Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Edible and beautiful - herbs!

Herbs are considered the oldest cultivated plants and are used today as they were hundreds of years ago. Herbs are extremely versatile and a great starter plant for a beginner gardener. Herbs can be grown in many different ways - in a garden bed or pots either inside or outside of your home. Fresh herbs can add a beautiful aroma to any dish and your home.

Throughout the summer months you can expect a generous and plentiful harvest from your herb plants. You can bring in your potted herbs in the cooler months or pick the leaves before the cool weather hits and freeze them in a resealable plastic bag. Fresh herbs are great in salads, teas or alcoholic beverages. Another use for herbs is to take a few mint or basil leaves and place them in your ice cube tray when you are making ice cubes. They freeze in the cubes and are a special touch to summer beverages and add a unique touch to a summer get together.

Herb plants can be annual such as basil, dill, savory and coriander. Some herb plants are biennial (they live for two seasons only blooming during the second season) such as parsley and caraway. Perennial herbs live through the winter and bloom each season once established, such as mint, oregano, sage, thyme, chives, rosemary and fennel. Some herbs are prone to spreading and taking over, such as mint. So be sure to control it in a pot or some kind of netting, if planted in a garden bed. My husband loves to have a lot of mint in our home so he can make drinks such as mojitos and spring flings, which are refreshing and clean drinks for hot summer nights.
Mojito Recipe
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint
White Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "Collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler(a long wooden device pictured below, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.
Spring Fling
1 1/3 cups of white sugar
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
fresh juice from 10 lemons
2 lemons sliced
1 cucumber sliced
2 cups of vodka
2 cups of club soda
This recipe serves 8 and is perfect for parties! In a large pitcher, mix the sugar, the mint leaves add the vodka and fresh lemon juice, let stand for 30 minutes. Stir to dissolve sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Add the club soda, serve over ice in rocks glasses, garnish with lemon and cucumber slices and mint leaves.

These plants are both edible, beautiful and inexpensive. The By Ward market in Ottawa has an amazing array of herbs and they are usually sold in bundle deals. My favourite way to plant an herb garden is to plant a variety of herbs (and really pack them in there, so once they grow the planters become full and lush) in a large planter and place my planters near the front entrance of my home. Be sure to plant herbs with like growing conditions together, for example mint does extremely well in the shade whereas sage and thyme prefer warmer, dryer conditions. By placing the planters where my guests arrive, they inhale the fantastic perfume of fresh herbs, just another inviting element to any home!

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