I was delighted to have a listener request for an episode about one of my very favourite topics in the world - herbs! Garden centres are just opening and getting herbs in stock, so if you have a place to plant a few, do. They attract honeybees and native pollinators, provide delicious, nutritious, wonderful flavour throughout the growing season, and many are perennial here in Nova Scotia. You can easily preserve them to use through the winter, as well. They're beautiful, fragrant, and have dozens of uses.
This is by no means an exhaustive episode - you could read for days about any single herb and its uses. I've chosen three favourites to share with you (it was like choosing favourite children). Peppermint, Chives and Lavender are three of my favourite flavours, and they're easy to grow. I talk a bit about each in the episode. A few additional herbs are pictured here - it was no problem to find herb pictures that I've taken over the years on my computer.
This mint mojito that my brother-in-law made for me last summer was a highlight of the year. It was cool perfection on a very hot July afternoon. And the wild mint pictured above was so exciting to find in our field! The flavour is delicate and lovely.
One of my favourite things to do when gardening season is underway is to make a quick trip early in the morning to the chicken coop and the garden to collect breakfast ingredients.
Unopened chive blossoms. They are so cute.
I didn't mention chamomile in the episode, but aren't the flowers adorable? They make a soothing bedtime tea when steeped (using fresh or dried flowers) in hot water. Be sure to use a really fine mesh or paper tea bag - the centres of the blossoms tend to escape.
To preserve herbs, my favourite way is to dry them using a dehydrator. The one I have is pretty basic and works perfectly. You can find dehydrators at Home Hardware and Lee Valley as well as Amazon. Speaking of Lee Valley, the pie server in the photo below is from there, and it is a perfectly designed utensil for cutting and serving frittata. Happy gardening!
And thanks to listener Katie for her kitchen story behind this knife. If you have a great kitchen object story, send it to email@example.com in a voice note on your phone, and I may include it in an upcoming episode.