03 February 2008

Growing Our Own Herbs

As we all know, any part of good cooking is usually accompanied with the use of fresh herbs. I love how a little fresh cilantro can make simple scrambled eggs seem gourmet.

Plans are that this year's harvest will result in a massive canning and freezing frenzy. One of our goals is that very little, if anything, will come from anywhere other than our garden. And with that in mind, I present minor obstacle #1:

I've always been taught that a good bouquet garni for sauces and stocks must have bay leaves as one of the ingredients. Well what do we do if we don't have a sweet bay laurel handy (will they even grow in Pennsylvania?) and we want to stay away from buying any at the market? Is there a substitute, can I omit it, or do I have to suck it up and buy them anyways?


steven said...

You're raising chickens, harvesting rain water, taking the train to work and growing a lot of your own food so you can cut yourself some slack and buy bay leaves. You deserve them.

Meg said...

There's a mint which is supposed to substitute for sweet bay leaves. Richter's Herbs offers it at this page. I am really bad because I grew it last year and never used it (was using up old stock of bay leaves, and that took longer than anticipated). The scent was really good and bay-like. Might be worth a try?

Good luck with the canning venture, we'll be doing a big canning push at my house this year as well.

Anonymous said...

Bay will grow in a large pot. My friend Barb puts her tree out after frost and brings it in before first frost in the fall. I'm not as good as Barb...I buy mine.

Anonymous said...

I have a bay tree in a pot, and I'm planning to do with it as Robin's friend Barb does above. I found mine in an out-of-the-way water garden shop, but they're around if you look.

kate said...

I used to have a bay leaf tree - it is easy to grow and grows quickly, especially if you leave it outside during the summer.

Kelly said...

Steven, We're trying to save money for tickets to Georgia.

Meg, Thanks for the link. Interesting--mint would have been last on my list of possible substitutes.

Robin, I think the large pot idea will certainly come into the mix when we get our own land. I've moved large plants before and it was not fun.

Jenny, As I mentioned to Robin; I really like the idea of a giant pot of fresh bay. What kind of pot did you use?

Kate, You said "used to have." Is there something I should know about?;)

Anonymous said...

Right now my bay is in a 12" terra cotta pot--they like it dry, and since they grow slowly and mine is still fairly small I think it'll be fine in this pot for a bit. We'll see what the summer brings, though.

Kelly said...

Hey Jenny, Thanks for the info. I've killed quite a few plants by housing them in the wrong pot.