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