Magazines of all shapes, sizes, and topics have been raving about the benefits of using herbs for cooking. They add flavor and dimension to any and al...moreMagazines of all shapes, sizes, and topics have been raving about the benefits of using herbs for cooking. They add flavor and dimension to any and all recipes with zero calories, zero fat, zero sugar … they are little miracle plants!
Most folks know about the usual herbs – parsley, basil, pepper, rosemary – from buying the dried versions at their grocery store. If you want to truly experience food at its finest (without a huge cost), grow your own herbs. Even apartment dwellers have enough space to cultivate anywhere from 3 to 10 herbs at a time. But what do you grow? and how? When do you use them? and in what?
Finally, there is a guide for all those questions – The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs. The idea of having a one-stop-shop for information on growing, cooking, and baking with herbs caught my attention immediately. In addition to all that, The Herb Society of America’s guide offers a unique glimpse at the history of herbal plants and trees, along with some of their past uses.
Most people think of herbs as something you just add in towards the end of a recipe – you know, an accent. Not so! No matter what you are cooking or baking, herbs are a vital element to bringing out the true flavors of all foods. By growing them in your own kitchen (or bedroom or living room), you not only get the ability to use fresh herbs, but you also foster that priceless connection between man and nature. A little dirt is good for you. :)
Of course, one of my favorite sections of the The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs is the recipe section. It is much bigger than I expected and I could cook for months on end from this book alone. Everything from soups, salads, breads, and beverages to sauces, entrees, side dishes, and desserts … especially desserts (I have quite the dangerous sweet tooth). The first on my list to try are the Mint Chocolate Pound Cake (page 215) and the Lemon Basil Tea Bread (page 219). I would not be arrogant in saying that every cook’s bookshelf needs this guide.
Growing up in a family that didn’t have time for anything that didn’t come in a box, visiting my grandmother’s house was a haven because her spice rack was almost as big as her sink. The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs brings back many of those happy memories and gives me a chance to start creating some unique memories of my own.(less)
Gardening “green” sounds like an oxymoron - and it is. What is called “organic” gardening today is what everyone was doing before the Industrial Revol...moreGardening “green” sounds like an oxymoron - and it is. What is called “organic” gardening today is what everyone was doing before the Industrial Revolution. Now-a-days, only about half of homes have plants in them. Most you can’t even eat.
Time to Grow Organic! A new book by Pittsburg greenies Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser. Not only about gardening, Grow Organic helps with flowers, lawns and more. For “first-timers and old-timers alike,” those without a naturally green thumb are saved. Color pictures, graphs, step-by-step instructions – it’s all here.
Live in the city? Grow Organic’s info applies to your small space too. Don’t let a lack of “real” land stop you grow the joy of truly fresh food and flowers. Container gardens are even easier to maintain than lawn spaces, so grab a trowel and get growing!
My favorite section of Grow Organic is chapter 6 – all about veggies! When I have a house, I’ll grow fruit trees too. Until then, its spinach, herbs, and other edibles. My apartment building’s fire escape offers enough extra space to cultivate more than expected.
Space? Time? Skill? You don’t need any of these to grow! It’s a simple, quick and space-conscious hobby. Grab a copy of Grow Organic by Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser. You’ll see what I mean in no time. Well, it may take a few weeks for the seeds to sprout. Then, you’ll see.(less)