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Keeping herbs for winter


by Jane Moore

From seed I've grown basil, flat leaved parsley, coriander and dill this year and these complement the perennial shrubby herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme.


HerbsBesides the brassica family (which have been an all out success on my plot this year, in case I haven't mentioned this before) my herbs have grown really well. The wet weather seems to have suited their growth and they are very leafy, lush and flavoursome. From seed I've grown basil, flat leaved parsley, coriander and dill this year and these complement the perennial shrubby herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme.

I wouldn't be without my herbs - it's so fantastic to grab a handful of rosemary to shove under a leg of lamb on a chilly, wintery Sunday. And the annuals are just as valuable - bunches of fresh coriander for aromatic curries and spicy salsas; lovely delicate dill for herb butters; armfuls of parsley for just about anything and everything, and buckets of basil for pasta sauces. I always mean to get round to making my own pesto - it's so simple! - but time slips away and before I know it I'm grabbing what's left of the annuals to try to make the most of them before the frosts finish them off for good. Which is right now, sigh.

Inspired by the discovery that it's Herb Day in the USA on Saturday 13th October (check out this blog: www.topveg.com for chitchat about herbs and herb day) I've been doing a spot of research as to how I should go about storing my herbs and, so far, the BBC Food website has the most comprehensive and straightforward guide.

I'm definitely going to try drying - the most tried and tested method - and I might do some herbs in ice cubes too as that seems such a lovely idea for mint. Apparently herbs that are frozen do lose some of their flavour but it's a really easy way to store them and it's worth a try. But what I really want to do is make basil oil - it's a beautiful, bright green, tasty oil which looks lovely and very professional. And now I've found a recipe. All I need to do is nip out and buy some good olive oil and some pretty jars.



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Gardeners' World Web User 04/11/2007 at 13:26

This year I have potted up herbs that die down in winter (mint, chives, marjoram) and put them on my kitchen windowsill. Very handy for snipping!

Gardeners' World Web User 21/07/2009 at 19:05

What's with the Dill this year ? Mine's grown to over 1m 8o cms and still going. My only references say that a height of 1m 20 is exceptional. Is Dill of this height this to be expected in the future ?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

Thanks for the tips. I entered gardening in a big way this year (from having a flagged yard with a tub of herbs, to moving house and taking on a full bedded, lawned garden). I've enjoyed myself that much I've even taken on an allotment (I like to aim big!)but I've never investigated a way of preserving herbs. Unfortunately, to say these were the only things I used to grow, with all the gardening embracing I've been doing, they're the one thing that have been ignored this year. I still have some lovely basil and rosemary that I want to get the full use out of and the links have been useful. Keep up the good work