Using Fresh Garden Herbs: Favorite Recipes From The Garden

By Mary Ellen Ellis | May 8, 2020
by Mary Ellen Ellis
May 8, 2020

I grow a few vegetables, but my favorite things to grow are flowers and herbs. I use the herbs in everything I make, from salads and soups to cocktails and desserts. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from the garden using the herbs I grow.

Herbal Lemonade Recipe

This basic garden recipe is so simple and versatile. My favorite summer drink is mint lemonade, but you can use this recipe as a guide and use different types of drinks and herbs, or even add a little vodka to make it a cocktail.

Start by making a simple syrup. I like to use honey, but sugar works too. I add a half cup of honey to two cups of water and heat it until the honey dissolves. Let it cool. Squeeze six to eight lemons, enough to make two cups of juice. Mix the juice with four cups of water and add the syrup to taste. Mix in about a half cup of fresh mint leaves and enjoy,

Other variations I like for this basic recipe include lavender lemonade, basil grapefruit juice, and cilantro limeade.

Shakshuka Garden Recipe

When cooking with plants from the garden, I like to get creative and try new things. I discovered this North African and Middle Eastern dish when looking for a way to use a lot of tomatoes. It is great for breakfast or dinner.

The recipe doesn’t have to be exact. I make it with what I have on hand, including herbs from my garden. Start by sautéing aromatics in a large skillet. I use onions and garlic in olive oil and then add in mushrooms and peppers. You can also add some spices, like chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. Let the spices cook for just about a minute and then add several cups of chopped tomatoes.

Let the sauce simmer and add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce is to your liking, crack eggs into it to poach. Put a lid on the pan to help them cook faster. At the end, I throw in whatever fresh garden herbs I have on hand. Parsley, basil, mint, and cilantro go particularly well with this dish. Eat with toast or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

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