Seasonal Herbs - Shopping & Cooking

Basil
Chervil coming soon
Dill coming soon
Lavender
Lemon Verbena
Marjoram
Mint
Oregano
Rosemary
Thyme

This section contains a sampling of herbs from our local farmers' markets. For info on other herbs, see Cooking With Fresh Herbs and the Cook's Thesaurus.


GENOVESE
SWEET THAI
LEMON THAI

Basil

There are many varieties; the most common are Genovese (standard Italian variety, often used with tomatoes or for pesto), sweet Thai (purple-red stems/flowers, slight mint/anise aroma), and lemon Thai (smaller leaves, lemony aroma, often used with fish).

Basil is most common with Italian and South East Asian cuisine, but it’s very versatile and can be used raw, cooked, dried, in oil, or as tea. Great in salads, sandwiches, sauces, and with meats or fish. Only use tips and leaves of plant.

Look for: Fresh, full-colored whole leaves. Avoid wilted, limp, spotted, dry leaves.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase, or refrigerate in a plastic bag for no more than a few days.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

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Lavender

A versatile plant that is used in sweet and savory dishes as well as for perfume, oils, tea and medicine.

Some chefs substitute lavender with a little garlic for thyme or marjoram. Regardless of what you're making, a little goes a long way.

Look for: Fresh flowers and buds are best for cooking, but dried versions are almost as good. (You can often find dried lavender in tea shops.)

Storage: Put fresh lavender stems in water, or hang upside down to dry flowers out. Put dried flowers in an airtight container and store in a dark, cool place.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
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Lemon Verbena

Has an unusually pure, intense and fruity lemon note.

Can be used to flavor stews and soups, with fish or poultry, and (most commonly) for sweets and drinks - like fruit, juices, cakes, syrups, sorbets and ice cream.

Look for: Fresh green, unwilted leaves. Avoid yellow/brown, limp leaves.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Or, stand stems in water & refrigerate with plastic cover.

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Marjoram

Related to oregano, but more sweet and mild. (Actually, oregano is the wild version of marjoram.) Marjoram leaves are dainty, and the small, little balls at the tips eventually become flowers.

A versatile herb, most often used with meats (like lamb or veal) and vegetables. Don't cook marjoram too long; its flavor is delicate.

Look for: Fresh, full-colored leaves/buds. Avoid yellow/brown, limp leaves or buds.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase, or refrigerate in a plastic bag for no more than a few days.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Mint

There are many varieties; the most common are spearmint and peppermint.

Mint is often used in desserts and drinks, but it also goes well with meats, vegetables, and seafood. Spearmint is ideal for savory dishes; peppermint is ideal for sweet desserts.

Look for: Fresh, full-colored leaves. Avoid yellow/brown, limp, or spotted leaves.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase, or refrigerate in a plastic bag for no more than a few days.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Oregano

The wild version of marjoram, oregano has a strong peppery/pine flavor and larger leaves, stems and flowers.

Another versatile herb that adds a nice, bold flavor to salads, meats, pizzas, pastas, etc.

Look for: Fresh, full-colored leaves. Avoid yellow/brown, limp, or spotted leaves.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase, or refrigerate in a plastic bag for no more than a few days.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Rosemary

Rosemary has a strong, pungent taste and is very versatile, used to flavor meats, eggs, vegetables, soups, stuffing, sauces, and even citrus fruits.

Stems can be stripped to use as flavor-enhancing skewers.

Look for: Full-colored, healthy leaves (also called needles). Avoid wilted or discolored leaves.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase, or refrigerate in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
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Thyme

Has a subtle, lemony pine taste.

Thyme enhances almost any type of dish, and is best when used liberally and cooked slowly. Remove leaves from stem by stripping them off with your fingers, or with a fork.

Look for: Full-colored leaves. Avoid yellow/brown or limp leaves.

Storage: Use soon after picking/purchase to preserve thyme’s subtle flavor. To store, put fresh thyme stems in water, or refrigerate in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes