June Harvest of the Month Part I: Herbs

Herbs are one of the NH Harvests of the Month for June! Herbs can add so much flavor and depth to any dish.  Using herbs is a great way to experiment with new flavors and use less salt in cooking if you have been directed to reduce your sodium intake by a healthcare provider.

  • Grow herbs in small containers or herb garden during warm months.  Grow them inside near your sunniest window year round!
  • Use fresh or dried herbs.
  • Herb Selection: When buying herbs fresh, choose firm, richly green leaves and avoid drooping, yellowing or brown-edged leaves.
  • Fresh Herb Storage: Store in the fridge, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel in a plastic bag; leave bag partially open or poke holes to allow herbs to breathe.
  • To dry herbs: wash, dry, then bunch together freshly clipped herbs with a rubber band.  Do not bunch too tightly.  Next, hang bunches upside down in a dry, cool, dark space.  Herbs can also be dried lying on a rack or mesh screen.
  • To freeze herbs:
    • Put in freezer grade bag, whole or chopped (do not blanch).
    • You can also fill ice cube trays with herbs and cover in olive oil, stock, or water.  Put cubes in a freezer grade plastic bag to store.

Herb Recipes

Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 5 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated hard cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • optional: the zest of one lemon

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  • If desired, add hot water to the mixture to thin it out.

 

Mint Lemonade

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 cup of mint syrup (see recipe below)

Mint Syrup:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup mint leaves

Directions:

  • Combine sugar and ½ cup of water and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate the sugar.
  • Once sugar has melted, remove the pan from heat and add the mint leaves; allow to steep for 10-30 minutes.
  • Cool completely.
  • Combine all ingredients and serve over ice. Garnish with some mint leaves and fresh lemon slices.

 

Herbed Potato Salad

 Yield
10 servings (3/4 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ lbs red or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, dill, and tarragon)
  • 2 scallions, sliced

    Directions
  1. Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot with steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and cook until tender (12-15 minutes). Remove cooked potatoes, sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt, and let cool.
  2. Whisk mayo, yogurt, onion, mustard, pepper, and remaining salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add the potatoes, herbs, and scallions, stirring well to coat. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate to chill

Greek-Style Cucumber and Yogurt Dip

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, grated
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

PREPARATION

Line sieve with cheesecloth and place over medium bowl. Place yogurt in sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to drain in refrigerator overnight.  Mix cucumber and 1 tablespoon salt in small bowl; cover and chill 3 hours.  Transfer drained yogurt to another bowl. Mix in sour cream, lemon juice, dill and garlic. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible from cucumber. Stir cucumber into yogurt. Season with pepper. Cover; chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Source: NH Harvest of the Month