More herbs are ready for harvest this week in the Culinary Herb Garden and in Penelope’s Garden. Sara, our herb gardener, provided a round up of the culinary and tea herbs we have available, with notes about how to harvest and use them.
As always, look for the sparkly yellow stars at the edge of each bed that denote the herb is ready to harvest, and check out the board by the kiosk in the Culinary Garden for harvesting instructions.
In the Culinary Herb Garden
Find these cooking and tea herbs behind the greenhouse.
Apple mint has a delicate flavor that is good in tea. Find it next to the lovage in the Culinary Garden (at the edge of the Children’s Garden)
Cilantro is a tender herb which has gentle leaves that are best to add either raw or near the end of cooking to maintain their delicate flavor and texture. It’s also called Chinese parsley, and its seeds are known as coriander. Cilantro can be used to give a fresh boost of flavor in everything from guacamole or salsa, curries, noodles dishes and sauces. It contains chemicals that help foods stay fresher for longer. Its potential health benefits include anticancer effects and improvements in skin health.
Parsley is commonly used in French, Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines. To harvest parsley, cut the outer leaves at the bottom of the plant. Make sure to always leave at least 1/3 of the plant to sustain its growth.
Shiso is a member of the mint family. It is also known as Japanese basil or perilla. It has large teardrop-shaped leaves with a slightly prickly texture and pointy, jagged edges. Its flavor is pungent and grassy, containing strong notes of spearmint, basil, anise and cinnamon. Slicing shiso into long skinny strips really brings out these flavors. Find out more about using Shiso.
Sorrel is a green herb that looks like spinach and lends a refreshing, sour flavor to cooking. It can be used as an herb or salad green. Use it to make sauce with a lemony flavor, add it to stews or soups and incorporate it into salad dressing for a citrusy tang. Sorrel is high in vitamin C and oxalic acid. To harvest, pick the outer leaves gently as you would parsley.
Tarragon is typically used in French cooking. Use it fresh or dried to season vegetables, chicken, fish and vinegar. Tarragon is high in vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Medicinally, it can be used as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid, as well as for toothache relief. Harvest tarragon by cutting a stem 1/3 of the way down the plant, using scissors.
Look for the fullest, bushiest plants. Using scissors, cut no more than 1/3 of each stem. Use this aromatic herb in a variety of recipes, including marinades, soups, sauces and salads. It also makes a great tea. Thyme is packed with minerals and vitamins.
In Penelope’s Garden
We grow additional tea herbs in Penelope’s Garden, located on the far side of the Children’s Garden
This familiar herb makes delicious, relaxing tea.
In addition to making flavorful tea, lemon/lime balm can also be used in salads and salsas, or with chicken or fish to provide a hint of lemon. This herb also has medicinal uses.
Peppermint makes wonderful beverages, including tea. It can also be used in a wide variety of dishes to impart a refreshing and distinct flavor. Medicinally, peppermint can be used as a pain reliever, and it can have a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue. Peppermint leaf contains vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber. Some people chew peppermint leaves as a means to naturally freshen their breath. To harvest peppermint, cut stems 1/3 of the way down the plant, using scissors.
Spearmint is similar to peppermint, but it has its own distinct flavor and nuances. It contains an array of vitamins and minerals, and it can be used in a variety of dishes, or medicinally to aid respiratory health and digestion. Harvest spearmint as you would peppermint, by cutting stems 1/3 of the way down the plant using scissors.
Yerba buena has a variety of culinary, cosmetic and medicinal uses. Its minty flavor makes it popular for cooking, both in salads and as flavoring for cooked foods. Its aroma is also used in fragrances, and the herb has also been used to treat many ailments since ancient times. Find out more about using Yerba Buena.