It’s that time of year when nurseries and farmers’ markets are flush with herb plants just begging to be taken home and grown. Whether you’re an apartment dweller tending to indoor pots or a suburbanite caring for a full-blown herb garden, you’re going to have a lot of herbs on your hands. Reduce waste by checking out our easy tips for maximizing your summer herbs:
It’s easy to sub in fresh herbs for the dry, store-bought stuff called for in your favorite recipes. Because dry herbs have greater potency than fresh, the general rule of thumb is to use three times more fresh herbs than dry. So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, you’ll want to use 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme.
Summer herbs add a refreshing twist to beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Try infusing lemonade with fresh basil or rosemary, or go the cocktail route with a mojito made with homegrown mint. If you don’t already have one, you’ll want to invest in a mortar and pestle to make the most of your summertime beverage options.
Let’s not beat around the bush — butter is great. And you can make it even greater by adding fresh herbs from your garden. Finely chop the herbs, then mix them into your butter of choice, adding as much or little as you want. We recommend stopping by your local farmers’ market to pick up real butter from a dairy farm — once you’ve had it, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought stuff.
Drying and storing your herbs is a great way to avoid waste. Herbs with lower moisture content, such as oregano, are prime candidates for air drying in bunches, while higher-moisture content herbs like basil fare well with quick and easy microwave drying.