Herbal Survivors: No Fair Weather Friends

Winter Herb Garden!

A Messy Winter Herb Garden

It’s typical winter weather here in Western Oregon; thus far we’ve had rain, hail, snow, and our share of serious sub-zero conditions.  In spite of all that, somehow my herb garden (no longer  stunningly glorious)  continues to deliver a steady supply of aromatics for regular cooking purposes.

Winter Oregano

Winter Oregano

Although it’s pretty bleak out there, yesterday I noticed that the oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory, and even a little sage are still hanging on.   There was enough to warrant another light harvest for winter drying.

I maintain a jar of mixed dried herbs―it’s my go-to house blend for everyday use.   I enjoy it so much that I’ve even managed to reduce my salt intake by adding the herb blend to my salt grinder for a quick dusting on eggs, soups, salads, popcorn…

herbs and jarWhen my supply begins to run low, I simply gather up a few handfuls of whatever is abundant in the garden (including lavender on occasion), place it all in a large shallow bowl, and let it dry on the counter for a week or two.  By then it’s time to replenish the herb jar.

When a dash to the garden isn’t feasible, the herb blend makes a delicious quick vinaigrette.  I’ve noticed the flavor of dried herbs is far more robust and lasts considerably longer than their fresh counterparts.

Herbal Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup lemon juice, or a combination with white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced well
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. or more dried herb blend (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, savory)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup olive oil, or a combination vegetable and olive oil

Instructions

Combine all in a jar and shake well.  Serve over assorted chilled greens and a few fresh herbs, if available.

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