herbs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8914/all en-US 7 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Early Harvest http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-preserve-your-early-harvest <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-preserve-your-early-harvest" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frozen_blueberries_000063853591.jpg" alt="Learning how to preserve your early harvest" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The weather is warm, the days are long, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-your-summer-veggies">fresh veggies</a> and fruits abound. Summertime is still in full swing and can feel blissfully endless. Unfortunately, cold weather will return before you know it, leaving you longing for these summer days. One way to prolong the season is to preserve its vibrant produce while at its peak. If you're not into canning &mdash; it can be involved and requires some special equipment &mdash; there are a surprising number of easy alternatives. Read on for seven methods for storing up tomatoes, berries, stone fruit, cucumbers, and the rest of summer's bounty.</p> <h2>1. Freezing</h2> <p>There's a good reason why freezing fresh foods is the tried and true method for preserving (beyond canning). When done right, you can really seal in the freshness, and have a taste of summer months after pool-worthy weather is gone. But in order to achieve ultimate flavor and texture, you need to follow a few freezing rules.</p> <p>Smaller veggies like corn and peas can be frozen whole, while bigger items should be chopped up into smaller pieces. Quick blanch them first, ending with an ice bath, and then freeze them. For mushy veggies like tomatoes, cook them first &mdash; a marinara sauce will do nicely &mdash; and then freeze. Fruits like berries don't need to be blanched, and can be frozen right away. No matter what you decide to preserve, be sure to freeze at the peak of freshness for the best results.</p> <p>Frozen fruits and veggies will last eight to 12 months in a 0℉ freezer.</p> <h2>2. Quick Pickles</h2> <p>You don't have to be a canning whiz or own a bunch of equipment to enjoy flavorful, homemade pickles. The <a href="http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2013/08/quick-pickles/">quick pickling method</a> is as simple as combining spices and aromatics in a jar, shoving in some summer-fresh cucumbers, boiling a water and vinegar mixture, and pouring it on top. After the pickles come to room temperature, they are stashed in the fridge and ready to eat in 48 hours. They'll last for two months in there &mdash; if you don't eat them long before then. You can use a variation of this technique for a number of pickled treats, like jalapeños and red onions.</p> <h2>3. Drying</h2> <p>Did you know that you can make delicious, high quality dried fruit without a bulky dehydrator? Small fruits like cranberries, cherries, blueberries, and more can be dehydrated with your oven and no special equipment. In a few hours and no hard work, you'll have a tray full of chewy and <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-dry-fruit-in-the-oven-92637">flavorful dried fruit</a>. With a longer drying time and a few more steps, you can <a href="http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09309.html">dry just about anything</a>, from peaches to strawberries. It's a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer fruit for months after they're in season, and it makes a really tasty snack.</p> <h2>4. Fruit Shrubs</h2> <p>Shrubs &mdash; not the leafy green variety, but the vinegar and fruit variety &mdash; are making a real comeback. They've been used throughout history as a way of preserving fruit. Now they're back in fashion as a refreshing addition to a drink or cocktail. The fruit mingles with sugar to make a sweet and flavorful syrup, and vinegar is added to preserve as well as give a tangy kick. <a href="http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/06/cocktail-101-how-to-make-shrub-syrups.html">Shrub syrup</a> will keep in the fridge for some time, and is great mixed with tonic, seltzer, or used as a cocktail mixer. Use different fruits to make different flavors, and line your refrigerator shelves with jars of colorful liquids for a taste of summer fruit in the dead of winter.</p> <h2>5. Flavored Oils</h2> <p>Summertime not only brings a bounty of fruit and veggies, it's also the season for vibrant fresh herbs like basil. Delicate greens like cilantro, basil, and parsley can be hard to preserve without losing their color and flavor. One way to successfully capture their fresh flavor is to <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/archive/holidays/hanukkah/flavored-oils">infuse olive oil</a>. Not only is it easy and will add tasty, herby notes to your oil, it will last for months, and you can mix and match flavors to your heart's content. Imagine drizzling green basil oil over crostini or pasta in the middle of January. You'll be transported to a warm summer day in a snap.</p> <h2>6. Compound Butters</h2> <p>Another totally delicious way to preserve bountiful summer herbs is by making <a href="http://www.browneyedbaker.com/how-to-make-compound-butter/">compound butter</a>. It's as simple as chopping clean, fresh herbs, mixing them into softened butter, shaping the mixture into a log, and chilling. It's simply delicious on bread, melted over steak, or cooked with a vegetable saute. You can use whatever herbs you like, and add in other spices or flavorings. Best of all, the whole wrapped log can be dropped into a freezer bag and frozen for several months.</p> <h2>7. Sauces</h2> <p>We hinted at this in the freezing section, but a great way to preserve some summer produce is by cooking it first and then freezing or jarring it. Tomatoes are an excellent example. Cook up a big batch of your favorite <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/08/fresh-tomato-sauce/">marinara sauce</a> and freeze it in freezer bag servings. When you're ready to make pasta, just defrost a bag and heat through.</p> <p>If you've got more tomatoes than you know what to do with, cook them down into flavor-packed <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/got-tomatoes-make-tomato-paste-92856">tomato paste</a> and freeze in small servings to flavor soups, sauces, and more. You can even slow-roast slices of tomato and pack them in olive oil to store in the fridge for a month or so. The sweet <a href="http://www.simplebites.net/slow-roasted-cherry-tomatoes-a-simple-summer-appetizer/">roasted tomatoes</a> make a great pizza topping or appetizer.</p> <p><em>How do you preserve your garden's production without canning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-preserve-your-early-harvest">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-ways-to-use-up-your-summer-tomatoes">The 12 Best Ways to Use Up Your Summer Tomatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-the-heat-with-cool-summer-meals">Beat the heat with cool summer meals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-eat-paleo-for-super-cheap">20 Ways to Eat Paleo for Super Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-grilled-veggie-dishes-that-hold-their-own-with-meat">15 Grilled Veggie Dishes That Hold Their Own With Meat</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink freezing fruits harvest herbs pickling preserving sauces summer vegetables Thu, 13 Aug 2015 15:00:36 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1518287 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 New Ways to Use Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-to-use-fresh-herbs-in-the-kitchen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-new-ways-to-use-fresh-herbs-in-the-kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cocktails_000021073021.jpg" alt="Cocktail including fresh herbs from the kitchen " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know about you, but each spring I get this itch to grow my own herb garden. I tend to the plants all spring and summer long. But I am often stuck on what to actually <em>do </em>with the fruits of my labor. Here are some simple ideas for what to do with herbs in your kitchen. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have?ref=seealso">12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pesto</h2> <p>Try whipping up a tasty pesto spread with your fresh herbs. This <a href="http://www.ateaspoonofhappiness.com/cilantro-pesto/">cilantro pesto</a> comes together in a flash. Simply pulse almonds in a food processor before adding the herbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. You could substitute basil for the cilantro in this recipe (and try pine nuts instead of almonds).</p> <h2>2. Salad Dressing</h2> <p>Jazz up standard salad dressing by adding herbs. Here's a recipe for <a href="http://www.bombshellbling.com/cilantro-lime-ranch-salad-dressing/">cilantro lime ranch dressing</a> &mdash; just add the herbs, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, tomatillo, and garlic to store bought ranch. Process until smooth and creamy.</p> <h2>3. Hummus</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/lemon-dill-hummus-236091">lemon-dill hummus</a> recipe will take your chickpea spread to another level. The recipe calls for dried beans, but you can also substitute canned if you're in a hurry. It's best to let the flavors mingle overnight if you can. Feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs.</p> <h2>4. Salad</h2> <p>If you don't love lettuce in your salads, try this <a href="http://www.thetomatotart.com/recipe/fresh-plum-caprese-my-2-year-blogiversary/">plum Caprese with buffalo mozzarella</a>. You'll slice tomatoes and cheese before arranging on the plate. Tear fresh basil leaves over everything and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.</p> <h2>5. Pizza</h2> <p>Herbs make <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/910502/grilled-pizza-cheesy-corn-fresh-tomatoes-and-basil?czone=food/best-grilling-recipes/grilling-recipes">homemade pizza</a> gourmet without much effort. The key is to wait until your pie is done baking (or &mdash; in this case &mdash; grilling) before adding basil or other herbs. Otherwise the leaves will wilt or dry up.</p> <h2>6. Cocktails</h2> <p>There are numerous adult beverages that rely on herbs for their zing. Take this delicious <a href="http://www.jamieoliver.com/drinks-tube/recipe/mojito/">mojito recipe</a>, for example. You'll bruise fresh mint leaves by placing them on your hand and clapping to release their flavor and aroma. Then toss in your glass before adding the liquor and other ingredients.</p> <h2>7. Infused Water</h2> <p>Add zero calorie flavor to water and other beverages by <a href="http://themerrythought.com/recipes/herb-infused/">infusing them with herbs</a>. The process is about as basic as you can get. Fill a container with water. Then take whatever fresh herbs you'd like to use and crush them gently. Add to your container and let sit for several hours or overnight.</p> <h2>8. Cake</h2> <p>Lavender is wonderful inside and outside this <a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/lemon-lavender-cake.html">lemon-lavender cake</a>. Pulse fresh lavender in your food processor with sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and add eggs, flour, and ground almonds. After baking and icing, garnish with more fresh lavender flowers.</p> <h2>9. Biscuits</h2> <p>We can thank Julia Child for this <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/julia-childs-herb-biscuits-98849">herb biscuits</a> recipe. Take fresh parsley and chives and mince them. Mix the dry biscuit ingredients together, toss in the herbs, and then add the wet ingredients. Bake to golden brown perfection. Tip: I use a ball jar ring to cut my biscuit dough into perfect portions.</p> <h2>10. Butter</h2> <p>Create your own <a href="http://www.gorare.com/2014/02/ribeyes-with-classic-steak-butter/">steak butter</a> using fresh herbs. This recipe combines roasted garlic with rosemary, parsley, and sage. Add everything to the softened butter before rolling into a log and chilling. And the concept doesn't need to stop with meat. Mince up your favorite herbs and use the butter on biscuits, toast, or whatever else needs a kick.</p> <h2>11. Soup</h2> <p>You can also incorporate herbs into soup for added flavor. This <a href="http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/6512-lemon-grass-ginger-soup-with-mushrooms">lemongrass and ginger soup</a> is light and relatively easy to make. You'll simmer chicken stock (use veggie stock if you're vegetarian) with the lemongrass and ginger to release all the aromatic goodness. Remove herbs and sprinkle in chopped mushrooms before serving.</p> <h2>12. Preserve</h2> <p>If keeping up with the garden is just too much, try preserving your herbs for later use. My favorite method? <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-in-olive-oil-173648">Freezing herbs olive oil</a>. Clean and coarsely chop herbs. Place them in an ice cube tray and then cover with olive oil. Freeze overnight, then transfer to labeled bags. The flavors will infuse right in your freezer. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Store Herbs to Make Them Last Longer and Taste Better</a>)</p> <p><em>What fresh herbs do you grow? How do you use them?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-to-use-fresh-herbs-in-the-kitchen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-your-summer-veggies">31 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Your Summer Veggies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-10-simple-swaps-will-make-your-baking-so-much-better">These 10 Simple Swaps Will Make Your Baking So Much Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-and-frugal-power-bowls-you-want-right-now">10 Delicious and Frugal Power Bowls You Want Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink fresh herbs recipes spring Fri, 05 Jun 2015 17:00:59 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1442388 at http://www.wisebread.com The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-herbs-spices-147834466-small.jpg" alt="cooking herbs spices" title="cooking herbs spices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you received a spice rack as a wedding gift. Perhaps you found a bunch of basil and cilantro in your latest CSA basket. Or possibly you're just looking to make healthier, low-calorie foods with fuller flavors on the cheap. Cooking with herbs and spices is certainly a skill even novice home cooks should take some time to master.</p> <p>And summer is the perfect to bulk up on these robust ingredients &mdash; and more &mdash; while they are fresh and, therefore, less expensive. You may also find unusual varieties at the farmer's market, which can mean unique dishes for your friends and family to enjoy. If you'd like to dry your own herbs for later use, there are <a href="http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/how-to-dry-herbs-recipe.html">a few methods</a> you can employ, including tying in bunches, hanging upside down until fully dehydrated, and then storing in airtight containers. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts?ref=related">Preserving In-Season Foods for Off-Season Feasts</a>)</p> <p>Here's the lowdown on 12 herb and spice rack favorites I use most in my own cooking, as well as some tips on their use.</p> <h2>Allspice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/allspice-488362375-small.jpg" /></p> <p>I used to think allspice was a manufactured mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves &mdash; but the flavors come from the unripe and dried berries of its own plant, the Jamaican pimento tree. As a result, it's often used in Caribbean cooking (think <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/12/learning-the-secrets-of-authentic-jerk-chicken-jamaica.html">jerk sauces</a>) or whenever a good dose of warm spice is required, from pumpkin pie and other holiday goodies to slow simmer tagine dinners. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-delicious-and-easy-one-pot-meals?ref=related">25 Delicious and Easy One-Pot Meals</a>)</p> <h2>Basil</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/basil-161764543-small.jpg" /></p> <p>Of all herbs, I love basil best. It's bountiful and cheap at market, and it grows easily in small container gardens at home. Basil also makes a mean, versatile pesto sauce, among other delicious dishes. In stir fries and other hot meals, it's best to tear fresh basil leaves over the dish to let wilt after cooking has completed. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-pesto-recipes-and-only-one-uses-basil?related=seealso">10 Easy Pesto Recipes (And Only One Uses Basil)</a>)</p> <h2>Black Pepper</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/black-peppercorn-166675454-small.jpg" /></p> <p>Most every recipe calls for a pinch of salt and dash of spicy black pepper. Cooks have been using peppercorns for ages whether during the actual cooking process itself or when the meal hits the table. If you can invest in a mill, grind whole peppercorns versus using standard black pepper for a more intense flavor.</p> <h2>Chives</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/chives-482412837-small.jpg" /></p> <p>I found a rogue patch of chives growing in my neglected garden this year. So, while the plant itself is quite hearty, so, too, are the dishes it works best with. I toss chives in omelets, mix with sour cream atop baked potatoes, flavor soups and stews, and mix into pasta and salads. The chive's garlic and onion flavors marry well with a wide variety of foods, so it's a safe herb to use in culinary experiments.</p> <h2>Cilantro</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cilantro-482425237-small.jpg" /></p> <p>For salsas and guacamole recipes, fresh cilantro is my go-to herb. It also makes a vibrant garnish for a variety of ethnic dishes. Though there's no special rule, I tend to tear leaves off the stems before chopping for the best texture and flavor. Oh, and if you see coriander as an ingredient in your recipe, know this: They are the seeds from the very same plant.</p> <h2>Cinnamon</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cinnamon-469820215-small.jpg" /></p> <p>Much like allspice, cinnamon is a warm, cozy flavor I tend to use most in the fall and winter months in my baking. All year, cinnamon makes a nice addition to curry dishes. Just be careful you're getting the real deal &mdash; cinnamon's cousin, <em>cassia</em>, is often sold in its place in the U.S. and <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/25/256602581/when-is-cinnamon-spice-not-so-nice-the-great-danish-debate">can be toxic to the liver</a> in large quantities in certain individuals. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake?ref=related">Are Your Spices Fake</a>?)</p> <h2>Dill</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dill-480559397-small.jpg" /></p> <p>The wispy, feathery texture of fresh dill leaves combine well into many flavorful foods. I like mixing them with soft cheeses, incorporating them into potato salads, garnishing fish, and sprinkling liberally onto deviled eggs. If you cannot find fresh dill, dried is an adequate substitute so long as you decrease the amount to account for drying. Think half or a third dry versus fresh.</p> <h2>Ginger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/ginger-179235859-small.jpg" /></p> <p>Fresh ginger is as delicious as it is good for you. Its bright flavor blends nicely into fresh salad dressings and sauces. Whenever I mince fresh ginger, I squeeze the juices into my recipes rather than toss in the root itself. As for substituting fresh ginger with its ground counterpart, I've never had much luck. So, I like to keep some ginger root in my freezer &mdash; wrapped tightly in plastic &mdash; for emergencies.</p> <h2>Paprika</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/paprika-486169205-small.jpg" /></p> <p>We've reached my favorite spice on this list. Paprika, which is often used in Hungarian cuisine, makes its impact on most of my vegetarian meals in some way or another. There are a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paprika#Usage">number of varieties</a> of this spice, but what you'll find on most grocer's shelves is a mildly pungent, Noble Sweet. If you're looking for more complex flavor, pick up some smoked paprika &mdash; it goes beautifully in crock pot chili recipes. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>Rosemary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/rosemary-178573418-small.jpg" /></p> <p>Rosemary is certainly a good bet if you're cooking poultry. As a vegetarian, I use the aromatic herb to flavor breads and even tomato sauces. I recently infused some olive oil with fresh rosemary, and it's quite a treat. I took 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and a handful of rosemary sprigs and placed them in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove. After a few minutes, I transferred everything to a glass bottle and now store in my refrigerator for drizzling.</p> <h2>Sage</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/sage-466355993-small.jpg" /></p> <p>The fuzzy texture of sage leaves is, in a word, dreamy. And if you've ever closely examined the dried sage, it's similarly soft. This herb is often used in Mediterranean cuisine, so it's a good choice if you're making pasta dishes (gnocchi and ravioli come to mind) or even as a fat-free way to add flavor to meats. A little goes a long way, especially when using dry, so add slowly and taste often.</p> <h2>Thyme</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/thyme-492527155-small.jpg" /></p> <p>If you're keen on sage, thyme is a good partner in cooking. I use thyme often during the holidays to make vegetarian gravy (it tastes great with mushrooms) and otherwise to mix together delicious dressings like vinaigrettes. If you're using fresh thyme while making a soup or stew, it's a smart idea to tie a bunch together with some twine for easy removal before serving.</p> <p><em>Don't see your favorite on this list? What's herb or spice do you use most in cooking?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-and-healthy-filler-foods">9 Cheap and Healthy Filler Foods</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink flavor herbs pantry spices Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1171610 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Pesto Recipes (And Only One Uses Basil!) http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-pesto-recipes-and-only-one-uses-basil <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-pesto-recipes-and-only-one-uses-basil" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/basil-pesto-178633073-small.jpg" alt="basil pesto" title="basil pesto" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love summer (and fall) for the bountiful produce we receive from our CSA share each week. Thing is, as the weeks go on, the fruits and veggies start to pile up faster than I can use them in my cooking. Thankfully, I've learned some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts">basic preservation techniques</a> so we can enjoy them in the off-season. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts?ref=seealso">Preserving In-Season Foods for Off-Season Feasts</a>)</p> <p>Of all the foods to preserve, pesto is hearty and highly adaptable &mdash; and it freezes particularly well. I like using it on pizzas and pasta, and it even makes a perfect sandwich topper for most any combination I create. What's better? I have made pesto using a wide array of vegetables (and fruits), and each one has its own unique flavor.</p> <h2>1. Basil Pesto</h2> <p>I've made plenty of basil pesto recipes using raw basil with fantastic results. If you'd like to elevate your spread, try this classic <a href="http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pesto-Genovese-Classic-Basil-Pesto">Basil Pesto</a> where the leaves are blanched, meaning they are boiled briefly, then shocked by an ice bath. The process helps the pesto gain a brighter green color and also mellows the bitterness.</p> <h2>2. Cilantro Pesto</h2> <p>For a different taste, try mixing together this <a href="http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-cilantro-pesto/">Cilantro Pesto</a>. It's basically the same standard basil pesto recipe, just using cilantro leaves instead. The flavors marry well with Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more.</p> <h2>3. Garlic Scape Pesto</h2> <p>For a powerful dose of garlic and onion flavor combined, try using those curly green scapes in <a href="http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2006/06/garlic-scape-pesto-weekend-herb.html">Garlic Scape Pesto</a>. Just chop scapes finely and then combine with all the usual ingredients &mdash; nuts, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil &mdash; in a food processor.</p> <h2>4. Kale Pesto</h2> <p>One of the most vibrant pesto recipes I've ever made featured kale as its base ingredient. This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/02/lentil-quinoa-burgers-baby-kale-pesto.html">Baby Kale Pesto</a> works great on burgers and uses almond meal versus pinenuts. You can also substitute out the Parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast if you'd like to make it vegan.</p> <h2>5. Spinach Pesto</h2> <p>Walnuts go well as the nut in this <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/spinach-pesto-pasta-00000000008994/">Spinach Pesto</a> recipe. If you don't have the full 10 cups of spinach on hand, you can cut the recipe in half and make a smaller batch. If you do make too much, just freeze leftovers in a ice cube tray (I place mine in a baggie for extra freezer burn protection) for later use.</p> <h2>6. Tomato Pesto</h2> <p>I've made this <a href="http://onesweetappetite.com/sun-dried-tomato-pesto/">Sun Dried Tomato Pesto</a> using slow roasted cherry tomatoes. To roast, simply cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then bake at <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2012/08/slow-roasted-tomatoes.html">250 degrees Fahrenheit</a> &mdash; tossing occasionally &mdash; for two to three hours.</p> <h2>7. Swiss Chard Pesto</h2> <p>For a quick weeknight meal, blend together this vegan <a href="http://www.veganricha.com/2012/01/farfalle-with-swiss-chard-pesto-vegan.html">Swiss Chard Pesto</a>. The tough leafy veggie might not seem so appealing on its own, but when blended with olive oil, raw cashews, and a little basil to soften the flavor, it goes famously together with pasta.</p> <h2>8. Kohlrabi Pesto</h2> <p>Stuck on how to use the greens on your kohlrabi? (Yes! You can eat the greens, too!) The author of this three-ingredient <a href="http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2009/08/17/kohlrabi-greens-pesto-for-grilled-pizza">Kohlrabi Greens Pesto</a> recipe chops a bunch up and then sautes in some olive oil before blending together with nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.) and a little salt and pepper.</p> <h2>9. Beet Pesto</h2> <p>This <a href="http://dailywaffle.com/2013/02/06/roasted-beet-pesto/">Beet Pesto</a> recipe is sure to turn most any meal from blah to wow with its color alone. If you've never roasted beets before, just preheat your oven to <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2012/07/roasted-beets-and-smoky-chutney.html">400 degrees Fahrenheit</a>, scrub beets and chop off stems, then toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a dutch oven for an hour. Let cool before gently rubbing off skins before use.</p> <h2>10. Zucchini Pesto</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/04/zucchini-pesto.html">Zucchini Pesto</a> is made with a half cup of spinach (or other greens) and raw walnuts for some fun flair. I have found that it's a wonderful recipe if you have leftovers in the fridge and just need to use them up. Since zucchini is watery by nature, you'll need less liquid, so be sure to add a little at a time to achieve your desired consistency.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite un-basil pesto recipe? Please share a bite in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-pesto-recipes-and-only-one-uses-basil">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have">The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-swanky-sauces-to-glamorize-dinner">8 Swanky Sauces to Glamorize Dinner</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-preserve-your-early-harvest">7 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Early Harvest</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink basil herbs pesto Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1166923 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Delicious, Cheap Recipes That Use Up Your Herb Garden http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-160330915_1.jpg" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have murdered plants in my garden ranging from <strong>a</strong>rtichokes to <strong>z</strong>ucchini, but the herbs thrive. And thrive. My basil and oregano look more like shrubs. The lavender staged a garden takeover while the rosemary attempted to build its own hedge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Store Herbs</a>)</p> <p>What to DO with all of these herbs?</p> <h2>Cookies</h2> <p>Yes, I know, leave it to me to find cookie recipes to use up herbs. Hurray for inventive bakers who started experimenting with herbs in cookies. Here are some of my favorites.</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/shortbread-cookies-recipe/">Rosemary Lemon Shortbread</a>. Although the sanding sugar is optional, I really like the extra crunch and sweetness.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/lavender-shortbread-recipe.html">Lavender Shortbread</a>. The lavender is not overpowering, and these are really easy.</p> </li> <li> <p>Like the combination of chocolate and mint? Well, thank me later, after you try these <a href="http://heatherchristo.com/cooks/2011/06/24/chocolate-and-fresh-mint-cookies/">Chocolate and Fresh Mint Cookies</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Cornmeal_Thyme-Cookies-Martha-Stewart">Cornmeal-Thyme</a> cookies really do go well with tea, as suggested. I have a raisin-hater in my house, so I substituted toasted pecans.</p> </li> <li>I really was unsure about basil in a cookie, but the lemon makes it work in these <a href="http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Lemon_basil-Butter-Cookies-My-Recipes">Lemon-Basil</a> cookies.</li> </ul> <h2>Cocktails</h2> <p>I'm feeling like a bad influence here, teaching you how to take your herbs and put them into cookies and cocktails. These cocktails are so refreshing, though, and some can easily be made into &quot;mocktails.&quot;</p> <ul> <li> <p>Lots of cilantro? Try a <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cilantro-cooler-cocktails-2009">Cilantro Cooler</a> the next time you make Mexican food.</p> </li> <li> <p>I have grown lemon balm without having many uses for it. A <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/garden-recipe-the-beekeepers-balm-cocktail-the-10-minute-happy-hour-177826">Beekeeper's Balm</a> cocktail is a good one!</p> </li> <li> <p>I have bookmarked these <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Apple-and-Thyme-Martini-Recipe">Apple and Thyme Martinis</a> for next year's Thanksgiving festivities.</p> </li> <li> <p>My mother loved a good gimlet, and she'd have been crazy about these <a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Basil-Vodka-Gimlets-238926">Basil Gimlets</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Like blackberries? Me, too! Check out these <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/blackberry-cocktail-10000001990002/">Blackberry Cocktails</a> (with fresh mint).</p> </li> <li> <p>And don't forget the <a href="https://imbibemagazine.com/Mojito-Recipe">Mojito</a>, which is perhaps the herb-infused libation (mint) that made &quot;fancy cocktails&quot; popular again.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Pestos</h2> <p>A pesto, broken down, consists of herbs or greens, garlic, olive oil, and sometimes nuts and a hard cheese. Let your imagination go! You can also make these whenever you need to use up herbs and freeze in ice-cube trays or small ziplocs. Here are five to get you started in our quest to use up herbs.</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/cilantro-pesto-10000000524120/">Cilantro Pesto</a>. I love this on grilled chicken.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/">Basil Pesto</a>. A classic, over pasta.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-with-Parsley-Pesto-51170240">Parsley Pesto</a>. Such a great way to use up ordinary parsley!</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2013/05/chive-pesto/">Chive Pesto</a>. Try this over some roasted potatoes.</p> </li> <li> <p>Or, try this <a href="http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/five-herb-pesto-recipe.html">Five Herb Pesto</a>, for the best of everything!</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Marinades</h2> <p>As long as we are able during the year, we grill dinner outside. This means a little planning on the day before by putting the meat or poultry into a bag with a marinade. Fish does not need to marinate for long, so that's a good one to do spur-of-the-moment. Having an herb garden is a really wonderful thing when you are making marinades to add flavor.</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/08/13/cilantro-chicken/">Cilantro Chicken</a>, which is in my refrigerator, as of this writing.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Lemon-Oregano-Chicken-Drumsticks-354311">Oregano Marinade</a>. I love this recipe because it is so economical. I think the drumsticks are even better served cold.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.menshealth.com/bbq/recipes/sirloin-steaks-fresh-herb-marinade">Sirloin Steaks with Fresh Herb Marinade</a> are great for a dinner party. Serve with baked potatoes and a salad for a relaxing evening.</p> </li> <li> <p>Also great on the grill, using a thyme-oregano marinade, are these <a href="http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/grilled-portabella-mushrooms-with-herbs/38af380c-c329-4b62-b686-e6868059c97e">Grilled Portabella Mushrooms</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>This <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spicy-thai-marinade-with-basil-and-cilantro">Spicy Thai</a> marinade was great over shrimp, added to the top of a salad.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Salads</h2> <p>If you have not tried adding fresh herbs to your salads, you are missing out on some fantastic flavors.</p> <ul> <li> <p>This <a href="http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/light-spring-pea-salad.aspx">Pea, Butter Lettuce, and Herb Salad</a> contains one of my all-time favorite herbs, tarragon.</p> </li> <li> <p>I had to substitute fresh mozzarella for the burrata cheese here, but I certainly don't think we suffered when we scarfed this <a href="http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/fresh-herb-salad-with-burrata.html">Fresh Herb Salad</a> on crostini.</p> </li> <li> <p>Along with the apple martinis mentioned above, I will be adding this beautiful <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/escarole-and-fresh-herb-salad-with-apples-and-pomegranates">Escarole and Fresh Herb Salad</a> (with apples and pomegranates) to my Thanksgiving menu.</p> </li> <li> <p>Did somebody mention avocados, mayonnaise, and crab? I'm in. Do I have to share this <a href="http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/dinner-recipes/herbed-crab-salad-stuffed-avocados">Herbed Crab-Stuffed Avocado</a> with anyone? Because really... serves four? Serves one!</p> </li> <li> <p>I love this healthy take on <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/herbed-chicken-salad-sandwiches-50400000114452/">Herbed Chicken Salad</a>. It's easy to make and also is great in a scooped-out tomato.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Appetizers</h2> <p>The addition of herbs to appetizer ingredients really perks up the ordinary. Cases in point...</p> <ul> <li> <p>Almonds are really good for me, but sometimes I find them a little boring. Not so with these <a href="http://www.cooklikeachampionblog.com/2011/11/fried-herbed-almonds/">Fried Herbed Almonds</a>! I liked them warm from the pan.</p> </li> <li> <p>They had me at &quot;bacon.&quot; <a href="http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/herbed-bacon-sundried-tomato-cheese-spread/">Herbed Bacon Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese Spread</a>, anyone?</p> </li> <li> <p>On the lighter side, we love this <a href="http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/02/herbed-garlic-parmesan-popcorn/">Herbed Garlic-Parmesan Popcorn</a>. Use finely-chopped fresh herbs, and the flavors are amazing. Try chives and basil.</p> </li> <li> <p>This couldn't be easier. Buy pre-made <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/335070/herbed-hummus?czone=holidays/new-years-celebrations/recipes&amp;center=0&amp;gallery=863397&amp;slide=335070">Hummus</a>, add herbs, devour.</p> </li> <li> <p>NJ's &quot;olive oil dip.&quot; My neighbor pours out a quantity of olive oil into a pretty bowl, adds salt and pepper, and chopped herbs. Delicious for bread-dipping!</p> </li> </ul> <p>There you have it &mdash; 30+ ways to use up those herbs. No more need to let herbs languish in their pots. Snip away!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite ways to use the bounty of your herb garden? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have">The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-preserve-your-early-harvest">7 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Early Harvest</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink gardens herb recipes herbs Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:00:17 +0000 Marla Walters 1141587 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Store Herbs to Make Them Last Longer and Taste Better http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/herbs-465291169.jpg" alt="herbs" title="herbs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Proper storage of herbs (fresh or dried) is necessary to keep them fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. Whether you are trying to reap the rewards of an outdoor garden, a trip to the farmers market, or an ample dried herb supply, you can make them last much longer with a few careful steps. Here is a quick infographic guide to storing your herbs. And read below it for more details! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">Container Gardening Basics</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wise_bread_how_to_store_herbs_600.jpg" /></p> <p>Embed this infographic:<br /> <textarea style="width:590px;height:65px;">&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer&quot;&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/wise_bread_how_to_store_herbs_600.jpg&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;</textarea></p> <h2>Storing Fresh Herbs</h2> <p>Dried herbs are more convenient, but fresh herbs are more delicious. You'll need to do a few things to keep them fresh once you've gotten them home. Your fresh herbs will keep for about two weeks with this method.</p> <h3>Get Rid of Plastic Packaging</h3> <p>The first thing you will want to do is remove them from any plastic they may be in. The moisture that collects on the leaves while herbs are inside a plastic bag will speed up the decomposition process and cause them to turn slimy very quickly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-eat-this-a-quick-guide-to-expiration-dates-and-food-safety?ref=seealso">Can I Eat This? A Quick Guide to Food Safety</a>)</p> <h3>Spin and Pat Dry</h3> <p>If you have leafy green herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or mint, you will want to dry the leaves as much as possible. A salad spinner works great at removing any water on the leaves. After a run through the spinner, pat them dry with a paper towel.</p> <h3>Store in Water, Like Fresh Cut Flowers</h3> <p>Leafy herbs keep best in a glass of water, much like flowers do. And as with flowers, no leaves should touch the water, so trim off any from the stems that could come into contact with the water. (Use those first in your cooking or lay on a paper towel and roll up to store them for a couple of days.) Keep the glass in the front of the refrigerator. Every couple of days, empty the water and replace with fresh water. If you find excess water appearing on the leaves, wrap them in paper towels (making sure the towels do not touch the water). The paper towels will absorb the excess water.</p> <p>Fresh herbs stored this way should last two weeks or more. However before they go bad, you have further options to preserve the flavor of the herbs.</p> <h3>Remove Leaves, Dry, Mince, and Freeze</h3> <p>Remove leaves from the stems and pat dry with a paper towel. Then mince the herbs to release the oils in them and place into ice cube trays. You can freeze the herbs with either olive oil (to be used in sauces or sauteing) or freeze in water. Herbs stored this way can last six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-foods-that-dont-freeze-well?ref=seealso">Surprising Foods You Can Freeze</a>)</p> <h3>Roll Up and Store Stemmy Herbs</h3> <p>Herbs that are attached to stems, such as oregano, thyme and rosemary, should be sandwiched between two dry paper towels in a single layer. Roll up the paper towel loosely and store in a zip top bag that is not closed completely. Keep this bag in the vegetable crisper in your refrigerator.</p> <h2>Storing Dried Herbs</h2> <p>Everyone has those dried herbs in their cupboard with a purchase date so long ago that we can't remember when we bought them. Sometimes, you need just a small amount for a recipe and then don't use it again for a year or more. Dried herbs will begin to lose their potency in as soon as six months, so next year when you try to use that flavoring, it may have lost most of its flavor. Storing dried herbs properly to keep them fresh for as long as possible is important. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flavorful-foods-worth-splurging-on?ref=seealso">Flavorful Foods Worth Splurging On</a>)</p> <h3>Keep Away From Heat and Light</h3> <p>The first rule for storing dried herbs is one most of us break. Heat damages the herbs, and storing them above or next to the stove is not advisable. A good place to store dried herbs is far from the stove, where the heat and moisture will not affect it.</p> <p>Keep your herbs away from light, too. A dark area of a pantry (or in a spice cabinet that doesn't let in light) is a good place to keep them.</p> <h3>Freeze for Long-Term Storage</h3> <p>An even better place to store dried herbs is in an airtight container in the freezer. If you only use a small amount of a spice once a year, then store the remaining amount in the freezer and only remove as you need it. Keeping it in the freezer will hold the integrity of the spice for up to two years.</p> <p>Whether you enjoy the convenience of dried herbs or have cultivated a fabulous herb garden, storing these flavorful plants takes a bit of diligence. Tossing out herbs before they can be used is no longer necessary. Enjoy the benefits and flavors of your herbs for months to come!</p> <p><em>How do you keep your herbs fresh and flavorful?</em></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: Wise Bread&#039;s 88 Best Food Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fridge-or-counter-where-to-store-fruit-for-best-flavor">Fridge or Counter: Where to Store Fruit for Best Flavor?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-pantry-foods-that-keep-longer-than-you-think">18 Pantry Foods That Keep Longer Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food storage fresh herbs herb storage herbs Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:36:20 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1132832 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Your Spices Fake? http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-your-spices-fake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/spices-5123885-small.jpg" alt="spices" title="spices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, I had the good fortune to visit Seattle and the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldspice.com/">World Spice Merchants</a> shop. I liked it so much, I walked out with $100 worth of spices. Now, I know that sounds like a lot of money. Actually, that <em>is</em> a lot of money, but really good spices go a long way. That big bag of goodies will probably last for years. Plus, higher quality spices have way more flavor than the tasteless old powders that pass as spice in many grocery stores. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-spices-50-dishes-a-book-review">5 Spices, 50 Dishes: A Book Review</a>)</p> <p>Besides age and quality, there's another, more sinister, reason why your spices might have less flavor than you'd like &mdash; they're fake. In fact, trickery is a big problem in the spice trade; the recently established <a target="_blank" href="http://www.foodfraud.org/">Food Fraud Database</a> has logged hundreds of instances of spices labeled as one thing and containing something else entirely. I took a look through this database to sort out which spices are most likely to be adulterated &mdash; and with what. Are any of these not-so-good, bad, and ugly things lurking in your spice cabinet?</p> <h2>The Not-So-Good</h2> <p>There are several spices that are commonly diluted or substituted. This isn't a great thing in terms of value for your money or honest food labeling, but the switches are safe and the impact on taste is minor.</p> <p><strong>Cinnamon</strong></p> <p>In the U.S., what's commonly sold as cinnamon is actually <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamomum_cassia">cassia</a>, a cousin of true cinnamon. Its flavor may be a little less complex, but it's much more widely available, and therefore much cheaper than true cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter, more delicate taste, which may make it better for subtle baking, while cassia may actually be better suited to bolder dishes like curries and even cinnamon buns (cassia buns?). It may also be the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">choice for ant control</a>. Only one real issue here, though &mdash; cassia contains a toxin that can be harmful to the liver in large amounts. One source said you'd have to eat up to half a kilogram at a time, so unless you're eating the stuff by the shovel-full, cassia will do for most purposes.</p> <p><strong>Vanilla</strong></p> <p>Okay, so maybe vanilla isn't exactly a spice, but it's a <em>flavoring</em>, and that's close. Real vanilla comes from vanilla beans, but some vanilla in the stores contains other flavoring, most often ethyl vanillin. This artificial flavoring has a stronger taste, but one that may be lost at high heat. It won't do you any harm, though &mdash; it's often used in chocolate and other confections and is considered to be safe for human consumption. The unique and subtle taste of real vanilla will be most noticeable in things where it's the star, such as ice cream, puddings, or icing.</p> <h2>The Bad</h2> <p>These spices are commonly adulterated, but not with harmful ingredients. That means that while you might not get your money's worth &mdash; or the flavor you're looking for &mdash; at least they're edible.</p> <p><strong>Saffron</strong></p> <p>I have real saffron a friend brought from Mexico. Or, at least I <em>think </em>it's real, because it has a delicate hay/vanilla scent and gives rice a sweet, earthy flavor. The odds are not in my favor, though. Out of any spice, saffron is the most likely to be faked. Why? Because it comes from a relatively rare crocus flower that tends to produce only about four blossoms in a lifetime. The Food Fraud Database found well over 100 instances of adulterated saffron, and shows that if those little orange threads you bought aren't saffron, they're probably flowers from other harmless (although tasteless) plants, most often calendula. They may provide orange coloring to your dishes, but you won't get that amazing flavor.</p> <p><strong>Black Pepper</strong></p> <p>Black pepper is so common it's hard to believe we wouldn't recognize an imposter, but ground black pepper may contain papaya seeds. They have a similar spicy flavor and have often been deliberately used as a spice in parts of the world where papayas are found. Papaya seeds sold as ground pepper are clearly mislabeled, but they won't do you any harm. Papaya seeds even have some potent health benefits of their own.</p> <p><strong>Oregano</strong></p> <p>There are a few varieties of oregano, but this spice should have a pretty potent smell and flavor. If it doesn't, it might be because it's mixed with other things, usually sumac, cistus, savory, or thyme. Again, these plants aren't harmful &mdash; they may even be healthy, but they aren't oregano either. Fortunately, like many herbs, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">oregano is easy to grow</a>.</p> <h2>The Ugly</h2> <p>I was shocked to discover that quite a few spices are adulterated with things that aren't considered edible and may actually be dangerous to eat. I couldn't find any evidence of people getting sick from spices, so I have to assume that these additives are found in such low quantities that they're unlikely to do any real damage &mdash; at least in the short term. Even so, the fact that these are even found in our food is pretty unsettling. Here are the worst offenders.</p> <p><strong>Chili Powder</strong></p> <p>Chili powder should be made of powdered chili peppers, but sometimes it also contains additives to give it a brighter color. If you're lucky, the additive will be beet dye, but it's more likely to be Sudan dye, a colorant that's typically used in industrial applications. It's a known carcinogen, so the fact that it's been popping up in spices for a number of years is pretty scary stuff. Chili powder has also been found to contain brick powder, talc, and even sand and dirt.</p> <p><strong>Turmeric</strong></p> <p>Turmeric powder comes from a root that resembles ginger except for its vibrant yellow/orange color. Or at least that's where it should come from. According to the Food Fraud Database, it's often adulterated with Sudan dye and a yellow dye called &quot;metanil yellow,&quot; which isn't approved for human consumption and may cause damage to the nervous system. Turmeric powder has also been found to contain rice powder, starches, and even lead.</p> <p><strong>Paprika</strong></p> <p>There seems to fewer instances of trouble with paprika, but it has been found to contain Sudan dyes, lead, and other color additives.</p> <p><strong>Star Anise</strong></p> <p>There are two main types of star anise. Chinese star anise is the kind that traditionally gives five-spice powder its flavor. Japanese star anise has a similar flavor, but is toxic. Guess which one tends to be substituted for the other?</p> <h2>How to Get the Real Thing</h2> <p>When it comes to spices, getting the real thing tends to cost more, but it's nice to know you're getting what you're paying for &mdash; and that you're not getting harmful additives. The best way to ensure you're getting real spices is to buy them whole and grind them yourself. That makes hiding extra junk more difficult. If you can, it may also be worth seeking out a retailer that'll sell you <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-affordable-ingredients-that-add-gourmet-flair-to-any-meal">spices in bulk form</a>. That way, you can examine, smell, and maybe even sample the goods to see if they're as aromatic and flavorful as they should be. If they aren't, they may not be real thing. At the very least, they probably won't deliver enough flavor for the money.</p> <p><em>Have you ever bought spices you thought were fake? Where do you go to get the real thing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pasta-makers">The 5 Best Pasta Makers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat">The new face of poverty is fat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Flour Tortillas that Taste Great!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty Cooking food safety herbs spices Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:00:44 +0000 Tara Struyk 977911 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/catnip_0.jpg" alt="Cat with plants" title="Cat with plants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mosquitoes are incredibly common in my home state of Minnesota. Perhaps it's all the lakes and ponds &mdash; which make for great mosquito breeding grounds. Every summer it's another battle to keep these pests away. I've previously written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">homemade mosquito repellent recipes</a>, but I've recently discovered something even easier &mdash; mosquito repellent plants. There are plants that you can grow in your background that naturally repel mosquitoes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a>)</p> <p>There is a full list of <a href="http://gogreentravelgreen.com/mosquito-repellent-plants-that-repel-mosquitoes/">plants that repel mosquitoes here</a> here, but below I've compiled the top plants based on price and what I call &quot;dual purpose.&quot; That is, besides just repelling mosquitoes, these plants also either look especially nice or serve some more functional purpose. For example, planting citronella is great, but you can't do much else with it. In contrast, marigolds are beautiful flowers and several of the herbs below can also be used to cook with.</p> <h2>Marigolds</h2> <p>Marigold flowers are not only relatively easy to grow, they also look nice and repel mosquitoes. They look great potted, which gives the added benefit of being able to move them closer to where you are sitting. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/French-Marigold-Flower-Seeds-Packet/dp/B000Q81V86">1,000 seeds on Amazon for $4.50</a>.</p> <h2>Rosemary</h2> <p>As someone lacking a green thumb, I appreciate plants that don't require much work. Thankfully, rosemary is one of those plants that I've grown in my backyard every summer for years. If you plant it in a pot, you can also bring it inside in the winter to keep your herb garden up. Rosemary is a great dual-purpose mosquito repelling plant because you can also use it to cook. (I like it with potatoes or in bread.) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ferry-Morse-Rosemary-Seeds-Milligram-Packet/dp/B003V1WVVQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265438&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=rosemary">100 Rosemary seeds cost just $1.79 on Amazon</a>.</p> <h2>Catnip</h2> <p>Catnip <a href="http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/catnip.html">has been found by researchers</a> to be even more effective than DEET (a neurotoxin found in most bug sprays). Like marigolds and rosemary, catnip can be planted in a pot for easy portability. But it's also a perennial, so you may prefer to plant it in your garden so it will grow year after year. And, if you have a cat, you have a treat for your pet as well as protection from mosquitoes. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Catnip-Nepeta-cataria-Seed-Needs/dp/B003TILJDW/ref=pd_sim_lg_1">200 seeds on Amazon for $1.85</a>.</p> <h2>Garlic</h2> <p>Garlic repels mosquitoes and is used in almost all of my favorite Italian recipes. I recommend waiting until the spring to plant garlic, as the weather is better for growing it then, and it takes awhile to harvest. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Georgian-Fire-Heirloom-Bulbils-Hardneck/dp/B005OOUHUK/ref=sr_1_19?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265881&amp;sr=1-19&amp;keywords=garlic">50 bulbils on Amazon cost $5.79</a>.</p> <h2>Ageratum</h2> <p>Ageratum is another flowering plant that produces small purple/blue flowers. The plant emits a smell that repels mosquitoes. I've never grown this plant before, but you can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Davids-Ageratum-Horizon-houstonianum-Seeds/dp/B0042OTDRG/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266137&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=Ageratum">45 seeds for $5.95</a> and see for yourself how well it works.</p> <h2>Peppermint</h2> <p>Like rosemary, I found peppermint exceptionally easy to grow. During the summer I use the leaves to flavor water and at the end of the summer I dry the peppermint leaves to make peppermint tea. And <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Peppermint-Mentha-piperita-Seed-Needs/dp/B004FXWZ42/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266315&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=peppermint">200 Peppermint seeds cost $2.15</a>.</p> <h2>How to Use the Plants</h2> <p>The best thing to do is to place these plants around your garden patio or the area you are most likely to sit outside. Then, when you are grilling, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-yard-barbecues-that-wont-break-the-bank">hosting a barbeque</a>, or just enjoying a book outside, crush the leaves. Crushing a few leaves will emit the odor that most effectively drives the mosquitoes away.</p> <p>Personally, as much as I hate mosquitoes, I would never plant plants just for the sake of repelling the pests. That's why I think these dual mosquito repelling plants are better choices to incorporate into your garden.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-deter-garden-pests">8 Cheap Ways to Deter Garden Pests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living gardening herbs mosquitos plants Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 948714 at http://www.wisebread.com Garden Ideas for Small Spaces http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3633915640_0085acfd4c_z.jpg" alt="balcony garden" title="balcony garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no better way for me to wind down at the end of the day than by relaxing on my patio, staring off into luscious green foliage. Yet with a move on the horizon, from residential house to suburban apartment, I realize <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/i-love-grass">I can't forgo the garden</a> even if my patio is a scant 8 feet by 10 feet. I need the fresh flowers and green leaves that give me the sanity only nature can provide. After measuring out my patio, plotting creative container ideas, and utilizing my outdoor space efficiently, I found that almost any area can be turned into a garden oasis, no matter how diminutive the space. (See also: <a title="Vegetable Gardening: 4 Cheap Hacks" href="http://www.wisebread.com/vegetable-gardening-four-cheap-hacks">Vegetable Gardening: 4 Cheap Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>Containers of All Sizes</h2> <p>The solution to my patio predicament comes in the form of containers: small, narrow, and vertical. Since my patio is rectangular in shape, the best solution for me is utilizing the three walls surrounding the perimeter and keeping my <a title="6 High-Tech Tools to Help Your Garden Grow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-high-tech-tools-to-help-your-garden-grow">plants growing</a> up and out, leaving me plenty of room for my bistro table. Space-saving containers include the following:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Window boxes</strong> &mdash; Window boxes are normally narrow and horizontal in shape, but they need not only be used in front of windows. Window boxes can be securely anchored to the top of a patio ledge or placed on the ground. An alternative idea is hanging them from a wall or, if your apartment building or complex allows, hanging over a ledge. Not only do window boxes take up less space, they have multiple functions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Hanging baskets</strong> &mdash; Half moon-shaped baskets can hang from any wall, or a drop-down basket can hang from an awning or overhang. Hanging baskets are space savers, leaving the ground clutter-free. They can be used at various levels creating a rich garden surrounding your patio.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Small and narrow containers and pots</strong> &mdash; Small round pots and narrow containers can be clustered together at different levels using plant stands. Not only can one corner hold many plants, but lifting the plants off the ground allows room for the others to grow.</li> </ul> <h2>Raised Beds</h2> <p>Small gardens don't only exist in apartment living. Many houses found in condensed cities have small yards that are begging for some flora. For areas with a small patch of dirt, raised beds can add color and utility to a cityscape.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Raised beds</strong> &mdash; Most raised beds are DIY. Purchasing rot-resistant wood at a local lumber yard, begin with 2-by-4s varying in length. Since you'll be adding your own soil, the existing dirt can be used as the floor of the bed. Raised beds can come in many shapes and sizes depending on how much room you have to work with. Raised beds also provide plants with excellent drainage.</li> </ul> <h2>Making the Most of an Indoor Environment</h2> <p>What happens if a patio or outdoor area is too small for a garden or non-existent? Use your sunlit windows and create an indoor garden sanctuary. Varying the size and height of plants with the help of plant stands and hanging baskets can turn a corner into a mini-garden. Some indoor plants I've had luck with include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Philodendrons</strong> &mdash; In particular the heart-shaped variety. They tend to grow with very little care, a deep watering every couple of weeks, and pruning. I've even grown a couple in my shower (they love the misted moisture).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Corn plants</strong> &mdash; They look similar to mini-palm trees with waxy green leaves and thick trunks. They tend to prefer filtered sunlight and require minimal watering.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Herbs</strong> &mdash; Cilantro, mint, and rosemary, to name a few flavorful herbs, can be grown indoors. Be sure to provide ample sunlight and drainage.</li> </ul> <p>With any container plant, adding nutrients every so often will benefit your plants.Checking the amount of water and sunlight the plant needs for optimal growing conditions will help reduce any plant troubles and keep them disease free.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/studio-apartment-living-a-5-point-survival-guide">Studio Apartment Living: A 5-Point Survival Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home apartment living container gardening gardening herbs small spaces Wed, 20 Oct 2010 13:00:17 +0000 Little House 266290 at http://www.wisebread.com Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/herbwallgarden.jpg" alt="Herb garden" title="Herb garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve managed to cut my grocery bill in half, but I&rsquo;ve struggled with one set of expenses more than I ever though possible. I use a lot of spices and every time I turn around, I feel like I need more cinnamon or basil. I&rsquo;ve been investigating my options and in the past two months I&rsquo;ve made a dent in the amount I spend on my spices. That dent only adds up to a few dollars so far, but if I can keep at it for the long haul, I think I&rsquo;ve found another way to be frugal without feeling like I have to give something up.</p> <h2>1. Buy in bulk.</h2> <p>There are a lot of things I don&rsquo;t like buying in bulk because I just don&rsquo;t have room to store them. Bulk for spices, though, still means a container a third of the size of a cereal box. While some experts say that spices only last about six months, most spices can actually hold out for a whole year (and since most spices are only harvested once per year, that &lsquo;new&rsquo; batch of oregano may have already been in storage much longer than you&rsquo;d think).</p> <h2>2. Dry your own.</h2> <p>If you can pick up fresh herbs at your local farmers&rsquo; market, the price will be significantly less than the dried stuff at the supermarket. Dry them with a dehydrator or other drying process in order to extend their shelf life.</p> <h2>3. Grow your own.</h2> <p>I got the idea to go one step further from drying my own herbs to growing my own. This year, <a href="/growing-my-own-food-in-my-apartment">I&rsquo;m only doing a few pots out on my balcony</a> , which works just fine for my apartment, and I can&rsquo;t guarantee what the breakdown between what I actually produce and the time and effort I&rsquo;ll put in to it, but I think it will be worth it.</p> <h2>4. Buy online.</h2> <p>There are plenty of spices that I can&rsquo;t produce on my balcony, from issues of room to issues of pollination. There are plenty of options, from very inexpensive to premium. Even tried-and-true <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/16310101/ref=topnav_storetab_gro/103-6049103-6884631">Amazon</a> has a good selection, as long as you&rsquo;re willing to buy in sufficient quantity. The only point I would bring up is that quality is crucial for spices, and purchasing from a reputable seller can be worth a premium price. I routinely buy in large quantities from <a href="http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/ord/basket.html?id=4Cnr2Dky">Penzey&rsquo;s</a> for just that reason.</p> <p>No matter which of these approaches you are considering for stocking your spice rack, make sure that you have airtight containers to keep your spices in. Whether you buy in bulk or dry your own, you&rsquo;ll need your own spice containers. I reuse old ones, save jars and use single serving yogurt cups.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have">The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-ways-to-save-stale-bread">10 Delicious Ways to Save Stale Bread</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking herbs spices Tue, 11 Mar 2008 00:02:27 +0000 Thursday Bram 1906 at http://www.wisebread.com