Sunday, 3 August 2014

Growing my own herbs

Adding fresh herbs when cooking undoubtedly makes a dish much tastier than using dried herbs from a jar. More often than not, however, I find myself opting for the latter- for no other reason than frugality! Fresh herbs cost around the same as their dried equivalent, but I find that the fresh variety don't tend to keep for long, and I end up really only being able to use them once. This is such a waste- of food and money.  I have been hunting around for solutions to this problem, and come up with a couple of recommendations. 

Freezing them in ice cube trays
This works! The herbs do keep for much longer in the freezer, and frozen herbs do taste better than dried herbs from a jar. One drawback, though, is that they do stay soggy. I like to sprinkle coriander on top of curries and soups, and that only works with freshly-picked leaves. 

Kitchen roll in a sandwich bag
Sounds crazy, right? According to my friend, transferring fresh, cut herbs into a sandwich bag along with a piece of kitchen roll and storing them in the fridge helps them to last longer! I tried this, and the herbs did stay perky and crisp for about a week... definitely a few days longer than normal. I actually found this to be a good tip. 

Grow your own
My garden is an area of my house which needs a lot of attention and TLC, so I have not been tempted to try and grow things in it yet. However, my open-plan kitchen/ living room does have huge French windows, and the room gets pretty warm in the summer. 
Looks easy enough!
Unwins very kindly sent me their DIY herb kitchen garden kit to try out and review, and I am very excited to see the results. The kits are on sale for £5.99 each, and they come with the adorable wooden box, compost, plastic pots and seeds (coriander, chives, basil and parsley). Considering that buying herbs from the supermarket costs £1 a time, I consider this to be good value. You can also buy a Mediterranean herbs version. I didn't have a small watering can, but I found that Heather's sippy cup did the job! The idea of having small amounts of herbs growing at all times in my kitchen really appeals to me. If my herbs grow as promised on the box, this solution would cut out the waste, cost a lot less and look fabulous. 
Herbs all planted and watered

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