Herbs are plants that have leaves, seeds, or flowers which are mainly used for flavoring food. They are generally nutritious, and some have medicinal properties. Herbs are also frequently used to garnish plates of food. While both fresh and dried herbs are naturally high in antioxidants, when it comes to vitamin content, fresh is the winner. Here are three quick ways to use fresh herbs.
Chive-Garlic Butter (for bread or corn-on-the-cob)
- ½ cup high quality butter, softened (may use salted or unsalted)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Beat butter using a mixer until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the chives, lemon zest and garlic. Chill butter slightly. Then roll butter into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Twist closed the ends of the plastic wrap. Chill until ready to use. Lasts up to a week in the refrigerator. If desired, slice into thin rounds and serve with fresh baked bread or with fresh hot corn-on-the cob.
Lavender-Rosemary Salt (Use to season meat & vegetables)
- ¼ cup coarse ground salt
- Up to ¼ cup lavender leaves, washed and pat dry (must be thoroughly dry)*
- ¼ cup rosemary leaves, washed and pat dry (must be thoroughly dry)
*Note that lavender leaves have a very strong flavor, so you may use less if desired
Measure salt, add to a medium size bowl, and set aside. Grind or pulse the fresh lavender and rosemary leaves using a food processor. Fold the fresh herbs into the salt. Spread the mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Let ingredients dry overnight. Once totally dry, place mixture into a small, lidded mason jar. Cover and store in a cool, dry space. Use for up to one month to flavor meats and veggies.
Garlic-herb marinade for chicken:
Makes six chicken legs
- 1 cup high quality olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh herbs that have been washed & dried (use a combination of any of the following: basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme) – plus extra for garnish if desired
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cracked black pepper
Note: This marinade recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if cooking for larger groups. Note that the flavors are absorbed in the chicken, and, for safety, the marinade is discarded once it’s time to grill the meat.
Place 6 chicken drumsticks (or assorted pieces) in a gallon size plastic resealable bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Press out excess air as you seal the bag. Turn bag and massage around to coat the chicken. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 to 6 hours. From time to time, gently massage the herb marinade onto the chicken by turning and rubbing the outside of the bag. When time is up, remove chicken from the bag and discard marinade. For crispy chicken, cook drumsticks on a preheated grill (425 degrees F) for about 20 minutes, watching carefully and turning occasionally until chicken registers properly cooked (165 degrees F) with a meat thermometer. Or follow your own grilling directions.
Tip: Garnish with extra fresh herbs before serving.