I’ve tried sharing with my local friends and community my abundance of fresh herbs, but with few takers. One friend said, “I would love to take some, but I don’t know how to cook with them! Could you please put some easy guidelines and recipes on your blog?”

Yes I can! I’ll begin with basic prepping guidelines for processing fresh herbs.

1. Harvest using small sharp clippers. Snip off stems all the way down to the ground for thyme, cilantro, parsley, and oregano. For bushy type herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint, pinch off the top tender leaves to promote more growth. Chives are cut at ground level. Just grab a fistful and cut them off! The more frequently you harvest, the more you will promote new growth. Allow some to flower and go to seed to self-sow for next year and collect some seeds to share with others. Plus, the pollinators will thank you!

2. Pick the leaves before washing, except for dill.  Save the stems of parsley, cilantro, and dill, because they have a deep, concentrated flavor. I use them in recipes that require a long cooking process like stews and dense sauces. If you aren’t using the stems right away, label and freeze for later use.

3. For washing, dump your leaves into a bowl or sink full of cold water. Swish gently to loosen any silt or dirt. Let rest so debris will settle to the bottom. Scoop up washed herbs and spread on a cotton absorbent dish towel. Roll the towel up like a jelly roll. Twist the ends in opposite directions squeezing out the excess moisture. Untwist and fluff up the washed herbs. They are now ready for use.

4. For salads, roughly chop basil, oregano, parsley, mint, cilantro, or dill for a bright pop of flavor.

5. For cooked food, finely chop whatever the recipe or your taste buds call for. I like to use the food processor at this point.

Once you begin using fresh herbs, you’ll never go back!

Which herbs will begin your new cooking chapter?

My herb garden has

flavors so nice.

I’ve parsley, garlic,

sage, oregano, and

basil, that’s right;

delicious companions

for a number of dishes;

they’ll make your mouth water,

fulfilling your palate’s

most delicate wishes.

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