Monday, November 24, 2008

Herbs for Turkeys!

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?

8 comments :

  1. Thanks for all the information and recipe. Your mother is a great cook.

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  2. I havent tried growing Thyme from seed - maybe I will have a go next spring

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  3. Very informative. I have about 7 different mints, of course I think Rosemary should be in everyone's garden although I have failed to use the herbs, so far I just love the smells of them all.

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  4. Dave,

    I do love herbs and find like you that Lemon Balm gets the brush off in my garden! I love to rub the leaves between my finger for that rich lemon scent, but haven't ever used it for anything in the kitchen, either! have a lovely holiday with your family!

    gail

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  5. I plan on growing some herbs next season like basil & oregano. I like bay leaf slid under the skin of my turkey while baking. :) Your mom's recipe sounds delish!

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  6. Hi Dave, you are using the best method of propagation of all for the rosemary, stick it in the ground. I like to use thyme in the stuffing, a little is all you need. I don't really care for the taste of sage, but like to grow it in the garden for looks, the tri color is so pretty in the winter, kind of pinky. I have two turkey breasts that will be roasted in a bag to catch all those good juices to make gravy. We are all about gravy here!:-)
    Frances

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  7. Oh I know the stick it in the ground propogation method well..LOL
    did you know that you can actually take the little sprig of rosemary that you buy in the grocery store and do this and it will actually grow? As for the Lemon Balm..I have tons of it..it will overwinter and be back next year..and it also sends babies about..sometimes they travel a long distance and end up in the stangest places. I will be doing a post on Lemon Balm soon..I'll make sure to add some ideas on how you can use it more often. I agree about the sage..I love to grow it, but I the only time I use it is when I'm cooking Turkey.

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  8. Thanks Dave for the info. Sadly I don't use my herbs from the garden in cooking. I should. It would be much better than the store bought. Frankly I just love to grow them for their smell.
    Most importantly, I hope you & your family have the best "THANKSGIVING" ever.

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