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How to Harvest Basil

Planting herbs such as basil, cilantro, oregano and parsley is a rewarding pastime.

In order to grow a decent volume of healthy plants, you really need to learn the proper way to do it. After growing these herbs successfully, it’s time to harvest.

When harvesting, you should know there are specific ways to harvest certain herbs. You can maintain beauty, foliage, growth and health. You do not just pick a plant and pull the leaves irresponsibly. There are laws of nature to follow.

Here, we will discuss how to harvest basil. We’ll also look at some other famous edible herbs. These bring magic to our cooking while delivering beauty and fragrance to our homes and garden.

Read on!

How to Harvest Basil without Killing the Plants

harvesting basil

Basil is an annual herb that grows during summer. It gives out an incredibly fragrant, relaxing smell.

Here are some ways to harvest basil without killing the plants…

  • Your own fingers are the most important tool to pick the leaves
  • Pinch the leaves. Do not cut them
  • When harvesting basil, wait until the plant starts to produce flower buds and several leaves
  • Regularly pruned, basil plants will produce about 6 cups of leaves a week
  • Frequent basil harvesting promotes more growth of new leaves
  • It is important to harvest basil leaves once they start to blossom
  • Carefully pinch off several leaves in the middle of the plant
  • Leave at least half of the stem intact
  • Do not pick the topmost leaves
  • Pick only what you need one at a time. Let the plant recover from the harvesting
  • Pinch only mature foliage. Leave all new ones. This will enable the plant to produce two branches from the same stem
  • Harvest basil leaves when winter starts to arrive as this plant cannot withstand low temperatures
  • After harvesting the basil, wash and place on a paper towel or wax paper
  • Leave them on a table to air dry for a few hours
  • Wrap the basil with the paper towel or wax paper and refrigerate

Ways of Drying Basil

harvesting basil

Drying basil is a way of preserving its flavors and aroma to ensure you can have a year-round supply.

Here’s how to dry basil leaves:

Air Dry

  • Wash the basil leaves after harvesting
  • Secure them with elastics in bundles
  • Hang them upside down in the kitchen until dried up
  • Leave the bundles to dry for 3 to 5 weeks
  • Check daily for discoloration and remove if present
  • You may also try wrapping each bundle with newspaper while hanging to avoid discoloration of the leaves

Food Dehydrator

  • Preheat the thermostat to 115 degrees F
  • Rinse the basil leaves
  • Spread them on a dehydrated tray
  • Place the tray inside the food dehydrator thermostat
  • Dry for 4 hours
  • Check the leaves every 30 minutes until it totally dries up
  • Check for crumbliness
  • Place in a jar or pouch
  • You may also crush the dried leaves into smaller pieces and put them in spice bottles
  • Store in a dark place or freezer

Oven Dry

  • Again, wash the leaves first
  • Remove the leaves from the stems
  • Discard the stems
  • Shred the basil leaves into small pieces
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F
  • Place the leaves on a parchment sheet
  • Lay the sheet with basil on a baking pan
  • Never use a bare pan as the metal will burn the leaves
  • Put the baking pan inside the oven
  • Leave for 15 minutes
  • Check if the basil has dried up
  • The leaves should crumble in your fingers upon touching
  • Put it back in the oven if the leaves haven’t reached the desired dryness
  • Leave again for another 15 minutes
  • Do not over bake. The leaves should stay green in color and crisp
  • Cool it down after removing from the oven
  • Check it again for crumbliness
  • Store in a tight sealed pouch or jar
  • Keep inside a kitchen drawer or freezer

Sun Dry

There is no better way than drying naturally under the sun.

  • Place a wooden rack outside your house
  • Lay the basil leaves on the rack with parchment paper underneath
  • You can place mesh or net as a cover to prevent the leaves being blown by the wind
  • Drying takes about 2 weeks
  • Take the rack inside the house at night time
  • Remove any discolored leaves

How to Cut Basil for Cooking

The technique of slicing herbs like basil is called chiffonade.

Cut herbs in a thin and long manner. Never use a dull knife for it will only hinder the desired ribbon-style cuts.

Let’s delve into the proper ways to cut basil for cooking…

  • Pinch leaves about an inch from the main stem
  • Stack about five leaves over each other
  • Roll them lengthwise
  • Use a very sharp knife to slice the leaves thinly crosswise In a rocking manner
  • Add the basil ribbons to your dish after it is cooked

Pruning Basil to Make It Bushy

Pruning time for basil plants is when you notice the plant has flourished vigorously.

When the basil starts to fill your garden, that’s when you should carry out the pruning. You can also prune basil as early as when it sprouts 6 leaves.

Below are a few basic hints on pruning basil to make it bushy.

  • Avoid pulling the leaves off the stem. This will kill the plant
  • To stimulate new leaf growth, pinch the stems after the last leaf cluster
  • Pinch more if you don’t wish the plant to grow tall and thin
  • Avoid pruning too much of the plant in one day
  • If you need more basil leaves, you can shear the whole plant. Don’t pinch it
  • If you cut the entire plant, be sure to leave at least half the size of the stem to encourage new growth
  • If the plant shows signs of dying, cut the whole plant and leave ample stems to grow new leaves
  • Check for flowers blooming and pinch them at once unless you intend to allow the plant to seed and die
  • Use shears if the stems are thick and hard
  • Disinfect the shears before cutting the stems

How to Harvest Cilantro

coriander

Cilantro is an annual plant that can survive cold weathers. It is a Chinese parsley that is also known as coriander.

  • Harvest when the stems reach 6 to 12 inches tall
  • Use kitchen shears
  • Cut off the cilantro stalks when the seeds start dropping
  • Stems should be snipped near the ground
  • Cut off the smaller leaves about 2 inches above the crown
  • Larger leaves should be cut an inch above the stems
  • Cut only what you will need
  • You may harvest the entire plant if you wish but you have to wait until they start to grow more leaves back before you can harvest again
  • Store the harvested cilantro in a resealable pouch and freeze or dry
  • If you want to have coriander seeds, leave some of the plant to turn brown
  • To harvest the seeds, cut the seed-bearing stems
  • Place the coriander seeds on a paper bag to dry

How to Harvest Oregano

oregano

Oregano is a perennial herb that has a strong zesty flavor.

Here are some tips on how to harvest oregano leaves.

  • The proper time to harvest oregano is when the sprigs of the plant have reached about 4 to 6 inches tall
  • Mid-summer is the best season to harvest it
  • Harvest only the leaves that you will need. Do it early in the morning when its taste and aroma is at its peak
  • Always remember to pick only the leaves that already have flower buds. They taste best before the flowers blossomed
  • Harvest everything when the cold season sets in. Oregano dies in very cold temperatures
  • With oregano, you will need sharp scissors to cut the leaves at about an inch to the stem
  • Remember to always disinfect your tool with alcohol
  • Freeze the leaves in winter time

How to Harvest Parsley

harvesting parsley

Parsley is highly nutritious and dubbed as the most popular herb in the world.

It has two types of leaves. There’s the flat-leaf parsley and the French (curly) type.

Parsley has a vibrant, delicious lemon taste and enticing aroma.

Here is how to properly harvest parsley.

  • Harvest time is when mature leaves start to appear. You need to wait two and a half months for that
  • Clip, do not pull nor pinch the stalks of parsley
  • Use sharp scissors when clipping the stalks
  • Make at least a 3 inch cut from the leaves to encourage new and better growth of leaves
  • Rinse the clipped parsley lightly with water to remove any dirt or soil
  • Place the stalks in a glass half filled with water to preserve its freshness

Wrap Up

Everyone has their personal preference on how to harvest their planted herbs. More tips are always useful, though.

We hope these simple pointers have helped enlighten you further on how to harvest basil, cilantro, parsley and oregano.

Comments, queries and suggestions are always welcome. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Enjoy harvesting!

Many Mint Flowers

Mints are perennial herbal plants and belong to the lamiaceae family.

They are considered among the hardest herbs to eliminate because they are so invasive. They can literally overcome other plants. It’s tough to get rid of them. You’ll need to locate them one by one.

It is best to plant mints in pots or containers. This will prevent it overpopulating your garden.

mint

These mint flower plants are very beneficial to your overall health. There are many varieties. Each one has its own specific health benefits, both for humans and animals.

Mint, like all herbs, can be ingested whether as a tea or a garnish to any dish.

Mint is grown easily and rapidly. It can be found all over the world. Plants sprout practically anywhere.

Read on for a detailed look at the types of mints, their uses and benefits to our bodies.

Types of Mint Plants

Apple Mint (Mentha Suaveolens)

apple mint

Source: Gardening Know How

Apple Mint is a perennial herb. It has large, bright green, oval shaped leaves. These have hairs all over.

Flowers are purple-pink colored.

It grows as high as 3 feet and towers over other mint varieties. It smells and tastes a bit like apples thus the name apple mint was given.

Health Benefits

  • Use apple mint to alleviate skin irritations brought about by insect bites. Crush the leaves and rub onto the affected areas
  • Apple mint flower tea offers great relief for stomach aches, indigestion, bloating and stress
  • Apple mint tea also helps to reduce fats in your body. It can regulate your metabolism
  • Powder the leaves. Use the paste to whiten teeth
  • Oil extracted from apple mint leaves can be used to treat headaches, stress, acne, pimples and gas pains. It works to stave off dizziness, muscle and stomach cramps
  • Apple mint leaves also have vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium. They have anti-carcinogenic properties

Apple mint is generally a kitchen herb. Here’s a tasty recipe that might tempt you to try growing some…

Apple Mint Strawberry Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ pack Oreo cookies
  • 1 pack fresh red strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons apple mint (chopped thinly)
  • ½ cup non-fat strawberry yogurt (frozen and cut 2 inches thick each piece)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees C
  • Rub oil onto a baking dish
  • Blend Oreo cookies and melted butter into the food processor
  • Pour the mixture. Press it firmly onto the sides and bottom of the dish
  • Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove when done. Let cool for 30 minutes
  • While waiting for the cookies to cool down, blend honey, strawberries and apple mint in the food processor until a perfect puree is achieved
  • Place the frozen yogurt into another bowl. Pour the strawberry puree onto it. Press gently
  • Transfer the mixture onto the cookie crust
  • Leave inside the freezer for 2 hours
  • Serve after at least 20 minutes out of the freezer

Chocolate Mint (Mentha x Piperita f. Citrata ‘Chocolate’)

chocolate mint

Source: Agrowtopia

The chocolate mint plant is a perennial herb that smells like chocolate. It has beautiful brown-purple pointy leaves and purple flowers.

They are best planted in pots. They grow only 15 inches high.

Health Benefits

  • Chocolate mint can be used as tea. This eases indigestion and gas pains
  • It also soothes respiratory issues like asthma, coughs and colds
  • It has anti inflammatory, anti viral and anti-allergy properties
  • Chocolate mint strengthens the bones
  • Boosts the immune system and slows down the aging process
  • Aids in regulating blood pressure

Uses of Chocolate Mint

Like its mint siblings, chocolate mint can also be ingested as tea.

It can be added to various sweet dishes like ice creams and pies.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chocolate mint leaves (freshly picked)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 oz chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a mortar, pound mint leaves with a pestle
  • Heat the pan. Add 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk along with the sugar and salt. Whisk together
  • Remove the mixture. Add the chocolate mint leaves
  • Cover the mixture for an hour
  • Remove the mint leaves. After 2 hours, set aside
  • Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl
  • Add the other cup of cream and whisk
  • Pour this mixture into the pan. Cook and stir
  • Add the vanilla
  • Transfer the custard into a bowl and cover
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • Remove from the refrigerator the next day. Add the crushed chocolate chips
  • Mix again then place in the freezer for about 5 hours
  • After 5 hours, you’re good to go!

Ginger Mint (Mentha x Gracilis)

ginger mint

Source: Plant Zero

Ginger mint has spicy, oval shaped leaves. Other names

Other names include Scotch mint, golden apple mint and red mint.

They are perennial herbs with short, slender stems. The stems are a distinctive dark red.

These plants love to sprout in old and abandoned places. They spread rampantly through runners.

Ginger mint is the product of Corn mint and spearmint. It smells much like spearmint.

A spread of these mint plants can be seen on the border of Sweden and Russia.

Ginger Mint Health Benefits

  • Ginger mint tea relieves nausea and motion sickness
  • It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Improves food absorption

Ginger Mint Uses

  • Often used as a beverage enhancer
  • These mints are also made into marinades and sauces
  • Used along with butter and sandwich spreads
  • They make a beautiful landscape plant attractive to birds and bees
  • Fresh ginger mints are also used in jams and jellies

Ginger Mint and Cucumber Lemonade

mint lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch ginger mint leaves
  • 1.5 liters water
  • 1 medium sized cucumber (peeled and sliced thinly)
  • 1 lemon

Directions

  • Boil the ginger mint leaves in 1 cup of water
  • Put the cucumber slices into the blender. Blend thoroughly
  • Squeeze the lemon into a pitcher of the remaining water. Cut some lemon zests
  • Pour in the boiled ginger mint along with the boiled water
  • Add the blended cucumbers
  • Refrigerate or serve as is

Orange Mint (Mentha x Piperita Citrata)

orange mint

Source: California Tea House

Orange mint is also known as lime mint, yerba buena, bergamot mint and eau de cologne mint.

Orange mint was named for its leaves’ spicy orangey smell when crushed. It produces pink flowers.

It grows as tall as 61 cm. Green leaves rest on burgundy stems.

The orange mint’s flavor is particularly strong.

This mint is best used fresh but can also be taken dried or frozen.

Health Benefits of Orange Mint

  • The leaves and blossoms of orange mint are used as painkillers and antiseptic
  • Orange mint extracts can relieve palpitations and calm the nervous system

Uses of Orange Mint

  • Dried orange mint leaves make great potpourris
  • Its essential oils are used to make perfumes. It has a strong minty-citrus scent
  • Chopped orange mint leaves are used for garnishing dishes, salads and desserts
  • It blends well with lemonade and cocktail drinks
  • Can be added to ice creams and sorbet

Orange Mint Passion Fruit Juice Recipe

orange mint passion fruit juice

Ingredients

  • 2 passion fruits
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cup orange mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  • Scoop passion fruit meat
  • Put the scooped fruit meat into a blender along with the seeds
  • Add orange mint leaves, ice cubes and water and blend together
  • Juice the oranges
  • Pour the blended mixture into a glass
  • Add the orange juice extract
  • Refrigerate or serve at once

Pennyroyal (Mentha Pulegium)

penny royal

Source: The Toast

Among all the herbs in the mint family, pennyroyal is the most controversial due to its toxicity. Several women have overdosed on this plant.

Pennyroyal smells like peppermint but its oil is fatal for both humans and animals.

Pulegone is the active content that brings about this poisonous effect. Its oil can cause cancer and multiple organ failure. Pennyroyal is a water mint which is also called Mosquito plant, Pudding

Pennyroyal is a water mint which is also called mosquito plant, pudding grass and pennyrile. This mint plant has glossy green leaves and mauve flowers.

Health Benefits of Pennyroyal

  • Pennyroyal tea eases headaches and fevers
  • The leaves are a beneficial cure for flu, small pox and chickenpox
  • Induces menstruation and sweating
  • It is said to help treat tuberculosis
  • Aids with all stomach diseases

Uses of Pennyroyal

  • Due to its toxicity, it is used as an insecticide and pest repellant. These mint plants can kill even snakes or rats that attack the crops
  • Pennyroyal is also used as an abortifacient. It can induce menstruation and cause miscarriage
  • Crushed pennyroyal leaves rubbed on clothing can ward off mosquitoes and fleas

Pennyroyal is no longer used today in food due to its toxic effects.

Pineapple Mint (Mentha Suaveolens Variegata)

pineapple mint

Source: Specialty Produce

Pineapple mint is a member of the apple mint family. It’s a hybrid of grapefruit mint.

It has variegated green leaves with white edges and creamy white flowers.

This mint is an ornamental plant that smells distinctly like pineapple. It’s best grown indoors.

Health Benefits of Pineapple Mint

orange mint passion fruit juice

  • Pineapple mint essential oils have antiseptic properties

Uses of Pineapple Mint

  • Its pineapple scent makes it a great potpourri product
  • Ideal as an ornamental wreath and bouquet
  • Used as garnish for dishes, especially in Polynesian and Caribbean cuisines
  • Great for cocktails and dessert
  • Its fragrance serves as an air freshener
  • Leaves can be used as a marinade or flavorful syrup once boiled
  • Its fruity smell attracts bees and butterflies to your garden

Pineapple Mint Salsa

Ingredients

  • ½ pineapple fruit (diced)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 pineapple mint leaves (chopped)
  • ½ lime (juiced)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss.
  • Best served chilled

How To Grow Mint From Cuttings

mint

  • The soil should be moist with good drainage
  • Cut a healthy green, vibrant sprig from a mint plant about 10 cm long
  • Place the mint cuttings in a glass container half filled with water
  • Place the container near a window. Mint enjoys indirect sunlight
  • Replace the water every 2 days. Keep the soil moist
  • Transfer the cuttings to a pot or garden soil once it has produced roots about an inch long. Give extra care to the newly sprouted roots
  • If planning to keep it indoors,use a pot about 5 inches wide and long
  • Fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer (optional)

How To Grow Mint From Seeds

  • Plant seeds on moist garden soil in spring. For pots indoors, go for late winter
  • Mint plants are very hardy. They can grow with or without fertilizing
  • Mint loves partial shading and indirect sunlight but full sun won’t kill them
  • Water the plants when the soil has dried up
  • Do not cover indoor mint as it needs sunlight to grow
  • Outdoor mint should be spaced about 30 to 47 cm apart
  • Pinch off stems from the tip to accommodate bushier growth
  • Mints grow rapidly. They should be given their own space away from other plants or they will dominate the spaces provided for the others
  • Harvest mint leaves in the morning. Their flavors and aromas are strongest at that time

Wrap-Up

Mint is one of the most popular herbal plants. It has both medicinal and culinary uses.

Be careful, though. However useful it can be, ingested excessively, mint can be harmful. Menthol and karvol, the nutritious contents of mints, are also poisonous if taken too much.

These herbs are not advisable to be taken by pregnant and nursing women. Mint is not ideal for babies or children.

The versatility and flexibility of mints make them a top choice for potting, especially indoors.

So…

Why not try growing them yourself?

We hope this article has widened your knowledge on a range of mints. Any queries and suggestions are always openly accepted.

Happy planting!

All About Purple Basil

Among all the various types of basil, purple basil is perhaps the most attractive and in-demand.

Purple basil has eye-catching purple coppery leaves and pink flowers. This annual plant is scientifically called ocicum basilicum purpurascens. It has a wide range of purple varieties.

They have a sweet, licorice taste and grow up to 2 feet tall.

Purple basil is used mostly in Asian and Italian dishes. Purple basils are both edible and ornamental.

While the color purple signifies royalty and elegance, the name basil itself means royal or king in Greek.

Purple Basil Health Benefits

purple basil health benefits

Source: Natural Society

In general, all types of basils have a number of medicinal benefits. Purple basil is no exception.

The following health factors are solely attributed to purple basil…

Anti-Aging Properties

The purple coloring of this basil comes from the anthocyanin pigment. This is a powerful antioxidant. It helps to enhance memory and prevent premature aging.

It also has loads of Vitamins A, C and also calcium. All of these are highly beneficial for eyes, skin and bones.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The antioxidant anthocyanin helps prevent the risk of certain cancers. Purple basil helps to stop the spread of malignant cells in the body.

Others

Purple basil is also known to aid in digestive problems if you use the leaves as tea.

It also relieves nausea and is used to treat acne and pimples.

Pound purple basil leaves and rub the paste on your skin to soothe insect bites and itching.

Purple basil can also reduce muscle cramps and spasms.

How to Grow Purple Basil

purple basil

Source: Fresh Veggies In The Desert

Purple basil is remarkably easy to grow.

Its seeds germinate quickly in temperatures between 24 to 29 degrees Celsius.

This spicy herb enjoys full sun and must be planted in moist, garden soil.

It is grown mainly in Asia and Africa and it hates cold weather. Water it regularly.

Purple basil grows best with tomatoes and peppers in a row.

In winter time, the seedlings must be protected by a frost blanket.

Prune basil stems to promote proper growth. They must be planted about 4 to 7 inches apart.

Purple basil can be harvested in summer. It will die in cold weather but can be preserved well in a freezer.

Uses of Purple Basil

Culinary

Purple basil is best for salads and pesto. Its leaves are widely used for Italian and Asian dishes due to its aromatic smell, sweet taste and spiciness. It also blends well with vinegar, tomato and pesto sauces. Burgers and sandwiches get a bit of a kick in taste when served with purple basil leaves.

Cosmetics

As mentioned above, purple basil leaves can relieve acne and pimples. Pound the purple basil and use its extract on your hair to bring more shine and luster to it.

Air Freshener

Purple Basil’s aromatic fragrance can be used to add a sweet scent to the air. The leaves can be dried up and used as a potpourri.

Purple Basil Varieties

purple basil leaves

African Blue Basil

This hybrid genus is the result of the marriage of dark opal basil and African camphor basil.

African blue basil is a huge, bushy plant which has lavender flowers and newly grown purple leaves that turns into green with shades of purple as it matures.

The leaves of African Blue basil are shaped like eggs. Their stems are a deep red to dark purple in color. These plants grow up to 91 cm tall and they have a sweet, camphorated smell.

Purple Ruffles Basil

This genus is otherwise known as osmium basilicum. This hybrid plant has large, dark purple ruffled leaves with red undertones that taste like cinnamon and licorice. Its lavender flowers are also edible.

This variety was introduced in 1987. Purple ruffles basil is the offspring of green ruffles basil and dark opal basil. It was created by scientist Ted Torrey in 1980.

Purple ruffles are not as fragrant as the other purple basils though. They grow up to 2 feet high. Its beautiful appearance and ease of cultivation has awarded purple ruffles the All American Selection and Mississippi awards.

Dark Opal Basil

Perhaps the most renowned purple basil hybrid, dark opal basil was hybridized by John Scarchuk, a professor at the University of Connecticut.

This creation was formed from wild basil seeds brought from Turkey in the late 1950s and some dark purpled-leaved basil seeds. This hybridization process took Scharchuk and his partners years until they came up with the perfect basil product which they called dark opal basil.

Scientifically termed as o.b. purpurascens, dark opal basil gave professor Scharchuk his very first All American Selection award in 1962.

Dark opal basil forms deep purple plum leaves that change into shiny bronze-green whenever it is swayed by the wind. Its lavender to deep fuchsia hued flowerettes add to its glorious purple beauty along with its reddish-purple stems.

Due to its magnificent appearance, dark opal has been used for cultivating new hybrid forms of purple basil plants.

Red Rubin Basil

O.b. rubin is a hybrid of dark opal basil and looks similar to it. Its color, however, is lighter than its parent plant.

This basil is stronger and more disease resistant than dark opal. Red rubin basil was introduced to the gardeners’ world in 1993 and is considered a superior version of dark opal basil.

This cultivar is said to be the easiest basil to grow from seeds. They have dark red leaves that are smooth and large, growing up to 10 cm long. The plant itself reaches to 1 foot high. This basil also has a sweet and spicy taste combination. And, just like any other purple basil varieties, red rubin is also extremely aromatic.

Purple Bush Basil

This is another offspring of dark opal basil which was crossed with Armenian basil. It is also named well-sweep miniature purple basil because of its dwarfed appearance of only a foot high.

Purple bush basil also has the same sweet and spicy fragrance as the other variants. It is edible as well.

This variety, though, is not so successful when it comes to having all purple shades. Although the flower bracts are purple, the entire blossoms are pink and the leaves are green with dark purple undersides. True to its name, the Purple Bush basil tends to grow bushier as summer continues.

Purple Basil Recipes

Purple Basil Lemonade

purple basil lemonade

Source: Pinterest

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce purple basil leaves
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 cups cubed ice

Directions

  • Mix water and lemon juice in a pitcher
  • Blend purple basil leaves, water and sugar in a food processor
  • Pour the mixture into the pitcher with lemon and water. Stir thoroughly until mixture turns pink
  • Add ice. Best served cold

Purple Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 3 cups packed purple basil
  • 6 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped thinly)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil

Directions

  • Blend the ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor
  • Make a puree. Add the salt and a bit of cooking oil and blend again
  • Refrigerate
  • Add to a pasta or chicken dish afterwards

Purple Basil Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed purple basil leaves
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until it produces a frothy consistency
  • Refrigerate more or serve immediately

Purple Basil Cookies

Ingredients

  • I cup purple basil leaves (cut thinly)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 ½ all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pounded almonds

Directions

  • Mix the butter and 1 cup sugar in a mixer on a medium speed until the mixture becomes fluffy
  • Add egg, basil and orange juice. Mix them all together
  • Place the baking soda, flour and salt in another bowl and whisk. Pour the mixture into the mixer and mix further
  • Cover with a foil wrapper. Refrigerate for 1 hour
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees after an hour
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar and almonds in a separate bowl. Make rolls of dough from the cold mixture and roll them to the mixed sugar and almonds
  • Place on a baking platter rubbed with flour. Flatten the rolls a bit on the platter
  • Bake for 15 minutes until the rolled doughs turn brown
  • Remove from oven. And voila! You now have nutritious purple basil cookies!

Purple Basil Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch purple basil
  • 1 small cucumber (small, pared and sliced thinly into round pieces)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small onion (pared and sliced thinly)
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • Powdered pepper

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  • Toss thoroughly
  • Refrigerate: it’s best served cold

Grapefruit and Purple Basil Gin Tonic

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch purple basil
  • 4 tablespoons grapefruit seeds
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vanilla syrup
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • ½ cup ice cubes

Directions

  • Pound grapefruit seeds and purple basil together
  • Put inside a shaker along with the other ingredients
  • Add ice and continue shaking until the shaker gets too cold
  • Pour in a glass and serve at once. Enjoy!

Wrap Up

Purple basil, as with other edible and nutritious herbs, offers a wide variety of colorful and gorgeous looking plants. Greens, as we all know, are considered very healthy and beneficial to our body. Purple plants can serve up even more health benefits.

We hope that you’re now armed with plenty of useful information regarding purple basil.

We also welcome any comments and queries you have in mind regarding this topic. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Till then, happy planting! And enjoy, too, the sumptuous recipes you can make with your purple basil herbs.

What Does Anise Taste Like?

Anise/Anise seed is a flowering plant whose origin isn’t certain.

Some say it came from the Middle East, most probably from the plains of the Nile region in Egypt. Other reports say anise originated in the Mediterranean (Greece or Rome). Still others claim anise hails from Southwest Asia (India).

This particular herb was very popular in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Its sweet fragrance derived from its anethole content means anise works well in many food preparations. It blends perfectly with any dishes based on coconut milk.

If you’ve ever asked yourself what does anise taste like, today we’ll look at that and some other fun facts about this unusual seed.

what does anise taste like

Source: Essential Oil

A Few Facts about Anise

There’s differing opinion when it comes to the taste of this aromatic herb…

Some compare its flavorful tang to star anise. This is a similar herb which is often mistaken for the anise seed. Other studies report anise to be of comparable taste to black licorice and fennel seeds.

Anise was used as a form of currency in the past centuries, especially in medieval Europe where it was introduced in the 1500s. This shows just how valuable it was for people then.

This plant, also called Pimpinella Anisum, reaches heights of about 30 to 50 cm tall. It belongs to the carrot family (Apiaceae), which are plants with flowers in umbels (Umbelliferae).

Uses

what does anise taste like

Source: Herbal Supplement Resource

Anise is a flowering herbaceous plant. The seeds are used mainly in cooking dishes like soups, curries, desserts, rice cakes and puddings.

Its aromatic scent also adds more flavor to food and liquor.

Anise is also used in creams, insecticides, perfumes and soaps.

Through the centuries, this fragrant plant has been proven to be beneficial for certain ailments.

Health Benefits

Anxiety Attacks, Stress and Nervousness

Inhaling the sweet scent of plain anise seeds or oil gives a calming effect to the nerves and muscles. This is due to the sedative components alpha-pineno, eugenol, linalol and thymol.

Aphrodisiac

The smell of anise seed oil is said to increase sexual libido. You can also take crushed anise seeds in a glass of hot water nightly to achieve this goal.

GIT Problems and Stomach Upsets

Anise seed is a very good relief for gas and indigestion. During ancient Roman times, it was incorporated in their desserts to prevent any of these discomforts.

Halitosis/Bad Breath

Gargling anise tea as a mouth freshener is proven to alleviate bad breath, especially in the morning. Its sweet fragrance will make your breath smell great, too. Some toothpaste and mouthwashes nowadays also includes anise seed oil as an ingredient.

Headaches/Migraines/Muscle Pains

Anise essential oil or paste can remove these sorts of pains. Apply to the forehead and temples as well as on the affected body parts.

Insomnia

Anise seeds have narcotic effects that can help ease sleeplessness by merely inhaling some oil vapors.

Menstruation/Menopause

Drinking anise seed tea and rubbing in anise oil helps to eliminate cramps and pains brought out by these phases of a woman’s life. It can also assist nursing mothers in producing more milk.

Respiratory Issues

The oil extracted from anise seeds is very helpful to people who have asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, coughs and colds.

A simple inhalation of this product can help loosen the airways. Anise seed tea can also act as an expectorant to help you cough out any respiratory mucus that is causing itchiness and irritation.

Gargling or drinking hot anise seed tea is very useful for relieving sore throats, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and itchiness. Mix the tea with a teaspoon of honey and 2 drops of apple cider vinegar for gargling.

Vitamins and Minerals

Anise is loaded with nutrients such as the B-Complex vitamins niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamine. It also has minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc. These are all very beneficial to your overall health.

Important Note: Put one teaspoon of crushed anise seed in a cup of boiled water to make some tea. Caution is to be exercised if you are allergic to anise. It can cause serious side effects like vomiting and even seizures.

Avoid overdosing: Anise contains narcotics which may lead to a coma if taken in extreme levels. Anise shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or in some cancer cases related to high levels of estrogen. It also interacts with birth control pills due to its estrogen contents. Taken in normal amounts, there’s no problem whatsoever.

Wrap-Up

Here’s hoping we have given you plenty of information about anise seeds and its contribution to the health and well-being of your family.

If you’ve ever wondered what does anise taste like, now you know!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us. It’s always a pleasure to hear from our readers and we’re ready to help in any way we can.

All About Mint: Spearmint vs Peppermint

Mint is an incredibly versatile herb bursting with flavor and smelling absolutely delectable.

Whether you want to grow mint indoors or sprinkle it around your garden, mint is a cinch to cultivate pretty much year-round.

Confusion often crops up between spearmint and peppermint, though. Today we will make things easy for you when it comes to spearmint vs peppermint by looking at eight key ways in which these herbs differ from each other.

Never confuse the two types of mint again!

Mint: A Snapshot

Peppermint

spearmint

Peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. These two mints rolled into one mean that peppermint has an extremely high content of menthol.

Due to the vitamins and nutrients it contains, peppermint has long been used for medicinal purposes. From runny noses and sore throats through to strained muscles, this handy herb has many uses. It can also be used as part of aromatherapy to reduce stress and tension.

Aside from the ubiquitous chewing gum, peppermint crops up in tea, ice cream and after-dinner mints. You’ll also find peppermint oil in a number of liqueurs where the subtle taste works wonders.

A combination of the appetizing scent and its cooling properties mean that peppermint is also a firm favorite for soaps, shampoos or body washes. It’s a staple for toothpaste and mouthwash too.

Health Benefits of Peppermint

Peppermint is often called the oldest medicine in the world and it has a wide array of proven medicinal benefits.

  • Dental Health: Whether it’s kissing goodbye to bad breath or general dental hygiene you’re after, the antiseptic properties of peppermint oil work wonders
  • Indigestion: A couple of drops of peppermint oil in some water is a wonderful way to aid digestion after eating. In some cases, it can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Headaches and Nausea: Popping some diluted peppermint oil on your forehead can assist with getting rid of nausea or motion sickness. Where it is both anti-inflammatory and cooling, peppermint oil can relieve headaches, even migraines
  • Stress: Stimulating your mental activity, calming and refreshing, peppermint is a natural way to  combat stress
  • Breathing: With its menthol content, peppermint is an efficient expectorant that also clears the respiratory tract. It’s present in many cold balms and rubs
  • Nail Care: Peppermint oil can help to ward off fungal nail infection
  • Pain Relief: External use of peppermint oil can help to soothe certain pains. Its cooling nature means it can reduce fever. It’s termed a refrigerant for the intensely cold sensation it provides
  • Immune System: Peppermint oil is commonly used to help people with weak immune systems. Its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and content of menthol, camphor and carvacrol means peppermint is popular in many alternative treatments to fight against lowered immune system

Spearmint

peppermint vs spearmint

Spearmint is a highly aromatic herb that appears naturally.

The chief use for peppermint is culinary. As with peppermint, it’s also a common ingredient in chewing gum and toothpaste.

With a sweet and mild taste, spearmint is used widely in many medicines. Due to its relaxing effect, spearmint can also help you to relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Health Benefits of Spearmint

As well as sharing the ability to help with digestion and respiratory issues, spearmint has several other key health benefits including the following…

  • Antibacterial: Menthol, along with other compounds found in spearmint, is antimicrobial and antibacterial. It not only keeps your breath fresh but can also help protect you from mouth and throat infections
  • Hormonal Balance: Spearmint can help manage this condition. The compounds in spearmint work with the endocrine system to optimize balance of hormones
  • Circulation: With one serving of spearmint you hit your RDA of iron. This helps with the blood circulating to your extremities, enhances your energy levels and helps with the healing of wounds
  • Heart: Spearmint is rich in potassium. As a vasodilator, potassium helps to stave off strokes and heart attacks

Spearmint vs Peppermint: How Do They Differ?

spearmint vs peppermint

Species and Botanical Name

Both mints are from different species. Spearmint is from the species Spicata while peppermint is Piperita.

Their specific botanical names reflect this, Metha Spicata (spearmint) and Mentha x piperita (peppermint).

Plant Facts

As mentioned, spearmint is a plant that occurs naturally whereas peppermint is a cross between species of spearmint and water mint.

The low and creeping peppermint is a real contrast with the straight and upright spearmint.

The way in which the herbs grow is also a point of difference. Spearmint will shoot up to around 3 feet in height. It will spread its way profusely and completely around the surrounding vegetation. Peppermint grows anywhere from 1 to 3 feet high. It does not spread widely, though.

Flower

While spearmint plants have pink or blue flowers, peppermint plants are crowned with purple blooms.

Leaves

Spearmint plants have small leaves that grow on the branches themselves. The little leaves are slightly wrinkled.

The peppermint boasts slightly larger leaves. These grow on the stems rather than the branches. These leaves are jagged in appearance.

Menthol and Cooling Properties

It might surprise some people to know that spearmint does not contain menthol at all. It gets its cooling ability from carvone.

Peppermint, on the other hand, has plenty of menthol. This is where it derives its cooling properties from.

Flavor

Spearmint has a far more delicate smell and taste than peppermint. It’s mild and somewhat sweet.

Peppermint tastes sharp and cooling while the aroma is much more intense.

Uses

The ways in which spearmint and peppermint are used is another area where they are quite different.

Spearmint

  • Tea
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Many therapeutic uses
  • Cocktails (mojito, mint julep)

Peppermint

  • Decongestants
  • Antiseptics
  • Scented oils
  • Medicinal and therapeutic properties
  • Candles

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve enjoyed this examination of spearmint vs peppermint and are now clear on the differences between these two distinct types of mint.

Please drop us a line if you’d like any further information on this or any other aspect of gardening.

You’re always welcome to share our articles on social media if you find anything you think your friends would like – this in-depth guide to strawberries, for example.

Come back soon as our site is updated with fresh content several times a week.

1

How To Dry Parsley

Parsley, as our previous article outlined, is a special herb with many culinary and medical uses. Perhaps you are growing plenty and want to know how to dry parsley

We will look here at the principal ways to dry fresh parsley and offer you some handy hints on storing this wonderful herb so you always have access to it. Once you have done the groundwork by growing it, maintaining stock levels is the easy part.

As well as being used as a diuretic and a treatment for upset stomachs, parsley can be pressed into action in a wide range of recipes.

You should be aware that parsley will lose a little of its flavor when it’s dried. Drying herbs can be a surprisingly tricky task so we are here to strip it down to basics and make things simple for you.

We’ll show you how to dry fresh parsley using the following basic methods:

  • Air Drying
  • Solar Drying
  • Drying With a Dehydrator
  • Microwave and Oven Drying

In general, if you choose to dry with heat then more of the flavor will be removed. Any strong heat damages the essential oils contained within the herb.

The conventional approach to drying is not without its drawbacks either, though. Our ancestors would leave herbs hanging to dry for weeks but there are two things to note. Firstly, their homes were very different with much more space suited for this kind of task available. Also, the results can be mixed… By the time you realize something has gone amiss, the herbs could be unusable.

So…

We’ll look now at the four main ways in which you can get your parsley dried out nicely.

How To Dry Fresh Parsley

How To Dry Fresh Parsley

Air Drying

It’s perfectly possible to dry all herbs naturally in the air. You need to locate a warm and dry area first of all. The garage or attic are standard choices. You could opt for the kitchen pantry or even the kitchen itself (although make certain there is not too much moisture).

Bundle up your parsley and use some string or twine to hold it together in bunches. Rubber bands are another possibility. Use whatever you have to hand just secure it adequately.

Hammer a nail into the wall and hang your herbs up to dry out.

You can put the sprigs of parsley inside brown paper bags if you want. Cut slits in the bags if you choose this option. This allows plenty of air to circulate. The benefit of paper bags is keeping dust off the parsley and also preventing too much color being lost as the sunlight otherwise bleaches the herbs. The downside is that if left unattended, mold can set in. Make your decision and if you do use bags pay close attention to them to prevent this mildew and fungus spoiling your parsley.

After about 2 weeks, gather the bundles and place the dried herbs on some wax paper. Crumble up the leaves and get rid of the stems.

Pop the dry mix into an airtight container and you’re good to go!

Solar Drying

Taking advantage of the sun’s rays is a straightforward and economical way to achieve your goal of drying parsley effectively.

Wait until the weather is smiling on you. Avoid too much humidity and ensure that no rain is in the post. You want a window of opportunity with no moisture for several days so consult the weather forecast and be patient.

Pick some sprigs of fresh parsley from the garden. Wash off any dirt from the surface.

Get a sheet and spread it across a large table. You can use stones or bricks on the edges to prevent it from blowing away. A window screen is a great solar drying rack as these screens promote ventilation. Another alternative is a roasting pan.

Whatever your selected drying tool, place the parsley in a single layer. Pop it in the direct sunlight and leave the sun to do its work.

Turn the herbs on a daily basis and bring them inside overnight to eliminate the chance of moisture undoing your efforts.

When the parsley is crispy you are all set to store it for future use.

Drying With a Dehydrator

A food dehydrator is a highly versatile piece of kitchen equipment you can harness nicely for drying herbs.

They make use of hot air which slowly and gently gets rid of the moisture present in food. You will need a good few hours for best effects with parsley.

Whether rounded or box-shaped, dehydrators are a kind of stacking system and the mini perforations in the trays allow air to circulate ideally among your herbs.

They are not particularly cheap so analyze how much use you will get from a dehydrator and decide whether it’s the smart choice for you.

It really is a seamless procedure. Simply pop a single layer of parsley onto each tray. Refer to the instructions for time and temperature. Dehydrators are all different, much like microwaves, so make sure you get this step right.

A few hours later and the moisture will be removed, your parsley lovely and dry for your store cupboard.

Microwave and Oven Drying

Taking into account what’s been mentioned about a certain loss of flavor, you can nevertheless dry parsley without too much fuss in the microwave or conventional oven.

  • Microwave: Pop your sprigs of clean parsley onto a microwave-proof plate. Simply heat on HIGH for 30 seconds, turn them over and nuke them for another 30 seconds. Leave them to cool then pop them in an airtight jar
  • Oven: Set your cooker for 180 degrees. Spread your parsley evenly across a cookie sheet then bake for between 2 and 4 hours. Keep a very close eye on proceedings so the herbs do not burn

How Do You Store Fresh Parsley

How To Store Dry Parsley

Now that you have a few different approaches for drying your herbs, the next logical stage is storing them appropriately.

Get yourself some airtight containers. There is no need to spend a great deal of money. You can easily re-use old coffee jars or any plastic pots you have to hand.

Make sure your hands are clean and dry then cover a table with newspaper.

Scrunch up the dried herbs with your hands discarding any of the stems. Pour the mixture into your container.

Label them up accordingly remembering to include the date they were prepared.

If you want to freeze dry your parsley or other herbs – the tips in this article work equally well for other varieties – then place the dried mix into Ziploc plastic bags, squeeze the air out and put them in the freezer. Bingo!

Conclusion

There is no substitute for fresh herbs which is why we suggest keeping a stock of your favorites growing at all times.

It’s not an ideal world, though, and often supplies run down or things get overlooked. By drying and storing your parsley correctly, you can always enjoy pepping up your cookery or availing yourself of its medicinal properties even if you have none left growing.

Although it’s arguably the quickest method, avoid using a source of heat like the oven if at all possible so as to maximize the beneficial effects and lessen the loss of flavor in the drying process.

2

How Many Calories Are In Celery?

We are what we eat as the famous saying goes. A number of people want to know how many calories are in celery just like many other foods seen as miracle workers for weight loss.

Today we will examine the myth that this crispy and crunchy vegetable is a negative calorie food along with a look at its nutritional value and other health-related facts.

An Introduction To Celery

An Introduction To Celery

We are often asked about the best vegetables to grow organically at home. In an ideal world the answer would be all of them! There really is a very strong argument, though, for growing trench celery.

The two principal types of celery are trench and self-blanching.

Blanching is when you block the sunlight so that the stalks whiten.

With the self-blanching kind there are two varieties, the Standard (which have naturally creamy or golden stems) and the American green sort which truly needs no blanching at all.

Trench celery requires more commitment and is more problematic to grow but repays the effort with a superior taste.

When is celery in season then? Well, it is tricky to bring on as mentioned but the great news is that it can be grown from September to April so you can enjoy it for a substantial part of the year.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Celery?

Most people think of celery as being extremely good for dieting but how many calories are in celery?

You might well have heard people claim that this incredibly healthy veg has negative calories. Put simply, this would mean that the act of eating it burns off more calories than are absorbed by the body after eating it.

There is no escaping the fact that celery is an extremely low-calorie option if you are watching your waistline, but this assertion of it having negative calories is simply untrue.

Each medium-sized stalk has around 6 calories. To put that into perspective, an adult male requires 2500 calories a day. Each stalk has about 1 gram of carbohydrates in total, 0.6 grams of which are fiber. Fiber is not properly digested or absorbed by the body.

The very slender number of calories in the form of fat, sugar and protein are made use of by the body, though. To give you an indication of how much sugar is in celery, it’s only 0.7 g in that same medium stalk.

The body uses about 1 calorie eating and digesting the stalk so, clearly, it’s ideal if you are on a diet but the urban myth about negative calories is just that: a myth.

How much potassium is in celery

Calories are only one part of a healthy eating plan. The nutrients are also important.

How much potassium is in celery, for instance?

Potassium is responsible for several crucial functions in the body. It works along with minerals like calcium and sodium to stabilize the fluid levels. This helps with everything from muscle contraction to keeping your heart thumping properly.

You’ll get over 100 mg of potassium in a single stalk which is wonderful news for your system.

Celery is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin K.

Juicing Celery

what are the health benefits of celery juice

Juicing is growing in popularity. So what are the health benefits of celery juice in particular?

Blitzing up some celery in your juicer can lower your risk of cancer, protect your cardiovascular system, help to enhance your skin and prevent inflammation or disease. It can be beneficial if you are stressed and can even aid sleep.

Some Quick Ideas For Using Celery

What are some other ways in which we can make use of this superfood?

  • Chop finely and add to chicken salad or tuna
  • Use leaves in salad
  • Smear stalks with peanut butter and eat raw
  • Add some celery to carrot juice for a tasty mixture
  • Throw into soups, stews, casseroles or stir-fries

Where Can I Buy Celery Seeds?

Where Can I Buy Celery Seeds

A few recipes, coleslaw in particular, call for celery seeds. We all understand that celery comes from seeds but what is celery seed itself?

Most of the seed which is commercially available to be used as a spice does not actually come from the celery that we eat but from a very close relative.

The miniature oblong seeds are light brown and can really pack quite a punch. The taste is like a highly concentrated celery in its regular form. It’s grassy and earthy with a somewhat bitter edge to it.

Celery seed is often chosen because you can enjoy all the flavor of celery itself without needing to chop up mounds of it for your dish.

With a wonderful texture rather like poppy seeds, it makes a fine addition to salad dressings as well as coleslaw.

A Few Pointers About Growing Celery

You should be aware that from the outset celery needs treating with care. It’s an extremely tender plant which cannot just be sown straight into the soil.

When the seeds are sown it’s a smart idea to germinate them on a heated mat. They should be thinly broadcast into seed trays and transplanted into 2 inch plugs once germinated.

They ought to be grown under cover until the weather is warmer and then hardened off outside for a week or two.

Celery is a very hungry crop so the ability of the ground to hold water will affect the success of your harvest. With all plants, some knowledge of its native habitat helps to determine how you should most suitably grow it. Celery occurs in Asia and Europe in boggy, marshy ground. Use any organic material to replicate these conditions and it should flourish.

One particular nuisance when cultivating celery is the slug. Pay close attention to your crop! Others pests such as carrot fly and celery leaf miner can also be a menace. Celery leaf spot is the other common health issue faced.

Conclusion

Set aside the fallacy that celery is a negative calorie food and focus on the fact that it’s extremely nutritious and very low in calories.

Take your time to research the best type to grow – we still say stick with the trench celery – and you can enjoy all the health benefits with that fantastic, distinctive taste alongside the added bonus of picking it fresh from your very own garden.

Enjoy!

How To Grow Parsley With Ease

Growing herbs, whether in your garden or indoors, is really remarkably simple. Today we will look at how to grow parsley with ease.

Originally native to the Mediterranean region, parsley (Umbelliferae) is now cultivated in many varieties.

We will first examine some background facts about this versatile herb then look at how to grow it fuss-free.

How To Grow Parsley With Ease

Plant Description and Cultivation

Parsley is a biennial. This classification is slightly less common than the usual annuals or perennials. Parsley will only come back after two gardening seasons.

Parsley in a pot

It grows up to 60cm on a very stout root.

The leaves are triangular with 3 lobes. They curl up at the end and have a slightly ruffled appearance.

Yellow flowers will bloom in the second year followed by oval seed pods which contain sickle-shaped seeds.

Parsley calls for rich and moist but well-drained soil. It likes a mixture of sun and shade. If you lack the requisite soil then try growing it in a pot.

This miraculous herb is propagated from seed sown in the late spring.

The flat-leaved French parsley is incredibly aromatic.

What Part of Parsley Do You Use?

The leaves and seeds are both put to use so you get maximum bang for your buck with parsley.

In the final year, even the taproot is edible. In fact, it’s the most potent and pungent part of the plant.

Active Ingredients

The seeds are most powerful in terms of medicinal properties. They contain up to 7% essential oil, flavonoids and glycosides.

What vitamins are in parsley? As well as vitamins A and C, this herb also contains many minerals. The leaves are very rich in iron and vitamin C.

Parsley has powerful diuretic and stomach-tonic uses. The 16th century botanist John Gerard said of garden parsley that, “It is delightful to the taste and agreeable to the stomach.” He added that it could neutralize poison, perhaps because of its strong aroma.

Safety Information

Take care if you are pregnant and avoid using the seeds medicinally. Watch out, too, if you have a history of kidney disease.

Using fresh leaves in cookery is perfectly safe.

How To Use Parsley: Culinary Use

How To Use Parsley Culinary Use

Parsley is extensively used as a flavoring in many different dishes. From soups and sauces to meat and fish recipes, egg and cheese or salad dressings, parsley can infuse your meal with a burst of aroma and tantalize the taste buds.

In the same way that salt seasons a dish, parsley helps to tie flavors together.

How To Use Parsley: Medicinal Use

A standard infusion of parsley leaves works wonders for indigestion. This is particularly useful if you’ve eaten a glut of rich food.

You can also call upon this herb if you are suffering from fluid retention or gout.

Parsley can help to stimulate the appetite and also aids the absorption and assimilation of nutrients.

Seeds are also used in herbalism but this is best left to the professionals. The seeds are not recommended to be used in this way at home.

So…

You might have asked yourself what is parsley good for and now you have the answers. Whether in the kitchen or for medical use, it’s a very flexible herb with myriad uses.

We will take you through some basic steps now so that you can grow parsley at home and enjoy these benefits for yourself.

Directions For Growing Parsley

First of all, decide which type of parsley you’d like to grow.

Flat-leaf parsley

Flat-leaf parsley

Curly leaf parsley

Curly leaf parsley

Flat-leaf parsley (Neapolitanum) is the choice of cooks due to its tremendous flavor and ease of chopping.

Curly leaf parsley (P. Crispum) is also extremely tasty and offers you a very striking display in the garden as an extra kicker.

How To Plant Parsley

When?

Parsley is straightforward to start from seed. Germination can take a little longer than with some herbs, though.

Sow the seeds straight into soil. Wait until about a month before the final frost of the year. If you want to speed things up, consider soaking the seeds overnight before you sow them.

If you prefer, start the parsley seeds indoors up to three months before the last frost to get off to a flying start.

How long does it take parsley to grow? Well, although it’s a slow starter – perhaps 2-5 weeks for the seeds to sprout – the good news is that harvest time comes around quickly.

Where?

How To Plant Parsley

Grow your parsley indoors or out in the garden with equal confidence.

If you have an indoor garden then put your pot near a window which gets ample sunlight.

For outdoor growers, one smart idea is to plant your parsley near rose bushes for added fragrance. Parsley is also the perfect companion for tomatoes if planted in containers.

Cultivating Parsley

There are 4 main pointers to think about here:

Sun

Soil

Water

Spacing parsley

Parsley can cope with either part-sun or full-sun environments. Indoors, you need to target sunny windows for best effects

Choose loamy and moist soil and take care to turn it well. Use some rich compost early on, ideally just as you are sowing your parsley

Parsley is extremely adaptable. It prefers moist soil but is also quite able to tolerate a drought

Thin out your parsley to about 10 inches apart if you are starting it off from seed. This same distance holds true if you are transplanting small plants or seedlings

When To Pick Parsley and Harvesting

As mentioned, parsley is a biennial. This means that its cycle of harvesting is slightly different.

In year one, harvest your parsley for its leaves. Pick the stalks which are farthest away from the center. If you leave both the inner stalks and the leaves, the plant will continue to grow nicely.

During the second year, you will notice the leaves become sparse and you’ll see the flavor drop in intensity. You can still use the leaves but let your parsley bloom.

Collect up the seeds so you can sow them in spring.

In the fall of that same year, it’s time to harvest the root. Shave this over salads for a penetrating burst of flavor and a delectable crunch.

Conclusion

The cultivation of parsley dates back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. They used it in many different ways, even to crown their athletes with.

Although it has a reputation as a fickle herb, parsley really isn’t tough to grow. If you ensure that the soil is of the correct quality and avoid overcrowding, you could very rapidly have some delicious fresh parsley to put to good use.

Be patient and press all parts (including the stem) into action.

Enjoy!

2

Herbs With Meat: 6 Great Ways To Use Herbs In The Kitchen

Growing herbs at home, whether in the garden or indoors, is a wonderful way to breathe some life into your diet.

Dried herbs are a poor substitute for the real thing. It does not take much effort to start a small herb garden. Choose the ones that you use most often when cooking. Save money and enjoy the benefits of an abundance of fresh herbs to set off any dish.

We want to outline some tasty and practical recipes to show you just how much taking the time to start a herb garden can pay dividends.

Cooking meats with herbs does more than just add fantastic flavor. Herbs help to stimulate your digestive juices through taste and smell before the food even enters your mouth. This assists absorption.

We will look today at 6 great herb recipes using some fantastic herb and meat combinations.

1) Spaghetti Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is an Italian classic sometimes called ragu.

Adding some strong and aromatic fresh herbs like oregano, basil and bay really serves to boost the flavor of the beef. While the meat forms the base of the sauce, the herbs also complement the garlic and tomatoes.

An added advantage of Bolognese is that it works best being simmered for a long time at a low temperature so it’s ideal if your dinner guests are slightly late!

Tip: Although this dish is almost always made with spaghetti, try using tagliatelle instead. This type of pasta is slightly thicker than spaghetti and works very well with the Bolognese sauce.

Ingredients

  • Fresh basil leaves (4)
  • Fresh oregano (3 sprigs)
  • Bay leaf
  • Extra virgin olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Large onion finely chopped
  • Celery stick finely chopped
  • Streaky bacon (175g, diced)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves, crushed)
  • Lean minced beef (400g)
  • Tomato paste (2 tbsp)
  • Canned tomatoes (400g)
  • Red wine (150ml)
  • Fresh Parmesan (1/2 cup)
  • Cooked pasta to serve

Directions

  • Heat your oil and fry up onion, celery and bacon on medium heat 3-5 mins stirring occasionally
  • Add garlic and minced beef. Cook until meat browned
  • Add tomato paste and stir in. Throw in tomatoes and wine. Stir into thick sauce
  • Season with salt and pepper, add herbs and bring to boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour
  • Serve with the cooked pasta and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan

2) Lemon and Tarragon Poussins

A poussin is a delicate baby chicken.

The fragrance of fresh lemon and tarragon will set these tender birds off perfectly!

Ingredients

  • Poussins (2)
  • Fresh tarragon (4 sprigs)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1 tbsp)
  • Lemon rind
  • Lemon juice (1 tbsp)
  • Butter ( tbsp)
  • Garlic (1 clove, crushed)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Orange slices

Directions

  • Prepare poussins. Put breast-side down on chopping board. Cut them through backbone and crush them to break bones. Season with salt
  • Turn poussins over. Put sprig of tarragon under skin on each side. Brush with oil
  • Cook under pre-heated grill 15 mins. Turn them over halfway
  • Melt butter in saucepan, add lemon rind and juice along with garlic
  • Brush poussins with the glaze you just made and cook 15 mins more. Turn them once and brush regularly
  • Garnish with tarragon and serve with new potatoes

3) Pork, Sage and Cider Casserole

With strong-tasting meats like beef and pork, pungent herbs like sage are an excellent choice.

Fresh sage leaves have a peppery taste and bay leaves bring out the taste of the meat perfectly.

Sage adds a fresh and spicy undertone to this tried and tested combination.

Ingredients

  • Pork steaks (4)
  • Cooking apple Sunflower
  • Peeled, cored and chopped)
  • Large onion, finely chopped
  • Plain flour (50g)
  • Dry cider (450ml)
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions

  • Remove fat from pork and cut into small pieces. Heat oil, cook pork cubes until brown then remove
  • Sprinkle apple pieces over the meat and place in casserole
  • Fry onion until soft, add sage leaves and flour and stir together
  • Pour cider over and stir until thickened nicely
  • Season with salt and pepper, stir everything together and cover casserole with lid
  • Cook 45 mins at 180 degrees
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans and mustard

4) Pan Fried Lamb With Rosemary and Garlic

Pan Fried Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic

Credit via www.epicurious.com

Do you ever fancy something special when you are home alone?

If so, consider this succulent lamb dish with the ingredients here for just one person. Scale them up if you are cooking for more and want to share!

Ingredients

  • Lamb chop
  • Bullet Point 2
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Garlic (2 cloves, crushed)
  • (75ml)crushed)
  • Single cream (30ml)

Directions

  • Rinse lamb chop under cold water and dry. Season with salt and pepper
  • Heat oil in pan and fry chop 5-10 mins on medium heat
  • Sprinkle rosemary leaves and garlic on top and fry 1 min turning chop once or twice
  • Pour the red wine over and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer 10 mins
  • Remove from heat, add cream and stir gently
  • Serve with some potatoes and fresh veg

5) Chicken With Tarragon and Cream Sauce

Tarragon has a very potent taste with an almost minty flavor.

Chicken tends to be rather bland so pep it up with your fresh tarragon. Choose free-range organic meat if you can find some and it’s within budget.

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts (2)
  • Sunflower oil (2 tbsp)
  • Shallot, finely chopped
  • Garlic (1 clove, crushed)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Lemon juice (1 tsp)
  • Single cream (150ml)

Directions

  • Wash, dry and slice chicken pieces
  • Heat oil over medium heat and add chicken. Turn them until browned lightly
  • Add garlic, shallot and season. Cook and turn 5 mins
  • Sprinkle over tarragon leaves and add lemon juice. Cook on low heat 10 mins
  • Remove from heat, stir in cream
  • Serve with baby new potatoes and steamed carrots

6) Pork Chops With Fennel and Juniper

Pork Chops With Fennel and Juniper

Credit via cook-coquus.com

This is a basic dish which can benefit strongly from the contrasting flavors of fennel and juniper.

Once again, you can really get some mileage out the herbs that you grow and transform even ordinary meals into something more special.

Ingredients

  • Pork chops (4)
  • Fennel (1/2 bulb)
  • Juniper berries (1 tbsp, lightly crushed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • Orange rind and juice, finely grated

Directions

  • Chop the fennel bulb
  • Grind up juniper berries and mix with fennel, olive oil and orange rind
  • Score some fine cuts in pork chops
  • Place chops in ovenproof dish, add fennel and juniper mixture then pour over orange juice. Cover and marinate in fridge 2 hours
  • Cook chops under pre-heated grill 10-15 mins turning occasionally
  • Plate up and serve with salad and fresh bread

Conclusion

Whether it’s a complex and tricky meal or something simple like Bolognese, pretty much anything tastes better when infused with fresh herbs.

We hope you found something you’d like to try here and our following article will give you 6 more great ideas for cooking with fish.

If you want to use herbs in the kitchen then start growing some today!

Read more article for growing house plant​

Herbs With Fish: 5 More Ways To Use Herbs In The Kitchen

In our last article, we gave you half a dozen tasty recipes and showed you how herbs can work extremely well with meat.

For fish lovers, we have 5 more fantastic ideas today to help you really get the most out of your herb garden.

Fish can quickly and easily deliver you a meal rich in protein.

Grilling and frying are among the best methods for bringing out the most flavor.

1) Lime and Basil-Cured Salmon

This superb combination of herbs and citrus fruit will create light, tangy flavors which bring out the best in your fish.

It’s crucial that you use fresh salmon for this recipe. The salt and sugar will draw the moisture out from the fish and leave it raw but cured and packed with flavor.

This recipe takes some time but is very well worth the effort.

Ingredients

FISH

DRESSING

Fresh salmon fillet (900g, skinned)

Rice vinegar (200ml)

Fresh basil (5 tbsp, chopped)

Sugar (5 tsp)

Sugar (50g)

Lime rind (1, finely grated)

Sea salt (50g)

English mustard (1/ tsp)

Lime rind (2, finely grated)

Fresh basil (3 tbsp, finely chopped)

White peppercorns (1 tsp, lightly crushed)

Japanese pickled ginger (1 tbsp, shredded)

Mixed salad leaves (150g)

Directions

  • Check salmon for bones, wash and dry
  • Place salmon in large bowl. Sprinkle evenly with sugar, basil, sea salt, lime rind and peppercorns. Cover and chill 24-48 hours turning occasionally
  • For dressing, put rice vinegar and sugar into small pan. Stir gently over low heat until sugar dissolved
  • Bring to boil and simmer 5-6 mins until liquid reduced by one-third
  • Remove from heat, stir in lime rind and mustard
  • Remove salmon fillet from marinade and slice thinly
  • To serve, stir chopped basil and ginger into dressing. Toss salad leaves in then add salmon

2) Herb-Crusted Haddock with Tomato Salsa

A lovely salsa adds a controlled kick to the haddock.

Either make your own or buy the best quality pre-prepared one you can find.

For the pesto sauce, check out our previous article here for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • White breadcrumbs (115g)
  • Fresh parsley (2 tbsp, chopped)
  • Lemon juice (3 tbsp)
  • Haddock fillets (4)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Tomato salsa

Directions

  • Put breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, pesto sauce, parsley and seasoning in a bowl. Mix well
  • Line grill pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil. Put haddock fillets on foil, sprinkle with remaining lemon juice, add more salt and pepper then cook under pre-heated grill 5 mins
  • Turn haddock fillets over, spread herb and breadcrumb mix over
  • Cook 5-10 mins until haddock is tender and crust golden brown
  • Serve with tomato salsa

3) Trout with Almonds, Lemon and Parsley

Trout with Almonds, Lemon and Parsley

Credit via www.cookstr.com

Lemon goes nicely with most fish. Trout is sweet and mild so the lemon offsets this perfectly.

Parsley adds the finishing touch and shows once again just how valuable it is to grow your own herbs.

Ingredients

  • Fresh trout (2)
  • Salted butter (55g)
  • Flaked almonds (55g)
  • Fresh parsley (2 tbsp)
  • Fresh lemon juice (3 tbsp)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Selection of steamed vegetables to serve

Directions

  • Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper
  • Melt butter in large pan and fry trout on each side 6-8 mins. Make sure it’s golden brown and cooked right through
  • Remove fish to heated serving dish and place in warm oven
  • Add flaked almonds to frying pan and turn until golden brown. Add parsley and lemon juice and combine into a wonderful sauce
  • To serve, put trout onto plates and spoon over the sauce. Choose some fresh vegetables for a healthy and tasty treat

4) Mediterranean Cod Steaks with Thyme and Marjoram

Mediterranean Cod Steaks with Thyme and Marjoram

Credit via www.bbcgoodfood.com

This herb recipe is extremely easy to bake in the oven.

The tomato in this dish goes hand-in-hand with the aroma of thyme and marjoram.

Your mouth will water while this is cooking and when you taste it you’ll once more understand why growing herbs at home is such a sensible thing to do.

Ingredients

  • Cod steaks (4)
  • Fresh thyme leaves (1 tbsp)
  • Fresh marjoram leaves (2 tsp)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Garlic (2 cloves, crushed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (30ml)
  • Tomato paste (1 tbsp)
  • Canned tomatoes (400 g)
  • Green olives (2 tbsp)
  • Boiled rice and salad to serve

Directions

  • Put cod steaks in a casserole and sprinkle with lemon juice
  • Heat oil in large pan. Fry onion until soft then add garlic and tomato paste
  • Add tomatoes, herbs, olives and seasoning
  • Cook on medium heat 10 mins then pour over sauce over the fish
  • Put lid on casserole and bake on top shelf of oven 25-30 mins at 190 degrees
  • Serve with rice and salad

5) Herrings with Orange and Tarragon Stuffing

Herrings with Orange and Tarragon Stuffing

Credit via www.efooddepot.com

If you enjoy herrings, why not try these on the BBQ?

​Wrap them in foil and revel in the way the orange and tarragon complement the taste to give you something truly special. Dishes like this make growing herbs at home well worth the time and trouble.

Ingredients

  • Herrings (4, cleaned and gutted)
  • Spring onions (4)
  • Fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs (50g)
  • Fresh tarragon (1 tbsp)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Oranges (3)
  • Light brown sugar (1 tbsp)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1 tbsp)
  • Tarragon sprigs
  • Green salad to serve

Directions

  • First, make the stuffing. Grate rind from half the orange. Peel and chop orange flesh
  • Mix together orange rind and flesh along with spring onions, breadcrumbs and tarragon in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper
  • Divide stuffing into 4 portions and use it to fill the body cavities of the fish
  • Place each fish on a square of foil and wrap so it’s enclosed
  • Barbecue 20-30 mins over hot coals
  • Peel and thickly slice oranges and sprinkle over sugar. Drizzle some oil over
  • As the fish are almost cooked, put orange slices on barbecue and cook 5 mins
  • Garnish with sprigs of tarragon and serve with green salad

Conclusion

We hope that you have found some inspiration with these delightful fish dishes.

Whether you get your fish from the market or the store, look out for bright and shiny scales to indicate the quality.

Remember: If you opt for frozen fish, thaw it completely before cooking.

Enjoy the freedom and check for updates here with more herb recipes.