I received a pot of lemon thyme as a bridal shower favor recently and was looking for some good, simple, non dessert recipes for it. It also made me realize that potted herbs are available at the nurserys now so I would love to start an herb garden (since I have the room this year for one) any suggestions for must haves?? Thanks!!
Yes, I was going to say fish too. I also sometimes put some in hot steamed rice. It's a lovely herb, I have a big pot on my windowsill. A little goes a long way.
I'm jealous about your herb garden plans and also psyched for you, it's so rewarding. I used to grow 13 types of thyme (I got carried away, ok?), sage, chives, garlic chives, tarragon, oregano, cilantro, italian parsley, dill, basil, rosemary (mine always got mildew though). There are so many choices. Some are annuals and some perrenials. I'd start out with another thyme variety, basil, chives (pretty when they bloom and you can eat the blossoms), italian parsley and sage. Have fun!!!
You can infuse the herb in oils or vinegars for future use.
Make herb butter by mixing fresh-room temp softened butter and your herb (processor or manual), the roll or mold into platic wrap and chill. Cut disks of roll for pretty service on fish or steak or breads or plates or access for cooking.
Also, check the link below for "Herb Gardening 101" and "Herb Gardens" in the HOW TO"S section of that link because there's more to herbs than just putting them in the soil.
Rosemary is an oft used herb and rather hardy, but it is best to plant it in a pot to control the root system (and you can put the whole pot in/under the ground, too) because it grows rampant otherwise and may choke out the others.
Also, before you buy anything, plot your garden to assess sunlight and drainage and animals (foreign or domestic).
Also, not all herbs have to be grown in the same garden. Some are better grown shielded by a larger leafy plant, some are better grown indoors on a window sill, and some can add great design in/around non-edible plants and trees.
I'm in Southern California. Sorry, I didn't seem to take into consideration ALL areas of the United States with that statement.
See link below for a few hints. (and, sorry, didn't intend to take this thread in another direction from lemon thyme)
Here's the e-how on lemon thyme.
And, here's DYI growing zones information:
This topic is better covered at another website.
Having an herb garden is extremely rewarding and chowish. You should get some English or French thyme as well--it is endlessly useful for fish, chicken, mushrooms, focaccia, etc etc etc... Sage is good for frying, butter-and-sage sauce and poultry. Italian parsley is a must, as much as you have space for. Rosemary. Basil of course, though it is too early here (in Washington DC) to plant it. If you have room and enough sun, try to grow a chile pepper plant.
My own sun and space if pretty limited, so I can't grow real crops such as tomatoes, but having fresh herbs available--some such as sage, thyme and rosemary I can usually harvest year-round--is an enormous convenience and makes an appreciable difference in cooking. Even fresh herbs from Whole Foods etc are usually not quite the same.
I completely agree! I have both a community garden plot with herbs in it as well as some pots by my back doorstep.
I'd like to add to the list oregano and marjoram - totally easy to do both in pots. If you do parsley (which I think you should!), pick a deep pot (the roots will appreciate the space and you'll get a better supply). Also consider mint. From drinks to salads to desserts, it's just a wonderful thing to have on hand if you like the flavor. And it really needs to be in a pot - it's too invasive to grow on its own in a garden.
Today the LA Times profiled my favorite herb/salad green sorrel. I grow it in a pot and in my garden. Like parsley get a big pot if you decide to try it. Lemony and tangy - perfect raw and cooked! It may inspire you to try other salad greens in pots (a logical step up from herbs).
Finally once you get hooked, give some ethnic and/or exotic herbs a try. Thai basil is easy in pots as is Persian mint and epazote from Mexico. It's a great way to try new flavors in your cooking and to entice you to experimenting with new types of food.
Good luck and happy gardening!
The two "must-haves" I would add are lovage (Levisticum officinalis) and winter savory (Satureia montana). They are not common or everyday herbs, but they are both easy-to-care-for perennials, very tasty and *never* available at the supermarket or the farmer's market. I find that it's nice to grow things that are too expensive at the store, but it's *essential* to grow things that can't be bought at the store.
Lovage has a nice celery-leaf flavor and appearance, but a little more spicy. It jazzes up soups beyond belief, and you cut what you need rather than buying a whole celery bunch for just a few leaves.
Winter savory has a pleasing taste somewhere in between oregano, thyme, and sage. It's nothing to write home about; it's just a perfectly mild herby taste that grows lushly year-round. It complements eggs better than anything I can think of.
I can tell you nothing about lemon thyme.