cross pollinate, therefore making the dill taste like fennel. Grow them in separate areas and you can enjoy the unique flavors of both herbs.
4) Cilantro and Coriander is the same herb. (True.) You either like this herb or you don’t. It’s a love-hate herb. It can be overpowering for some but the fresh citrus-like taste adds a unique dimension to Asian and Mexican dishes. It is very easy to grow in a pot or in the garden by direct seed.
5) Fennel is an herb that is said to improve your memory. (False) Rosemary is said to improve your memory but fennel improves your digestive tract. So use both and stay healthy.
All herbs provide beneficial properties and also add great flavor to your many dishes. For instance, making a paste of fresh thyme, rosemary, salt and olive oil coated on a roast beef brings it to another level. For fresh flavor to your dishes, try garnishing a pasta dish with finely sliced basil and Italian parsley or sprinkle chopped cilantro and Thai basil on a chicken soup. These are really simple steps that add amazing flavor to your dishes.
Oh, the beauty of herbs. Most are easy to grow and can be done in tight spaces. With a little sunshine, soil and water, you can plant a myriad of herbs in a small kitchen garden.
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