A large group of folks interested in growing herbs and using them to improve the foods they cook met September 22 at the local Ag Center to learn more on this subject. Many herbs are easy to grow in the Florida garden, and they can be used to season, enrich, or otherwise improve the taste or smell of foods.
Matt Orwat, Horticulture Agent, taught the basics of growing favorite herbs in the garden, flower garden, borders or in pots. Most of the same practices apply to growing herbs as to growing vegetables. Annuals that must be replanted each year include basil, borage, chervil, coriander, cumin, and savory. Perennials that befriend you by coming back the next year include cardamom, fennel, garlic, ginger, ginseng, lemon balm, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. If you start with just a few and learn how to use them in different dishes, you will be rewarded at a cost much less than buying fresh herbs for a specific recipe.
Herbs can be used fresh or dried. Rule of thumb for amounts is three times the amount if the herb is fresh. When you’re using dried herbs, the taste and aroma are intensified and you need less than if the herb is fresh.
The second part of this workshop involved Master Gardener Sadie Jones from Calhoun County who demonstrated the use of herbs in several Oriental dishes which the group then enjoyed eating. Desserts also used local herbs.
Everybody went home with new ideas for cooking, and a booklet of new recipes and herbal blends compiled by Master Gardener President Glenda Wilson and Sadie Jones. Also hosting were Master Gardeners Roxanne Bush, Geraline Tharp, and Victoria Rushing.