While I claim no great skill or knowledge about cooking that big ole Thanksgiving turkey I can tell you about a couple herbs that may help you have a successful culinary experience!; I have the good fortune to have a mom who is an extremely good chef and I'll share the recipe (or at least where to find it) that she'll be using for Thanksgiving later in this post. For now let's talk about herbs!
Herbs are great in the garden for two reasons: they taste good and they look good. What more do you need in a plant? They can be used to season all kinds of foods whether it is an olive oil based dip for bread to meats. Here's a quick look at what herbs we grew in our garden this year and how we used them.
Basil was probably the most used herb. We used it for making spaghetti/marinara sauce but also included it in our olive oil dipping sauce, various marinades for chicken, and of course pesto! Pesto is such a simple thing to make and it tastes great. Next year I'll plant a whole lot more basil so that we can save some pesto for winter.
Lemon balm was our least used herb. It looks good and smells great but we just failed to utilize it properly. It's a perennial that should come back next year and would work great in teas and with poultry. I haven't tried it with fish but something tells me that the lemony scents would blend very well with a good salmon!
We used our oregano like the basil. It's a great companion to basil in almost everything. Oregano is especially good when sprinkled on top of pizza.
Rosemary is another herb that we use constantly. I've scattered it about our garden areas as an evergreen ornamental planting, which I'll talk about later in the week. Rosemary has a fantastic scent when you brush up against it in the yard and is easy to propagate. We've used it in many foods but mostly in chicken. Can you tell we eat a lot of chicken? Lately I've started to propagate Rosemary with an extremely simple method. The technical term is called "Sticking it in the ground." Very technical. I just take a rosemary branch that is ripe (hardwood at the base) to semi ripe and strip off the lower leaves. Then I stick the ends in the ground to a depth of about 4 inches. After about two weeks all cuttings are still green but I won't check for roots unless I decide to move them. Simple and easy plant propagation can't be beat!
Thyme is an herb that I just started in the garden this fall. I grew it from seed then added it to the Japanese maple garden as a low growing herb toward the front of the bed near the patio. You can never have enough thyme, right? It's good with poultry and fish as well.
So what herbs will mom use for the turkey? Rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and sage! Marjoram and common sage (Salvia officinalis) aren't present in our garden yet although we have many other salvias.
Mom will be fixing a Citrus-Scented Brined Turkey along with many other delicious dishes. How will you fix your turkey this Thanksgiving?
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Monday, November 24, 2008
Herbs for Turkeys!
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.