Set your sights on citrus, craft your own bouquet garni, and more
Craving refreshing lemony flavors? Even out of season, you can awaken your palate with a collection of aromatic, citrus-forward foliage. These stunners are easy to grow and elegant when planted in containers.
A. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
B. Variegated calamondin (Citrofortunella mitis ‘Variegata’)
C. Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
D. Red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus)
E. Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
F. Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
G. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
DIY: Spring Citrus Salad Dressing >>Get the recipe here
A staple in French cuisine, the bouquet garni can also serve as inspiration for a cook’s favorite garden container. When you need to add flavor to your soup or stock, a fragrant bouquet is just a clip away.
A. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
B. Curly-leaf parsley (P. crispum var. crispum)
C. Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus)
D. Italian or flat-leaf parsley (P. crispum var. neopolitanum)
Not visible: French thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
DIY: How to Make a Bouquet Garni
The classic bouquet garni includes bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Try your hand at this combination, or substitute various herbs, such as basil, chervil, garlic, and tarragon.
Supplies: Cheesecloth, kitchen string, herbs, and scissors
❶ Harvest herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley.
❷ Unroll a layer of cheesecloth and place herbs in cloth.
❸ Fold cloth around herbs and secure with kitchen string.
Tip: Cut the string length according to the size of your stockpot and tie to the pot handle for easy retrieval.
This lovely table centerpiece, containing the main ingredients for a fresh herbal infusion, is a feast for the senses. And making a potful is as easy as snip, steep, and sip.
A. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
B. Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
C. Variegated nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
D. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
E. Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’)
DIY: Herbal Tea
Steep your favorite cup with these or other easy-to-grow herbs
❶ Snip. Harvest the herbs in the morning when they will be most flavorful. One large handful of fresh herbs will make two cups of tea. To get started, try one-half handful each of mint and lemon verbena, plus one calendula and three chamomile flowers.
❷ Steep. Bring a pot of water to boil, then reduce heat. Place herbs in a French press and fill with hot water. Let steep for 10 minutes.
❸ Sip. Press the plunger to strain herbs and pour into cup. Add fresh herbs such as calendula petals or nasturtium foliage for color. Sweeten as desired with local honey and stir with a piece of lemongrass. (The tea can also be served cold.)
❹ Harvest too much? There are many tools available to make the collecting and storage of herbs easier. For example, Herb Keepers will store your cuttings in the refrigerator in anti-bacterial glass to extend life up to two weeks.