July 24, 2008

Do you do this too?

"Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go."
Erma Bombeck

Isn't this so true? We buy herbs and spices in those little containers and then they stay there unused for yrs. We cant find them when we need them so we go out and buy more. Then one day your cleaning that cabinet and find out you have 4 tins of sage and 3 of thyme and things like that. That's part of the reason why I got into growing herbs in the first place.

I use alot of parsley and basil in my cooking since I do alot of Italian foods. So I started growing those two herbs in my garden many yrs ago. I only grow Italian parsley since its the most flavorful. I have grown regular basil tho and a few others. I had the tiny Greek basil that grows in a globe shape with tiny leaves and I love Opal basil just because of its burgundy color. Its good for making vinegars or for adding color to a salad. I had cinnamon basil too but I don't recall ever using it. This however started my love of herbs and spices and now my cabinet is full.

I have rosemary growing here and the plant is huge so I always have fresh available. But I also dry some anyway to keep on hand. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and just don't want to go out to the garden to get some. I used to have chives and just love those. Just snip what you need each time, they keep on growing. The blossoms make a nice vinegar and are pretty in a salad too. But my plants died a few yrs ago and I haven't planted anymore. So now I order some from my favorite herb places to keep on hand. Eventually when I get to Oregon, Ill start growing them again. But the dried is nice. I toss it in eggs for breakfast or a smoked salmon spread I like to make for bagels. Its great to toss into sour cream too for topping potatoes. I think Ill always have some dried on hand just for last minute additions to things.

And I love Tarragon. I love growing it and having it on hand fresh. I make tarragon vinegar by the qts then to use on salads. But I also buy dried, not from the stores but from a health food store here that sells dried herbs in bulk. For a fraction of what I pay in the stores I can refill my jars here. I do that with several herbs.

And thyme, oh how I love thyme. I grow the silver and the dark green thyme for general cooking. But I just adore lemon thyme. While dried thyme lasts quite awhile fresh is wonderful for just about anything. But dried lemon thyme is not the same. I tried it, and it loses that lemony wonderfulness. So that is one Ill always have on hand fresh and growing. And when I cant , as I do with many of my herbs, Ill freeze them whole in small plastic bags to use in the off seasons.

But Ive started using some alot and decided to start buying in bulk from herb suppliers. I repackage them into a small jar to keep in my cabinet for daily use. Then I seal the rest in plastic bags and tuck it air tight containers for when I need a refill. It then gets stored in a dark place. They stay good for a long time like this.

Ive been making some of my own spice mixes now too and hope to create a few more I have ideas about for my shop when I open. So buying in bulk for somethings makes this much cheaper and easier. I found these really pretty cobalt blue pint canning jars so I put my mixes in those. I make cajun spice, chili mix and my rib mix.

But even in spite of all this, I still have some ancient things in my cabinets. I think its inevitable since the jars are so small. They get pushed behind things. And even as I clean out the cabinets for this move........I know there will be some ancient stuff coming along on the trip. I just hate throwing this stuff away lol.

Hmmmmm wonder if there's a lil part of me that's Egyptian from someone in the family tree.....lol


kathyinozarks said...

Hello Sea, yep that sounds like me too.
Since moving here to Missouri-and since my kitchen is not finished yet-so no cabinets or storage space to speak of, I started buying all my herbs in bulk, and then I set up a shelf in my freezer-and keep everything in there now-I like it-stays fresher, close at hand-and easier for my to find. and when I freeze some of my own fresh, or buy some fresh-I just throw them in the freezer too.
I think my most favorites are thyme, rosemary and sage fresh from the garden.

coriander said...

I use mostly fresh herbs this time of year and I always intend to dry some for the winter, yet seldom remember too. Last year I potted some thyme and oregano and grew them on a window sill. The oregano died pretty quickly but the thyme did fine.

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